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All the New ‘One Piece’ Lore Hinted at in ‘One Piece Film: Red’

If this is any indication, the Final Saga's going to be wild

Shanks being a goddamn steam show machine in One Piece Film: Red

One Piece Film: Red is a goddamn delight, and that goes for longtime fans and series newcomers alike. However, this is a movie based on an ongoing anime / manga series, and as such, there’s bound to be details that hit different for fans. The two most recent One Piece films share two characteristic features: One is the quick, somewhat forced cameos that might have newcomers wondering, for example, why some lady named “Big Mom” is a big deal. (I did enjoy saying “hello” to Big Mom in Red, I’ll admit it.)

More intriguingly, recent One Piece films have also started teasing new canonical lore. Which is interesting, because none of the events of any One Piece film are canon. And yet Red‘s predecessor, Stampede, dropped that the name of the final island which holds the One Piece wasn’t “Raftel,” as everyone in the series had previously said, but Laugh Tale. This possibly new tradition was continued in Red, and given its position at the beginning of One Piece‘s final saga, it seemed to tease some pretty major new lore for the series.

One Piece Film: Red and One Piece spoilers below!

Clues to Shanks’ past

When it was announced that Shanks was going to actually, physically, for real be in One Piece Film: Red, the entire One Piece fandom freaked the hell out. After all, for someone who is so central to the series and our main character’s motivation, Shanks has barely been in the show. Hell, Red was the first time that Luffy’s and Shanks’ voice actors, Mayumi Tanaka and Shuichi Ikeda, recorded in the same room in over 20 years. And the film is called “Red,” for crying out loud.

From that perspective, it’s perhaps not surprising for the film to use this opportunity to tease some new details about Shanks. Toward the beginning of the film, the Five Elders debate whether or not Uta’s that big of a threat to the rule of the World Government. In this discussion, they ponder whether Uta, as Shanks’ daughter, is a member of the “Figarland Family.”

That’s the extent of the tease, but when you run with that little nugget, the ramifications become dizzying. We’ve never gotten a last name for Shanks before—he’s always just been Red-Haired Shanks or plain ol’ Shanks. And this would not be the first time that pinning a last name on a character who previously didn’t have one turned out to have huge ramifications for both the characters’ backstory and the story at large. Whole Cake Island, anyone?

If “Figarland” is Shanks’ last name, and it’s a big enough deal to be worthy of Five Elders-level gossip, add this speculation to the fact that Shanks got an audience with the Five Elders. In person, in the middle of the goddamn Reverie. The Five Elders even acted like Shanks was an exalted audience, saying, essentially, “We made time because it’s you.” Sure, Shanks is one of the four Emperors of the Sea, but he’s also a goddamn pirate in the middle of the seat of the World Government. Even if an emperor as respected as Whitebeard had asked to hang out with the Five Elders, he would’ve had the Navy on his ass trying to arrest him instead.

And then there was the whole “there’s a big straw hat in Marijois” ordeal, which happened right around them. Honestly, that’s one of the weirdest moments in all of One Piece, if you ask me. Granted, Shanks’ straw hat ultimately came from Roger, but could this big version have something to do with the Figarland Family?

It’s tempting to say that Shanks, as a supposed descendent of the “Figarlands,” might have Celestial Dragon blood running through him. Remember, also as we officially find out in Red, Shanks was found by Roger as a baby, when he came onto the ship by accident with other cargo. (I assume this is canon—Roger did nostalgically say, in canon while holding a baby Momonosuke, that it’s been a hot second since he held a baby.) Shanks might have been cast out from Marijois somehow, which would give him some pretty huge similarities to Donquixote Doflamingo.

Or, even more shockingly, what if the Figarlands are somehow connected with Imu (or Im, depending on your translation)? After all, that’s definitely Imu looking at the giant straw hat. What if Shanks’ is … like … Imu’s brother? That would be pretty wild, huh?

