Luffy watching Uta's concert in One Piece FIlm: Red

Has Anyone Ever Actually Seen the ‘One Piece’?

I’m sorry, what? Why do you think I would know this? Why do you think ANYONE would know what the One Piece looks like? If no one has figured it out in over 1,000 episodes across multiple decades then what do you think changed? One Piece didn’t even have an ending song for 17 years. What makes you think that the mystery of the One Piece will just magically be solved in a timely manner if the series didn’t even have outro music for almost two decades? The AUDACITY. I should make you WALK THE DAMN PLANK.

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Besides, what makes you so eager to find out what the One Piece is anyway? Don’t you know that—according to rubber boy protagonist Monkey D. Luffy—the hunt for the One Piece is all about the journey and not the destination. It’s basically like you’re taking a road trip with your friends see the Grand Canyon—a natural majesty that defies description—and you’re asking the one guy who’s seen it before what it looks like. Don’t you just wanna find out for yourself? Enjoy the trip! Look out the window at the cow pastures! Kick your seat back! Tell whoever has the aux to put on that song about those two Scottish guys who will “walk a thousand miles” to see their lady love. Because, spoiler alert, the journey to the One Piece is gonna take way more than a thousand miles. Far longer than Vanessa Carlton or those two Scottish guys could ever hope to walk.

You’re still here? Good. That was a test, and you passed. Only losers think that the best part of a journey is the “friends you make along the way.” It’s all about that TREASURE, BABY. Now we don’t exactly know what the One Piece is, much less what it looks like. We can’t know for sure. But we can make some educated guesses. First, we have to figure out what we know for a fact.

Everything we know about the One Piece

We know that the One Piece is a treasure of unimaginable value said to be discovered by the greatest of all pirates: Gol D. Roger. Captain Roger and his crew sailed to the end of the Grand Line—the island chain that wraps around the circumference of the big blue One Piece world—and discovered the One Piece on an island. It’s said that the sight of the One Piece made Gol D. Roger laugh out loud with joy. The sight of the One Piece was so funny that the old pirate king named the island Laugh Tale. In fact, the One Piece was such a rip-roaring good time that Roger thought that nothing in life could be any better.

After its discovery, he immediately allowed himself to be captured by the tyrannical World Government. Just before he was put to death by the powers that be, he announced to the world that the One Piece was indeed real, and that any pirate who finds it at the end of the Grand Line can lay claim to it. So begins the Golden Age of Pirates, spurred on by the dream of wealth and fortune.

For more information on the ol’ Piece, we have to journey back into the unremembered past…

In a lost era of history called the Void Century, there lived a messianic figure named Joy Boy, who—according to information recorded on sunken artifacts called poneglyphs—left a treasure of unimaginable value on the island of Laugh Tale. The nature of the treasure is never elaborated on in the poneglyphs, but considering it was collected by Ocean Jesus, it must be pretty sweet.

We also know, from interviews with One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, that the One Piece is a tangible object(s). It is not “the friends we made along the way” or the “thrill of the journey” or some let-down BS like that. It is, in fact, a physical thing.

And that’s all she wrote…

We really don’t have much more confirmed beyond that. There are bits and pieces of info about the One Piece relayed by characters across the series, but nothing that gives us anything concrete. In lieu of cold, hard facts, we must turn to hot, soft theories in order to speculate upon the nature—and therefore the appearance—of the treasure.

So what could the One Piece be?

Some believe that the One Piece is the fusion of three ancient artifacts called “The Ancient Weapons,” weapons created in or before the Void Century that the World Government doesn’t want people to know about. One of the weapons, Pluton, is a massive battleship capable of destroying any other ship in its path. As of now, the ship does not exist, but blueprints for its construction do—blueprints which are jealously guarded by their owners. The Poseidon is actually a living being; a mermaid with the power to control the massive underwater monsters known as Sea Kings. The third weapon, the Uranus, has never been seen, but is believed to be in the World Government’s possession. The standing theory is that the Uranus is some kind flying object that is capable of bombarding entire islands to dust and ash. The World Government actually used a mysterious weapon such as this to destroy the island kingdom of Lulusia. Theorists believe that when brought together, these three weapons may combine into a new physical entity. And apparently a really funny looking one, if Gol D. Roger is to be believed.

Others speculate that the One Piece is not a physical treasure at all, but information. Some say that the island of Laugh Tale contains an ultimate poneglyph on which it is written the true history of the world. This would explain why the World Government doesn’t want anyone getting their hands on the One Piece; they have long suppressed any knowledge of the past coming to light, often through lethal means. If the One Piece is indeed a poneglyph, it probably looks like a BIG poneglyph—the history of the world would take a while to write. Or it’s a really tiny one that says “it’s all a dream,” but that would be a letdown.

Still, MORE THEORIES PERSIST. It’s possible that the One Piece is not a treasure at all, but a PLACE. A mythical Atlantis sort of place! Long ago, the world was ruled by a technologically superior civilization called the Old Kingdom. The citizens of the Old Kingdom were said to be the ones who made the ancient weapons in the first place. The Old Kingdom was so powerful that 20 nations under its rule rebelled and fought against it, leading to its defeat. Rulers from 19 of these 20 nations named themselves “The Celestial Dragons,” and proclaimed themselves and their descendants the new rulers of the earth (sea?). The One Piece could be a final piece of the Old Kingdom’s former glory, and may harbor secrets of the world’s hidden history. Naturally, the powers that be would not want anyone discovering the remains of their great (times 20) grandparents’ long-defeated foe.

But that isn’t even the wildest theory…

The WILDEST theory is that the One Piece is somehow intrinsically linked to the Red Line, a world-circling mountain range that splits the planet in two. The Red Line is impossible to cross. It is said that the landmass tunnels tens of thousands of feet below the ocean’s floor, and its Everest-high peaks are impossible to summit. However, there was once a race of people who lived on the peaks of the Red Line: Lunarians. The Lunarians were an ancient people who some believe are tied to the Old Kingdom, whose history was lost during the Void Century. Given the fact that Mary Geoise—the “Holy Land” that serves as the seat of the World Government—is located where the Lunarians once lived, it’s possible that the Celestial Dragons of old colonized the Lunarians’ homeland and exterminated them all. Given the twisted nature of the World Government, I wouldn’t put it past them. Some believe that, before the Lunarians were exterminated, they left artifacts on the island of Laugh Tale as a fail safe should they ever be destroyed. Some theorize that these artifacts are capable of destroying the Red Line entirely, thus destroying the separation between the oceans, crumbling the seat of the World Government, and creating a world-spanning mega-ocean. A “One Piece,” if you will.

While this last theory sounds the most ludicrous, it’s actually the most likely answer. The One Piece is also known as the “hito-tsunagi” in Japanese. While “hito-tsunagi” can literally translate to “(in) one piece,” it can also be roughly translated into the phrase “the rope linking all men.” The characters for the treasure’s name can also be read as “one sea at peace.” It’s possible that the destruction of the Red Line would usher in a new era of peace and interconnectedness among the peoples of the globe; that warring factions would be united under “One Peace” after all.

What would that look like, you ask? A world I want to live in, that’s what.

(featured image: Toei)

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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.