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The 20 best One Piece characters ranked

From Monkey D. Luffy to Trafalgar Law, we've gone through 1000 episodes and ranked the 20 best One Piece characters to ever grace the hit anime series.

Best One Piece characters

Who are the best One Piece characters? Based on Eiichiro Oda’s 1997 manga of the same name, few anime series are as beloved as One Piece. After 20 years and more than 1000 episodes, it is safe to say that for some, this charming TV series has become a way of life, with every new character we meet in the anime eventually becoming a friend.

Over the years, we’ve met bulky Warlords in One Piece, Fish-Men, clown pirates, and an array of powerful fruit mutant warriors. Needless to say, picking out the best individuals from one of the best anime series is a tall order. However, much like Luffy himself, The Digital Fix never backs down from a fight. We’ve watched all of One Piece in order (even including the One Piece filler episodes) to round up which characters in the best shounen anime around truly stand out as the leaders of the devil fruit bunch.

Warning, spoilers up until the Four Emperors saga lie ahead. This basically means that if you haven’t watched at least 750 episodes of one of the best TV series around for anime fans, proceed at your own risk as we pick the best One Piece characters out there.

Best One Piece characters: Gol D Roger laughing in One Piece

20. Gol D Roger

The man, the myth, the legend himself, One Piece wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the late pirate king Gol D Roger. Gol D Roger is the man who conquered the Grand Line, and left his famous treasure, The One Piece, for a future successor to find. He was responsible for the Golden Age of Pirates, and even though he was executed before the anime began, every bit of lore he appears in, story, or flashback is captivating.

Seriously, it takes skill for a dead character to steal the spotlight, but Gol D Roger manages to steal our hearts from the grave. What makes this pirate so cool is that he was the strongest man alive and claimed that title without any Devil Fruit, either. He was one of the only people who could use all three types of Haki and had the highest bounty in pirating history. So, yeah, the king is still undefeated.

Best One Piece characters: Vivi in One Piece smiling

19. Nefertari Vivi

Vivi has long been a One Piece standout, and it isn’t just because she has an adorable pet duck (shout out to Karoo). When we first meet her in the anime, she is one of the main antagonists, going by the codename Miss Wednesday. However, Vivi has since joined the ranks of The Straw Hat Pirates, as she joined up with Luffy to defeat the deadly organization Baroque Works before heading back to her home country.

Oh yeah, did we mention that she is a princess, too? That’s right, to top off how impressive this character is, Nefertari Vivi is the princess of the Arabasta Kingdom and has a fierce loyalty to her home. She is well-spoken, determined, and honestly has one of the best character arcs in the entire series – you can’t help but root for her.

Best One Piece characters - Brook

18. Brook

Brook is also known as Dead Bones and Soul King, which are, frankly two of the coolest names in any franchise ever. He’s an undead skeleton found aboard a ghost ship who subsequently becomes a member of the Straw Hats. He’s also a Devil Fruit user, taking power from the Yomi Yomi no Mi fruit.

Luffy had always wanted a musician as part of his crew, and Brook fit the bill, capable of playing both the guitar and the violin. So this guy is a pseudo-immortal skeleton violinist. What’s not to love?

Best One Piece characters - Franky

17. Franky

Franky was once an enemy of Luffy and his friends at the beginning of the Water 7 Arc, but joined the Straw Hats as their shipwright by the end of that story.

He’s a massively powerful cyborg with dreams of traveling the world, which makes him the perfect addition to the Straw Hats crew.

Best One Piece characters - Blackbeard

16. Blackbeard

Marshall D. Teach, aka Blackbeard, is one of the Four Emperors, and he was once one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea. He’s also the only person in the history of One Piece to wield the power of two Devil Fruits. All of this makes him a formidable dude who you do not want to cross if you can help it.

He’s one of the best anime villains present in the world of One Piece, and we’re excited at the prospect of seeing him in live-action. There’s a petition online calling for Jack Black to get the role, and, to be honest, we can see it.

