Kuma’s backstory will make you cry buckets, so here’s a recollection of it all

Kuma's Backstory

From boiling blood at his mere sight to warming up to him, Bartholomew Kuma has stirred a wide range of emotions among One Piece Fans. The moment it was revealed that Kuma had the best interest of Strawhats in mind, the hatred train came to a halt. But Eiichiro Oda decided that not hating or simply loving Kuma isn’t enough, fans need to tear up or ugly cry whenever the character gets mentioned.

If all this sounds like hyperbole, let’s revisit Kuma’s backstoryHere’s a complete recollection of everything we’ve come to know about Kuma and why his backstory is one of the saddest backstories in One Piece. 

Bartholomew Kuma’s backstory: Saddest Flashback in One Piece 

The Buccaneer Boy
Kuma and Ivankov
Kuma, Ivonkov, and Ginny | Image Courtesy of Viz Media

Kuma’s story began in the Sorbet Kingdom. Taking birth with Buccaneer’s blood in his veins led him straight into slavery along with his parents. His mother died shortly afterward. But he bore the onslaught of the disgusting actions of the Celestial Dragons alongside his dad. 

  • He’d lie about his master being kind as to not cause worry to his dad with the abuse they inflicted on him. 
  • Even in terrible circumstances, his dad passed on hope to him with the tales of Nika. He conveyed to Kuma how one day the Warrior of Liberation would take him out in the sun and to the free sea. 

As the duo hum around celebrating their potential savior, a Celestial Dragon comes and shoots Kuma’s dad for causing noise, leaving the buccaneer boy all alone.  

The God Valley Incident 

Years of slavery and occasional defiance landed Kuma in the God Valley. He meets Ginny and Ivankov as he gets dragged back by some guards. 

  • The Celestial Dragon came along with “problematic” slaves and criminals for their game of manhunt. In an attempt to exploit the rich natural resources of the island, they initiated a game where humans are supposed to hunt each other. 
  • The prizes of the game were the strongest devil fruits; Kaido’s mythical zoan fruit and the paw paw fruit. Ginny transmitted this valuable information to the outside world which led to Roger and Rock pirates arriving at God Valley. The Navy sent Garp as well. 
Did Rocks D. Xebec rely on Devil Fruit Powers or just Haki
Image Courtesy of Toei Animation
  • Once the manhunt began, Iva suggested everyone escape or else every single human on the land would end up dead. He shared whatever information he had about the devil fruits and asked someone to eat them, as it could save a lot of people. 
  • Ginny takes Kuma to the fruit and Big Mom attacks and acquires the mythical zoan fruit while Kuma eats the Paw Paw fruit
  • As they’re about to escape, Kuma runs into Saturn Jaygarcia who asks him if he’d choose death or slavery. Kuma confronts him and tells him what freedom means to him. He further talks about his aspiration to become like Nika or Nika himself and save as many people as he possibly can. 

With Kuma’s newly acquired devil fruit powers, the slaves escape from the God Valley. 

Return to Sorbet Kingdom
Kuma Sorbet Kingdom
Image Courtesy of Viz Media

After escaping the God Valley Incident, Kuma returns to the Sorbet Kingdom along with Ginny and Iva. Iva calls Kuma’s paw the hands of liberation as he saved so many people. Iva sets out to the sea while Ginny decides to stay back with Kuma. 

  • Years later Kuma becomes the pastor of a church and takes the pain and suffering of the old folks of Sorbet Kingdom on himself using his devil fruit. Ginny reprimands him as she witnesses how much pain Kuma takes upon himself, while also tending to his wounds. She asks him to marry her but he refuses because of his buccaneer blood. 
  • He reads about Dragon in the papers and wishes to be like him someday. He shares his aspirations with Ginny about going out to the sea and saving people. 
  • The Sorbet Kingdom comes under severe plight when King Pekori reinstates enslavement. Kuma fights back and he gets sent to the prison along with Ginny and the others. Dragon along with Iva comes to save Sorbet Kingdom where Iva asks Kuma to join him if he still wishes for the same things he did back then. 

Once Kuma joins them with Ginny, the Revolutionary Army comes into existence. 

Revolutionary Army
Revolutionary Army One Piece
Image Courtesy of Viz Media

As the Revolutionary Army continues to expand, they save several countries all over the world. Kuma continues to check up on Sorbet Kingdom. A day before Ginny’s unit and Kuma’s unit are supposed to meet, Ginny gets captured. This triggers Kuma and he starts to push himself even harder as a revolutionary. 

2 years after her capture, Ginny calls Kuma and tells him about the abuse by the Celestial Dragons. Sharing about her life-threatening disease and how she doesn’t have any more time left, she asks Kuma to look after her child. Kuma rushes to Sorbet Kingdom where he finds little Bonney. The old folks tell him how Ginny crossed the sea so that she could save Bonney. From there on Kuma starts to carry out his duties as a revolutionary while being the best dad to Bonney. 

