Powers & Abilities Haki, Swords, DF's and the "Suspension of disbelief" in One Piece manga.

The way it is now, do you think "Haki" is a coherent power system?

  • Yes. I think it's fine the way it is.

    Votes: 2 14.3%
  • No, it could use some adjustment.

    Votes: 9 64.3%
  • No. Too messy as it is to make it work. Should be remade from scratch.

    Votes: 3 21.4%

  • Total voters
Hello all, this topic is something that I've been wanting to discuss for some time, and, after seeing the aftermath of chapter 1001, seemed like a good moment to bring it up. Since I'm relatively new to this forum, I don't know if this have been brought up before, so I apologize if I'm not saying anything new, but I think it's still relevant to discuss it.

In all of fiction, there's this thing called "Suspension of Disbelief". You can google it up, but, to summarize, it is when the reader/viewer intentionally accepts the surreal aspects of said fiction, in order to achieve catharsis. Basically is you accepting that there are magical fruits that give people magical powers, and being able to accept it as something natural inside that story. Discussions about events inside certain stories, using real world metrics, is nothing new, and the "but it's just fiction, you can't use real world logic for it" argument comes hand in hand with it. But it is really like that? You just accept EVERYTHING the story throws at you, no matter how random or out of nowhere it seems?

The short answer is: "Depends".

Any story, fiction or not, affects people differently, because people absorb these things differently. Your values, your knowledge, your dislikes and preferences, all of these affect the way you perceive a story. So, if for you, it's fine to have solutions coming out of the blue to a situation (called Deus Ex Machina), that's fine. It's your impression of the story, you ought to know what you like or not. Does it mean it is "good writing"? Not really. We can like "bad things". Like that movie that nobody likes except you, or a music, whatever. You know they are bad, but you like them anyway. It is not something inherently wrong.

Now, bringing it to One Piece.

In One Piece universe, we are introduced to a lot of surreal concepts, like Devil Fruits, Haki, Fishmen, and so on. The important thing when you create a fictional universe, is that this universe MUST have rules. If you don't establish these rules and actually FOLLOW them, then it becomes pointless for your readers/viewers to especulate anything about your story, after all, if the creator doesn't respect the rules he himself created for his universe, why should anyone else?
And this is what I wanted to discuss. This thread is NOT about powerlevels or rivalries or any of this. What I want to discuss is Oda's inability to follow the rules of his own World. How he break these rules? Often doing retcons. Some people might call them foreshadowing, but foreshadowing is simply a plot twist, not a change in rules on how your universe and the systems work.

I'm gonna tell the elements of the story that I find particularly problematic about this. If you have something else to add, feel free to do it and when shall discuss these elements together.

To start things off, I'm wanna talk about the biggest problem of all..."Haki". The first glimpse of Haki that was shown to the audience was Shanks using Conqueror's on the Sea King, after losing his arm to protect Luffy. I don't really have problems with this moment. Even IF it was not originally CoC, and was retconned as such, it didn't change any dynamic, so, foreshadowing or not, it's not problematic. I don't recall every single time luffy used it or not, but, when Shanks met Whitebeard, Josu specifically mentioned Shanks had an impressive "spirit", which some translated as such, but was Haki. If strong enough, CoC can actually apply physical pressure on objects around you, considering it did damage to WB's ship. CoC, in my opinion, is completely fine in the story. It adds a "chosen one" element to the narrative, that I personally DON'T LIKE, but it doesn't disrupt anything.

Then......we have the other 2....CoA, and CoO. Gonna start with CoO.

