Forum Event Sengoku vs Perona (Lee vs Wordy) FINISHED

Who is the better debater?

  • Wordyworm

    Votes: 5 38.5%
  • Admiral Lee Hung

    Votes: 8 61.5%

  • Total voters
    13
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#2
✧・゚: *✧・゚:* 👻Ghost Princess Perona👻 *:・゚✧*:・゚✧
ゴーストプリンセスペローナ

  

I'll start with a shocking concession: Perona is a little bit of a brat. She's mean to Kumacy, her greatest wish is to have servants, and she pouts when she doesn't get her way. However, as a character, she more closely embodies the spirit of OP and fills out the major themes of the story better than Sengoku, who is a cog in the system. This isn't a contest of goodness or morality, but of how the character functions in the story.

Sengoku is important for plot reasons, but his character isn't unique, nor is it essential. Imagine Sengoku's role filled by Vice Admiral Tsuru-- same actions, same dialogue, and then a retirement to floral shorts and crackers, like other old men in OP.

What Perona brings to the story is a unique perspective:
  • A princess, implying that she's from a royal family that didn't go to Mariejois
  • Yet, she still serves a Warlord (who adopted her as a child)
  • She's a competent fighter, but also a pampered princess
  • She's whiny, but also strong and brave, verging on overpowered
  • She experiences enough conflict for the readers to understand her value system and what makes her tick

Most importantly, Perona's complex character examines the main theme of OP --freedom-- better than Sengoku's.

Overall, she's a better, more well-rounded character than he is, and she's one of Oda's most complete female characters.

FREEDOM

Perona, despite her spoiled princess personality, actually has more gumption and self-sufficiency than many of Oda's female characters. When shit isn't going her way, she takes action and makes decisions for herself.

Perona does what she wants

She's not afraid to make decisions on her own based on her gut feeling. And more than Sengoku, she's free to follow her gut feeling. She doesn't wrestle with decisions; she makes them quickly and takes action freely, PLUS she's not afraid to change her mind if she learns more information later.

Sengoku may have changed his mind about blindly following orders, but he did it after Impel Down when he was in his late 70s. We've seen plenty of characters already who bought into the Marines and WG's propaganda, tons of "true believers" who made a career out of following orders.

Perona's character defies control and follows her gut at every step, even saying "fuck you" to Gekko Moria, Dracule Mihawk, and also to the Marines at Sabaody. These are the sorts of characters that are interesting in OP: the kind who buck the system. That's why Smoker is a more interesting personality than Sengoku, for example. That's why Doffy is interesting. Rule-followers are rarely interesting.

Sengoku's theory of justice may not be as strict as Akainu's, but it's stuck in old-fashioned dogma that doesn't allow for change or growth. Sengoku believes that evil can be passed down from parent to child-- he believes it so much that he watched the govt kill Ace in front of Garp.

Perona specifically bucks that trend because she's willing to change her mind about people depending on the situation.

It may seem flaky, but it makes her a more interesting character because we see what makes her tick. Perona's goal is self-preservation. Remember that Moria created the zombies specifically because he didn't want to risk losing his human crew. From childhood, she's known that her survival is the only thing that matters. She's willing to bluff, lie, or abandon allies if it helps her survive.
Everyone on TB except for the Mysterious Four is seen as disposable, even Hogback's beloved Cindry.
Perona's "selfishness" is really just self-preservation due to her upbringing and her own strong survival instincts. She's not above bluffing, lying, or tricking others in order to help herself survive. That independence and self-sufficiency is what makes her an interesting character compared to Sengoku, as well as what makes her free.

Perona is free because she demands to be free; and if that's not the entire theme of One Piece then idk what else to say.

To address the argument that she's only free due to Moria or Mihawk's protection, I'm going to go ahead and add that she chooses that protection. Why? Because she wants to have servants! She used to have them at TB, and she never gave up hope of making Mihawk and Zoro into servants either. Up until the day she left Mihawk, she was still instructing him on how to serve her. To her, living with other people is being free, because they can be her servants sometimes. I'm not sure how well that worked out with Mihawk, but she never seems to have given up hope, lol.

Her demanding nature might more accurately be called an unwillingness to be restrained or controlled. And when we meet her at TB, it's implied that she's never been defeated before:

So we have an undefeated, impulsive, spoiled (look at her Wonder Garden!), extremely powerful 23 year-old who has TWO SMALL ARMIES under her command, along with a spy network and unlimited production of Hollows, who is also basically a double-princess (both of her homeland and as Moria's daughter) who is willing to do anything to survive.

That is a much more carefully-crafted and well-rounded character than "Career Military Man with Regrets."

Furthermore, Perona's freedom is what allows her to grow and change. She can turn enemies into allies and think on her feet. She's not afraid to admit, "I was thinking X, but now I realize Y."
In the previous panel, she lost her confidence when she got flustered, but she was able to regroup and think of a new line of attack. This resilience and drive for survival is shown again when she meets Kuma:
Even after her defeats at the hands (and paws) of Usopp and Kuma, she keeps her self-confidence and leaves to find Moria as soon as she finds out his location.

Perona's spirit and attitude embodies the same idea as Luffy and Roger: They demand freedom, expect success, don't give a fuck what anyone thinks. Knock them down and they stand up again! What she brings to the story is a much-needed break from the princess/damsel mold and a huge middle finger to the idea of blind loyalty, and that's why she's a better character than Sengoku.
 
#3
EDIT: okay so um...a lot of the images I pulled came straight from a manga site that appears to be down right now..hopefully the site comes back up and functioning soon so my post actually holds up lmfao. Let’s stay tuned I guess.

EDIT: Okay! We are back in business. Thanks to the incredible @Light D Lamperouge , I was able to replace all these panels relatively easily. Yeah, it appears that KissManga, the site that I used to pull all of these panels originally, was obliterated by corporate overlords literally moments before I posted my response. What are the odds right? Lmfao. Anyway thank you so much to Light and thank you all very much for hanging in there with me.

Well done @wordyworm
:cheers:

I wasn't expecting you to come out swinging so hard for my man Sengoku this quickly catded but all is fair in love and war I suppose lel.

