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The ending of the One Piece series is the subject of much debate, especially regarding the reunion between Straw Hat Luffy and Shanks the Redhead.. A lot has changed between them in the 12 years since they last interacted, and so there’s a lot to consider. On the one hand, Luffy and Shanks have a strong bond and promised to meet again when the former becomes a great pirate, which he did. On the other hand, Shanks is a sea emperor and will probably have to defend this title if Luffy comes to face him.
In all likelihood, a meeting between Shanks and Luffy will inevitably lead to an intense conflict. The precise nature of this conflict is difficult to pin down, as Shanks’ true motives remain shrouded in mystery. Anyway, the information from Chapter 1054, “The Flame Emperor” gave some more clues about Shanks and revived the discussion about his reunion with Luffy.
Shanks in Wano
Shanks and his crew were shown near the exterior of Wano, discussing Luffy’s recent rise to Emperor status. They agree that Luffy kept his promise to Shanks, even though the latter is not ready to see the boy again. In any case, this idea of Shanks’ criteria for a “great pirate” might say a lot about what he thinks. However, more information is needed before drawing conclusions.
Another important element shown in this chapter is a flashback to the day the Redhead Pirates stole the Fruit Gum-Gum. This seems to suggest, as many have guessed, that Shanks understood the true nature and value of this Devil Fruit. If Shanks wanted something this big and was willing to rob a world government to get it, that could be another clue to his true ambitions.
The idea that Shanks knew the truth about Fruit Gum-Gum also calls into question his personal interest in Luffy, the boy who ate him. He has taken a liking to the boy not only because of his year at Foosha Village, but also because he sees in him a part of himself and his former captain Gold D Roger. In that regard, his bond with Luffy seems quite genuine.
However, the fact that Shanks realizes that one of the world’s most valuable Devil Fruits was eaten by Luffy might explain why he cares so much about it.. Not only did he sacrifice his arm to save him, but he also entrusted him with the Straw Hat that Roger had passed on to him. He probably understood that this seven-year-old boy from East Blue had the potential to change the world and become the future of piracy. Maybe he hopes to use Luffy for what he originally intended for the Fruit, but that remains to be seen.
Of course, the idea that Shanks has big ambitions seems a little hard to believe. Even as emperor, he has so far taken a relatively passive approach to piracy. He is a reckless pacifist who only fights or gets serious when he or those close to him are threatened with violence.. Much of Luffy’s piracy seems to be based around Shanks’ style, which might give some idea of what Shanks is off-screen. Even the world government don’t try to do anything to him, not because of what he did, but because of what he did not do. His apparent lack of aspirations is a big part of why it’s hard to imagine him and Luffy coming to blows.
That said, it’s essential to remember Luffy and Shanks’ position in the world. As an aspiring Pirate King, Luffy vowed to defeat all Emperors, including Shanks; of course, he’d rather face Shanks later than sooner if he can help him. As for Shanks, he must retain the respect that comes with being an emperor; he proved this in Chapter 1054 by prioritizing stopping Bartolomeo’s encroachment on his territory over meeting Luffy again. At the very least, it is obvious that the ambitions and duties of these two captains will inevitably force them to clash.
A friendly opposition
However, there is one other thing Chapter 1054 established about Shanks that could put him at odds with Luffy. In his final scene, he claims it’s time for the Redhead Pirates to “spring into action” and take over One Piece.. It’s unclear exactly what Shanks hopes to accomplish by getting the One Piece, but if it sounds like his desire to get the Devil Fruit Nika, he probably has something big in mind. Luffy intends to grab the treasure first to establish himself as the Pirate King. This shared desire for the eponymous focal point of the plot will likely be the root of the conflict between Shanks and Luffy.
As for how a confrontation between the Straw Hat Pirates and the Redhead Pirates would play out, that’s anyone’s guess. Most people think it will be more of a friendly competition than a fierce battle for ideals or the freedom of a nation, as is the case in most One Piece arcs. Many fans have also speculated that the Straw Hats and the Redhead Pirates would end up engaging in a traditional Davy Back fight to settle their differences non-violently. Either way, this showdown will be less of a high-stakes battle and more of a fun match to gauge how much progress the Straw Hats have made as a crew.
However, the two crews still have something important to fight over, even if it isn’t about a nation or ideals. With this in mind, either side could end up resorting to force to get what they want. If the Redheads or the Straw Hats want to win, they’ll probably have to take themselves seriously.
Assuming the Straw Hats and the Redheads come to blows soon, it’s hard to say how the Straw Hats would fare. Luffy still has a weakness for slashing attacks, so he’s understandably at a disadvantage to Shanks’ swordsmanship skills. Lower-level Straw Hats might also struggle to take on Pirates du Roux, who are well-honed and earn a lot of money. The Straw Hats might be able to win, but it would be more believable if they had been given a bit more time to grow stronger.
Les Roux have also proven to be brutal in battle. In the very first chapter, “Romance Dawn – Dawn of Adventure,” Lucky Roux gunned down a man while the whole team was smiling. Eustass Kid could also attest to Shanks’ brutality by referring to the arm he lost fighting him. Redheads may be pacifists, but when they fight they’re tougher than most people, be it the Straw Hats, Blackbeard, or the World Government..
Shanks an Antagonist?
All this without mentioning the theory that Shanks is a great antagonist. Many fans believe he has an overall plan in mind that has been in the works for all these years. His desire to get things like the Joy Boy’s ancient devil fruit and the One Piece certainly indicates he wants a lot more than he’s letting on. If true, that not only justifies all of his unusually intense faces throughout the series, but it also means that Luffy is going to have to fight for his life.
Whatever turns out between Luffy and Shanks, they promise to be significant. Each of them has ambitions that could lead them to make great changes in the world. Whether the Straw Hats and the Redheads fight as part of a friendly competition or for something bigger, it will be unlike anything that has happened in the series so far. It will be an intense interaction, full of emotion, nostalgia and perhaps even drama.