A brand new year means new beginnings and opportunities. We have a tendency to embrace the new year because it’s a time when we can start fresh. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring our favorite dynamic characters who undergo changes for better or for worse. We will analyze these characters’ transformations and how these transformations benefited or minimized these characters’ potential in becoming “great people/beings.” We will also use these characters as a way for us to reflect on our own lives and who we want to become. Lastly, we would like to say “Happy New Year, everyone!”
Check out Aria’s blog here.
*Will contain spoilers for One Piece!
We learn from pain
In life, everyday we continue to learn and grow. For example, a baby will eventually learn to walk and when they do walk, they might fall and cry. However, if the child gets help and gets put back on their feet, they will try again and practice to walk without help. Same thing goes with riding a bike, it might be tough to stay on balance and go forward, you might even fall and hurt yourself, but if you continue get back on your feet, you will get a better understanding and learn to move forward and explore. With these examples, we can pinpoint what they have in common: pain. As humans, as we continue to explore and try new things, we might get hurt as we grow in life. It could physical like cutting yourself or breaking a bone or even emotionally like losing someone close or having a bad relationship, but in the end, we change and it affects us in life for better or for worse. For better, we begin to understand what is like to get hurt when we go through life after experiencing pain, we learn to avoid making the same mistakes and we get hurt less. However, sometimes the pain can be too painful on people and it hurts them deeply to the point it makes them even worse. People who change for worse will begin to see life in misery and depressing or even feel hateful. As we went through 2018 and now we are in 2019, we might have gone through something that really changed us. I don’t know what you been through in 2018 so I can’t say what happened to you and how do you feel unless you told me personally. New Years is an important holiday because as we leave the old year behind, we also leave behind our old lives and start brand new. It’s unknown what 2019 holds for us, but as we go through this year and the same months, we are constantly changing for better or worse. In this blog post, I am going to be talking about One Piece and the main topic of the metamorphosis.
Background – One Piece
One Piece is a series created by manga author Eiichiro Oda. One Piece started off as a manga in 1997 and the anime began in 1999. The series is a Shonen Jump title that is really common in reading Shonen Jump manga industry such as Naruto, Dragon Ball and Bleach. The series has spawned over 800 episodes and even in the process of having a 14th movie. One Piece tells the story of a young man named Monkey D. Luffy who is on the quest to finding the One Piece, a legendary treasure original owned by the King of Pirates Gol D. Roger who was able to take every treasure of the world. Luffy also ate a powerful Devil Fruit called the Gum-Gum Fruit which turns his body into rubber that also allows him stretch into big proportions and is able to reflect cannon and guns; unfortunately, the Devil Fruit takes away the ability to swim and causes the user to sink. There are many Devil Fruits and users out there in which got many unique powers, but with weaknesses. Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hat, are on the quest to finding the One Piece in hopes to following their own dreams.
In this post, I am going to be talking about One Piece in the later arcs. Unless you been caught up on the manga and anime, get ready for spoilers.
Sabaody Archipelago Arc
In regards to manga, this arc is the 6th major arc in the manga of One Piece. This is where I am going to begin and then later skipping ahead. Sabady Archipelago is an arc where Luffy and his friends just gained a new crewmember named Brook and as they are following the log pose, the next island is Fishman Island and the only way to travel to an underwater island is equip the ship with a special bubble coating that allows ships to sail underwater. They are able to find someone who can coat the ship, but it turns out that the guy who does is Rayleigh, the first crewmate of the Pirate King Gol D. Rodger. However, things start to get serious when Luffy angers the Marines after Luffy beats up a snobbish royal family known as the Celestial Dragons participating in a auction and trying to buy Luffy’s mermaid friend named Camie. If a Celestial Dragon is threatened, they will happily call the marines to kill because they are a rich and very spoiled group who thinks they own everything; they can also have the right to buy and own slaves. Of course, Luffy ends up attacking one to save a friend and this causes the crew and even other rookie pirates like Law and Kidd to fend off against the marines. However, this is where Luffy first learns about the power gap compared to him and to other powerful enemies.
The Crew Disbanded?!