So, I don't think I want to spend much time tearing Perona down..I think she's pretty likeable as a character and I don't really have much to say about her (yet anyway I suppose (͠≖ ͜ʖ͠≖) )

Instead, what I really want to do is explain why Sengoku is one of the most ridiculously awesome characters Oda has ever written, and easily one of the most underrated. This man has been name-dropped by both the Pirate King himself and Whitebeard


which is just one example of how Sengoku is one of the most noteworthy and important characters in One Piece history.

Sengoku is a lot more than just a shallow character or a plot element..He has evolved over time from a rather shallow, one-note antagonist who's function in the story was to provide an obstacle for Luffy. Despite his relatively little panel time, Sengoku has actually gone through a very real Character Arc. He has a meaningful story where he himself grows into a complex character in his own right. Sengoku is a capable and dedicated leader, an absolutely brilliantly written comedic relief character (seriously one of the best Oda has ever written, more on that later), and a voice of wisdom and experience in the form of the absolute best "mentor" esque character that the Marines could ask for, even if he doesn't appear too much.

So buckle up, ready your pop-corn, and let us explore the Beautiful Buddha together


I. Role As An Antagonist

So, the first thing I'm going to do is re-state Sengoku's role in the manga and give a brief recap of what he does pre timeskip. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Lee, I've read the Manga, I know who Sengoku is and what he does and all that." And yes, but it's important to re-state his actions so we have some context for the great-ness later on lol. Let's do this
:dogood:

I think Sengoku is easily one of the coolest antagonists that we get in One Piece. Sengoku is first introduced to us at a time where the full power of the Navy was unknown. We were still eighty chapters away from meeting Aokiji, and the most powerful member of the Navy we had (officially) met at that point was Smoker. And then all of the sudden, we meet this guy:

And everything about his design is meant to emphasize that this guy is the biggest possible deal in the Navy. He is the head honcho, the big boss. He's got a Seagull on his head, he's decorated with war medals, he's got that stylish Navy coat draped over his shoulders, and he is accompanied by a literal GOAT so that Oda subtly lets us know that this guy is in fact the Greatest Of All Time :afrokappa:

And for much of the series, Sengoku actually doesn't do much. We get clips of him reacting to the carnage caused by Luffy and other pirates, like this:




We also get some scenes of him dropping some Lore/Backstory about certain elements of the story like Impel Down:

But for a while, that's all we really got for Sengoku, scenes of him stressing out of his mind over the antics of Piracy. The role of Naval heavyweights was overshadowed by people like Aokiji, Garp, and Kizaru. Sengoku just seemed to be a desk figure who, while we knew he once held the rank of Admiral himself, didn't seem to be such a huge deal as an antagonist.

However, on a deeper level, what Oda was actually doing was keeping Sengoku relevant as the leader of the Navy, and subtly hyping the culmination of his career as Fleet Admiral at Marineford. With every Marine that we meet as the story progresses, from Smoker who's strength just seemed too far away for Luffy to ever reach during the early arcs like Logue Town and Alabasta

to Aokiji who first showed us the extreme power the Navy and the World Government possessed

to the reveal that Luffy's own grandfather was a great Marine who was known for his battles against the Pirate King

etc...With every Marine we were introduced to at some point in the first half of the Manga, the buildup for Sengoku himself was subtly growing until Oda gives him arguably the most important role of any Marine at Marineford, not just as the commander of the battle on the Navy's side, but as the last guardian of the Navy when the battle reaches its climax. Sengoku is probably the last Marine at Marineford to actually take action, which is a subtle way of Oda emphasizing that Sengoku's role as the most grandiose Marine present. Just look at this Devil Fruit reveal:

From the younger Marines remarking that they had never seen Sengoku's Devil Fruit Power in action before, to the fact that Sengoku has eaten a rarer-than-Logia Mythical Zoan Fruit, It's clear that Oda has a lot of reverence for this character and really wanted to impress when his Devil Fruit was actually revealed. I really love the scene of Sengoku's transformation in the anime:

It's like the entire battle actually stops because everyone is in equal awe over the epicness of seeing the Fleet Admiral's Devil Fruit lol. The sky darkens as Sengoku's majestic golden glow lights up all of Marineford...Just a really (I hate to use this word) epic scene overall. In fact the anime really nails all of Sengoku's Devil Fruit related scenes lol.

Anyway, then the battle reaches it's climax.



Blackbeard gains two Devil Fruits, which is something none of us would've thought possible at the time, and then declares the era to be his. He claims that he will sink Marineford into the bottom of the Sea, and you can really feel the Marines losing hope and morale as Blackbeard starts to wreak havoc. And then:


As the final, last line of defense that the Navy has against the Pirate Era, which had seemed so uncontrollable for the entire manga, Sengoku steps in to fight what is essentially the final battle of Marineford. Oda appropriately saves Sengoku as not just the last Marine to take action at Marineford, but also Sengoku is the last Marine in the entire first half of the Manga to actually step into the fray and battle Pirates himself, even after Garp. From a story perspective, Sengoku is meant to be an ultimate embodiment of the pre-timeskip Navy, only taking action in the literal last-case scenario and in the culmination of the entire first half of the story.

Sengoku isn't someone who has many interations with Luffy, but Sengoku truly feels like an epic-embodiment of the pre-timeskip Navy and becomes it's last line of defense when the Navy's desperation reaches its highest point.

Now that we've briefly (lol) re-summed up Sengoku's role as an antagonist, let's look at Sengoku's actual character arc:

II. Character Arc
So let's talk about that character arc in detail. To do this, let's look at Sengoku's life chronologically. We first see Admiral Sengoku during the Ohara flashback:


Where Sengoku reacts to the idea of the Government obliterating Ohara and possibly murdering criminals with the mentality of "just shut up and follow orders." This is also consistent with Sengoku's actions during the time where the World Government committed a mass-hunt for babies who could possibly be tied to Roger and his bloodline. Sengoku very much seemed like he didn't give much thought to the morality of his actions when he was younger, as he just seemed content to follow orders pretty blindly.