Best One Piece characters: Chopper

15. Tony Tony Chopper

Name a more adorable doctor; I’ll wait. Tony Tony Chopper is a One Piece staple and by far the cutest member of the Straw Hats. But don’t let his looks or small bounty fool you; this character is invaluable and very worthy of a spot on this list.

While his normal appearance is cuddly, Chopper is a reindeer who has the powers of the Hito Hito no Mi devil fruit. When it comes to facing his foes, he turns into an absolute beast, becoming a tank on the battlefield. Chopper’s combat prowess is often overlooked, but when you take it into account, along with his medical skills, it is clear that he is one of the most useful and well-rounded One Piece characters.

Best One Piece characters: Whitebeard

14. Whitebeard

Also known as Edward Newgate, Whitebeard was one of the best and brightest father figures in the entire anime series so far. Not only was he the direct rival of Pirate King Roger, but he has a stunning reputation, often being called the strongest man in the world. But his muscle and fearlessness aren’t what makes Whitebeard stand out.

Whitebeard is a family man through and through, and he is willing to sacrifice himself if that means saving his loved ones. His final moments in the anime series are downright heartbreaking (seriously, I’m still in tears), and even as we move into episode 1000 and something, you still feel Whitebeard’s absence. Rest in peace, King.

Best One Piece characters: Boa Hancock

13. Boa Hancock

Boa Hancock was the only woman on the list of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, is known as the strongest warrior of the Kuja tribe, and is a full-on empress. So yeah, here is a character that fully embodies the term “girl power” to the tenth degree.

In the series, we see Hancock turn from a formidable enemy to a trusted ally for Luffy and his crew, and it is easy to grow attached to this complex gal. She is charismatic, strong, and one of the few people in the world who can use all three types of Haki.

Hancock also has the power of the Mero Mero no Mi devil fruit that essentially turns her into a version of Medusa – turning folks into stone if they are attracted to her. Considering she is also Luffy’s love interest, we hope that our hero can avoid a petrified future, though.

Best One Piece characters: Jinbe

12. Jinbe

One of the Seven Warlords of the sea turned Straw Hat, Jinbe is the perfect diplomat for Luffy’s crew, with his calm and level-headed personality keeping everyone in check. He is loyal, a stellar fighter, and honestly, we couldn’t ask for a better helmsman, period. But along with Jinbe’s great qualities, he also offers some banging representation in the fictional story.

Let’s be clear, you can’t talk about the wacky world of One Piece without mentioning Fish-Men, and Jinbe gives us insight into the fantastical community on the regular. He is a whale shark Fish-Man who dreams of coexistence and equality between humans and Fish-Men. Basically, he is an honorable ally and just wants a better world for everyone he cares about to thrive in. What is not to love?

Best One Piece characters: Buggy the Clown

11. Buggy

The leader of the Cross Guild and of the Four Emperors of the Sea Buggy is one of the most powerful and influential pirates to sail the Grand Line. As the former apprentice of Gol D. Roger and the rival of Shanks, some say that no pirate is as close to capturing the One Piece as Buggy.

Except that’s all a lie. Buggy may be the leader of the powerful Cross Guild, but he’s actually a weakling who accidentally ended up becoming an emperor by sheer luck.  As such, Buggy spends most of his life terrified he’s going to be exposed as a fraud, and he’d like nothing more than to retire with all the treasure he’s hoarded.

Unfortunately, Buggy just can’t stop failing, so he’ll likely never achieve his dream, but that’s why we love the big old goofball.

One Piece characters ranked: Shanks

10. Shanks

Without Shanks, there wouldn’t be any Straw Hats; let that sink in. He is the mysterious pirate who inspired Luffy’s dreams and is the man who gave him his iconic hat. Shanks has been with us since the beginning and always manages to appear when an important event that will change the crazy world of One Piece unfolds and stands as the epitome of the pirate ideal.

He is laid back, is often seen partying with his crew, and is generally jolly unless you cross him or his shipmates. Shanks is a powerhouse with an impressive career, despite his friendly persona and constantly smiling face. He is one of the four Emperors who rule the New World, an ex-member of Gol. D Roger’s crew and is a renowned user of Haki. Shanks is an enthralling and looming figure in the entire series and will likely be the one to usher in the climax of the long-running story.