Who the hell is Imu? Well …

Uta’s Imu outfit

Uta wearing an outfit that looks suspiciously like Imu's in One Piece Film: Red
(Toei Animation)

Imu is one of the biggest lore revelations so far in One Piece‘s canon. For ages, we’ve thought that the Five Elders were the top authority of the World Government. But during the Reverie arc we learned about the Empty Throne—a symbolic literal throne in Marijois that’s supposed to represent how the various countries that make up the World Government all have equal say. But—surprise, surprise—we learn soon after that someone does sit upon the Empty Throne: a secret authority named Imu. We’re free to assume that Imu’s essentially ruling over the entire world of One Piece from the shadows. Even the Five Elders bow down to Imu—and with a weird ritualistic bent, as well.

Major manga spoilers in this paragraph, but: Imu’s authority is so great that, when Sabo learns of their existence and attempts to report it to his comrades in the Revolutionary Army, the entire island that he’s on is completely annihilated within five seconds. The World Government then acts as if the island never existed in the first place. Like Ohara, but on horrifically dystopian steroids.

That being said, Imu has only appeared in a silhouette in both the manga and anime. We haven’t heard them speak. They remain incredibly mysterious. Which is why it’s particularly interesting that, during the number “I’m Invincible,” Uta gives herself a costume which looks suspiciously Imu-ish. (The crown, especially.) This is, of course, not to start a theory that Uta is Imu. In the Uta World, Uta has the power to generate whatever she wants out of thin air. I just chalk it up to a knowing elbow from the One Piece team, on the level of the incredibly fast appearance of Gear Five at the movie’s climax.

Plus, given the lyrics and title of the song, it’s an incredibly wry costuming choice (the whole song’s about how Uta’s the best and has the power to make everyone’s dreams come true).

Tot Musica and the Ancient Weapons

Now that the manga is in One Piece‘s final saga, a whole bunch of series-long mysteries are going to be rearing their heads sooner or later. One of the biggest ones is the mystery of the Ancient Weapons: Pluton, Poseidon, and Uranus. These weapons are capable of mass destruction, but we know very little about how exactly they work. We do know that Pluton is some kind of ancient battleship, but we know nothing about Uranus.

Mostly intriguingly to our purposes here, we know that the mermaid princess Shirahoshi is Poseidon, and the Poseidon “weapon” is the ability to talk to Sea Kings. Whether there’s more to it than that remains to be seen. And that’s what makes Tot Musica interesting.

Tot Musica is a power (deity? monster?) unleashed when the holder of the Uta Uta no Mi reads some ancient sheet music (who knew such recognizable methodologies for writing down music carried across the Void Century?). As it grows and develops, it absorbs that user—in this case, Uta—into itself, which can override the consciousness and will of the person within and essentially imprison them. It’s heavily insinuated that Tot Musica is an “ancient” weapon of some kind.

Now, Tot Musica is not canonical. It’s not some long-lost Ancient Weapon. But it’s the closest glimpse any piece of One Piece media has given us so far about what the usage of an Ancient Weapon might look like. In particular, since Tot Musica and Poseidon seem to share the characteristic of needing a human “host,” I’m worried about what’s going to happen to poor Shirahoshi when she eventually goes full Poseidon on us. At the very last, that the usage of an Ancient Weapon could be this dramatic would explain why King Neptune seems so concerned that his daughter inherited the power … other than the obvious “people will hunt her down” bent, which is also of concern.

Other tidbits

We learned a few other “odds and ends” that have less to do with world lore and more with the characters themselves. We got to see Shanks fight for the first time ever, and we learned that he coats his sword in some kind of impressive-looking fire. We learned that Yasopp has off-the-charts Observation Haki. We dug a millimeter deeper into Coby and Helmeppo’s involvement in an organization called SWORD, and clarified that SWORD is different from Cipher Pol—so they’re seemingly not working directly for the World Government, which is nice.

All in all, the little hints to larger end game ideas that One Piece Film: Red dropped just make me more excited for what the final saga might possibly hold. It’s going to be wild.

(featured image: Toei Animation)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a musician, audio person, writer, and nerd. When not talking about One Piece or Zelda (among other anime and games), she's finding surprising ways to play the guitar.