However, when he grows older, he shows a different mentality:

It seems that years of service and experience as both an Admiral and a Fleet Admiral caused his view on doubting the government and blindly following orders changed quite a bit. And then of course, we get Sengoku's absolutely beautiful reveal post timeskip:



Okay, so this Sengoku...This Sengoku right here, is the reason that we had to take some time to explain all of the other stuff about him pre timeskip. This Sengoku, for me, took Sengoku from being a top 20 character, a majestic and reverent character in his own way, to being a solid top 5 character lmfao. This, is one of the best, funniest, and most organic characters Oda has ever written. This give no Fs, 5th year Senior Sengoku, is absolutely hysterical lmfao. Look at the way he reacts to Fujitora's dice-rolling:

You can see Sengoku's recollection of how stupidly hard of a job it is to be the Fleet Admiral, as well as his own relief that he doesn't have to deal with this shit anymore in his laughing reaction to how Fujitora makes important Admiral-level job decisions on the spot. And even as Fujitora tries to justify his actions to Tsuru, all Sengoku can think about is getting his hands on some sweet sweet Soba.

When we get to the Reverie, as we start to see Sakazuki struggling to maintain authority as the new Fleet Admiral:

We get Sengoku popping in just to troll Akainu lmfao. I didn't think I'd ever see a Marine literally troll Fleet Admiral Akainu on panel, and I certainly didn't think it would be Sengoku of all people lmfao.

These scenes are literally some of the funniest panels in, well, Manga period for me. And I do not say things like that lightly lol. And this is a massive, massive step up from the typical comic relief that Oda relies on.

See, Oda's usual form of comic relief is just to find one joke and spam it on repeat, and they usually don't involve too much effort. For some brief examples: Zoro gets lost a lot? Yeah, let's just do that almost every arc with almost no differentiation. Sanji likes women? Again, let's run almost the exact same joke on repeat. These jokes are good for a quick chuckle every now and then but ultimately are pretty low effort, as there isn't really any story or character elements that necessitate Zoro being bad with directions or Sanji being obsessed with women.

But with Sengoku? The humor and jokes around his character are actually a product of his story and character progression within the Manga-they are only funny because of the story Oda wrote for Sengoku. Sengoku being a 5th year senior who just wants to run around and not give a single fuck are only funny because Oda spent the pre-timeskip drawing an extremely stressed out, overly dutiful Sengoku who had more responsibility on his shoulders than almost every other character.

This is how you write good humor, when the jokes are directly tied to your character.

BUT.

Sengoku is not just some one-note gag character post timeskip. Sengoku is also a walking vessel of wisdom and knowledge, providing us with not only the story of the Rox Pirates:

Who's existence by itself shook our entire pre-existing understanding of the history of the One Piece world, but when Sakazuki made it very clear that he had no intentions of getting the Navy involved in Wano:

Sengoku also drops some words of wisdom to the Fleet Admiral himself, and subtly hints that he believes that it is the right decision for the Navy to get involved in Wano:

This really is a very well-written character arc and story overall.

III. Summary and Notes

To Sum Up, Sengoku goes from a "just follow orders blindly" Admiral, to an extremely stressed out Fleet Admiral and someone who takes the job of protecting innocent people extremely seriously, to a Soba chugging hobo who doesn't give a shit and is just here for the lulz. And all of his story and character arc feel completely organic and like a natural result of the story Oda wrote for him, even though he didn't appear all that frequently pre-timeskip. To briefly respond to some of my worthy opponent's points:

Sengoku is important for plot reasons, but his character isn't unique, nor is it essential
Sengoku is incredibly unique both pre and post timeskip. Pre timeskip he almost feels like the guy who is single-handedly holding the Navy together at times:

And there literally is no other character like him post timeskip, such a hysterical comedic relief character who is simultaneously a walking vessel of lore and wisdom, who also feels completely organic and well written.

Most importantly, Perona's complex character examines the main theme of OP --freedom-- better than Sengoku's.
Sengoku is an examination of not only the concept of Justice (the antithesis of freedom within the narrative), but also an examination of how Authority itself fails to impede freedom in the way Sengoku and men like him want it to. From the fact that Sengoku's attempts to capture and contain piracy are constantly failing (sending a fleet to stop Shanks and Whitebeard that was immediately sunken, believing Ace's execution and Whitebeard's death would discourage piracy but having the opposite happen, etc), Oda is illustrating a very important idea about the way he views freedom:

That no amount of authority can ever truly stop freedom and dreams and such. Sengoku is an embodiment of this idea in a way that Perona simply can't be.

The thing about Perona and the way Oda explores freedom through her character, is that none of it is necessarily actually unique to her. Sure Perona is unique in her own quirky ways, but ultimately themes like Freedom are more thoroughly explored in other characters. Luffy, Roger, Whitebeard, almost the entire Pirate Era, etc.

While Sengoku's own embodiment of Justice and authority is almost exclusively unique to him, as the leader of the biggest organization in opposition to freedom pre-timeskip: The Navy (sure the Navy is just the "face of the Government" but the Navy was definitely the biggest aspect of the Government pre-timeskip).

Sengoku's theory of justice may not be as strict as Akainu's, but it's stuck in old-fashioned dogma that doesn't allow for change or growth.
You yourself acknowledged that Sengoku's mentality and philosophy on Justice did change:

Sengoku may have changed his mind about blindly following orders, but he did it after Impel Down when he was in his late 70s
Furthermore, Sengoku himself states that Justice must change with the times when he speaks to Kong:


Sure, Sengoku doesn't go in detail on different philosophies on Justice. If he did, there'd be no need for other Marines lol. Aokiji and Akainu for example are meant to embody different types of Justice that Oda explores through those characters. So as for Sengoku not believing Justice can change or grow, it's simply not true. He himself states that Justice must change and grow.

I don't want to criticize Perona. I think she is a fun character in her own way. She's got some pretty funny moments and a uniquely broken Devil Fruit lol. I also really enjoy her relationship with Mihawk. But when it comes to a comparison with Sengoku, it's simply a no contest.

With Sengoku, there's something for everyone to love:
-He is an old era legend respected by the Pirate Kings Roger and Whitebeard
-He is a vessel of history and wisdom and he's not afraid to slap us in the face with shocking reveals like the Rox and co.
-He is an absolutely hysterical comic relief character
-He has a tangible and organic character arc and grows and evolves with the Manga.

