Speculations Shanks is not who we think he is.

#1
Sort of an extension post from a comment i made in another thread but I feel it warrants a separate discussion. This is in NO WAY a statement outside of my own thoughts or belief, I just personally have been a huge skeptic of Shanks as this "perfect" pirate that Luffy should look up to. Before responding, please read the whole thing. There is no tldr, other than the fact that I'm not saying Shanks is evil, but rather a morally grey antagonist that may serve as an eventual foil for Luffy. There are things in the story that support this so im just going to list them out below. Up to you if you want to believe any of it or agree. Some of it is direct evidence from the manga, some of it is a little bit of theorizing from said evidence in the manga. That said, Blackbeard imo, is still an intrinsic part to the climax of the story, so don't feel too deterred from reading if that is the case. Anyway:


- Oda has known the ending to his series since before his series began. This is very unlike most other long running manga because usually the bigger they get, their endings have to fluctuate based on what can be done. We do know (as Oda reminds us always) that his ending hasn't changed. This is important because no matter how much bigger one piece gets, it seems that it will return to its roots primarily for this reason. There are 2 major things that have remained constant since the beginning of the series: Shanks and the Strawhat. They are the biggest things that come out of chapter 1. Blackbeard wasn't hinted at until the 130's and wasnt introduced until the 230's. While there is no evidence to say Oda hadn't conceived Blackbeard from the beginning, we can be sure Shanks was an idea already when Oda drafted his ending. The same goes for Akainu/Im, whom are characters even conceived even further into the story.

- Shanks himself is probably the most enigmatic character in the series. We know next to nothing about his motivations or primary feelings about pretty much anything. There are some things that seem to give away to his character though.


- Shanks has constant competitive, almost "dark" looking faces anytime Luffy is mentioned via bounty poster. This has been consistent virtually every time Luffy is mentioned. When he talks to Luffy at Marineford, its yet another weird looking face (the shading; how Oda drew it) that sort of doesn't fit the tone of the scene in a way.

- Shanks is an interesting harbinger of peace, but its by which he achieves said "peace" that's odd: His relationship to the WG. Sengoku seems to respect him. This seemed normal until we got chapter 906, his discussion with the Gorosei. This does not make sense in context. The Gorosei murder and commit genocides in droves. This should be the biggest red flag for anyone thinking Shanks is a primarily "good" person.

- Then on that note, his conversation with them ends about a "certain pirate". I hope people know that Oda is all about misdirect when it comes to dialogue. We KNOW Shanks has a disdain for Blackbeard, we KNOW he's warned Whitebeard about him with Ace. So WHY is Oda not actually referencing this "certain pirate" by name prior as if to leave it a mystery?

- Whats interesting is that the last thing Shanks did before go to the Gorosei is look at Luffy's 1.5 billion poster and say "its about time we meet Luffy". Not saying it means anything but there was no major Blackbeard or any other pirate news prior to this so...take what you will from that.

- Shanks also the same age as the God Valley incident. Oden's flashback also seems to hint that Roger has had Shanks since he was a baby (and maybe even Buggy, who is also the same age). On top of this, Oden's flashback left us with a weird moment where Oden catches Shanks asking Roger an "unknown question", to which Roger responds and Shanks crying. This is a BIG TELL that there is more to Shanks' character than what we know, a hidden emotional connection to Roger or that question.

- God Valley itself is yet another enigmatic island like Laugh Tale. The WG erased the island from maps for a reason, which means Rocks was there for a reason they didn't want another pirate to repeat. If it was just killing the CD's, erasing the island doesn't make much sense when many of them seem to have relocated to Mariejois. On top of this, the term used is "erased from maps", not destroyed. I think this will play a huge role in the climax, not just Laugh Tale

- A BIG confirmation happened also during Oden's flashback that shows Shanks and Buggy never went to Laugh Tale. This really hurts the whole "gatekeepter" theory because it proves that Shanks wasn't any closer to One Piece than the other Yonko and wouldn't have known where Laugh Tale was.

- We also have zero idea if Shanks is interested or emotionally invested in "One Piece" specifically. His vested interest seems to partially come from Luffy and him meeting again, but why? What does he know or want Luffy to do? He talks about "betting his arm" on the new age, but Shanks never went to Laugh Tale so we have no idea what this actually suggests. There is an idea that "betting his arm" on Luffy suggests malicious intent due to him being a D., and also a reason why he didn't want Ace to die. They are/were candidates for "something". I won't get too deep into theory territory though, its too early, although I have a summary at the end of my post from a reddit user who I think nailed what I am talking about.


- Shanks' crew quite literally rips Kids arm off in a battle with him. Killer also has some bad scars. Pretty violent for a "peaceful" man who sacrificed his own arm for something. Let it be known that Lucky Roo still shot a man in the head in chapter 1. These people are brutal and Yonko are no joke, not even Shanks.

- Luffy has proclaimed twice that he wants to beat Shanks physically, once at Punk Hazard ("as long as Shanks isn't first!"/"I plan on taking down all 4 Yonko") and once at Wano explaining to Hyougoro what the Yonko are.

- A big part of why I think Shanks may be the true final antagonist (not villain, there is a difference) is Mihawk. Mihawk lost his Shichibukai status and his only known association with another pirate is Shanks. Im not saying he will "join" the Red-Haired pirates as Shanks' subordinate but an alliance almost seems likely since what comes after Wano is the world being in turmoil. For Mihawk to be aimless until his eventual final fight with Zoro seems weird, and that the thing, he should be Zoro's final fight. IF Mihawk joins Shanks, then I pretty much expect Shanks to be Luffy's final fight then as well.

