The world of One piece it is not easily painted in black and white. While its elites like to perpetuate a kingdom of pirates and heroes, bad and good, history has revealed a much more complex geography filled with individuals and communities beset by their own paths and goals. That said, it’s not like people haven’t gotten lost.
The only truly evil and corrupt people in this anime are those who block the various ways of the world, be it for others or even for themselves. It is an ideological war that has had several casualties; but in the presence of some true miracles, namely the Straw Hats, various characters have been redeemed.
Usopp has had many redemption arcs throughout history. As the cowardly resident of the Straw Hats and the weakest crew member for many, Usopp has had to face and overcome his weaknesses time and time again, mainly because he runs away from them so often.
Whether he’s trying to hide behind his “illnesses,” running from tough fights, or reacting to anything in Thriller Bark, Usopp has been a masterclass in cowardice. Yet there is no better example of Usopp’s growth and redemption than his first one-on-one fight in the series. In a battle to save both Nami and his island, Usopp had to run to his fears and fight.
When the Straw Hats started looking for a carpenter in Water Seven, the last person expected to board their ship was Franky. Franky debuted in the story as the leader of the main Water Seven gang, who had his men jump Usopp in a brutal heist. After the Straw Hats sought revenge, he personally went after Luffy. At this point, many were certain that Franky would be the main villain of the arc.
No one anticipated the long emotional journey ahead of her, Franky’s involvement in helping Nico Robin find herself, or how she had come to return the money stolen from the Straw Hats with interest.
There are few better tropes in shonen stories than watching a bad boy change his ways and befriend heroes. Bentham, also known as Mr. 2 Bon Clay, is one of the most exciting examples of this in the series. When he met the Straw Hats, he didn’t even realize they were his enemies, and he quickly became friends with them.
After a grueling fight with Sanji, Bentham was quick to apologize to the Straw Hats by sacrificing himself at Arabasta and being arrested. He would continue to do this again at Impel Down when he personally took control of the facility’s exit doors and personally confronted Warden Magellan. It’s like Eiichiro Oda never wants him to be a villain in the first place.
Gin may not be remembered by many due to its age and lack of foundation in its history. But for those who are still in the early stages One piece, Gin offered one of the most captivating character arcs for a series that is still trying to find itself. Gin was a commander of the Krieg Pirates who would lead his captain and crew to the Baratie after Sanji saved him from near starvation.
While Gin hoped Don Krieg would be so grateful to the blonde cook’s generosity, he quickly regretted it when Don Krieg immediately attempted to take over the ship. Caught between Sanji and his captain, Gin’s only act of penance came when he sacrificed himself to save Sanji during Don Krieg’s poison gas attack.
6 Trafalgar Law
Trafalgar Law was thrown on a path of darkness and destruction at a young age after witnessing disease and genocide sweep away his native Flevance. This disillusionment would lead him to the Donquixote Family, where he would find the same people who would help him nurture his hatred and dislike, while ironically also the same person who would save him from them and from himself.
That would be Donquixote Rosinante, also known as Corazón, who aimed to show Law that there is hope and good people in the world, even if that meant only himself. Although Corazon couldn’t find a doctor who could or would save Law, he showed him the kind of compassion that kept him from becoming Doflamingo’s pirate type.
5 Saint Donquixote Mjosgard
Few villains in One piece they have been as despicable as the celestial dragons. The elite of One pieceIn the world, these are the ancestors of world leaders who have the birthright to arbitrarily dictate law and order. This has made the Heavenly Dragons selfish, cowardly, and inhuman, committing atrocities against the lower class just for fun.
Saint Donquixote Mjosgard used to be one of the worst when he first landed on Fishman Island. He had a total disdain for fish-men and just wanted to enslave them. However, his time with Queen Otohime had completely changed him. Not only would he continue to free all of his slaves, but he also defended and represented Fishman Island during the recent Reverie.
Kyros has one of those backstories meant to get people to start treating pit bulls better. Born on the streets of Dressrosa, Kyros was a tough and vicious kid who knew no more than fight and kill. Having seen Kyros’ boundless rage, King Riku made him vent into his arena, declaring that if he won 100 battles he would be forgiven for his crimes.
Kyros would easily achieve that goal; but due to the prejudice of the society against him, he would stay in the coliseum to continue fighting. This would inspire a winning streak of thousands that would make him a national hero and one of Riku’s most trusted guards. However, that didn’t compare to him giving up all of that to start a family with Riku’s daughter Scarlett.
3 Nico Robin
Nico Robin was told since she was a child that they did not want her and that she was a demon. Nico Robin, the daughter of a revolutionary, was seen even by her adoptive parents as a troubled child. His only comfort in the world was Ohara’s library and its scholars. However, the World Government would come to destroy everything and label her as the enemy of the whole world.
This would trigger their attempt to escape for decades, infiltrating dangerous organizations to steal their knowledge and betraying powerful groups. After years of running, betraying, and fighting, Nico Robin would finally find peace once he joined the Straw Hat Pirates.
Hachi’s redemption in the story came as a huge surprise to fans, despite the character’s inherently goofy design and demeanor. He was part of the Arlong Pirates, a ruthless group of fish-men who sought to take over the world from humans. Their first target was Nami’s home island, Cocoyasi, which they threatened and imposed incessantly, even going so far as to kill Nami’s mother.
While Arlong was the ringleader, all of the fishmen were immediately looked down upon by fans for their heinous behavior. Even though Hachi managed to turn his life around after escaping capture and starting his own takoyaki business, he would completely redeem himself for what he did to Nami when he was shot by Luffy.
No one expected Bellamy, the hyena of all people, to get a redemption bow. When he debuted, he screamed filler character destined to get just one chance for the rest of the cast to warm up for the real story. He was so annoying and so insignificant.
Keeping his bounty and powers on Luffy’s head and taunting Luffy for only believing in Skypeia, Bellamy was the villain type. One piece fans had instinctively come to hate. No one knew that he would become Dressrosa’s national hero or that people would cry for him when he regrettably defied Luffy one more time. This here is the character progression.
NEXT: One Piece: 10 Times Luffy’s Leadership Inspired The Straw Hats
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