He is just such a uniquely well written character in every way, and that is what makes Sengoku better than Perona
:kata:


Thank you all for reading this behemoth of a text wall, and I hope you guys will show the GOAT some love
 
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#4
Thank you @Admiral Lee Hung for your excellent analysis. You are truly worthy of your Admiralty! This is a really interesting discussion because it's such a rare pairing!
If I can set some mood music:
🎵Just a Ghost-Princess and her will to survive!🎵

Alright, I'll try to answer your points in order and then add some more Perona stuff at the end.

So, I don't think I want to spend much time tearing Perona down..I think she's pretty likeable as a character and I don't really have much to say about her (yet anyway I suppose (͠≖ ͜ʖ͠≖) )
Both characters are likeable, but we must battle it out! I don't think criticizing her as a character is tearing her down. Feel free to make your points! Perona has her zombies to protect her!

Sorry, but I made this gif for the debate and I'm gonna use it somehow. I mean you no harm, Admiral Lee.
Sengoku is a lot more than just a shallow character or a plot element..He has evolved over time from a rather shallow, one-note antagonist who's function in the story was to provide an obstacle for Luffy. Despite his relatively little panel time, Sengoku has actually gone through a very real Character Arc. He has a meaningful story where he himself grows into a complex character in his own right. Sengoku is a capable and dedicated leader, an absolutely brilliantly written comedic relief character (seriously one of the best Oda has ever written, more on that later), and a voice of wisdom and experience in the form of the absolute best "mentor" esque character that the Marines could ask for, even if he doesn't appear too much.
Sengoku is a lot more interesting post-TS, but he still doesn't match Perona's well-roundedness.

We see her take action based on her conflicts. She chooses to leave Mihawk when she learns Moria's location. She chooses to leave Moria when Luffy-Oars gets out of control. When Usopp has the upper hand in their battle, she changes strategies several times to keep him on his toes. When Zoro lands on Kuraigana, she instantly changes her gameplan to accomodate his presence.

Sengoku may have loosened his shirt collar, but I wish we saw more of his internal struggles and conflicts. That's a part of Oda painting him pre-TS as a major force, as you said. It would have been really nice (not sure if that's the right word, lol) to see him struggle more with Roci's death. The meeting with Law is a good example of how we could have seen more of Sengoku's conflicts between his personal desires vs. the Marines' goals. That was Sengoku's biggest character moment for me.

I'm so happy you brought up the goat. I fucking love that goat. Perona would love it, too :sweat:

However, on a deeper level, what Oda was actually doing was keeping Sengoku relevant as the leader of the Navy, and subtly hyping the culmination of his career as Fleet Admiral at Marineford.
With every Marine we were introduced to at some point in the first half of the Manga, the buildup for Sengoku himself was subtly growing until Oda gives him arguably the most important role of any Marine at Marineford, not just as the commander of the battle on the Navy's side, but as the last guardian of the Navy when the battle reaches its climax.
It's clear that Oda has a lot of reverence for this character and really wanted to impress when his Devil Fruit was actually revealed. I
I agree with you about how Oda built his hype, but I think that line of logic is a slippery slope. Just because the author hypes a character, or even loves a character, that doesn't mean that the character is well-written. Look at how divisive Oden is. It's clear that Oda loves him and thinks he's super badass, but then a lot of the fanbase didn't connect with the character and he ended up being kind of flat.

As the final, last line of defense that the Navy has against the Pirate Era, which had seemed so uncontrollable for the entire manga, Sengoku steps in to fight what is essentially the final battle of Marineford. Oda appropriately saves Sengoku as not just the last Marine to take action at Marineford, but also Sengoku is the last Marine in the entire first half of the Manga to actually step into the fray and battle Pirates himself, even after Garp. From a story perspective, Sengoku is meant to be an ultimate embodiment of the pre-timeskip Navy, only taking action in the literal last-case scenario and in the culmination of the entire first half of the story. Sengoku isn't someone who has many interations with Luffy, but Sengoku truly feels like an epic-embodiment of the pre-timeskip Navy and becomes it's last line of defense when the Navy's desperation reaches its highest point.
Agreed, and the reveal of his DF was just amazing!

Okay, so this Sengoku...This Sengoku right here, is the reason that we had to take some time to explain all of the other stuff about him pre timeskip. This Sengoku, for me, took Sengoku from being a top 20 character, a majestic and reverent character in his own way, to being a solid top 5 character lmfao. This, is one of the best, funniest, and most organic characters Oda has ever written. This give no Fs, 5th year Senior Sengoku, is absolutely hysterical lmfao. Look at the way he reacts to Fujitora's dice-rolling:
But why did he change? Was he simply getting too old, as he implied to Kong? Or was he just not feeling it anymore? Did something he saw or did at Marineford affect him so much that he wanted to quit his job? Were there just one too many coverups? I wish we had more insight into what his decision-making process was like. It's implied that Garp already had one foot out the door, plus he went through so much at Marineford, and we get closure on that in the scene where Dadan beats up Garp. Something like that with Sengoku would have helped a lot, or maybe he could have waited to retire until after he had the scene with Law so we could infer what made him want to quit the Marines.

You can see Sengoku's recollection of how stupidly hard of a job it is to be the Fleet Admiral, as well as his own relief that he doesn't have to deal with this shit anymore in his laughing reaction to how Fujitora makes important Admiral-level job decisions on the spot. And even as Fujitora tries to justify his actions to Tsuru, all Sengoku can think about is getting his hands on some sweet sweet Soba.
This is my favorite Sengoku. It's good to see him so relaxed since he was so uptight before. I hope he wears all the funky shorts he wants.
Before his retirement, he was the "straight man" of a comedy duo with Garp. Japan loves those Bert and Ernie type of comedy duos: There's always one serious person and one goofball, and they drive each other crazy. That dynamic worked, and it works again with Akainu playing the straight man and Sengoku playing the goofball later in the Rox scene. But again, why such a drastic change in personality?

Pre timeskip he almost feels like the guy who is single-handedly holding the Navy together at times:
That is a really interesting thought. I've never considered that before.

