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 series eventually becoming a friend. Over the years, we have met bulky Warlords, Fish-Men, clown pirates, and an array of powerful fruit mutant warriors.
Needless to say, picking out the best individuals from this colourful roster is a tall order. However, much like Luffy himself, The Digital Fix never backs down from a fight. We have sifted through the entire anime (filler and all) to round up which characters in this long-running series 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, proceed at your own risk as we pick out the best One Piece characters out there.
Who are the best One Piece characters?
- Roronoa Zoro
- Monkey D. Luffy
- Nico Robin
- Portgas D. Ace
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 honour personified, and will stop at nothing to fulfil 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.
Monkey D. Luffy
We couldn’t rank the best One Piece characters in the 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, here is a character 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 Gum-Gum 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 900 episodes, Luffy’s single ambition to become the pirate king has never gotten old.
It’s time to recognise 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 an anime villain?
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 a 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.
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 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?
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.
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.
As we mentioned before, 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 demeanour and power never disappoint.
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 ok). He has given us one of the most memorable moments in the entire anime so far, making him a firm figure on this list.
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 fulfil 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 comedy movie star.
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.
And there you have it, the best One Piece characters of all time. Some honourable mentions go to Brook, Chopper, and Whitebeard, who were all considered but just missed the cut.
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