Celebrating Straw Hat Crew Day and the History of One Piece’s Best Pirates

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Sean Aitchisonhttp://seanaitchison.com
Sean is a writer/researcher with a big love of anime and dumb shounen protagonists and a lot of opinions about both. You can find his writing and research work on his website and catch him streaming on Twitch twice a week.

Did you know? Not only is today June 13, but it’s also Straw Hat Crew Day! Why? Well, the numbers that make up the date (6/13) can be read in Japanese roughly as “Straw Hat Crew.”

So I thought, what better way to celebrate this special One Piece day than by exploring the history and impact of each of the crew’s core members!

But it’s not just the main crew, I’m also celebrating honorary members of the greatest pirate crew in all the blues! Of course, we’re talking about the crew that will reach the One Piece and whose captain will become King of the Pirates!

NOTE: Spoilers ahead for the One Piece anime!


The Straw Hat Pirates

Monkey D. Luffy

Dream: To become King of the Pirates.

Starting off, we have the captain of the Straw Hats himself, Monkey D. Luffy. The son of the leader of the Revolutionary Army, Monkey D. Dragon, Luffy hails from Windmill Village where the Red-Hair Pirates stationed themselves. It’s also where a young Luffy picked up the desire to become a pirate.

While there, captain Red-Haired Shanks bestowed upon Luffy his signature straw hat (originally belonging to Gol D. Roger himself), accidentally gave him his Gum-Gum Fruit powers and eventually inspired him to have his own pirate crew to find the One Piece and become King of the Pirates, a goal (we now know) he’s never lost sight of.

After a brief time in Gray Terminal, where he found Ace and Sabo as adoptive brothers, Luffy grew up and began his journey to be the King of the Pirates, building his crew one by one: Zoro, then Nami, Usopp, Sanji, Chopper, Robin, Franky, Brook and most recently, Jimbei.

Throughout all of these adventures, Luffy has taken down tyrants, freed countries and more, all while doing what he wants because that’s just who Luffy is!

one piece anime made me cry

Through his strong will, loyalty and steadfast determination, Luffy has gathered a crew of lifelong friends. This emotional core is what makes Luffy both a great captain and a great friend.

And one day, these qualities can help make him a true King of the Pirates. After all, remember when he told Rayleigh that he doesn’t want to rule over anyone, he just wants the freedom the role offers. Cheers to our fearless leader!


Roronoa Zoro

Dream: To become the world’s greatest swordsman.

Look, don’t act like some of us aren’t terrible with directions. Take Zoro, for example, who only became a bounty hunter to make a living after losing his way home, all because he wanted to defeat the world’s greatest swordsmen. Talk about relatable.

Eventually Zoro made his way to Shells Town, where he managed to get caught by the Navy and imprisoned. Here he met Luffy and was soon recruited to join the Straw Hats as its second official member, after some fighting and convincing, of course.

Zoro quickly became a core part of the series, backing Luffy on his adventures to save kingdoms, free islands and protect the unprotected…usually getting lost or injured along the way.

Yet with all of that, Zoro is a hero through and through, and easily one of the coolest swordsmen in anime. I mean, just look at his signature three-sword style and ridiculous strength!

one piece wano country, luffy and zoro

Like Luffy, Zoro is incredibly determined, always working toward becoming the world’s greatest swordsman. And of course, he fully supports Luffy in becoming King of the Pirates. Though he’s a bit of a muscle-head, Zoro is honorable, loyal and never turns away someone in need, especially children.

He might not be a samurai raised in the Land of Wano, but he has his own code of honor that drives him forward, and he’s always committed to a fair fight or to burden Luffy’s pain. Zoro is the steadfast anchor of the Straw Hats.


Nami

Dream: To create a map of the entire world.

Next up is the infamous thief-turned-hero, the incomparable Nami! Originally a member of the Arlong Pirates (working to pay off debt to protect her hometown), Nami joined the Straw Hats to get Luffy’s help in fighting Arlong and freeing her from his grip.

From there, Nami became the official navigator of the crew, helping the hapless Luffy and directionally challenged Zoro go in the right direction, even leading the crew through the roughest weather on the Grand Line.

Thanks to her trusty baton Clima-Tact, which can be used to create specific weather conditions, Nami joins the fight with an ability that’s incredibly powerful for a navigator, especially one with a knowledge of weather patterns as deep as hers. Though she doesn’t fight often, she’s always game to stand against oppression, having experienced it firsthand.

Nami may seem firsthand to only care about money, but she’s kind-hearted and is probably one of the smartest member of the Straw Hats, keeping everyone (like Sanji) in line when they get a little wild. She’s a core pillar of their journey, guiding them through the Grand Line with more than just a sword slash or well-timed punch, with dreams of her own to achieve!

She’s a source of strength and intelligence through the good and bad. She knows her teammates will stand beside her and protect her so that she can navigate the crew one step closer to the One Piece.


Usopp

Dream: To become a brave warrior of the sea.

