The Significance of Vice Captains in One Piece

The Significance of Vice Captains in One Piece

In the world of One Piece roles, titles, positions, and hierarchies play a very crucial role. More than just combat prowess, Haki and Devil Fruit abilities a person’s reputation and influence is also extremely vital all over the Grand Line and the Four Seas. As such, Vice Captains in One Piece play one of the most important roles in a Pirate Crew. Here is everything you need to know about the Significance of Vice Captains in One Piece.

Vice Captain vs First Mate vs First Commander

Top 10 badass old characters in One Piece
Image Courtesy of Toei Animation

For starters, many fans have a confusion as to who qualifies as a Vice Captain. One of the core reasons behind this predicament is the lack of understanding when it comes to the distinction between the terms Vice Captain, First Mate, and First Commander. While these terms might sound interchangeable in hindsight, they actually refer to three different roles.

The First Mate of a Pirate Crew is the very first person that the captain invited or recruited into the Crew. The Vice Captain is the second-in-command of the crew who is often as respected as the Captains themselves and is also almost equal to them in terms of ability.  In large Pirate Crews with multiple vessels, the First Commander is the person who’s in charge of the most important ship after the mothership.

The Role of  Vice Captains in One Piece

First Commanders often treat their Captains like a chief or Bosses and ‘report’ to them as a member of the crew rather than equals. Vice Captains on the other hand fill a far more mature and challenging role. Oftentimes they’re the best friend of the Captain and are treated as someone with the same standing, position, and influence as the Captain within the crew. In times of distress, Vice Captains are the first to act, standing as the vanguard of the Crew.

Vice Captains are responsible for the well-being of the crew in the absence of the Captain while also serving as advisors and confidants for them. Most Vice Captains are very casual and have no formalities with their Captains, but have absolute loyalty towards them. Many Vice Captains are First Mates, but being a First Mate doesn’t necessarily guarantee the position of Vice Captain.

Fame and Notoriety

Evolution of the art style of anime since the 1950s
Zoro, One Piece | Image Courtesy via IMDb

One common aspect found amongst most of the prominent Vice Captains is their fame and notoriety. Unlike First Commanders who often are popular and have high bounty but aren’t directly compared to Captains, Vice Captains are often as notorious as their Captains. Both Silvers Rayleigh and Benn Beckman are known to have a level of reputation and fame that is very close to their respective captains.

This can also be witnessed in the case of Zoro. While the Straw Hats haven’t explicitly named him as the Vice Captain, it is heavily implied throughout the series and fans also have accepted him as such. Zoro as a pirate is as notorious and infamous as Luffy, with many prominent figures recognizing him as the second most dangerous threat in the Straw Hats, sometimes even mistaking him to be the Captain.


Being a Vice Captain in the world of One Piece is neither a small feat nor a simple title to hold. They often are tasked with being serious, grounded deciding body of a crew since many prominent Pirate Captains are often goofy and carefree. This puts a huge responsibility on the shoulders of the Vice Captains, but it also makes them one of the most interesting characters in the entire series.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top