- Finally, Shanks being the final battle just works extremely well as an emotional ending to this manga. Returning the hat seems to be the "big loop" this series has gone for, as there are even possible indications Luffy becomes PK before the series ends (before the Final War). Luffy returning the hat to Shanks on the grounds that he wasn't this exactly who he though he was is almost beautifully tragic to me (the implication being Shanks has ulterior motives that are morally grey). It works for Zoro vs. Mihawk because that should be Zoro's last fight (assuming Mihawk allies with Shanks for the final war). It works well for Usopp because surpassing his father (assuming they meet before on Elbaf or another location) is probably an extension of his brave warrior dream since everything he is is based on his father leaving him. I just think there is a huge emotional connection to Shanks being the final villain here, not Blackbeard, who's crew members come off more as "epic" villains than serious ones in all their chaos.


Pretty much all I have. One other thing to note is Blackbeard and Shanks certainly dislike each other. When I suggest Shanks being an antagonist, he is also an antagonist to Blackbeard, not just Luffy, and vice versa. Even with their personalities you get very different vibes from them in terms of how they handle things. RED Haired Shanks. BLACKbeard. Order and Chaos. Freedom through controlled peace. Freedom through disarray and panic. Luffy stopping both for his own version of freedom, which we all know would be different. Shanks potentially misinterpreting Roger's will. Makes you wonder if its always been that intentional for Oda.



‐----------------------

Additionally, I've seen some crazy, interesting facts/ideas about Shanks recently that make me actually more of a believer he has massive ties to the ending, and thats his whole "Yakuza" like influence. Credit goes to a reddit user dfd2002 who commented on a theory thread i made the other day, but essentially:


- Shanks epithet, "Akagami", can actually be read in multiple ways. (Red Hair)/ "赤髪" or (Dirty God)/"垢神". We KNOW how much Oda likes to play with words and puns. "Dirty God" could imply he is a leader of something "false" or "dirty", something like the Underworld? To elaborate, Oda introduced 6 new Underworld characters into WCI, why? None of them are truly important, but what if, like the Gorosei to Im, they all serve a secret leader?


- Even on that note, the Underworld is massively used by network of many kingdoms, the Yonko and even the World Government. Could this be how Shanks reached the Gorosei so easily? Also why they casually greet him like its no surprise?

- One big thing is that Shanks is referred to as "Kashira"/頭, not Captain/Taisho. Other translations have made it so (i believe Stephen has for simplicity), but Kashira is a term used to refer to a Yakuza boss. Whitebeard gets the less formal "Oyaji" or Pops, to very clearly there is a term of endearment/respect from Shanks' crew when it comes from this. Shanks is one of the few characters to have this reference outside of the actual Yakuza in Wano and I believe Luffy by the Strawhat fleet, which makes sense due to their sake ritual they Luffy hated. But Shanks has been referred to as this since Chapter 1, crazy as hell. Translations to English, I dont think it matters too much, but the fact this is how its done in Japanese and it is interesting Shanks is the only Yonko or major pirate to really have carried tha title since the beginning.

- Shanks is also from West blue (hes slightly older than the God Valley incident, about a year), where the 5 Yakuza families that Bege fucked over are from and also where the best Sake comes from. This could prove ties to the Underworld even more, but just an interesting fact, nothing big.

- Shank's bounty is, 4,048,900,000. The "489" part is so excruciatingly specific, that if you look up the number its normally relative to gambling and Yakuza. First off, 89 is the name for the japanese gambling card game "Oicho-Kabu" (kabfuda names for 8 and 9 respectively in the game), and is often referred to as the origin of the Yakuza name too. 89 also means "hand" in several other gambling games. 489 spelt together is "Shiyaku", and apparently can mean "playing the role of teacher/master", aka his relationship to Luffy, OR "playing the role of death", which is really weird, but would i be shocked lol


- But here's where it gets wild. Take Shanks' cryptic "I bet this arm on the new age" and turn it into something negative. Imagine he wasn't talking about Luffy saving the world as we all think (he wasn't even with Roger at Laugh Tale to find out the true history), but something much more cryptic. Shanks IS a gambler and betting man. Like the medieval-1800s Yakuza, losing a pinky is a means to resolve a bet if you do not have any other means to do so. It also means you generally lost your pinky on your dominant sword hand to prevent proper sword combat. Shanks predicament is almost exactly that. He lost his alleged dominant sword hand (not that it means much) and Mihawk refuses to fight him now. Could it be Shanks is betting on Luffy by influencing him? Why was he even in East Blue? Do we actually believe Shanks couldn't prevent his arm being lopped off if a stare at the Sea King worked just as well? What does Shanks actually want Luffy to do?

Seems insanely specific to me, and I didn't even reference everything this guy brought up. Look up Shimizu Jirocho. As of now Shanks doesn't really have an influential real life figure like many other characters do, at least outwardly. But this man, my god the sheer levels of influence is so up Oda's alley to do.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimizu_Jirocho
- most famous yakuza in history
- adopted
- life has no recorded notable incidents between the death of his father and becoming a young adult
- became a gambler and criminal and started building a private navy (would be the Underworld)
- played the revolutionary army and the government against each other (wink wink, the sale of weapons and the increased conflicts have pitted both sides against each other more and more; look at Dressrosa)
- swordsman
- folk hero/robin hood figure in japan
- famously made sure people were buried properly after a war and defied the government in doing so (Ace/Whitebeard)
- was known to be able to settle major conflicts without casualties (Paramount War)


Everything under the dotted line above is credited to that reddit user, I just shortened (the list regarding Shimizu Jirocho is his) in my own words, but a lot of this almost seems way too coincidental to be just that, even when using the talking pointsI've mentioned above. All the above combined almost would make Shanks one of the deepest characters in this story, we just haven't found out his motivations yet.