Though you might have thought of him as one at first, Usopp is no coward or liar. After standing up to Kuro and saving Syrup Village, he proved that he has the makings of a hero, even if it was shrouded in a lack of courage. Even his lying came from a place of love and compassion!

In his time with the Straw Hat crew, Usopp has gone on to show he has great skills as a sniper and inventor, and is easily part of the heart and soul of the group. He’s also one of its smartest members.

Sure, he’s a bit of a goofball and joins in the wackiness that Luffy and Chopper usually get up to, but Usopp is incredibly intelligent. He didn’t just build the Clima-Tact for Nami or maintain the Going Merry, but he’s an effective and cunning tactician.

Couple that with his skills in battle (which skyrocketed after the time skip), and you’ve got a well-rounded crew member. Usopp also keeps the Straw Hats grounded. Though it’s usually out of fear, he does bring a sense of logic to Luffy’s impulsiveness, which at times gives a chance for things to be thought through more.


Vinsmoke Sanji

Dream: To find the All Blue.

Hailing from the North Blue and born into the Vinsmoke family, Sanji was intended to be a super soldier, with enhanced strength and a lack of emotion. Thankfully, he was given normal humanity through his mother’s efforts.

After suffering abuse at the hands of his father and siblings, Sanji ran away from home, eventually finding himself in the employment of Zeff, a cook who helped him survive a shipwreck, then taking him under his wing when he opened up Baratie.

Zeff also instilled the values of cooking to Sanji, showing the value in providing food for others and never using your hands to fight. Eventually, Luffy finds his way to Baratie in search of a cook for his crew and, after a long battle, Sanji joins the Straw Hats.

A fan-favorite character, Sanji is beloved for a number of reasons, with many centered around the subtleties of his character. For example, he only uses his feet to fight because his hands were made to cook, all derived from lessons learned from casting off his upbringing.

One Piece English Dub - Sanji

Sanji has also proven to have a kind heart (especially toward women), rejecting those who dare to hurt others and fighting against lords with power over people. Yet throughout all of this, he keeps a calm and cool demeanor, acting as suave as he can.

He’s a true friend, a phenomenal cook and one hell of a fighter.


Tony Tony Chopper

Dream: To become a doctor who can cure all diseases.

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Next up is Tony Tony Chopper, the Straw Hat crew’s combination doctor/bruiser. Hailing from Drum Island, Chopper was once a normal reindeer, well, save for his blue nose, which made him an outcast from the rest of his herd.

His kind rejected him and humans feared him after he ate the Human-Human Fruit and transformed into a hybrid. Luckily he was saved by Dr. Hiriluk, who took him in as a son and gave him his signature name, hat and philosophy that any disease can be cured.

But unfortunately, Hiriluk’s own disease couldn’t be cured, and Chopper was left in the care of Dr. Kureha, who taught him real medicine, which he used to cure Nami when the Straw Hats brought her to Drum Island.

After defeating Wapol and freeing the people of Drum Island, Chopper joined up with the crew as its doctor, going with them to see the world and have his own adventures—something Hiriluk always wished Chopper would be able to do.

Chopper has proven an invaluable member of the team, helping especially Luffy, Sanji and Zoro recover when they brazenly push forward with fatal wounds. Chopper always nurses his crew back to health and saves anyone and everyone he can.

And he’s no weakling as a fighter, either. His Zoan-type Devil Fruit power (which allows him to change into different forms) and his extensive medical knowledge make him a real threat in a fight.

He even used those skills to develop the Rumble Balls—pills that enhance his transformation and abilities, including eventual control over his monstrous form. Suffice it to say, Chopper can dish out as much as he can heal, and he’ll always be our reindeer son.


Nico Robin

Dream: To find the Rio Ponegliff and discover the true history of the world.

The adversary-turned-friend Nico Robin is up next! Nicknamed the Devil Child after the incident in Ohara, Robin pushed on as the only survivor, resulting in a moniker and a bounty at just eight years old.

Determined to achieve her mother’s dream of understanding the Ponegliffs and learning the world’s history, Robin spent 20 years on the run while searching, eventually falling in with Crocodile (who would go on to betray her during the Alabasta arc).

She eventually joins up with the Straw Hats as an on-board archaeologist, proving to be both an irreplaceable puzzle-solver and one heck of a fighter, growing closer with everyone after finding her will to live during the Enies Lobby.

In fact, it’s her character development in Water Seven and Enies Lobby that has drawn so many fans to Robin. She went from being a mysterious outsider to a character plagued by tragedy who goes on a strong arc that truly shows the power of friendship. And a bond with Robin is unbreakable.


Franky

Dream: To build the greatest ship that travels to the end of the world!

Originally known as Cutty Flam, Franky has been an enemy of the world government since he was a child, even witnessing the death of his family (and almost himself) at their hands.