You yourself acknowledged that Sengoku's mentality and philosophy on Justice did change:
Furthermore, Sengoku himself states that Justice must change with the times when he speaks to Kong:
Ha, you got me there. But what actions did he take when his philosophy changed? Is it the interaction with Akainu at the Rox meeting that seals him as a Marine who actually follows a different philosophy? I would really like to see him in context of training young soldiers, like Kong suggested.

Sengoku is an examination of not only the concept of Justice (the antithesis of freedom within the narrative), but also an examination of how Authority itself fails to impede freedom in the way Sengoku and men like him want it to. From the fact that Sengoku's attempts to capture and contain piracy are constantly failing (sending a fleet to stop Shanks and Whitebeard that was immediately sunken, believing Ace's execution and Whitebeard's death would discourage piracy but having the opposite happen, etc), Oda is illustrating a very important idea about the way he views freedom:
:cheers:Yes! We agree.

Authority/Freedom is really relevant to both characters. Both agreed to work within a hierarchy (I mean, Perona was kind of assigned a role as a child, but she does work within that authority, answering to Moria and dispatching orders to her soldiers as well) but at the same time, both characters eventually reject that hierarchy.

That no amount of authority can ever truly stop freedom and dreams and such. Sengoku is an embodiment of this idea in a way that Perona simply can't be.
I wouldn't say she "can't be," but they do have different roles here. One is like the conductor of a train saying, "You know what? This train is broken and I want off," and the other is saying, "fuck your train I can fly."

The thing about Perona and the way Oda explores freedom through her character, is that none of it is necessarily actually unique to her. Sure Perona is unique in her own quirky ways, but ultimately themes like Freedom are more thoroughly explored in other characters. Luffy, Roger, Whitebeard, almost the entire Pirate Era, etc.
Maybe not unique, but her independence is very rare, and doubly rare for female characters. The TB arc (which I have to admit is my fav) does a really great job of discussing what constitutes free will and questions of what is life.

Perona's character is especially important in that debate because through her interactions with Kumacy, we see that the zombies are imperfect. Perona's frustration with Kumacy's non-cuteness is a reflection of how Moria and Hogback have described the zombies to her: unfeeling, just a shell, it's only the body that matters, etc.

Hogback tells Chopper that a zombie has no choice but to follow orders, and that his only interest is in having Cindry's corpse, not her soul. We can assume that Perona has the same understanding of zombies and their purpose.
When she was a girl, she had a bear with a spiked collar. His name tag saysくまエー (Kuma-A)

The next time we see kid Perona, she has a stuffed bear. This bear must be Kuma B.
In vol 49 SBS, Oda explained that Kumacy was based on that plush she'd had as a child.
So, Kuma B was a plushie of Kuma A; and Kumacy is a zombie of Kuma B. His voice is probably irritating to her because it's such a bad representation of the actual Kuma-A she loved.

Her behavior towards Kumacy is a reminder that zombies can't ever be the person they were in life, and that zombies are imperfect. The plot requires her to resent Kumacy because it begins to raise the question of zombie-sentience, further explored during Chopper vs Hogback.

Why can't she get him to obey her? How much free will does he have? Is defiance a form of zombie free will? Those questions are detailed much more in the doctor vs doctor fight, but it's Perona's frustration with Kumacy that begin to alert the reader that the zombies are not always mindless slaves.

I would say Perona is an ideal character to explore that theme because she's been raised in a unique situation with only 3 other human people around, with zombies to serve her every whim, EXCEPT THIS ONE! Her own free will has been pretty much unrestricted, yet her greatest dream is:
Because we've seen the zombies through her eyes, and especially because we've seen how she interacts with Kumacy (compared to the more-defiant Cindry), we can understand why she takes the actions she does. Her own, normally-unlimited free will being impeded or thwarted by Kumacy's actions (or inactions) set the same kind of tone as what you were discussing earlier here
That no amount of authority can ever truly stop freedom and dreams and such.
And although she never seems to give up on her dream and tries to boss Mihawk around, she does learn to compromise. She cooks (some? less than half? a lot? who knows) some amount of meals on Kuraigana and does actual manual labor!

Perona breaks the "Princess locked away in a castle" trope TWICE and asserts her own freedom. For questions of free will, freedom, and authority, I would say she's an excellent choice. Obv, she can't stack up to Roger, Luffy, etc., but that doesn't mean she doesn't bring anything to the table (or to Mihawk's candlelit dining hall).
 
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#5
Both characters are likeable, but we must battle it out! I don't think criticizing her as a character is tearing her down. Feel free to make your points! Perona has her zombies to protect her!
Indeed, this debate is a lot more intense than I thought it would be! I'm going to have to take the gloves off



Okay so I'm going to repond to some of your points about Sengoku first, and then I'll get to Perona later on lol.

Sengoku is a lot more interesting post-TS, but he still doesn't match Perona's well-roundedness.
Like I said, we'll touch on Perona later.

As for well-roundedness, I already hinted on that in my first post, but Perona cannot hold a candle to Sengoku. Perona is a pretty complex side character in her own right, but every aspect of Sengoku's character is great in some way, like I said before:

-He is an old era legend respected by the Pirate Kings Roger and Whitebeard
-He is a vessel of history and wisdom and he's not afraid to slap us in the face with shocking reveals like the Rox and co.
-He is an absolutely hysterical comic relief character
-He has a tangible and organic character arc and grows and evolves with the Manga.

But let's go even deeper:

Sengoku may have loosened his shirt collar, but I wish we saw more of his internal struggles and conflicts.
We see a lot more of Sengoku's own character struggles than we do of Perona's.

First, the Rosinante stuff:

We see Sengoku's reaction to the death of a character who he considered like a son to him, and for an emotionally hardened man like Sengoku to be driven to tears over something, you know he must've been effected very deeply by this.

This is just the tip of the ice-berg of Sengoku's struggles. His entire existence pre-timeskip is a struggle to maintain semblances of order and control in a world that just won't:





Me posting these panels out-of-context does not do justice to the emotional weight that all comes crashing down on Sengoku at the time of their introduction.