Something is definitely going on with Shanks, and at this point I feel like its not exactly "good". Thoughts?

Edit: A 1.5 month late edit but im correcting my mistakes since it seems like this thread got bumped. It turns out u/dfd2002 is in fact our own @ArturCantSpeakJapanese , so pretty much the second half of this thread is credit to him, whoever is reading this now.
 
Last edited:

Zoro D Goat

Justice for Healing Yuusha!💕
.
#2
Sort of an extension post from a comment i made in another thread but I feel it warrants a separate discussion. This is in NO WAY a statement outside of my own thoughts or belief, I just personally have been a huge skeptic of Shanks as this "perfect" pirate that Luffy should look up to. Before responding, please read the whole thing. There is no tldr, other than the fact that I'm not saying Shanks is evil, but rather a morally grey antagonist that may serve as an eventual foil for Luffy. There are things in the story that support this so im just going to list them out below. Up to you if you want to believe any of it or agree. Some of it is direct evidence from the manga, some of it is a little bit of theorizing from said evidence in the manga. That said, Blackbeard imo, is still an intrinsic part to the climax of the story, so don't feel too deterred from reading if that is the case. Anyway:


- Oda has known the ending to his series since before his series began. This is very unlike most other long running manga because usually the bigger they get, their endings have to fluctuate based on what can be done. We do know (as Oda reminds us always) that his ending hasn't changed. This is important because no matter how much bigger one piece gets, it seems that it will return to its roots primarily for this reason. There are 2 major things that have remained constant since the beginning of the series: Shanks and the Strawhat. They are the biggest things that come out of chapter 1. Blackbeard wasn't hinted at until the 130's and wasnt introduced until the 230's. While there is no evidence to say Oda hadn't conceived Blackbeard from the beginning, we can be sure Shanks was an idea already when Oda drafted his ending. The same goes for Akainu/Im, whom are characters even conceived even further into the story.

- Shanks himself is probably the most enigmatic character in the series. We know next to nothing about his motivations or primary feelings about pretty much anything. There are some things that seem to give away to his character though.


- Shanks has constant competitive, almost "dark" looking faces anytime Luffy is mentioned via bounty poster. This has been consistent virtually every time Luffy is mentioned. When he talks to Luffy at Marineford, its yet another weird looking face (the shading; how Oda drew it) that sort of doesn't fit the tone of the scene in a way.

- Shanks is an interesting harbinger of peace, but its by which he achieves said "peace" that's odd: His relationship to the WG. Sengoku seems to respect him. This seemed normal until we got chapter 906, his discussion with the Gorosei. This does not make sense in context. The Gorosei murder and commit genocides in droves. This should be the biggest red flag for anyone thinking Shanks is a primarily "good" person.

- Then on that note, his conversation with them ends about a "certain pirate". I hope people know that Oda is all about misdirect when it comes to dialogue. We KNOW Shanks has a disdain for Blackbeard, we KNOW he's warned Whitebeard about him with Ace. So WHY is Oda not actually referencing this "certain pirate" by name prior as if to leave it a mystery?

- Whats interesting is that the last thing Shanks did before go to the Gorosei is look at Luffy's 1.5 billion poster and say "its about time we meet Luffy". Not saying it means anything but there was no major Blackbeard or any other pirate news prior to this so...take what you will from that.

- Shanks also the same age as the God Valley incident. Oden's flashback also seems to hint that Roger has had Shanks since he was a baby (and maybe even Buggy, who is also the same age). On top of this, Oden's flashback left us with a weird moment where Oden catches Shanks asking Roger an "unknown question", to which Roger responds and Shanks crying. This is a BIG TELL that there is more to Shanks' character than what we know, a hidden emotional connection to Roger or that question.

- God Valley itself is yet another enigmatic island like Laugh Tale. The WG erased the island from maps for a reason, which means Rocks was there for a reason they didn't want another pirate to repeat. If it was just killing the CD's, erasing the island doesn't make much sense when many of them seem to have relocated to Mariejois. On top of this, the term used is "erased from maps", not destroyed. I think this will play a huge role in the climax, not just Laugh Tale

- A BIG confirmation happened also during Oden's flashback that shows Shanks and Buggy never went to Laugh Tale. This really hurts the whole "gatekeepter" theory because it proves that Shanks wasn't any closer to One Piece than the other Yonko and wouldn't have known where Laugh Tale was.

- We also have zero idea if Shanks is interested or emotionally invested in "One Piece" specifically. His vested interest seems to partially come from Luffy and him meeting again, but why? What does he know or want Luffy to do? He talks about "betting his arm" on the new age, but Shanks never went to Laugh Tale so we have no idea what this actually suggests. There is an idea that "betting his arm" on Luffy suggests malicious intent due to him being a D., and also a reason why he didn't want Ace to die. They are/were candidates for "something". I won't get too deep into theory territory though, its too early, although I have a summary at the end of my post from a reddit user who I think nailed what I am talking about.


- Shanks' crew quite literally rips Kids arm off in a battle with him. Killer also has some bad scars. Pretty violent for a "peaceful" man who sacrificed his own arm for something. Let it be known that Lucky Roo still shot a man in the head in chapter 1. These people are brutal and Yonko are no joke, not even Shanks.

- Luffy has proclaimed twice that he wants to beat Shanks physically, once at Punk Hazard ("as long as Shanks isn't first!"/"I plan on taking down all 4 Yonko") and once at Wano explaining to Hyougoro what the Yonko are.

