Sometimes, I get the feeling that Oda is here with us. I mean, it’s like he’s reading our comments and watching our discussion videos, because whenever there’s a topic that becomes too rife with conjecture, he throws us new info that immediately puts things into perspective.
Power-scaling in One Piece has been the subject of contention since the dawn of the OP universe. Although OP has one of the most detailed and systematic power structures in all of manga, fans just can’t help arguing about who is stronger and why.
We have units of power like Haki and Devil Fruit, will and physical strength, race-based advantages, innate skills and learned abilities. But the thing that has hinted most at OP’s power-scaling is Oda’s storytelling.
Chapter 1055 “New Age” confirms that a Yonko or an Emperor of the Sea is more powerful than a Marine admiral. Admiral Ryokugyu admits he would never have entered Wano if Kaido was around, and then runs away when he senses Shanks’s Conqueror’s Haki.
Power-Scaling Formula in One Piece
Here is what power-scaling in One Piece looks like:
Pirate King > Yonko > Admirals > Yonko First-Commanders > Vice-Admirals > Commanders
Ranks are quite important in OP, but we have to remember that there are always exceptions to the rule.
For example, some vice-admirals and first-commanders – see: Monkey D. Garp, Marco, Benn Beckman – might be as strong as or even stronger than people of higher ranks.
However, because this is OP, there is sense even in those exceptions. Oda holds age and experience in high regard, which is why commanders like Rayleigh and Marco, who were second-in-command to Roger and Whitebeard, are stronger than others of the same rank or higher.
Another thing that Oda values, a thing that is the driving force of the series, is spirit and will.
In Marineford, Garp would have killed Akainu if Sengoku hadn’t physically held him back. Garp had agreed to Roger’s last wish to adopt his son, Ace; when Ace is executed, Garp, who carries the will of his best friend, is fueled by pain and anger, making him, in that moment, stronger than Akainu.
Also, while we have a basic formula to scale the strength of One Piece characters, it’s essential not to generalize categories.
Ranks, although important, are not homogenous; there is a hierarchy within a particular rank, too.
For instance, we can assume that of the 3 current admirals, Kizaru is stronger than Ryokugyu and Fujitora. Similarly, of the 4 Yonkos, Shanks seems like the strongest right now – especially considering the newly-appointed Buggy.
Yonko vs. Admiral
People feel disrespected and embarrassed for the admirals after what happened in chapter 1055.
Ryokugyu/Greenbull/Aramaki, eager to bring Akainu Luffy’s head, charges into Wano. He fights Kozuki Momonosuke, the Scabbards, and Yamato, making it clear that if Kaido was still in charge, he would never have even thought of coming here.
Just then, there’s a beam of Conqueror’s Haki so strong, that Ryokugyu is forced to stop in his tracks. After realizing that Shanks and the Red Hair Pirates are near Wano, he says:
I get it already! It’s not like I want to pick a fight with you guys. Not today anyway.
And just like that, he disappears from the scene – running away, in effect.
I’m not sure why some fans are shocked and surprised – did they expect Ryokugyu to fight Shanks? Ryokugyu is not even the strongest admiral, and Shanks is currently the strongest Yonko. It’s honestly pretty straightforward.
I do think it’s unfair to put anyone against Shanks right now, since he probably is the current strongest character in the entire series. But does the fact that Admirals < Yonkos mean that Ryokugyu would lose to other Yonkos as well?
Ryokugyu himself admits that Kaido prevented the Marines from invading Wano. Kaido was known as the strongest creature alive, but he was defeated by Luffy.
Ryokugyu thought he could take on Luffy, who has just been titled a Yonko after defeating Kaido. This doesn’t mean that Luffy is weaker than Ryokugyu.
As Shanks tells Ryokugyu, it’s bad form on his part to go after Luffy and the others when they have just been through a massive war. Luffy has made pirate history but he almost died. Luffy, to say the least, is worn out at this point.
Ryokugyu might have beaten a worn out Luffy, but Luffy, now being Yonko-tier, would have fought toe-to-toe with Ryokugyu or even defeated him with Gear 5, had he not been weakened from the Wano war.
But coming back to my earlier point about how not all categories are single units, Kizaru would defeat Luffy, since Luffy is currently at the lower rung of the Yonko category, and Kizaru is the strongest admiral.
How strong is a Fleet Admiral?
I see a lot of people actually forgetting that fleet admirals are supposed to be stronger than the rest of the 3 admirals.
A fleet admiral is the highest rank in the Marines, only second-in-command after the commander-in-chief of the World Government and the 5 Elders.
The latter two categories haven’t been shown to have any particular power till date; although we can be almost certain that Imu has some mysterious and insanely powerful strength.
But, for now, the fleet admiral is the strongest opponent to the Yonkos.
This, of course, again has discrepancies – Garp, the famous exception to OP rules, was as strong as fleet admiral Sengoku back in the day. In fact, he was offered the position of admiral multiple times, but he kept declining.
Garp could easily defeat Luffy and Buggy, and even fight evenly against Blackbeard, but I’m not so sure about Shanks. This is because current-Garp is just slightly lower than current-Akainu in terms of strength.
Yonko vs. Fleet Admiral
The fleet admiral of the Marines is more of less on the level of a higher-level Yonko. This means Akainu, Shanks, and Blackbeard are meant to be equal opponents at the moment, but lower-level Yonkos like Luffy and Buggy are still weaker than Akainu.
This distinction between the internal power dynamics within the Yonko and Admiral categories makes for a very compelling argument.
It is exactly why Blackbeard and his crew ran away from Akainu in Marineford. Many fans bring this up while hyping the admirals. Granted, Akainu wasn’t fleet admiral at the time, but Blackbeard wasn’t a Yonko that time, either.
In chapter 650, it’s revealed that in the timeskip, Akainu won the title of fleet admiral against Aokji after Sengoku retired, and Marshall D. Teach became the new Yonko after defeating Whitebeard’s crew and grabbing his territories.
So, by that reasoning, Blackbeard was kind of lower-rung Yonko at the time, and Akainu, the strongest admiral. Just how current-Luffy can’t take on Kizaru or Akainu, Blackbeard couldn’t take on Akainu nor Sengoku during Marineford.
However, right now, considering that Blackbeard has only grown in strength – individually and crew-wise, he is definitely a match for Akainu. Current-Blackbeard is high-tier Yonko now, with Shanks. So, the fight between the fleet admiral and either of the two mentioned Yonkos, could be anyone’s win.
The logic was already there, folks, and Oda just gave us the confirmation we needed.
About One Piece
One Piece is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since July 22, 1997.
The man who had acquired everything in this world, the Pirate King, is Gol D. Roger. The final words he said at the execution tower were “My treasures? If you want it, I’ll let you have it. Look for it; I left all of it at that place.” These words sent many to the seas, chasing their dreams, headed toward the Grand Line, in search of One Piece. Thus began a new age!
Seeking to be the greatest pirate in the world, young Monkey D. Luffy also heads toward the Grand Line in search of One Piece. His diverse crew is joining him along the way, consisting of a swordsman, marksman, navigator, cook, doctor, archaeologist, and cyborg-shipwright, this will be one memorable adventure.Originally Written By Epic Dope