First time introduced? Skypie if I recall correctly. At the time, it was called "Mantra", and it was something that only Enel and his Priests could use. The ability to sense where people are (this was enhanced by Enel's electrical powers, giving it a huuuuuuuuuge range), also sense your opponent "intention", allowing you to know what kind of attack they would throw at you, before they even did it. Was something really overpowered, but had it's limits. Wiper managed to sneak attack the Flame Sword dude, Luffy/Sanji/Usopp managed to beat the Fat Dancing dude, which indicates that, at lower levels, you can't sense people ALL the time, or if you are distracted, or it's hard to predict the moves of more than 1 person. Requires a great deal of practice to managed to use it properly. Luffy managed to "counter it" during his fight with Enel, by clearing his mind. We come across it, if I believe, in Amazon Lily, when the two Boa Sisters use it against Luffy, not "Mantra", but he have this nice throwback. Works the exact same way it did then, so no disruption here. Rayleigh introduces it and says it works just like we thought it would work, because it was shown to was to work in a way. It changed ONLY when we were introduced to Katakuri, and his "Future Sight". If you apply the logic of sensing people and their intentions, you could say the future sight is a level where you sense everything around you so perfectly, that you can actually see "everything's intention", alas "seeing the future", because you are actually perceiving how "everything" around you is gonna react. It makes perfect sense, and fits the original use of CoO as an upgrade. Again, no disruption.
But what is my problem with CoO? It's inconsistency. It doesn't seen to have any physical drawback to use it, but some characters constantly are put in situations that should be avoided, had they been using it. Sometimes they use it passively, like in FI, when M3 sensed Caribou in the castle, or when Sanji dodge Katakuri's bullet, and sometimes it just doesn't work, like Luffy using it against Kaido, but immediately after getting attack by Big Mom without noticing it. It looks awfully familiar with Spider's sense, in the same way that the author simply "turn it on and off" when he sees fit. This lack of consistency makes kinda hard to say if a move should have been effective or not, or if the character is using it or not. This "debate", although can be intentional, is simply pointless, because it doesn't have any solid rule like it used to. It's just random.

And then...we have...CoA.
First time introduced? I honestly can't tell. Zoro fighting Mr1? Nami punching Luffy? Garp punching Luffy? Sentoumaru? Rayleigh removing the collar? There are so many "points" in the story that COULD have been the first time we saw CoA being used, that, unless you form a narrative by yourself, trying to justify what is, or isn't CoA, you simply can't pick one, without AT LEAST considering the possibility of the other ones. Let me talk about Zoro's case against Mr1, since this could be the most problematic case.
During his fight against Mr1's steel body, Zoro couldn't cut hit, so he remember something about his master saying this thing about "the ability to hear all things". This is ALREADY strange, because "hearing all things" sounds much more like CoO, than CoA, but let's assume it's a mixed concept. His master was simply talking about Haki in general, without separating CoA and CoO (first assumption), then he tells Zoro he can , and can't cut anything. He will have total control on what he is capable of cutting. Then he learns it and then cuts Mr1. Boom, learned how to cut steel. After that, there's a little joke about "what's next, gonna cut diamond?", but the thing is, so far, Zoro is learning to cut solid things, things that shouldn't be cut, because they are too hard. At this point, we have the notion that Logias (as seen with Smoker and Crocodile), are COMPLETELY immune to physical attacks, because their bodies are not "solid elements". Does it mean Zoro can cut something that doesn't actually have a solid body to be cut in the first place? Again, you gonna ASSUME that it does.
The first 2 Logias that we see defeated, are Crocodile and Enel. When Ace clashes with Smoker, he just says something like "you are smoker, but i'm fire". This would indicate that having an elemental power that is effect against another, is a way to beat Logia types, like a pokemon type advantage system. But Crocodile was defeated by gimmick of water making him solid, so he could be hit, and Enel had the "electric and rubber" thing, again like Pokemon gimmick.
Zoro actually SLASHES Enel. Why didn't he use the ability to "cut all things"? If it REALLY was Haki, he should have been able to hit Enel there. Unless we ASSUME Zoro didn't KNOW he could use it to hit Enel. Another Assumption. Only thing that worked, was that Wiper had a little Kairouseki on this shoes, when he leg grabbed Enel, and used his Reject Dial. So, at this point of the story, Zoro could not hit Logia types, so the "breath of all things" should NOT be CoA. In the middle of the story, we are introduced to the Rokushiki (dont know if this is how Its written). The CP9 techniques, and, among them, we have Tekkai. Tekkai consists we Hardening your body, giving you a monstrous defensive capability. Some say this is the "Hardening" CoA he have now, but did Lucci ever used Tekkai to hurt Luffy? The techniques that could hurt Luffy were Rankyaku, Shigan, and Lucci's own claws, from his DF form. Piercing and cutting damage types. So far, bludgeoning damage that could affect Luffy was only gag hits from Nami, or Sanji, or whoever. But, for real, so far so good. No CoA users. Then....we have the special rokushiki technique that ONLY Lucci could use, a shockwave that would attack FROM THE INSIDE (sounds familiar?). How things stands right now, THIS is the first time I think someone actually used CoA. And used the so called "advanced" one, but that's ANOTHERASSUMPTION. Later we see Garp and his "love punch". Don't think that's a gag at all. Garp is a seasoned Marine, a powerful fighter, and he definitely is someone capable of performing Haki. At the time, something completely invisible, he just normally punched Luffy. Next time we see Haki being used is in Sabaody. Now here's another trick one. Did Rayleigh, at the time, used Haki to remove the collars? And if he did, was it an "advanced" one? Or was it simply "haki"? There was no shockwave like we saw with Lucci or anything like that. First time we got a good exposition about what is Haki, and how it works, was when Rayleigh taught Luffy about them. At the time he explained CoO, and it made sense with everything he have seen so far, same with CoA. An "invisible suit of armor" that you could use to attack. And it was effective against DF users, including Logia types, because it targets "their original bodies". He uses on the elephant and pushes him WITHOUT touching it, or coating his hand in black stuff. This is the point when everything fell apart.
Oda, at the point, slammed in hammer on the table and said. This is Haki, and this is how it works.
It would be natural to "level them up" as the story goes, but the CoA "advanced" level does the exact same thing CoA did when it was first introduced. An invisible thing that is effective against akuma no mi user. He just added the "internal" part from the Rokushiki secret tech Lucci had, basically. What's the difference between a normal punch, and a punch with "normal" CoA? it's stronger? So CoA, at it's basic form, it's simply "Tekkai" like? But it hits Logia?
Why this "Ryou" needs to be something new? Couldn't it just be a throwback to Lucci's ability to hit internally? Is Rokushiki Haki training?
It starts to bring so many question, and, to answer these questions, you simply have to make assumptions that things work in a certain way, and later on, Oda is gonna throw some other gimmick. This is where the "suspension of disbelief" is broken to some people, like me. It is just weird at this point. If the author says something work in a way, then he changes it later for a "plot twist", that's just deceiving your reader/viewer, and that is a sign of bad writing. Artificially keeping your audience trying to guess what's what, just to the sake of it. Instead of naturally evolving the narrative in a way that feels natural progression.
A good example of this is Kimetsu no Yaiba. Dude uses Water moves, then, during the spiderboy fight, OUT OF NOWHERE, he REMEMBERS about a random dance his father did, and it simply was another completely different swordstyle, and then, BAM! FIRE POWERS!.
The scene in the anime is pretty, it's ok to like it, visually, and maybe emotionally, but it's god awful writing. Deus Ex Machina at its peak.

