Whitebeard stands tall despite the cannonball holes in his chest in "One Piece"

How the Internet Ruined One of the Greatest Moments in ‘One Piece’

Where do I even begin?

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As one of the longest running manga titles in history, One Piece has a lot of lore. Most of the time, the internet asks smart questions related to the series like “what does the One Piece look like?” or “why shouldn’t I trust the One Piece government?” and those questions I am more than happy to answer! What greater pleasure is there than to share knowledge with those who wish to know it? Such pursuits are responsible for some of the greatest works of philosophy in human history! Consider Plato’s Republic, Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations—worthy ideas concocted by history’s brightest minds, to be explored and debated for the betterment of mankind! Would that I could join in the Great Debate, and lend my knowledge to those steeped in ignorance.

But instead, you all make me talk about this BS. You wanna know the truth behind the “the One Piece is real” memes and what in Oda’s name they have to do with Kanye West? I’ll tell you. But I’m not gonna like it.

A simple math equation…

To understand “the One Piece is real,” one must first understand a fundamental mathematical formula of the internet. Dicks = Funny. Like much of the internet’s humor, the “One Piece is real” is based in one of the oldest forms of comedy: the dick joke.

It all began in 2011, after the release of One Piece episode 485, “Settling the Score – Whitebeard vs. The Blackbeard Pirates.” After Whitebeard, famed captain of the Whitebeard Pirates and the World’s Strongest Man, receives a mortal wound (over 100 of them, actually), he uses his last breath to confirm that the One Piece (the fabulous treasure that every pirate across the seas is looking for) is indeed real. He doesn’t say just say it—he shouts it, bellowing out “THE ONE PIECE IS REALLLLLLL!!!!” before succumbing to his injuries. It’s an emotionally touching scene.

And then the internet ruined it.

Soon after the release of the episode, a Twitter user named @dhlinez uploaded an NSFW image of Whitebeard with a gigantic penis proportionate to his equally gigantic body size. Whitebeard stands around 20 feet tall, so his schlongus must have been at least as long as a man’s arm and three times as thick. Seeing a golden opportunity, the Twitter user @biscuittts paired the pornographic image with the English dubbed audio of Whitebeard’s famous exclamation.

And then the internet caught fire.

Internet humorists began circulating videos of Whitebeard featuring the “One Piece is real” audio over a SFW image of Whitebeard’s torso. While the image itself wasn’t pornographic, the particular torso shot is a reference to the NSFW Whitebeard dick pic, where the same image is edited to look like Whitebeard is standing naked—cock very much out. And it didn’t stop with Whitebeard. Soon the internet was flooded with cock edits of One Piece characters. Whitebeard. Blackbeard. Arlong. Even the diminutive Tony Tony Chopper was pictured with a gargantuan member proportionate to his body size in a photo edited by Twitter dick artist @onepiececock. An edited version of one of the Whitebeard cock edits was posted to YouTube, where it garnered tens of thousands of views in a few short months.

But was the internet done? Not by a long shot. The meme soon found its way onto TikTok after the user @pwnchy posted an Alvin and the Chipmunks-ified edit of Whitebeard screaming his trademark phrase in an equally chipmunky voice. It was a big hit.

But nothing could prepare the internet for what happened next.

A Redditor somehow managed to get Patrick Fabian, who played Howard Hamlin on Better Call Saul, to work the phrase “the One Piece is real” into a monologue. Unaware that he was pouring gasoline on a raging internet trashfire, Fabian gave it the ol’ college try. The video gained 23,000 upvotes in a single month.

The meme’s popularity skyrocketed. As the river is destined to find the sea, so too was “the One Piece is real” destined to reach the greater internet ocean. Evolving with the speed of a retrovirus, the meme soon began to feature audio from a segment of the Kanye West track “Dark Fantasy.” What does “can we get much higher? So high” have to do with One Piece cock edits? Your guess is as good as mine. The vast majority of the videos have censored versions of the artistic works of genius made by @onepiececock. If you know, you know.

It’s hardly a stretch of the imagination to see how many of these images could be edited to include throbbing man meat. Aside from the now famous bevy of “if you know, you know” images featuring many of the series’ famous characters, the meme also gained the addition of an image of Tony Tony Chopper sobbing in the snow, no doubt due to the trauma of seeing so many dick pics in so little time. At this point, “the One Piece is real” became a popular spam comment that polluted even the furthest corners of social media.

But was the fun over? Not even close.

A new layer of “if you know, you know” was added in 2022, when the “One Piece is real” meme template became the popular subject of redraws. Soon characters from other popular anime such as Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man were edited into the meme’s format. Some Twitter users even resorted to corrupting images of Pokémon to spread the meme. I will never look at a Dusknoir the same way again.

There. Are you happy? Happy that the internet ruined one of the most poignant moments in One Piece history with dick jokes? If so, take it to the comments section. If this article’s comments aren’t drowned in a deluge of “the One Piece is real” spam, then I guess that the meme just wasn’t that funny after all.

But before I go, I have one question …

CAN WE GET MUCH HIGHER????

(featured image: Toei)


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Author
Image of Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.