For example, when Sengoku finds out that Luffy punched a Celestial Dragon: That scene carries all of the emotional weight of the struggle against the Celestial Dragons on Shabondy, the introduction of the Slave Auction House, Camie almost being sold off as a slave, San Charloss shooting Hachi and then Hachi begging Luffy not to repond, and then Luffy's final response of punching San Charloss square in the mouth.

When Sengoku gets word of all this, he has the opposite emotional response to it as the reader does. We can experience Luffy's actions in a positive light, but to Sengoku they are stressers that bear down on his shoulders and cause conflict within him, as Sengoku genuinely believes his actions are for the betterment of the world and the protection of the innocent. Sengoku echoes this sentiment at the culmination of his pre-timeskip character arc:

What carries Sengoku forward and makes him fight on is the belief that he is keeping innocent people safe from terrible men. And regardless of whether or not this is true, you've got to at least admire how deeply Sengoku holds this belief and how he lets this belief carry him forward.

This is another thing that Sengoku has that Perona does not: Moral Complexity. All of Sengoku's actions pre-timeskip are given new meaning when we see his beliefs about keeping innocent people safe on full display. And keep in mind, we are meant to see Sengoku as an antagonistic character, someone who's actions both pre and post timeskip are directly in conflict with the actions of the main characters.

Sengoku is an incredibly nuanced antagonist as he is essentially a good man who we are supposed to view as a villain anyway. Again, we'll dive deeper into Perona later:

I agree with you about how Oda built his hype, but I think that line of logic is a slippery slope. Just because the author hypes a character, or even loves a character, that doesn't mean that the character is well-written
Absolutely. A character being hyped in and of themselves doesn't make them well-written, being well-written makes a character well-written. Being hyped only serves to complement an already well-written character, which Sengoku is.

Like I elaborated on before, Sengoku has an organic character arc, in other words Sengoku is written in such a way that his growth and development that he experiences throughout the story feel 100% natural. It makes sense that Sengoku would grow from the man he was pre-timeskip, to the man he is currently, and even before that, it makes sense that Sengoku would grow from the man he was at the beginning of his life, even so far back as his Film Z young-self:

To the man he is now lol. And even more than that, Sengoku is not only well-written as a character who experiences personal growth and evolves as the manga progresses, but Sengoku is well written from an antagonist standpoint as well. He is not some one-dimensional Marine who shows up to arrest Pirates and spouts out lines like "all pirates are evil!" (Shots fired by myself at my own favorite villain :afrokappa:), he is a good man trying to maintain order.

That considered, Oda does not write Sengoku in such a way where everything goes his way, in fact almost nothing goes Sengoku's way pre-timeskip, with his plans and objectives always foiled in one way or another. This is on the one hand like I said to emphasize the message of the story that authority cannot inhibit freedom, but this also serves to add conflict to Sengoku's character. When we see him struggle as the Fleet Admiral, it's clear that the pressure and stress of doing his job properly have an extreme impact on him.

Just look at how much Sengoku appears to have aged over the timeskip, he goes from looking remarkably young for a 70+ year old man, his hair still black and his skin still being fairly un-wrinkled, to being a wrinkled old grey haired man who looks like one of the oldest characters in the series. Sure Oda doesn't show us too much of Sengoku's internal conflicts, but Oda really doesn't do that for many characters at all. He writes them in such a way that we have to infer that conflict for ourselves based on their actions in the story, and it's clear why Sengoku goes through as much stress and development that he does. More on that:

But why did he change? Was he simply getting too old, as he implied to Kong? Or was he just not feeling it anymore? Did something he saw or did at Marineford affect him so much that he wanted to quit his job?
The reason that Sengoku goes through as much change as he does is objective, even if it isn't totally clear and is a bit hidden within the sub-text.

So, we look at situations like Ohara and the hunt for Roger's child, and Sengoku is being placed in situations that he himself does actually agree with. Sengoku views the citizens of Ohara as directly opposing the will of the Government, and thus they are endangering innocent people. This is why he tells Saul not to question orders, because in this situation he himself is not internally conflicted by the orders he is given. In the case of Roger's child, the situation is the same (though whether or not Sengoku is justified in believing a child should die for the potential danger they represent is a whole different debate in and of itself, here we are just talking about character growth and internal consistency)

See, Sengoku at his core belives in protecting the innocent. The reason his speech to Blackbeard is so important is because this is where Sengoku lays out his deepest beliefs about the Navy and Justice, and his core motivations for being a Marine in the first place, and we can infer this from how explosively passionate Sengoku is when he gives this speech. He has never shown this amount of passion before or since. This scene is supposed to not only be a culmination of the Marineford War, but also a culmination of Sengoku's tenure as Fleet Admiral and really of his life as a Marine.

So that is what Sengoku is: A man who believes it is his duty to protect innocent people. However, this is brought into question for us here:

Where Sengoku believes that attention must be brought to the Level 6 Breakout, for the good of innocent people around the world. When he finds out that the World Government will forbid this to avoid a further lack in confidence from the people everywhere, his severe reaction becomes obvious.

See, this is the first point in the entire story we see Sengoku receive an order that directly goes against his philosophy as a Marine. This is the first time we see him receive an order that will directly endanger innocent people just so that a facade of confidence is maintained in the people above him. This is after Sengoku has already heard Blackbeard's words:

About how the era of men like Sengoku, Whitebeard, and Garp is at an end. It has become very clear to Sengoku that his own personal philosophy on Justice has become out-dated. Sengoku himself stated to Kong that he believed that the previous Pirate Era was ruled by Whitebeard, who is someone that Sengoku himself respected and who grew up as a Pirate at the same time Sengoku grew up as a Marine. He and Whitebeard were from the same era and shared the same values. But with Whitebeard's death, and Blackbeard's proclamation that the new era would belong to him, it became clear to Sengoku that with a new era, new leadership was needed for the Marines.

Couple this with Sengoku's own idea that justice must change which we talked about earlier, and it becomes clear why Sengoku went through the change in philosophy and character that he did, to ultimately answer your questions above lol.