For now I'm gonna focus only at the Haki discussion, but feel free to bring other things up that you feel don't add up, so we can analyze and discuss them. Maybe you will change your mind about something, maybe I will, maybe nobody will, but it's fun to talk about it nevertheless.

Again, no powerlevel BS here plz. Oda is trash at it, it should be a fact by now. So I'm not gonna bash at him too much about it, because it's notorious he sucks at it already. Trying to criticize more about his worldbuilding, which is the aspect the gets more praises for.
Feel free to tag people who you think could add more to this debate.
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Basically Oda just gives vague description of things. It depends whether the CoA is stronger than DF mastery, then it's breaking through / damaging the logia or DF user, otherwise it doesn't. If the CoO is superior than the opponent's reaction or speed, then CoO user can counter/dodge, otherwise it can't. Oda didn't go detailed on this haki stuff so it's just like rather lazy power system compared to Nen for example


Science Nerd 🌌 🌍 🧬 βš›οΈ
Basically, haki is shit.:kayneshrug:
I honestly enjoy the haki system in One Piece.

Not too overcomplicated even though I enjoy that type of content, but at least more accessible to an highter audience.

Also not much illogicity, I can't gaze at too much illogicity at all except for notions like haki being invisible in the start.
The haki system itself is good since it's a good way to allow anyone to fight at a good level without having to be blessed with an OP devul fruit or something.
The issue is that Oda is very inconsistent at showing us how it works and when it's being used.

It would make sense that anyone hoping to fight seriously in the new world would have to at least know basic CoA haki, and Oda even had a good idea of showing us when it's being used by covering the limbs used with a black coating. Yet we constantly see attacks that make perfect sense to have haki not have this black coating or any indication of haki in general.

It makes sense for say, Pekoms, to have used Haki when he punched Caribou, yet we aren't shown any indication of haki being used. Oda doesn't seem to stick to his own rules for armament haki and he doesn't explain why some of it is invisible and some of it isn't.
Oda is taking a basic 2 + 2 = 4 and explaining it as if it was a calculus equation.

That's what makes Haki a shit system.

Haki is one of the most basic power systems out there... but it still doesn't have any established rules...

All for the sake of plot armor/advancement and character/plot-induced-stupidity