Franky was able to save himself, though, by turning his body into a cyborg and becoming the head of the Franky Family, a group of outcasts in Water Seven. Though he started out as the Straw Hats’ enemy, he joined them after Enies Lobby, becoming their shipwright (and building the Thousand Sunny) upon Going Merry‘s retirement.

In the time since joining, Franky has proven to be both a powerful fighter and an invaluable member of the crew—a weapons expert who can build everything from tanks to mecha to lasers.

Each step Franky takes gives the Thousand Sunny an edge over pirate competition. Both literally and figuratively, he keeps the Straw Hat crew afloat.


Brook

Dream: To keep his crew’s promise and reunite with Laboon.

For a long, long time, Luffy wanted a musician aboard with the Straw Hat crew—it was never really clear why he wanted one, but he sure made it clear that the ship needed a musician.

Eventually, the Straw Hats gained one in the form of Brook, the undead skeleton formerly of the Rumbar Pirates. Having eaten the Revive-Revive fruit, Brook was able to come back to life after he and his crew died, his soul returning to his body, which was now just a skeleton.

Left to sing and play music by himself in the lonely graveyard of Thriller Bark after his shadow was stolen by Gecko Moria, he was eventually rescued by the Straw Hats who returned all the stolen shadows to their original owners, freeing them and leading Brook to join their crew as the singing swordsman.

Brook may be one of the more recent additions to the Straw Hats, but he quickly became family—a source of laughter and entertainment, and full of heart just like the others—hoping to one day see Laboon.

Brook is not only a source of undead comedic relief, he can also hold his own in a fight and is a fantastic scare tactic. You know, since he’s a talking skeleton. But perhaps most importantly, his music keeps the crew together and smiling after every hard battle. 


Jimbei

Dream: To achieve coexistence and equality between humans and fish-men.

Last and certainly not least, we have the latest addition to the Straw Hat crew and a former Warlord of the Sea, Jimbei. Once a member of the Sun Pirates, Jimbei was dedicated to freeing slaves of the celestial dragons by replacing their brand marks with a Sun Jolly Roger marking.

After the death of Tiger Fisher, Jimbei took over as the crew’s captain, accepting the position of Warlord so that various fish-men could be pardoned. Eventually, though, Jimbei renounces his status when he’s summoned to stand against the Whitebeard Pirates, meeting Ace and Luffy in Impel Down.

And after plenty of back and forth, Jimbei joins the ranks of the Straw Hats in the Land of Wano, serving as the Thousand Sunny‘s helmsman.

Fans love Jimbei for a lot of reasons, partly because they’ve been waiting for him to become official for so long, but also because he’s honorable. He was loyal to the actions of Whitebeard and Big Mom, and even renounced his title honorably to join the Straw Hats.

Jimbei allows the Sunny to move like never before, showing great strength in his battle with his Fishman muscle and karate!


The Going Merry & Thousand Sunny

One Piece on Twitter: "Happy birthday to the Going Merry! 🎉 🎂 What's your  favorite memory of the Straw Hat crew's first ship? 🥺… "

We can’t cover Straw Hat Crew Day without talking about the two ships we’ve come to know, the Going Merry and the Thousand Sunny. The Going Merry was first presented to the Straw Hats after the group saved Kaya.

And so they had a ship, with Usopp designing the now-iconic Straw Hat emblem. And with all the love and care the crew gave to the ship, a klabautermann appeared and gave as much and more back.

The Going Merry took them through rough waters and all the way to Skypiea before the adventure took a toll and the Merry received a proper sendoff after Water Seven and Enies Lobby.

One Piece 579 Sunny

After the Merry was retired, Franky set about paying the Straw Hats back (for both their heroics and for stealing their money) by building them the greatest ship ever out of the treasure tree, resulting in the Thousand Sunny, a ship decked out to the nines with all types of gadgets and Franky-styled inventions.

The ship continues to serve the Straw Hats to this day. 


Honorary Straw Hats & The Impact of the Crew

One Piece on Twitter: "Happy birthday, Princess Vivi! 🎂💙 Never forget ✖️ # onepiece… "

Outside of the core crew, there are, of course, several characters considered to be honorary members of the Straw Hats, be it by association, by proclamation of the Straw Hats themselves, or even by the fans.

The first among this group is Vivi and her duck companion Karoo, who both traveled alongside the Straw Hats as essentially their own during the entire Alabasta arc—both fans and the Straw Hats themselves consider her to be a member, giving her a proper sendoff when they left Alabasta. 

It Was Law! | One Piece (Official Clip) - YouTube

There are so many more that fans see as honorary members. Heck, some even consider Trafalgar Law part of the Straw Hats despite being the captain of his own pirate crew!

Regardless, the wide cast of characters that fans consider to also be part of the Straw Hats proves one thing—that the Straw Hats, their heart and their determination have a magnetism that brings almost everyone they meet together—for life!

So happy Straw Hat Crew Day to the best pirates in all the blues, and the only crew we’d spend almost a thousand episodes (and more!) with!

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