But again, why such a drastic change in personality?
The change in philosophy above aside, the reason Sengoku becomes the beautiful character he is post-timeskip, is that he is now in a position where he can just live up his retirement and not care anymore lmfao. He is no longer responsible for the actions of the Navy, as he himself believes the responsibility must necessarily fall to new leadership, which allows Sengoku to distance himself from any personal responsibility that he felt for the actions of the Navy pre-timeskip. When we understand that Sengoku views Justice as an evolving concept and philosophy that changes with the times, and is something that he himself cannot stop, we can understand why post-timeskip he lacks any and all concern for the actions of the Navy lol. Though I'm sure Sengoku still cares for protecting innocent people, he knows that he himself is just a victim of the changing times and that the weight falls onto new shoulders now.

Perona breaks the "Princess locked away in a castle" trope TWICE and asserts her own freedom.
Okay, so let's talk about Perona in a bit of depth, now that we've answered some questions about Sengoku.

So like I said before, I really have no issues with Perona for what she is as a character, but here's the thing:

At the end of the day, Perona ultimately fulfills the role of a pretty minor character and lacks the depth, nuance, and consistency of someone as important as Sengoku.

Perona has more complexity to her than a lot of other minor villains in One Piece. She has had a relatively surprising amount of effort placed into her backstory and goals, and she is still relevant in the role of a minor character even post timeskip. With her own mini-story and mini-arc still in development, it's clear that Oda likes this character and had a lot more planned for her than he currently does for someone like, say, Kalifa from CP9, or Kuroobi from Arlong Park.

See, within the context of traditional writing, Perona and her life and goals are what we would call a subplot. What is a Subplot you may ask? Well in short, a subplot is used to supplement the main plot, in other words you have the main theme of a story, which in One Piece's case would be Freedom, Authority trying to restrict Freedom, How Freedoms can either impose their wills on others or truly set them free, etc. and then you have subplots which are used in stories to advance more minor aspects of the main theme.

In One Piece's case, major characters are people who either embody or will embody the main themes like Luffy, Whitebeard, Sengoku, Kaido, Sakazuki, Garp, Ace, Blackbeard, Shanks, etc. Because each of these characters either has provided us or will provide us with some kind of commentary on the major themes of the story. Luffy is Oda's idealistic vision of true freedom, and his presence in the world of One Piece serves to not only embody this idea, but Luffy himself often ends up "setting other characters free" in certain ways, but this thread isn't about that.

More relevantly Sengoku was Oda's pre-timeskip embodiment of the idea of Authority. Through Sengoku and other characters like him, Oda explores what he believes to be true about ideas like Authority and how they try to inhibit the Freedoms of everyone else. Sengoku on top of being an extremely cool and well-written character in his own right, also serves to embody the major theme of Authority in One Piece.

Then you have side plots and secondary themes. These are themes that are important in their own little ways, but are ultimately only meant to supplement the bigger and more important themes. Some example of characters meant to embody secondary themes in OP would be people like Pound, Pedro, Bellamy, Iceberg, Kyros and Rebecca, and of course Perona.

Now, first off, let's talk about the theme that Perona embodies. As far as I can tell, Perona's goal is to have her own Kingdom full of obedient Zombies, like you mentioned here:

This involves her living with Moriah and Hogback who are the ones who have the means to produce such Zombies. However, Perona's entire story is cut short by this scene right here:

She wants to create a Kingdom full of obedient Zombies where she herself is the princess. But before she even gets a chance, she is removed from anything even resembling this story by Kuma, and she spends two years chilling with Mihawk and doing remedial chores around his castle. She then escorts Zoro to Shabondy, returns back to Mihawk, and then later when she finds out that Moriah is still alive, she claims she is going to re-unite with Moriah. This is after a cute funny scene where she fusses at Mihawk and then remarks that she is returning to Moriah:

So, here's the questions I am ultimately going to ask about Perona:

What is the point of Perona's story? What is her character arc? What theme is she supposed to embody and represent?

These are questions I think we should have the answers to if we are going to claim that Perona is more well-written than someone like Sengoku, so let's go over them in detail.

I. What is the point of Perona's story?

Well, it's kind of difficult to say, as her story so far has still been on hold after all this time. But let's say Perona's story were to be completed successfully, IE she creates something that would fulfill her criteria for a Zombie Kingdom that fulfills her every desire. Then what would the point of her story be? What theme would Oda be trying to explore with this? Is Perona just supposed to be a villain who shows us the merits behind creating a slave Kingdom? I think that's probably the best thing to compare the Zombies of Thriller Barcs to irl, literal slaves, but I don't understand what the entire purpose of her story would be, even if she did actually complete her dream. Perona's story itself is a sub-story within Moriah's own PTSD hellscape, and I don't think Oda has any intention of validating Moriah's belief that the only worthy subordinates are ones that are already dead lol. Which brings us to point 2:

But let's say that Perona ultimately fails, that she tries to create a Kingdom of Zombies alongside Moriah and for one reason or another, Oda simply won't allow her to complete this story and she realizes that it's impossible. In that case, the message Oda would be trying to send would be that Slavery and concepts like that are unfeasible. In which case, I have two things to say:
1. No shit
2. This story didn't need to exist as we already have the existence of things like the Slave Auction House to examine this idea in a much clearer way.

To briefly reiterate, the point of Sengoku's story is pretty obvious: Authority cannot restrict Freedom. Everything Sengoku goes through in the manga is meant to re-iterate this major theme within One Piece, and there is perhaps no character who embodies this idea more than Sengoku, as it is Sengoku who Oda repeatedly draws brooding in the failure of the reactions of the Marines who are trying to stop Pirates. With Perona's story...I just don't know lol.

II. What is Perona's character arc?

So, to briefly re-state:

Perona starts off as a subordinate of Moriah's, who wants to create her own Zombie crew---> Perona gets sent to Mihawk's castle where she becomes a maid by her own choosing ---> Perona then resolves to return to Moriah to continue her dream.

This isn't a character arc. It is a character circle. Perona's ultimate destination is to go back to the exact same place that she started.

Let's view Sengoku's arc by comparison:

Sengoku starts the manga off as the leader of the Navy, who wants to end the Pirate Era or at least get it under control---> Sengoku repeatedly tries to control piracy but ultimately fails---> Sengoku retires from the Marines, his own personal era having ended in failure as he passes the reigns of to the next generation of Marines.