One Piece characters ranked: Usopp

9. Usopp

Although he may be bravery-impaired and a massive, long-nosed liar, Usopp has proven time and time again that when the going gets tough, he is your guy. Holding the ultimate life goal of becoming a brave warrior, Usopp has grown over the years (albeit very slowly) to fulfill his dream while also giving us some of the best comedic moments in One Piece, period.

Despite being a scaredy-cat, Usopp has bursts of courage, often standing up to powerful enemies and even to his crewmates. Usopp is constantly developing in terms of character growth, and seeing him morph from a low-powered Straw Hat into a capable fighting machine is an ongoing treat for One Piece fans.

Speaking of combat, besides being a killer marksman, his attacks are also hilarious. From his abilities, such as Usopp’s Rubber Band of Doom or Usopp Noise – where he literally scratches a chalkboard — this pirate will always put a smile on your face. He’s like a star straight from the best comedy movies.

One Piece characters ranked: Ace

8. Portgas D. Ace

I’m not crying; you’re crying. Ace was everything we could ever want as a brother figure for Luffy. He had the same kind of free spirit and determination — always fighting for what he deemed right and living without regret. But along with this adventurous and impulsive nature, Ace had a splash of fiery maturity that made him impossible not to love.

The son of the famed pirate King Gol D Roger, Ace is a legend in his own right, thanks to the Mera Mera no Mi fruit that lets him control fire and was even invited to become one of the Seven Warlords of the sea. I mean, come on, name a better resumé, I dare you.

In the end, Ace went out in a blaze of glory — breaking all our hearts in the process (I’m still not okay). He has given us one of the most memorable moments in the entire anime so far, making him a firm figure on this list.

One Piece characters ranked: Nico Robin

7. Nico Robin

One Piece is lacking on the recurring female character front; however, Nico Robin, much like Nami, manages to stand tall and surpass many of the world’s male personalities thanks to her sheer awesomeness and alluring attitude.

The smartest member of the Straw Hats, Robin is the cool-headed ship historian who also has a wicked ability to bloom extra limbs at will. First introduced as a villain working for the warlord Crocodile in the Arabasta saga, Robin managed to win Luffy’s trust and has been a firm member of the charming pirate family ever since.

She is the only person who can read Ponegylphs in the entire world and is a top-notch fighter making her an extremely valued asset to the crew. The ultimate femme fatale, Robin, is a character whose demeanor and power never disappoint.

One Piece characters ranked: Law

6. Trafalgar D. Law

One of the most popular characters in One Piece, and for good reason, Trafalgar Law, also known as the Surgeon of Death, is one of the darkest and most complex pirates we have seen in the entire anime so far. A nihilistic yet charismatic fighter, Law is the whole package giving us an exciting personality, a cool ’90s character design, and a banging backstory that stood as a shining jewel for the Dressrosa saga.

Law is also among the ranks of the toughest pirates to join forces with the Straw Hats, thanks to the fact that he has eaten arguably the most powerful devil fruit you can find – the Ope Ope no Mi.

The fruit basically gives him several staggeringly overpowered abilities, such as transporting body parts or even granting immortality. We cannot express enough just how impressive Law is as a character, and let’s be honest, if anyone deserves their own spin-off anime, it’s this hoodie-wearing pirate.

One Piece characters ranked: Sanji

5. Sanji

The best legs on the seven seas, Sanji is the amazing cook of the Straw Hats who dreams of finding the All Blue, a mystical place where the world’s oceans meet. Thanks to his Black Leg Style ability, Sanji is considered one of the top fighters among the central gang in One Piece, who can literally kick away all of his comrade’s problems in a blink of an eye.

Few characters are as dapper or as righteous as this cook. Constantly upholding his vow never to let another person starve – be they friend or foe – Sanji is a man of morality who is easy to root for …that is unless a beautiful woman happens to walk by. But we can forgive Sanji’s tendency to fall in love with every girl he meets since his love-struck attitude always leaves us laughing uncontrollably. From his fighting prowess to his questionable suaveness Sanji is irreplaceable and a definite scene-stealer.