- A big part of why I think Shanks may be the true final antagonist (not villain, there is a difference) is Mihawk. Mihawk lost his Shichibukai status and his only known association with another pirate is Shanks. Im not saying he will "join" the Red-Haired pirates as Shanks' subordinate but an alliance almost seems likely since what comes after Wano is the world being in turmoil. For Mihawk to be aimless until his eventual final fight with Zoro seems weird, and that the thing, he should be Zoro's final fight. IF Mihawk joins Shanks, then I pretty much expect Shanks to be Luffy's final fight then as well.

- Finally, Shanks being the final battle just works extremely well as an emotional ending to this manga. Returning the hat seems to be the "big loop" this series has gone for, as there are even possible indications Luffy becomes PK before the series ends (before the Final War). Luffy returning the hat to Shanks on the grounds that he wasn't this exactly who he though he was is almost beautifully tragic to me (the implication being Shanks has ulterior motives that are morally grey). It works for Zoro vs. Mihawk because that should be Zoro's last fight (assuming Mihawk allies with Shanks for the final war). It works well for Usopp because surpassing his father (assuming they meet before on Elbaf or another location) is probably an extension of his brave warrior dream since everything he is is based on his father leaving him. I just think there is a huge emotional connection to Shanks being the final villain here, not Blackbeard, who's crew members come off more as "epic" villains than serious ones in all their chaos.


Pretty much all I have. One other thing to note is Blackbeard and Shanks certainly dislike each other. When I suggest Shanks being an antagonist, he is also an antagonist to Blackbeard, not just Luffy, and vice versa. Even with their personalities you get very different vibes from them in terms of how they handle things. RED Haired Shanks. BLACKbeard. Order and Chaos. Freedom through controlled peace. Freedom through disarray and panic. Luffy stopping both for his own version of freedom, which we all know would be different. Shanks potentially misinterpreting Roger's will. Makes you wonder if its always been that intentional for Oda.



‐----------------------

Additionally, I've seen some crazy, interesting facts/ideas about Shanks recently that make me actually more of a believer he has massive ties to the ending, and thats his whole "Yakuza" like influence. Credit goes to a reddit user dfd2002 who commented on a theory thread i made the other day, but essentially:


- Shanks epithet, "Akagami", can actually be read in multiple ways. (Red Hair)/ "赤髪" or (Dirty God)/"垢神". We KNOW how much Oda likes to play with words and puns. "Dirty God" could imply he is a leader of something "false" or "dirty", something like the Underworld? To elaborate, Oda introduced 6 new Underworld characters into WCI, why? None of them are truly important, but what if, like the Gorosei to Im, they all serve a secret leader?


- Even on that note, the Underworld is massively used by network of many kingdoms, the Yonko and even the World Government. Could this be how Shanks reached the Gorosei so easily? Also why they casually greet him like its no surprise?

- One big thing is that Shanks is referred to as "Kashira"/頭, not Captain/Taisho. Other translations have made it so (i believe Stephen has for simplicity), but Kashira is a term used to refer to a Yakuza boss. Whitebeard gets the less formal "Oyaji" or Pops, to very clearly there is a term of endearment/respect from Shanks' crew when it comes from this. Shanks is one of the few characters to have this reference outside of the actual Yakuza in Wano and I believe Luffy by the Strawhat fleet, which makes sense due to their sake ritual they Luffy hated. But Shanks has been referred to as this since Chapter 1, crazy as hell. Translations to English, I dont think it matters too much, but the fact this is how its done in Japanese and it is interesting Shanks is the only Yonko or major pirate to really have carried tha title since the beginning.

- Shanks is also from West blue (hes slightly older than the God Valley incident, about a year), where the 5 Yakuza families that Bege fucked over are from and also where the best Sake comes from. This could prove ties to the Underworld even more, but just an interesting fact, nothing big.

- Shank's bounty is, 4,048,900,000. The "489" part is so excruciatingly specific, that if you look up the number relative to gambling and Yakuza. First off, 89 is the name for the japanese card game "Oicho-Kabu" (kabfuda names for 8 and 9 respectively in the game), and is often referred to as the origin of the Yakuza name too. 89 also means "hand" in several other gambling games. 489 spelt together is "Shiyaku" apparently can mean "playing the role of teacher/master", aka his relationship to Luffy, OR "playing the role of death", which is really weird, but would i be shocked lol


- But here's where it gets wild. Take Shanks' cryptic "I bet this arm on the new age" and turn it into something negative. Imagine he wasn't talking about Luffy saving the world as we all think (he wasn't even with Roger at Laugh Tale to find out the true history), but something much more cryptic. Shanks IS a gambler and betting man. Like the medieval-1800s Yakuza, losing a pinky is a means to resolve a bet if you do not have any other means to do so. It also means you generally lost your pinky on your dominant sword hand to prevent proper sword combat. Shanks predicament is almost exactly that. He lost his alleged dominant sword hand (not that it means much) and Mihawk refuses to fight him now. Could it be Shanks is betting on Luffy by influencing him? Why was he even in East Blue? Do we actually believe Shanks couldn't prevent his arm being lopped off if a stare at the Sea King worked just as well? What does Shanks actually want Luffy to do?

Seems insanely specific to me, and I didn't even reference everything this guy brought up. Look up Shimizu Jirocho. As of now Shanks doesn't really have an influential real life figure like many other characters do, at least outwardly. But this man, my god the sheer levels of influence is so up Oda's alley to do.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimizu_Jirocho
- most famous yakuza in history
- adopted
- life has no recorded notable incidents between the death of his father and becoming a young adult
- became a gambler and criminal and started building a private navy (would be the Underworld)
- played the revolutionary army and the government against each other (wink wink, the sale of weapons and the increased conflicts have pitted both sides against each other more and more; look at Dressrosa)
- swordsman
- folk hero/robin hood figure in japan
- famously made sure people were buried properly after a war and defied the government in doing so (Ace/Whitebeard)
- was known to be able to settle major conflicts without casualties (Paramount War)


Everything under the dotted line above is credited to that reddit user, I just shortened (the list regarding Shimizu Jirocho is his) in my own words, but a lot of this almost seems way too coincidental to be just that, even when using the talking pointsI've mentioned above. All the above combined almost would make Shanks one of the deepest characters in this story, we just haven't found out his motivations yet.


