One Piece 1×02 “The Man in the Straw Hat” was so damn good that I have changed the way that I’m going to do these reviews.
Before it was just a simple post review where I talked about what I loved about this show. But it has quickly transformed to me highlighting the three crew members even though two of them start this episode adamantly denying that they’re a crew. By the end, we know that things will change. As more crew members are added to the roster, they are going to become a tight-knit found family. Personally, that is my favorite trope to ever exist and I’m going to highlight each of the crew members in each episode to see how they end up in this place.
So, enjoy and please make sure to read my review for 1×01 “Romance Dawn” here.
Unraveling Why Luffy Believes in Himself
I didn’t expect to cry while watching One Piece, but here we are. A lot of it is due to the actor, Iñaki Godoy. He has this ability to transform from a goofball to a serious kid who doesn’t want to lose his hat no matter what because it was his mentors. But it’s also the character story in itself. Because we got to see a lot of Luffy in the now in “The Man in the Straw Hat.” He didn’t start that way though. Like everyone else, he had to go through heartache to come out on the other side and decide on being this specific person. Not for anyone else, but for himself. And that distinction matters.
When he was a kid he needed guidance. Shanks taught him the ins and outs inadvertently of being a pirate. But he also taught Luffy how to be a good person. From Shanks, Luffy learned that there is a different way to be a pirate. And that sometimes talking it out can solve things instead of a huge misunderstanding. That’s why I sometimes feel like Luffy himself is giving me Ted Lasso vibes. Because even someone like Ted Lasso, who is always smiling and happy-go-lucky, hits those walls inside of his mind made up of grief. And Luffy has that.
At the end of “The Man in the Straw Hat,” the moment when Shanks gives Luffy his hat, it’s a sign of love. Shanks had to go because that’s the life of a pirate. But he’s glad that he got to spend time with Luffy because he’s a good kid. And Luffy is grateful to have spent time with Shanks and understands that this is the pirate life. If that means that Shanks has to go away and Luffy has to work on becoming a pirate to one day reunite with him, then so be it. But he’s not doing this totally for Shanks. If anything Luffy has a dream, and he wants to achieve it. If along the way he helps other people to find that thing that they want to do in life, then he’s okay with that. Same thing for reuniting with Shanks.
I can’t wait to explore more about how he got to be the person he is today.
Zoro Believing in Luffy
Out of everyone in One Piece, I did not expect Zoro to be the one to fall for Luffy’s charm. Because Luffy isn’t just somebody who believes to believe or is a one-dimensional character here for the vibes. Zoro is here on this ship to find purpose and I think that he feels like he’s found it when around Luffy. So who wouldn’t want to spend more time with that? I know I would. And Zoro has decided that he wants to spend more time around this pirate even though he hunts pirates for a living and puts their heads in sacks. And I think this is part of the reason why he was so mad at Nami when she ran out on them.
Zoro is very big on trust and having each other’s back. And Nami just broke that trust. Keep in mind that she didn’t need to inform him of her actions because they’re not really friends and they just met. But Pirate Code is a different thing and he thought that she would know that and about being ride-or-die when you’re part of a crew. Hell, he probably thought that she understood it more than he did. But maybe her code is different and he will get to understand her a little bit more than he did when they were both drugged and awaiting torture or execution from Buggy’s people.
Back to the whole believing in Luffy thing. He believes in Luffy enough to fight a bunch of clown pirates and free his captain. And he believes enough in himself to sit around while looking handsome and listening to Luffy babble on about Shanks. In many ways, I think of Luffy as the sun and everyone around him just taking in everything that he is and what good he brings to the world. Maybe some of that good will come Zoro’s way. But only time will tell because we are a crew of three and we know the show ends up being a crew of five. That’s bound to test Zoro’s patience and the relationships that they are all forming together.
Why Nami Ran Away
Love or hate her, Nami was right for running away. She doesn’t know Luffy or Zoro. To her, they’re just two dudes that she ended up with in the middle of her own heist. That’s why I’m not surprised she’s working with someone else. She has her own life and we barely know her at this point. And personally, I really love how this episode deepened my understanding of this character. Because she might be a thief and promising the map to somebody else, but she’s also someone with great empathy in her heart.
Nami stopped and stared off into horror at what had been done to that village because it was utter carnage. That speaks of someone who has seen destruction like this before and hasn’t turned around and walked away like she did to Luffy and Zoro. Instead, they stand up and say something. And it’s the reason why she said something to Buggy when she was dragged back into the tent. She wanted him to know that she did not agree with what he had done and that he was a monster.
It’s also the reason why she hates pirates. This is what they do. Destroy.
At the end of the day, this is only the beginning of her journey. She’s still got a lot of work to do as a character and you know that she will end up confiding in her crew mates and feeling like a crew member of Luffy’s. It’s just going to take time for her to see what is behind Luffy’s confidence in achieving his dream. Zoro has seen it and is already ride or die. Now it’s Nami’s turn. Even then, I think it’s going to take time to crack her open when it comes to trust and feelings. The way that she separates herself from others and disconnects has kept her alive all these years trying to feed herself or just survive. And I don’t think that she’s used to being around people who want to help her find her dream. None of them except for Luffy.
Hopefully, as the season of One Piece goes on, they give each other a chance and become my favorite trope aka found family.
One Piece season 1 is available now on Netflix.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, One Piece being covered here wouldn’t exist.