This is a character arc. Sengoku's ultimate destination is a place of realization, that he cannot stop the Pirate Era himself and that if anyone can, it's going to have to be someone after him, and thus he resolves to continuing to support the Navy with Wisdom and Advice.

Based on both of their stories, I can only conclude that Perona is a relatively static character in comparison to Sengoku who is quite clearly a dynamic one, as he goes through organic changes and winds up in a whole new destination in the end from where he started. Meanwhile, Perona's current end-destination is also her own starting point in the manga. Now, there's nothing wrong with being a static character, but static characters are almost always by definition less well-written than dynamic ones, as dynamic characters, when done properly like Sengoku, require much more effort and ingenuity to pull off.

So, optimistically, Perona is just in the middle of a character arc that has not yet completed. Pecimistically, Oda has no intention of completing Perona's character arc at all, and she'll be perpetually stuck inside of a worldview and dream that won't be completed or validated. Or maybe she'll fail in the end, as like I said I doubt Oda intends to validate Moriah's worldview of invincible and unkillable subordinates.

III. What theme is Perona supposed to embody or represent?

So, I hinted on this in question 1, but the best I can guess is that Perona herself is supposed to be an allegory for the futility of slavery? I don't really know what else to gather from her story. The Zombies she seeks to create are, again, a product of Moriah's own PTSD as a result of his failings to kill Kaido. Moriah used to have incredible subordinates, but they were killed, and so now Moriah believes that gathering an army of Zombies is the answer. Perona just wants to have Moriah's zombies as subordinates in her Princess-dom. So yeah, I don't really know what theme she's supposed to represent, the best I can guess is just that she's actually a subplot within a subplot, with Moriah's own distorted perception of subordinates being the suplot to the main plot which is about "Nakama-hood" or whatever you want to call it.

Again, it is much more clear what Sengoku stands for and why he exists within the story. And on top of that, Sengoku is Oda's vehicle to explore a major theme while Perona appears to be a vehicle for Oda exploring a sub-idea of a sub-plot.

That brings me to the final thing I'll say about Perona, and this is something I mentioned previously:

The thing about Perona and the way Oda explores freedom through her character, is that none of it is necessarily actually unique to her. Sure Perona is unique in her own quirky ways, but ultimately themes like Freedom are more thoroughly explored in other characters. Luffy, Roger, Whitebeard, almost the entire Pirate Era, etc.
So let's say we choose to view Perona's arc in a very basic way, that she embodies freedom because she doesn't listen to some of the orders given to her in a sassy-manner..I think this is in and of itself a huge stretch as her ultimate life goal appears to be a subordinate to Moriah, but let's view Perona in this way.

This would have to be one of the weakest explorations of Freedom that Oda has written.

This is a manga where we have people like Luffy, who embodies Oda's own sense of true Freedom, people like Dragon and Sabo, who are directly rebelling from the most authoritative regime in the manga, people like Whitebeard, who refused to live his life doing anything less than what he wanted (even having the opportunity attain everything the world had in One Piece itself, but choosing not to because he didn't want to).

If Perona is supposed to be an exploration of Freedom because she is a difficult subordinate to order around and will probably abandon Moriah as things get truly dangerous, then I can only say that this is an uncharacteristically weak attempt from Oda to explore ideas like this in comparison to many of the other characters he has written over the years.

Like I said, I don't want to bash Perona too much, I think her quirky antics are funny and endearing in their own ways, but Perona is the definition of a minor character within a subplot, who's own arc is unclear, and who's theme and messaging is vague at best and nonsensical at worst.

She certainly does not hold a candle Sengoku, who's arc is clear, who's character is extremely well-written, and is meant to explore the major themes of this manga in his own consistent way.

Thank you all for reading this gargantuan text wall, if you did....Lol
 
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#6
Welp. You've hit all the weak points I was worried you would hit. You should have taken the gloves off sooner!

What we have are major differences in the presentation and range of the characters. I wonder how this debate would be different if Corona hadn't happened and we were moving along normally in OP... we might have already seen what happens when she goes to meet Moria. Now that's a huge chance for Oda to show a lot of growth and depth with Perona!

Again, it is much more clear what Sengoku stands for and why he exists within the story.
This is absolutely true. I have no rebuttal, and I fear that the debate hinges on this very fact. I stand by my statement that Perona is a well-written character. Her themes of survival, freedom, and free will are uniquely explored by her. I was trying to think of other characters who can just say "fuck it, I'm out" and do what they want.

We have... Mihawk... and Gaimon? But it's a specific kind of autonomy and willfullness that's allowed to go unchallenged by other characters. As in, it's just in their nature to do as they please and no one questions it. Doffy has it too, I think. Perona's "fuck-it-ness"
is especially interesting because of her background as a pampered princess in a world that is actually very gritty and cold. As far as Oda's women characters, she's one of the best. I think her character is essential to fully exploring the ideas laid out in TB and I have a lot of hope that when we see her with Moria, we're gonna get a lot more out of her.

Good game! I know you get the last post, so I don't wanna write too much. This has been really fun and I've thought more deeply about these characters in the past three days than I have in a long time. Thanks for a good match!
 
#7
Good game! I know you get the last post, so I don't wanna write too much. This has been really fun and I've thought more deeply about these characters in the past three days than I have in a long time. Thanks for a good match!
Kudos wordy! Like I already told you, this debate has been a lot of fun and your skills are ferocious.

Perona is a fun character in her own right. She’s has a surprising amount of thought put into her backstory, and to be honest I’m surprised she is still relevant even in the current manga lol.

But up against somebody like Sengoku, I think the answer as of now is pretty objective. I think it’s clear Oda absolutely reveres this character, he gave him Conqueror’s Haki in a databook or whatever for really what appears to be absolutely no good story reason other than the fact that Oda just heavily respects Sengoku and really enjoys having him around in the Marines story, even with his tenure at an end. Indeed, Sengoku is one of the most under appreciated characters in my opinion lol.

Looking forward to the completion of Perona’s story, and once again Wordy I really enjoyed the debate!
 
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