Something is definitely going on with Shanks, and at this point I feel like its not exactly "good". Thoughts?
Lord Shanks is the God of the Underworld.:finally::finally:
 
#5
Sort of an extension post from a comment i made in another thread but I feel it warrants a separate discussion. This is in NO WAY a statement outside of my own thoughts or belief, I just personally have been a huge skeptic of Shanks as this "perfect" pirate that Luffy should look up to. Before responding, please read the whole thing. There is no tldr, other than the fact that I'm not saying Shanks is evil, but rather a morally grey antagonist that may serve as an eventual foil for Luffy. There are things in the story that support this so im just going to list them out below. Up to you if you want to believe any of it or agree. Some of it is direct evidence from the manga, some of it is a little bit of theorizing from said evidence in the manga. That said, Blackbeard imo, is still an intrinsic part to the climax of the story, so don't feel too deterred from reading if that is the case. Anyway:


- Oda has known the ending to his series since before his series began. This is very unlike most other long running manga because usually the bigger they get, their endings have to fluctuate based on what can be done. We do know (as Oda reminds us always) that his ending hasn't changed. This is important because no matter how much bigger one piece gets, it seems that it will return to its roots primarily for this reason. There are 2 major things that have remained constant since the beginning of the series: Shanks and the Strawhat. They are the biggest things that come out of chapter 1. Blackbeard wasn't hinted at until the 130's and wasnt introduced until the 230's. While there is no evidence to say Oda hadn't conceived Blackbeard from the beginning, we can be sure Shanks was an idea already when Oda drafted his ending. The same goes for Akainu/Im, whom are characters even conceived even further into the story.

- Shanks himself is probably the most enigmatic character in the series. We know next to nothing about his motivations or primary feelings about pretty much anything. There are some things that seem to give away to his character though.


- Shanks has constant competitive, almost "dark" looking faces anytime Luffy is mentioned via bounty poster. This has been consistent virtually every time Luffy is mentioned. When he talks to Luffy at Marineford, its yet another weird looking face (the shading; how Oda drew it) that sort of doesn't fit the tone of the scene in a way.

- Shanks is an interesting harbinger of peace, but its by which he achieves said "peace" that's odd: His relationship to the WG. Sengoku seems to respect him. This seemed normal until we got chapter 906, his discussion with the Gorosei. This does not make sense in context. The Gorosei murder and commit genocides in droves. This should be the biggest red flag for anyone thinking Shanks is a primarily "good" person.

- Then on that note, his conversation with them ends about a "certain pirate". I hope people know that Oda is all about misdirect when it comes to dialogue. We KNOW Shanks has a disdain for Blackbeard, we KNOW he's warned Whitebeard about him with Ace. So WHY is Oda not actually referencing this "certain pirate" by name prior as if to leave it a mystery?

- Whats interesting is that the last thing Shanks did before go to the Gorosei is look at Luffy's 1.5 billion poster and say "its about time we meet Luffy". Not saying it means anything but there was no major Blackbeard or any other pirate news prior to this so...take what you will from that.

- Shanks also the same age as the God Valley incident. Oden's flashback also seems to hint that Roger has had Shanks since he was a baby (and maybe even Buggy, who is also the same age). On top of this, Oden's flashback left us with a weird moment where Oden catches Shanks asking Roger an "unknown question", to which Roger responds and Shanks crying. This is a BIG TELL that there is more to Shanks' character than what we know, a hidden emotional connection to Roger or that question.

- God Valley itself is yet another enigmatic island like Laugh Tale. The WG erased the island from maps for a reason, which means Rocks was there for a reason they didn't want another pirate to repeat. If it was just killing the CD's, erasing the island doesn't make much sense when many of them seem to have relocated to Mariejois. On top of this, the term used is "erased from maps", not destroyed. I think this will play a huge role in the climax, not just Laugh Tale

- A BIG confirmation happened also during Oden's flashback that shows Shanks and Buggy never went to Laugh Tale. This really hurts the whole "gatekeepter" theory because it proves that Shanks wasn't any closer to One Piece than the other Yonko and wouldn't have known where Laugh Tale was.

- We also have zero idea if Shanks is interested or emotionally invested in "One Piece" specifically. His vested interest seems to partially come from Luffy and him meeting again, but why? What does he know or want Luffy to do? He talks about "betting his arm" on the new age, but Shanks never went to Laugh Tale so we have no idea what this actually suggests. There is an idea that "betting his arm" on Luffy suggests malicious intent due to him being a D., and also a reason why he didn't want Ace to die. They are/were candidates for "something". I won't get too deep into theory territory though, its too early, although I have a summary at the end of my post from a reddit user who I think nailed what I am talking about.


- Shanks' crew quite literally rips Kids arm off in a battle with him. Killer also has some bad scars. Pretty violent for a "peaceful" man who sacrificed his own arm for something. Let it be known that Lucky Roo still shot a man in the head in chapter 1. These people are brutal and Yonko are no joke, not even Shanks.

- Luffy has proclaimed twice that he wants to beat Shanks physically, once at Punk Hazard ("as long as Shanks isn't first!"/"I plan on taking down all 4 Yonko") and once at Wano explaining to Hyougoro what the Yonko are.