As luffy and his friends are fighting against the Marines, they soon realized they are starting to get outnumbered when they get attacked by robots called the Pacifistas that look like the Warlord Bartholomew Kuma but instead of having a Devil Fruit, it is equipped by lasers. Leading the Pacifistas is the science captain and bodyguard Sentomaru and the powerful admiral Kizaru. With the power of the Glint-Glint Fruit, Kizaru can move in the speed of light and make his body into photonic lights. He can create lasers and a light sword and his kicks are so fast and powerful that getting kicked in the speed of light can knock anyone out. To make matters worse, when Luffy faces off against these two, he sees that these two are in a whole new level when he sees his crew struggle and his rubbers are ineffective. However, a deus ex machina occurs when the real Kuma appears and for no reason, uses his Paw-Paw powers to send off all of Luffy crewmates to unknown islands. Seeing his crew disappear and leaving Luffy all alone angers him to the point he cries; he eventually also gets sent away to an island where the marines can’t find him.
Ace sent to die?
After getting separated from his crew and earning the Warlord and Empress Boa Hancock trust, Luffy is ready to go back to Sabaody Archipelago and reunite with his friends. Unfortunately, his reunion is put on hold when he finds out that his brother Portgas D. Ace is captured by the Marines and is being sentence to death. Before he goes back to his friends, he wants to go and save his brother.
Ace – From Flames to Embers
Through trial and tribulation, from sneaking into jail to entering the Marine Headquaters, Luffy gained some new allies from Impel Down and even has Ace’s captain Whitebeard to help save Ace. The miliary gives them everything from their disposal such as summoning the remaining Seven Warlords of the Sea and the three powerful admirals, Aokiji, Kizaru and Akainu. Luffy pushes himself to the point he should be dead and he fights his own grandpa Monkey D. Garp in order to save Ace. Unfortunately for Luffy, even with his newly found friends and willpower, Luffy was unable to save Ace. Seeing Ace die in front of him causes Luffy to feel despair and puts him to shock and unable to endure suffering.
Aftermath: the seas is filled with powerful people
Losing someone close can be the most painful experience anyone can go through and it can get worse when they feel trapped in pain and misery. After surviving death and taking refuge at Hancock’s island kingdom Amazon Lily, Luffy goes on a rampage and taking out his anger on the landmarks like trees and rocks. His friend Jimbei shows up to stop him from hurting himself and gives him the most important advice he needed to hear.
Jimbei tells Luffy that just because Ace is dead doesn’t mean he lost everything. Ace is dead and there is nothing he can do about it. Rather than focusing on what he lost, he needs to remember what does he still have. Luffy recollects his thoughts and he remembers that besides Ace, he still has his friends.
Not to be confused, Luffy is not replacing Ace with his friends. The reason why Jimbei told him these things and Luffy remembering his friends is to reassure him that he hasn’t lost anything. Losing his brother is probably one of the most painful experiences Luffy has ever gone through and seeing a lovable and funny character like Luffy get upset is pretty painful to watch. To save Luffy’s suffering, Jimbei tells him to remember what he has and not to let the pain take over him.
Conclusion: The pain of lose transforms people
After recovering, Luffy sends a message to his friends to instead of reuniting in three days, they would meet up at Sabaody Archipelago. The reason being is because Luffy wants to use these two years to train himself to get stronger so doesn’t have to lose anyone close to him. Thanks to the two years, Luffy did get strong and he did come back to his friends and continued his quest to find the One Piece.
What I like about One Piece in these moments with Luffy, we get to see how does something painful can affect someone. Imagine this: if Luffy was able to save Ace and he did survive, Luffy would have reunited with his friends in three days and try to explore the seas knowing that the marines will be after them. The marine will send in the toughest soldiers and Luffy and his friends might struggle again. However, thanks to Kuma separating everyone and isolating them from the marines and Luffy witnessing a death of someone he cares about, Luffy soon realizes that the seas is quite dangerous and luck and willpower won’t be enough to defeat enemies the Seven Warlords or other strong pirates. In a way, Luffy was awaken after seeing his strength compared to others. In the real world of today, sometimes pain is needed to help change us. Pain can help us grow and learn from the world. People can learn from a heartbreak and learn that love is precious and it makes us wiser on who we trust. People can learn from death of a friend or relative and they can learn to appreciate life and remind us that we should use our time for others so we can leave an impact for them. Last but not least for an example, people can learn from losing a competition or game. When people lose, they can learn how can they improve and it gives them a reason to try and compete again. If we all experience pain and stopped enjoying life, we will never grow and we would be stuck in a limbo of life. Life can be a struggle and challenge, but if we can learn by the end of the day on how much life has hit us, we can apply what we learn today and use it for tomorrow.
If you like my post, go check out Irina’s blog and her post.