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

What Is Haki In ‘One Piece’?

Why are pirates so obsessed with their Haki?

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Seriously, they talk about all the time. You’d think they’d be more interested in, I don’t know … doubloons? Or old maps? Or medically proven ways to prevent scurvy? But nope, everyone just wants to talk about their Haki and what color it is (almost as much as the mythical One Piece itself). It sounds like some horoscope “lemme read your aura” crystal stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with horoscope “lemme read your aura” crystal stuff, I just associate it a little bit more with the spiritual side of TikTok more than I do with grizzled nautical killers.

So What Even Is Haki?

Haki is basically “the force” of the world of One Piece. Yes, like The Force from Star Wars. That Force. It’s also pretty similar to hamon from Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure. In essence, Haki is a form of spiritual power that exists in all living things across the deep blue sea. Everybody has Haki, even you. But some people are really good at accessing their Haki and using it to do all sorts of cool woo-woo spiritual shit. Like a psychic. But way cooler, more practical, and less expensive.

There are mainly two kinds of Haki: Color of Arms Haki (aka “Armament Haki”) and Color of Observation Haki (or just “Observation Haki” if you don’t have all day). There is a rare third type of Haki called Conqueror’s Haki (or (“Conky Hak-Hak” if you wanna shorten it?) but there are only a handful of people in the world who posses such a vaulted sort of Haki, so you probably won’t have to say “Conky Hak-Hak” much in every day life.

So … What Does Haki Do?

Well, little Mary Sue, to explain that, I need to explain all the subtypes of the three main branches of Haki. Yeah, this is getting a little more complicated than you thought, huh? This isn’t a silly little horoscope, you need way more than a pirate’s birth date and time to figure out exactly what their Haki can do. You need to dig further. So grab a shovel, here goes:

Observation Haki and its subtypes

Observation is the most basic, white-bread, pumpkin spice latte of all the Haki types. It’s sort of a sixth sense like a “spidey sense” (but more like a “piraty sense”?) It can also grant a sort of “precognition” ability as well. Cool, right?

Type One: Future Sight

This kind of Haki allows the user to see into the future! Oooooo! Ahhhh! It’s one of the rarest forms of Observation Haki, and is only granted to those who have trained their Haki over many a years. Charlotte Katakuri is one of these people, as shown in his fight with Luffy where he could spookily predict our hero’s every move. Luffy was (unsurprisingly) able to awaken this Haki ability as well. Probably because he’s the main character? Just guessing.

Type Two: Intent, Emotion, and Presense Sensing

This type of Haki is a little bit more basic than Future Sight, but still pretty cool. It always the user to basically vibe check anyone with precise accuracy. They can sense someone’s vibe before even seeing them and are able to tell if their intent is friendly or foe-ly. It also allows the user to sense the emotions of others, like when Sanji sensed that a woman was crying from a mile away on Punk Hazard Island.

Type 3: Strength Sensing

Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z does this all the time with a little bit of help from technology. He uses a little Google Glasses lookin’ thing called a “scouter” in order to accurately gauge the power level of a person (unless of course it’s over 9,000, then he’s outta luck). The characters of One Piece, however, are able to use a sort of spiritual scouter to gauge how powerful an opponent is. It’s another form of a vibe check, if the vibe was “will this person kick my ass or not?”

Type 4: The Voice of All Things

This form of Observation Haki is the rarest of them all! It allows the user to hear the “Voice Of All Things.” While not formally stated to be an official type of Haki, I believe that it counts because it allows the user to get a vibe check on everything in existence, even animals and objects! This ability allowed Luffy to “hear the voice” of the giant elephant Zunesha, and it also allowed Gol D. Roger to hear the Poneglyphs. Which if you don’t know, are big ol’ stones with carvings on them. Basically this ability allows you to ask a rock how its day is going and it will answer (probably with a “same as every other”).

Armament Haki And Its Subtypes

Armament Haki is the ability for a Haki user to manifest their Haki physically, mostly for offensive and defensive purposes. It’s kinda like the invisible “vector” arms that Lucy uses to slice people in two in Elfen Lied, but way less horrifying.

Type One: Hardening

This is the most common type of Haki, and allows the user to manifest a black layer of Haki over themselves and other objects. Like all types of Haki, it strength varies from person to person and can be trained. Hardening Haki is what Zoro on his swords to make them cut so damn well! There is a level above the basic hardening ability called “Busoshoku: Byogou” which is used by Charlotte Katakuri in his battle with Luffy, which is like regular hardening but way tougher.

Type 2: Ryouu

Ryouu is essential the opposite of the Hardening ability. While Hardening creates a layer of Haki on a user’s skin that is effective at close range, Ryouu allows the user to send blasts of their Haki outward. Ryouu users allow Haki to flow through their bodies freely, and are able to release it from a single point. Because of its power and precision, it is able to pierce through the toughest of Hardening defenses. An advanced form exists that allows a user to damage a target from within without having to damage their exterior.

Conqueror’s Haki

This Haki is rare. One in a million. I’m not exaggerating. It is also known at the “Supreme King Haki” and is something that the user is born with. The Conqueror’s Haki allows the user to impose their will on an opponent, basically putting them in a spiritual chokehold. A weak person will pass out immediately when this Haki is used against them, while a strong person can use it to put literal pressure on opponents. Extremely powerful users like Kaido are able to infuse Conqueror’s Haki into all of their attacks. Conqueror’s Haki is essentially Main Character Energy, and is possessed most strongly by, you guessed it, Monkey D. Luffy himself.

(Featured Image: Toei Animation)

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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.