By Shola Osiyemi
I believe that one of the strongest elements of fiction, is it’s ability to inspire. Almost every fictional character has a goal or an ambition, and the story details the journey they undertook, towards achieving this goal. The Story of One-Piece encapsulates this phenomenon extremely well.
It’s a story about a crew of pirates who travel the seas, with the grand objective of finding the legendary One-Piece treasure. What’s great, is that each character has personal dreams. Sanji (The chef), desires to find a mystical sea called the All-Blue, which possesses a plethora of unique fish, perfect for cooking. Zoro, a brave and furious swordsman, strives to become the strongest swordsman in the world, truly perfecting his craft of swordsmanship. Others have noble dreams, like Chopper (the reindeer), who wants to find a cure to every disease, making him the world’s best doctor.
And there’s the captain, Luffy. A boy who is deadset on finding the legendary One-Piece treasure, which would in turn, make him the King of the pirates. His childhood dream.
Just like these fictional characters, we as humans also have dreams and ambitions. We start our early lives, striving to achieve become something we aspire to.
Remember in elementary school, when the teacher would ask us what we wanted to do with our lives? Kids would burst out their dream careers. Astronauts, firemen, painters, pilots, doctors. These are just a few of the early dreams and ambitions many children have. The saddest part about this, is that as we get older, reality starts to kick in. We mature, starting to comprehend just how tough the journey towards achieving a dream career actually is. While many individuals naturally alter their ambitions as the years pass, an awful lot more give up. We learn that there’s several other individuals who are better than us, at what we do, that we are from the brightest prospect there is.
While this does ignite a spark within a few daring individuals, it dwindles the flames within a lot more.
Despite the story of One-Piece being heavily centred around ambitious pirates, striving to achieve their dreams. It also shows the gloomier, other side of the picture.
Pirates who gave up on achieving their dream of finding the One-Piece, and settled for something lesser after experiencing humiliating defeats along the journey. This is showcased through several characters, one of whom being Gecko Moria. In his younger days, he was a eager young pirate who desired to find the One-Piece. But after a devastating defeat, which wiped out nearly all of his crew, Moria abandoned his hope of becoming Pirate King. Settling to live on a giant ship, in the middle of nowhere. Isolating himself far away from the grand treasure.
I think the difference between individuals who succeed and those who fail is how they bounce back from defeats. It sounds cliché but, there’s a lot truth to it. Several successful individuals have failed in life, at what they were pursuing. However, they had the will to continue. They never let the losses stop them from achieving what they wanted to achieve. Their willpower spurred them forward.
It’s unsurprising that a story, which is heavily focused around ambition and dream-chasing uses a willpower oriented power system. The primary power system is Haki. It’s the direct manifestation of one’s willpower, made into a real power.
I always loved this concept. That an individual’s desire can be so forceful, to the point that it physically manifests into a real offensive power.
Are world isn’t as glamorous, and we won’t be able to turn our hands into dense, black armour anytime soon. But this aspect of having a tremendous amount of will, motivates me.
Monkey D. Luffy (the main character) is a boy who exhibits tremendous amounts of willpower throughout the story. He’s a boy who has suffered heart-breaking losses, like watching his brother die right in front of his eyes or watching his entire, beloved crew vanish right in front of his eyes. And yet despite the countless amount of tragedies he’s endured, he never quits.
One-Piece never sugar coats the brutal reality of trying to achieve a goal, that the journey can be a rocky-road, sprinkled with bumps and barriers. That’s something I’ve learnt from the One-Piece story, the beauty of persistence.