One Piece characters ranked: Nami

4. Nami

The Straw Hats’ trusty navigator and the most financially savvy member of the crew, Nami, is often the voice of logic and common sense amongst her wacky comrades. She is intelligent and the needed realist amongst the Straw Hats who, let’s be honest, probably would have died out at sea without her long before they even managed to touch The Grand Line.

One Piece lacks consistent female characters in general. However, Nami manages to hold her own and shine brightly in the anime’s rough and tough male-dominated seas. She has proven herself to be an indispensable strategist, is incredibly independent, and has been living the life of a pirate like an adventure movie star since the age of ten — making her an expert survivor and just a general badass all around.

She also has one of the most tragic backstories in the series and a secret heart of gold despite her money obsession – so yeah, what more could you ask for?

One Piece characters ranked: Doflamingo

3. Donquixote Doflamingo

It’s time to recognize one of anime’s most flamboyant and bloodthirsty antagonists. Appearing briefly throughout the beginning of One Piece before fulfilling his ‘main bad guy’ destiny in the Dressrosa saga, Doflamingo is an unforgettable and unnerving character. He is one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, is a psychopath who killed his own father, and was the first person to be a confirmed awakened devil fruit user in the anime – what more could you want from one of a villian?

Speaking about his devil fruit powers, Doflamingo is uber impressive. Thanks to the Ito Ito no Mi fruit, he controls strings, meaning he can turn people into puppets, slice limbs at will like something out of the best horror anime, make an indestructible birdcage, and more.

You can’t help but admire his twisted creativity. Basically, Doflamingo is terrifying in personality and ability, and thanks to an equally dark backstory, he stands as the most intriguing and impactful villain in the entire anime so far.

One Piece characters ranked: Monkey D. Luffy

2. Monkey D. Luffy

We couldn’t rank the best One Piece characters from the best animated series without mentioning the main rubber man himself– Captain Monkey D. Luffy. At first glance, Luffy may seem like the typical shounen anime type, obsessed with fighting and eating, but in actuality, this is one of the best anime characters who will always manage to surprise you.

From his comedic bluntness to his ingenious and flawed thinking, Luffy is a delight to watch, with every battle being unique and entertaining. Holding the power of the Gomu Gomu no Mi devil fruit, which turns his limbs into rubber, Luffy is also a testament to self-improvement and determination. His simple rubber ability is constantly being developed, and is able to stack up against much more powerful foes in every saga we have seen so far.

On top of all this, it is hard not to be charmed by Luffy’s dedication to fulfilling his dream. Even after over 1000 episodes, Luffy’s single ambition to become the pirate king has never gotten old.

One piece characters ranked: Zoro

1. Roronoa Zoro

He wields three swords; I mean, how cool can you get? From his design to his general indestructibility, few characters are as captivating as Roronoa Zoro. An ex-pirate bounty hunter and the first of the Straw Hats recruits, Zoro is honor personified and will stop at nothing to fulfill his childhood vow to become the world’s best swordsman.

Although relatively quiet and a single-minded boozehound at times, Zoro gives you everything you’d want out of a shounen anime and more. He constantly delivers stylish action scenes, is obsessed with discipline, and on top of all that, he is also loyal. In the crazy world of One Piece and following the impulsive Captain Monkey D. Luffy, Zoro has proven himself as a calm and devastating warrior who can’t be matched or replaced.

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And there you have it, the best One Piece characters of all time. If you are after more anime, here are our guides to the best Dragon Ball charactersbest Naruto characters, and the best anime movies.

We’ve also got you covered on all of the new anime heading your way in 2023 and have all the information that you need to know on the One Piece live-action season 2 release date, and Luffy’s Gear 5 form.

If you’re excited to watch the Netflix adaptation, check out our One Piece review to see what we thought. We’ve also got a One Piece live-action ending explained and guides to both the World Government and why Devil Fruit users can’t swim.