Warning: This article includes spoilers for the manga and anime, One Piece.

Speak to anyone who watches anime or reads manga and chances are that they have seen or at least heard of One Piece. It is one of Japan’s most popular mangas with over 460 million copies sold in 43 countries as of November 2019 — making it the best selling manga series in history. It was adapted into an anime series by Toei Animation which begin broadcasting in Japan since 1999. The plot revolves around Monkey D. Luffy who aims to find the legendary treasure “One Piece” of the late pirate king Gold D. Roger in order to become the next king of pirates. Along the way, he meets a bunch of new friends who forms the Straw Hat Pirates Crew with him. Over the years, the various characters in the story have taught some valuable life lesson. So what can we learn from them? Let’s dive in further to find out.

Monkey D. Luffy

BboBunnyBona: Monkey D. Luffy is the main character of the One Piece world. He is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates Crew. His trademark straw hat which he always wears was lent to him by Red-Hair Shank (one of the four Yonko of the Ocean). Luffy is often depicted to be goofy in nature and is known to be a big eater. Despite his carefree personality, he was shown to be serious when his nakama (friends/comrades) were in trouble. For example, when Nico Robin decided to surrender to CP-9 (Cipher Pol Number Nine), Luffy worked together with the rest of the Straw Hat Pirates to fight the World Government at Enies Lobby in an attempt to rescue her. Through this incident, he taught me about the value of fighting for someone you care about. No matter how dangerous it may be, if you truly care about someone, you should be willing to go through anything to help them in their time of need. For example, when your friends are going through a hard time, be there for them no matter how busy you are. Make time to hang out with them even though you may be busy. The man himself also taught us about the power of one’s will or as others call it, “determination”. Many a time, he is on the receiving end of defeat, but did he ever give up? No. He gets up again and again till he succeeds. A good example will be his fight against Rob Lucci at Enies Lobby. Despite suffering many injuries, Luffy refused to give up and eventually punched his way to victory, saving Nico Robin in the process. This taught me that as long as you don’t give up, you will reap the rewards of your efforts one day. His determination can be applied to daily life. For example, set a target of eating less junk food so that you can be healthier. While it might be hard in the beginning, your craving for unhealthy snacks will gradually lessen to the point where you stop thinking about them.


BboBunnyBona: Charlotte Katakuri is a villain hailing from the Whole Cake Island arc of the manga/anime. He is the second son of the Charlotte Family and is also one of the three Sweet Commanders of the Big Mom Pirates. He is arguably one of the most liked antagonist among fans of One Piece. Why? Apart from offering Luffy one of his toughest fights, he taught us a valuable lesson and that is to always compete fairly. When he found out that one of his sisters (Charlotte Flampe) had interfered in his duel with Luffy by shooting a dart that immobilized the latter, Katakuri took his own spear and stabbed himself to make the fight a fair one. While this drained his strength and possibly cost him the battle, it made me gain respect for him and it also educated me on what an honourable challenge should be like — fighting without accepting any advantage obtained through unfair means. In the real world, we often face tough competition. However, never ever accept bribes. Even if you lose to your rivals over projects and the likes of it, know that you had at least tried your best fairly while giving it your all. Who knows, a better offer might head your way!


yooamygirls: Sanji was introduced in the manga and anime early on, being one of the first 5 crew members of the Straw Hat Pirates who joined during the East Blue arc. He is the cook of the ship, highly skilled and powerful in his ‘black leg’ fighting style (he only uses his legs to fight as being a cook, he views his hands preciously), and is a part of the ‘monster trio’ comprised of captain Luffy, swordsman Zoro, and himself. His dream is to find ‘All Blue‘, a mystical rumored sea in the Grand Line that is said to be the place where the four seas (East, West, North, and South) meet, and therefore the only place where one can find all kinds of fish. Being a cook and having been taken under the wing of a powerful ex-pirate and talented chef ZeffSanji grew up hanging onto the dream of finding All Blue despite being ridiculed by his peers.

One of Sanji‘s defining characteristics is his occasionally overwhelming sense of chivalry and respect for women. He refuses to attack women in any shape or form, even when they are an enemy and may endanger his life. His love for women is a running gag. He worships the ground that any woman walks on, and is also shown to have “perverted” qualities such as when he comes back after spending 2 years on an island full of drag queens and is then unable to be around women without almost dying from nosebleeds. Although Sanji as a character has been a hot topic among fans about his antics and borderline harassment behaviors, this chivalry towards women is often painted as something that sets him apart from others in a unique and funny way in the manga and anime.

Later in the manga, we discover that Sanji was actually the third son of the infamous Vinsmoke family, a royal mercenary family. He had been abused by his family as a child. He escaped at a young age and was rescued by the aforementioned Zeff who took him under his care. His childhood was only revealed during the Whole Cake Island arc where he makes it clear that despite his blood line, he rejects the name ‘Vinsmoke‘ and only considers the Straw Hats his family.

All of the Straw Hat crew members have gone through a tragedy in their life at some point, and Sanji is no exception. On top of having been abused by his own family, he had also nearly starved to death when Zeff rescued him and the two were stranded on a rock in the middle of the sea. With two bags in hand (one containing food and the other, a bigger one, containing treasure), Zeff gave the bag of food to Sanji, leaving none for himself. However, the younger noticed that Zeff kept the bigger bag and thought that he took the bigger share of food. This made Sanji hold a grudge against him only to find out later that the elder had been starving for weeks. This is a big turning point for Sanji‘s character as he develops a deep reverence for not only Zeff but food in general as well. Cooking is not merely his job but also his passion, and he believes that no one, not even enemies, should have to starve. His selflessness and generosity, some of his best qualities, are shown several times throughout the series.

There’s a lot to learn from Sanji’s character though he is definitely not flawless. He is often the butt of many jokes but is shown to be highly intelligent, extremely strong and agile as well as loving and self-sacrificing. I personally find his most interesting qualities to be the extent of his loyalty to those he loves and his selflessness. He was willing to give up his dream of finding All Blue in order to stay by Zeff’s side in East Blue. He was also willing to die in Zoro‘s place when the latter tried to take Luffy‘s fatal pain away, and left the crew when he felt that they (and the rest of his loved ones) were in danger because of his past catching up to him.

Sanji teaches us that family isn’t defined by the one we’re born into but the one we ultimately choose. He shows us the power of love through self-sacrifice (as Zeff had done for him) and how even his own dreams aren’t worth putting his loved ones in danger for. It’s the people who care for him that matters the most to him. Even his passion for cooking stems from his desire to make sure that no one, especially not those closest to him, will ever have to go through the same pain he did. He may be painted as a goofy character obsessed with romantic and sexual love, but in reality, he is the one that shows platonic love in the most innocent and deepest way. He teaches us to love others faithfully and unconditionally as well as to receive others’ love with gratitude and respect.

One Piece has been such a successful series for so long not only for its captivating plot but also because each character has something unique and important to offer. Most of the main characters in the series come with their fair share of baggage and stories, and this makes for a very compelling story-telling. The main protagonists of the Straw Hat crew are not the only ones who have admirable qualities, but their allies and sometimes enemies they come across have something we can all learn from. While in the first part of our series, we discussed the captain, Monkey D. Luffy, his respected enemy, Charlotte Katakuri, and the Straw Hats‘ cook, Sanji, there are a lot more characters for us to discuss and explore. Keep an eye out for the next instalment of our series!