- A big part of why I think Shanks may be the true final antagonist (not villain, there is a difference) is Mihawk. Mihawk lost his Shichibukai status and his only known association with another pirate is Shanks. Im not saying he will "join" the Red-Haired pirates as Shanks' subordinate but an alliance almost seems likely since what comes after Wano is the world being in turmoil. For Mihawk to be aimless until his eventual final fight with Zoro seems weird, and that the thing, he should be Zoro's final fight. IF Mihawk joins Shanks, then I pretty much expect Shanks to be Luffy's final fight then as well.

- Finally, Shanks being the final battle just works extremely well as an emotional ending to this manga. Returning the hat seems to be the "big loop" this series has gone for, as there are even possible indications Luffy becomes PK before the series ends (before the Final War). Luffy returning the hat to Shanks on the grounds that he wasn't this exactly who he though he was is almost beautifully tragic to me (the implication being Shanks has ulterior motives that are morally grey). It works for Zoro vs. Mihawk because that should be Zoro's last fight (assuming Mihawk allies with Shanks for the final war). It works well for Usopp because surpassing his father (assuming they meet before on Elbaf or another location) is probably an extension of his brave warrior dream since everything he is is based on his father leaving him. I just think there is a huge emotional connection to Shanks being the final villain here, not Blackbeard, who's crew members come off more as "epic" villains than serious ones in all their chaos.


Pretty much all I have. One other thing to note is Blackbeard and Shanks certainly dislike each other. When I suggest Shanks being an antagonist, he is also an antagonist to Blackbeard, not just Luffy, and vice versa. Even with their personalities you get very different vibes from them in terms of how they handle things. RED Haired Shanks. BLACKbeard. Order and Chaos. Freedom through controlled peace. Freedom through disarray and panic. Luffy stopping both for his own version of freedom, which we all know would be different. Shanks potentially misinterpreting Roger's will. Makes you wonder if its always been that intentional for Oda.



‐----------------------

Additionally, I've seen some crazy, interesting facts/ideas about Shanks recently that make me actually more of a believer he has massive ties to the ending, and thats his whole "Yakuza" like influence. Credit goes to a reddit user dfd2002 who commented on a theory thread i made the other day, but essentially:


- Shanks epithet, "Akagami", can actually be read in multiple ways. (Red Hair)/ "赤髪" or (Dirty God)/"垢神". We KNOW how much Oda likes to play with words and puns. "Dirty God" could imply he is a leader of something "false" or "dirty", something like the Underworld? To elaborate, Oda introduced 6 new Underworld characters into WCI, why? None of them are truly important, but what if, like the Gorosei to Im, they all serve a secret leader?


- Even on that note, the Underworld is massively used by network of many kingdoms, the Yonko and even the World Government. Could this be how Shanks reached the Gorosei so easily? Also why they casually greet him like its no surprise?

- One big thing is that Shanks is referred to as "Kashira"/頭, not Captain/Taisho. Other translations have made it so (i believe Stephen has for simplicity), but Kashira is a term used to refer to a Yakuza boss. Whitebeard gets the less formal "Oyaji" or Pops, to very clearly there is a term of endearment/respect from Shanks' crew when it comes from this. Shanks is one of the few characters to have this reference outside of the actual Yakuza in Wano and I believe Luffy by the Strawhat fleet, which makes sense due to their sake ritual they Luffy hated. But Shanks has been referred to as this since Chapter 1, crazy as hell. Translations to English, I dont think it matters too much, but the fact this is how its done in Japanese and it is interesting Shanks is the only Yonko or major pirate to really have carried tha title since the beginning.

- Shanks is also from West blue (hes slightly older than the God Valley incident, about a year), where the 5 Yakuza families that Bege fucked over are from and also where the best Sake comes from. This could prove ties to the Underworld even more, but just an interesting fact, nothing big.

- Shank's bounty is, 4,048,900,000. The "489" part is so excruciatingly specific, that if you look up the number its normally relative to gambling and Yakuza. First off, 89 is the name for the japanese gambling card game "Oicho-Kabu" (kabfuda names for 8 and 9 respectively in the game), and is often referred to as the origin of the Yakuza name too. 89 also means "hand" in several other gambling games. 489 spelt together is "Shiyaku", and apparently can mean "playing the role of teacher/master", aka his relationship to Luffy, OR "playing the role of death", which is really weird, but would i be shocked lol


- But here's where it gets wild. Take Shanks' cryptic "I bet this arm on the new age" and turn it into something negative. Imagine he wasn't talking about Luffy saving the world as we all think (he wasn't even with Roger at Laugh Tale to find out the true history), but something much more cryptic. Shanks IS a gambler and betting man. Like the medieval-1800s Yakuza, losing a pinky is a means to resolve a bet if you do not have any other means to do so. It also means you generally lost your pinky on your dominant sword hand to prevent proper sword combat. Shanks predicament is almost exactly that. He lost his alleged dominant sword hand (not that it means much) and Mihawk refuses to fight him now. Could it be Shanks is betting on Luffy by influencing him? Why was he even in East Blue? Do we actually believe Shanks couldn't prevent his arm being lopped off if a stare at the Sea King worked just as well? What does Shanks actually want Luffy to do?

