How Oda symbolizes freedom via the battle of World Government and Pirate’s desire for the One Piece

How Oda symbolizes freedom via the battle of World Government and Pirate's desire for the One Piece

To an onlooker, One Piece might boast an exterior of a typical shounen with over-the-top action and goofy characters. But only dedicated fans of the series know how deep down there is a lot more than what meets the eye in the world of One Piece.

The world of One Piece often displays strong parallels to the real world when it comes to the themes of the issues showcased throughout the story. One such major recurring theme is the concept of freedom. One might argue that it is the very foundation upon which the story of One Piece is built.

The Forces At Play

There are several factions in the world of One Piece that contribute heavily to the progress of the story and play very crucial roles throughout the course of the plot. Each of these factions might hold a specific ideology that determines their actions, which often send ripples across the Grand Line if significant enough. These factions are:

  • Civilians: These are normal humans who live in the world of One Piece. They don’t often get into any conflict and try to maintain a neutral stance, more often than not under the control of one of the other factions that have dominant control in that particular area.
  • Marines: The military sea force of the World Government. The Marines are the primary law enforcement force in the world of One Piece, prevalent throughout the Grand Line and the Four Seas. Even though they claim to be a force of justice, their actions are often contradictory and hence put them at constant odds with the pirates.
  • Pirates: Pirates are sea criminals who travel the Grand Line and the Four Seas, most often operating as crews. The morality and classification of Pirates can often be very broad, due to the vast amount of Pirates and the differences among them. The search for One Piece, however, manages to be a common point among most Pirates.
  • Celestial Dragons: Also known as World Nobles, the Celestial Dragons are the faction that stands at the very top in the hierarchy of the One Piece world, in control of both The World Government and their sub-factions.
  • Revolutionary Army: They are the rebels of the One Piece world led by Monkey D. Dragon. The Revolutionary Army is a faction that is totally against the Celestial Dragons and their corrupt and discriminatory regime through the World government. Their goal is to liberate the world of One Piece by dismantling the World Government.

The Value Of Justice

How Oda symbolizes freedom via the battle of World Government and Pirate's desire for the One Piece
Donquixote Doflamingo, Courtesy of Toei Animation

Justice is a very twisted and nuanced concept in the world of One Piece. Even among factions with the same or conflicting ideologies, different characters seem to hold different values towards it.

However, according to Celestial Dragons and by extension the World Government:

  • True Justice is to eradicate all activities deemed illegal and evil by them, while prosecution of those who violate the government’s laws takes precedence over the protection of innocent lives even through immoral acts since the end justifies the means.

This twisted and diabolical idea of justice often results in Pirates taking up the law into their own hands, much to the dismay of the World Government.

“Pirates are evil? The Marines are righteous? These terms have always changed throughout the course of history! Kids who have never seen peace and kids who have never seen war have different values! Those who stand at the top determine what’s wrong and what’s right! This very place is neutral ground! Justice will prevail, you say? But of course it will! Whoever wins this war becomes justice!”

― Donquixote Doflamingo


What ties everything above together is the Pirate King’s treasure, One Piece. Based on the events of the story, Roger’s claim of having left everything he accumulated at Laught Tale, including wealth, fame, and power is the core ideology behind the search for One Piece.

To the Pirates, it is the ultimate shapeless, formless treasure that is everything the world has to offer. To the Marines and the Celestial Dragons, it is the sign of ultimate rebellion. The true value of freedom that Oda tries to symbolize will come to light the day One Piece is discovered and the title of The King of The Pirates is reclaimed by someone.

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