Bonney’s Dad and the Solo Revolution
Kuma and Bonney
Image Courtesy of Viz Media

When Bonney gets to the age of 5, she catches the same disease as her mom. To get the best aid to Bonney, Kuma quits being a revolutionary. To mitigate the effects of her disease, Bonney spends all her time indoors. He passes on all the tales about Nika to Bonney the same way his father did with him. A doctor diagnoses Bonney with Sapphire Scales and tells Kuma that she only has 5 more years to live. 

King Pekori makes another return and Kuma saves the entire island by himself. As a result of this defeat, the king starts to seek the support of the government while Kuma becomes the nominal king of Sorbet Kingdom. With the government’s support, Pekori brings the Navy along to fight with Kuma. Kuma relays to the elders that they need to look after Bonney.

Kuma and Bonney
Kuma and Bonney | Image Courtesy of One Piece OFFICIAL YouTube Channel

As fighting the Navy would turn him into a criminal, he’ll need to leave the island to ensure the safety of others. They all agree and Kuma sinks all the ships by himself becoming a criminal for the world. He leaves Sorbet Kingdom in search of a cure for the Sapphire Scales. 

In his search, he meets the revolutionaries again. Dragon gives him the updates regarding the incarceration of Iva and Inazuma. He also tells him about the new members including Sabo and how they also want to see him. At last, he tells Kuma about Dr. Vegapunk. He asks Kuma to go to the scientist as he’s bound to know something about Bonney’s condition. 

First visit to Egghead

Kuma takes Bonney to Vegapunk on Egghead. Vegapunk ensures that Bonney will survive but gets excited at witnessing a buccaneer for the first time in person. He asks Kuma to let him run research on him and create clones of him, and in return, he’ll take care of the costs of the treatment as it’s an exorbitantly expensive one. Kuma agrees without flinching but Saturn catches an air of this interaction.

Kuma One Piece
Image Courtesy of Viz Media

Kizaru visits Egghead and communicates the concerns of the Navy. Kuma’s affiliation with the revolutionaries and the government using his clones wouldn’t reflect well on their part. Saturn sets three conditions before Kuma to go ahead with Bonney’s treatment: 

  1. Kuma needs to become a warlord of the sea 
  2. He needs to become a human weapon and have his body augmented
  3. He needs to give up his free will 

Vegapunk gets enraged at the third condition, but Kuma gladly accepts. Furthermore, Saturn informs Kuma that Bonney will be held hostage until Kuma completely loses his will. During the treatment, Bonney, Vegapunk, Kuma, Kizaru, and Sentomaru spend great moments together feasting and dancing. 

Sorbet Kingdom 

After the treatment, Bonney gets sent back to the Sorbet Kingdom where she gets looked after by Navy agent Alpha. Grandma Conney also looks after her. Kuma bids her goodbye and promises to write to her. But Alpha burns all his letters, breaking the only link they have left. 

Kuma, the Warlord
Kuma Thriller Bark
Image Courtesy via IMDb

As a warlord, Kuma visits the East Blue where he sees young Luffy training in the forest after he finds out he is Dragon’s son. He also saves revolutionaries from trouble but doesn’t share his circumstances with them.

Bonney turns nine and Conney asks her to go and find her father as she knows that Alpha is a government agent. Bonney unleashes her power for the first time, defeating Alpha in a punch. She sets sail as a pirate around the same time when Luffy defeats Arlong. 

Kuma: the man, the myth, and the legend
Kuma and Bonney manga
Image Courtesy of Viz Media

In a conversation with Vegapunk, Kuma finds out that Luffy challenged the world government at Enies Lobby. After receiving an order, he heads to Thriller Bark to kill the straw hats, and nothing happens. 

The World Government sends out a word to the Warlords about Ace’s execution and that they need to be present there. Kuma decides to head to Sabaody and bid farewell to Bonney, where he again comes across Strawhats. He discovers that Luffy has hurt a Celestial Dragon, which makes him a prime target of the World Government.

That’s when he decides that Luffy needs to get stronger before he takes on the New World. He saves the straw hats by sending them far off where they can grow and improve before setting sail again. 

Kuma and Luffy
Image Courtesy of Viz Media

When he returns to Egghead for his final treatment, he asks Vegapunk to program him to stand by Sunny for two years till the Strawhats return. Before losing his will, he reminisces his entire life and he seems to always be running towards something. He stores his memories for Vegapunk’s research.

From his early days as a slave to the future that he’s entrusted to Bonney and Luffy, he loses his free will as Vegapunk breaks down crying on the floor. 

Conclusion 

Kuma’s life was full of tragic turns and a lot of hurt, but he protected his loved ones from it till the moment he lost everything. He continued to move forward with kindness and hope while passing it on to others.

And with that, his life came to an end, but Oda seems to be taking his sweet time before he drops the curtain on Kuma’s chapter. In the upcoming chapters of One Piece, we’ll see Kuma back in action. 

Also, we might not have the paw paw fruit but we would like to send you to the world of all things anime, the Spiel Anime Newsletter! It comes out twice a week with extremely fun explorations of your favorite fictional worlds. A stop destination for anime fans whether it’s recommendations you’re looking for or an update on the current affairs of the anime industry.

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