Seems insanely specific to me, and I didn't even reference everything this guy brought up. Look up Shimizu Jirocho. As of now Shanks doesn't really have an influential real life figure like many other characters do, at least outwardly. But this man, my god the sheer levels of influence is so up Oda's alley to do.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimizu_Jirocho
- most famous yakuza in history
- adopted
- life has no recorded notable incidents between the death of his father and becoming a young adult
- became a gambler and criminal and started building a private navy (would be the Underworld)
- played the revolutionary army and the government against each other (wink wink, the sale of weapons and the increased conflicts have pitted both sides against each other more and more; look at Dressrosa)
- swordsman
- folk hero/robin hood figure in japan
- famously made sure people were buried properly after a war and defied the government in doing so (Ace/Whitebeard)
- was known to be able to settle major conflicts without casualties (Paramount War)


Everything under the dotted line above is credited to that reddit user, I just shortened (the list regarding Shimizu Jirocho is his) in my own words, but a lot of this almost seems way too coincidental to be just that, even when using the talking pointsI've mentioned above. All the above combined almost would make Shanks one of the deepest characters in this story, we just haven't found out his motivations yet.


Something is definitely going on with Shanks, and at this point I feel like its not exactly "good". Thoughts?
Great theory.

I was sceptical when I started reading your post,but you've brought up so much substance to it that it is really difficult not to think Shanks is hiding something.

Anyways I hope Shanks isn't the good guy people think he is and turns out to be someone very shady.
 
#10
In One Piece world, losing an arm is not a problem;





Shanks is just too strong he doesn't even need to replace it, and people think ''oh look shanks got weakened'' when he actually got stronger by being a Yonko 6 years later.

mihawk was just making an excuse because he doesn't want to fight with Shanks, imagine if he is equal to Vista, what chance mihawk has against Shanks? No chance.
 
#11
In One Piece world, losing an arm is not a problem;





Shanks is just too strong he doesn't even need to replace it, and people think ''oh look shanks got weakened'' when he actually got stronger by being a Yonko 6 years later.
Oh I definitely agree. I just think the "Yakuza" connection to it is interesting with "gambling" one's arm, as opposed to a pinky. Both seem to have heavy ties to Shanks, and while I dont think he's really weaker at all, its interesting that sacrificing your dominant arm could signify placing a serious bet on something you can't spend money or is priceless.

Combined with some other things, this really turns Shanks into to a massively interesting character imo.
 
#13
We've discussed it many times before and you know my thoughts on it.

Shanks has to be good* otherwise it would cheapen Luffy's whole character who's literally based on Shanks as a role model.

Not to mention that if he truly didn't care, it'd make no sense for him to try to save Ace and later stop the war. Also it's pretty foreshadowed that Shanks is 100% against Blackbeard and all he represents.

*disclaimer: he's still a pirate who fights, of course. You mention Kidd's arm which is not proof of anything, since we already know since day 1 that RHP aren't afraid to get down and dirty.
 
#14
We've discussed it many times before and you know my thoughts on it.

Shanks has to be good* otherwise it would cheapen Luffy's whole character who's literally based on Shanks as a role model.

Not to mention that if he truly didn't care, it'd make no sense for him to try to save Ace and later stop the war. Also it's pretty foreshadowed that Shanks is 100% against Blackbeard and all he represents.

*disclaimer: he's still a pirate who fights, of course. You mention Kidd's arm which is not proof of anything, since we already know since day 1 that RHP aren't afraid to get down and dirty.
I'm not sure I agree. I dont think it cheapens Luffys character at all because I'm not saying Shanks is "evil", just a morally grey antagonist. Luffy being wrong about his mentor makes him his own person and in my opinion extremely poetic to how the story began. I personally dislike the "Jiraya's" or the "Dumbledore's" of fiction primarily because its an overused trope to have a mentor exist for the exact purpose of dying or improving the main characters resolve. Luffy already has had that with Ace, Shanks doesn't need to serve that anymore than what he does already.


And I'm still saying Shanks still wants peace, just not by orthodox or even ethical means. He didn't want Ace to die (to my knowledge assuming Kaido was going to make things worse). But my point is that it may all done for an ulterior motive. There is a reason he didn't want Ace to die, there seems to be a reason he wanted to influence Luffy and make him big.

For example, he must have known Luffy's full name when he met him. Considering he knew Roger extremely well, it seems off to me that he just happened to fatefully encounter Luffy at a young, impressionable age, almost as if he wanted to inspire Luffy to become a pirate. They were there for over a year, why?

You have a right to your opinion, definitely, but I seriously implore looking at all of these oddities Shanks has or connections Oda has laid out. For there to be "nothing" would actually be extremely weird at this point.

And I'm not saying he still can't still be a good character, but the stuff I'm saying above virtually proves there is way more to his character than we know, and THAT is what is important, because a lot of it comes from Oda making it mysterious (why he's talking to Gorosei, what Question did he ask Roger, what his "bet" on Luffy actually entails, etc). We can make guesses to why, and thats all I'm doing here with supporting evidence.


That said, Luffy has exclaimed he wants to beat Shanks' ass so there's that:kayneshrug:
 
#15
I'm not sure I agree. I dont think it cheapens Luffys character at all because I'm not saying Shanks is "evil", just a morally grey antagonist. Luffy being wrong about his mentor makes him his own person and in my opinion extremely poetic. I personally dislike the "Jiraya's" or the "Dumbledore's" of fiction primarily because its an overused trope to have a mentor exist for the exact purpose of dying or improving the main characters resolve. Luffy already has had that with Ace, Shanks doesn't need to serve that anymore than what he does already.


And I'm still saying Shanks still wants peace, just not by orthodox or even ethical means. He didn't want Ace to die (to my knowledge assuming Kaido was going to make things worse). But my point is that it may all done for an ulterior motive. There is a reason he didn't want Ace to die, there seems to be a reason he wanted to influence Luffy and make him big.

For example, he must have known Luffy's full name when he met him. Considering he knew Roger extremely well, it seems off to me that he just happened to fatefully encounter Luffy at a young, impressionable age, almost as if he wanted to inspire Luffy to become a pirate. They were there for over a year, why?

