Warning: this post might contain spoilers. If you don’t like spoilers, don’t read.
I might be biased in writing this because, well, you know I love One Piece so much. But seriously, I think Oda Eiichiro (Oda-sensei, the creator of One Piece) is a genius. He’s really brilliant. Some fans have seen through how his creations relate to what we have in the real world, not only the characters but also the places. But for me personally, I really love the depiction of life. One Piece is surely full of life lessons and moral values presented from different perspectives, i.e. not only the protagonists but also the villains. In Alabasta Arc, for instance, Oda-sensei implied that a country is about its people; i.e. it should put people’s interest/safety/happiness above everything else including the kingdom/throne, etc. Then Wano Arc, wow, I feel like Oda-sensei is actually talking about Japan. I mean, some think that Japan is kinda exclusive and “insular”, no? And this character is depicted in Wano. But, well, let’s not go that far since the Arc isn’t even finished. Haha What I want to talk about here is Fishman Island Arc.
Fishman Island Arc is one of my favorite Arcs. I think it really teaches us many things especially about life among different races (fishman vs human), why and how they can/not get along and how to see it from different perspectives. We can see how one race feels superior (e.g. the Tenryuubito and the New Fishman Pirates). The Tenryuubito believes that they’re noble and superior even towards the same race (human race). They even wear mask/helmet because they don’t want to breathe the same air, thinking that the air is polluted by the air breathed by other human race. (Yeah, I know, it’s awful!) Similarly, the New Fishman Pirates believes that fishmen were superior and stronger since they can breathe both in the air/land and in the water. We can also see how one is scared of the other race because the cruel deed of some people coming from that race. For instance, the fishmen thought that human were bad because of the bad deed of the Tenryuubito and the bad human pirates. They neglected (had no idea about) the fact that Tenryuubito also feels superior and is cruel not only towards fishmen but also towards some human that they think as inferior. Also, some human are scared of fishmen because of what Arlong pirates did (this is different Arc but Arlong was related to New Fishman Pirates, so…). We can also see how one fought to create peace and advocate for equality by trying to convince that not everyone from that race is bad. Otohime did this! I’m touched when she said that only a few of human race were bad but it doesn’t represent all. She argued that they (fishmen) need to know more people of human race so that they can see that there are more good human out there. But then it’s also understandable that fishmen are scared of (and maybe hate) human due to how few bad human have treated fishmen, with human/fishmen trafficking and all. It’s complicated but it’s really deep for me. I might be taking this way too seriously. But for me, this really portrays what happens in the world. For example, few people from one group (let’s say Group A) hurt some people from other group (let’s say Group B). People from group B then became scared/phobic of or even hate all people from group A even though not everyone in group A is bad. The good people in Group A feels bad but then also understand why those people in Group B are scared of or hate them. Meanwhile, some people in Group B are still trying to convince their own people to get to know more people from group A and find more good ones. Well, am I making it more confusing? But anyway, this is what I see from Fishman Island Arc. There are also golden quotes that we can learn from.
“Outdated laws are curses.” (Neptune, One Piece, eps 568) Long story short, because of what happened in the past between human and fishmen, there was this law that prohibits fishmen to donate blood for human. Then Fishman Island Arc happened, we know that the ones who saved the Island was the Straw Hats, who were of human race. After beating Hody Jones, Luffy needed blood transfusion (previously Sanji also needed it but it’s before Luffy saved the Island and it’s just Sanji being “stupid” (but I can’t help loving him still. Haha). The fishmen wanted to help Luffy but they hesitated to give their blood because there was that law. Jinbei decided to give his blood because, well, he was a wanted man, so the law didn’t apply to him. Then, some time later, Neptune said this sentence I am quoting. Not sure if they have now changed the law, though.
“Rather than never trying because we think it can’t be done, we should take the first step ourselves.” (Otohime, One Piece, 540) Queen Otohime said this when she was trying to collect the fishmen’s signatures/agreement to plead that they be allowed to live in land alongside human so that they could know them more and live peacefully and equally with them. Many said it was impossible because the fishmen were hurt and thus hated human so they wouldn’t give the signatures. Then Otohime said it. She’s really a wonderful queen.
“A man should live a life that his children can be proud of.” (Otohime, One Piece, eps 540) This happened when a man was trying to steal (?) and harm Otohime, but the reason he did it was because he needed money for his family/children. That’s why Otohime said that, because committed a crime was wrong, and a man should not do it otherwise their children won’t be proud of having a criminal as a father.
“The grudge of the dead should stay with the dead.” (Fukaboshi, One Piece, eps 564, Fishman Island Arc) Fukaboshi said this because, well, you know, Hody Jones and the New Fishman Pirates were trying to avenge the death of Tiger (their fishman hero) and the other fishmen that human has hurt. This led to an extreme hatred towards human and even towards their fellow fishmen who did not support their goal of destroying human. (Gosh, sounds familiar yet? We know this happened in our world, no? A certain group kill their own just because they have different visions and missions? Yup, this happened in Fishman Island Arc). But then Hody Jones tried to set the revenge to the entire human race and affirmed that all fishmen should be vengeful as well, and this led to the (almost) destruction of Fishman Island. Fukaboshi then said this to put the long vengeance to an end. And I think it’s true. He’s right, though. Many of the conflicts in this world happen because the vicious chain continues. The living continues the chain in the name of ‘paying back for what happened to the dead’ or ‘what happened in the past’, some say it in the name of ‘justice’, some argue it’s to ‘teach them a lesson’, etc., on and on and on, maybe until the world ends. A wrongs B. B’s descendants or groups avenge A’s descendants or groups, etc. It stops only when the two are willing to share the blame and forgive each other. Unfortunately, often, many claim and demand to be deemed only innocent and thus crave for apology, without opening a room for them themselves to apologize, let alone admitting to be wrong. And often, the pride n ego then comes along. Hence, the vicious chain gets stronger.
Man, later if I get married and have some kids and they ask me about what they should learn in life, I think I’ll just ask them to watch One Piece with me 😁