You have a right to your opinion, definitely, but I seriously implore looking at all of these oddities Shanks has or connections Oda has laid out. For there to be "nothing" would actually be extremely weird at this point.

And I'm not saying he still can't still be a good character, but the stuff I'm saying above virtually proves there is way more to his character than we know, and THAT is what is important, because a lot of it comes from Oda making it mysterious (why he's talking to Gorosei, what Question did he ask Roger, what his "bet" on Luffy actually entails, etc). We can make guesses to why, and thats all I'm doing here.
There is bound to be more to his character. It's shady already that he was on Roger's ship as a kid. He seems to have this in common with Blackbeard, something is definitely up.

But listen to this: what possible logical reason could you see for him "grooming" Luffy other than seeing Roger within him? All their moments together were too genuine. And when he was worried about Luffy after Ace's death was also very genuine, because there wasn't anyone there worth pretending for. I'm sure it was as simple as missing his captain who he adored and believing Luffy can be such a person one day.

If he indeed planned something morally grey for Luffy, all of this would lose sense and purpose.

I'm not saying Shanks' past or identity might not unveil some huge secret - it hopefully will -, I'm just saying his moral stance will remain intact.
 
#16
There is bound to be more to his character. It's shady already that he was on Roger's ship as a kid. He seems to have this in common with Blackbeard, something is definitely up.

But listen to this: what possible logical reason could you see for him "grooming" Luffy other than seeing Roger within him? All their moments together were too genuine. And when he was worried about Luffy after Ace's death was also very genuine, because there wasn't anyone there worth pretending for. I'm sure it was as simple as missing his captain who he adored and believing Luffy can be such a person one day.

If he indeed planned something morally grey for Luffy, all of this would lose sense and purpose.

I'm not saying Shanks' past or identity might not unveil some huge secret - it hopefully will -, I'm just saying his moral stance will remain intact.
What i bolded is precisely my point. I dont think hes "conning" Luffy. I fully believe Shanks believes in what he's doing. He is emotionally connected to Luffy. He did want to save Ace (imo), but these things could be based on what he believes is true and the "right" thing. He "bet" his arm for what believes is right. I think outwardly however, it may come off as an ulterior motive because it technically is an ulterior motive, even if he was a perfectly good character.

This is why I call him a morally grey antagonist and not a villain. They are best type of antagonists in general because you can empathize with their motives if done well. Blackbeard to me has none of that, and never will. He plays the classic, epic villain that Luffy will face towards the climax, but he doesn't have the emotional connection or nuance to really tie it all together in my personal opinion.


To me its about how you look at Shanks' intentions, which we virtually know nothing about. Oda explicitly leaves it vague for this what I'm assuming is this reason. This is why he drew Shanks with the Gorosei and made a big deal about it, nor actually let us know which pirate Shanks was referring to.


All I'm saying is to keep an open mind about it and I'll do the same. We can agree to disagree, that's okay
 
#17
What i bolded is precisely my point. I dont think hes "conning" Luffy. I fully believe Shanks believes in what he's doing. He is emotionally connected to Luffy. He did want to save Ace (imo), but these things could be based on what he believes is true and the "right" thing. He "bet" his arm for what believes is right. I think outwardly however, it may come off as an ulterior motive because it technically is an ulterior motive, even if he was a perfectly good character.

This is why I call him a morally grey antagonist and not a villain. They are best type of antagonists in general because you can empathize with their motives if done well. Blackbeard to me has none of that, and never will. He plays the classic, epic villain that Luffy will face towards the climax, but he doesn't have the emotional connection or nuance to really tie it all together in my personal opinion.


To me its about how you look at Shanks' intentions, which we virtually know nothing about. Oda explicitly leaves it vague for this what I'm assuming is this reason. This is why he drew Shanks with the Gorosei and made a big deal about it, nor actually let us know which pirate Shanks was referring to.


All I'm saying is to keep an open mind about it and I'll do the same. We can agree to disagree, that's okay
Okay. I think you're overcomplicating something that's supposed to be very simple, he's been one of the most straightforward characters from the beginning.

What indeed is interesting are Shanks' intentions. He never showed interest in being PK. To me it always seemed like he just wanted to be free, and have fun. But that same desire is what has driven Luffy to want to become pirate king. We could write that off to Luffy's misconception that the pirate king is the most free pirate in the world, while Shanks probably doesn't think the same since he's "smarter" than our hero?

We could say Kaido and BM showed a fair amount of ambition now. Whitebeard also didn't seem to care about being PK. So is the only reason Shanks became a Yonko being free and rampaging across the world? To me he seems exactly that. With addition of wanting that Roger's will lives on.
 
#18
I mean it makes sense when you think about it, given Oda's inspiration from Greek and Norse Mythologies. You have Im who rules over Mariejois (Heaven- Odin/Zeus), and Roger/Whitebeard who ruled over the Seas - Poseidon/Njord. So there should be a ruler of the Underworld - Hades/Hel.

Something interesting to note about Hel (The ruler of the underworld in Norse mythology) is that she was described as being half alive/half dead. Half her body was split vertically, so half of her body had no blemishes and was that of a Beautiful woman, while the other half was necrotized. If you look at Shanks, the left half of his face is scarred, and he's missing his left arm, while the other half of his body is fine.

It's also stated that Hel welcomed everyone into her domain regardless of if they were good, bad, sinful or saintly. This fits with the indications and predictions that Shanks himself is a neutral character, and he's not on anyone's side. He'll take anyone in, regardless of their past.

I myself have always argued that there is more than meets the eye with Shanks, and this would be a great way to bring the Heaven/Earth aspect of One Piece to a full circle by adding a ruler of the Underworld to the mix.
 
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