The more the final phase of the story progresses, the more fans are wondering this question…
After it was revealed in an interview by Eiichiro Oda that One Piece is getting closer to starting its final phase and, probably the long-awaited end of the saga will come in just over 3 years, his fans have been quick to think what will be the final enemy of the mugiwara and Monkey D. Luffy, the captain of the straw hats. An answer that has stood out from the rest has been: Shanks.
𝐂𝐋𝐀𝐑𝐈𝐅𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍: Oda did NOT state “One Piece ending in 5 years is more realistic”, that was a mistake. He simply said that 3 years is his goal, but he’s not certain how long it will really take since he’s been pretty off in the past
Sorry for the confusion pic.twitter.com/Fb6p615b0r
— Artur – Library of Ohara (@newworldartur) July 22, 2022
On the one hand, Luffy and Shanks have a strong bond and promise to meet again when the former becomes a great pirate, which he has. On the other hand, Shanks is an Emperor of the Sea and will likely have to defend that title if Luffy confronts him. The precise nature of the conflict is difficult to pin down, as much of Shanks’ true motives remain a mystery. Anyway, the information from Chapter 1054, “Flame Emperor”, has dropped a couple more hints about Shanks and reignited the discussion about his meeting with Luffy.
Shanks and his crew were shown near the outside of Wano, discussing Luffy’s recent ascension to Emperor status. They agreed that Luffy had kept the promise between him and Shanks, though Shanks wasn’t ready to meet the boy again. Another great thing shown in this chapter was a memory of the day the Red Haired Pirates stole the Gomu-gomu fruit. 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 steal from a World Government to get it, that could be another indication of his true ambitions.
The idea that Shanks knew the truth about the Gum-Gum no Mi also calls into question his personal interest in Luffy, the boy who ate it. He developed a fondness for the boy not only because of his years in Foosha Village, but also because he sees something of himself and his former captain Gol D Roger in him. In this sense, his bond with Luffy seems completely genuine. However, Shanks understands that Luffy ate one of the most valuable Devil Fruits in the world and it might further explain why he has made such a big deal out of it. He not only sacrificed his arm to save him, but also entrusted him with the straw hat that Roger had passed to him.
Luffy’s devil fruit could fuel a fight between him and Shanks in One Piece
Of course, the idea that Shanks has big ambitions seems a bit hard to believe. Even as Emperor, has so far taken a relatively passive approach to piracy. He is a happy-go-lucky pacifist who only really fights or gets serious when he or those close to him are threatened with violence; Much of Luffy’s hacking seems to be based on Shanks’ style, so it could be taken as an idea of what Shanks is like off-screen.
However, there is one more thing that Chapter 1054 established about Shanks that might put him at odds with Luffy. In his final scene, he states that it is time for the Red Hair Pirates to “make their move” and claim the One Piece.. It’s unclear what Shanks hopes to accomplish by obtaining One Piece, but if it’s anything like his desire for the world-shaking Nika devil fruit, he probably has something big in mind. Luffy intends to get to the treasure first in order to establish himself as the Pirate King.
In case of seeing a confrontation both crews would be quite interesting, because they still have something important to fight for, even if it is not about a nation or ideals. With that in mind, each side could end up having to resort to force to get what they want. Lower level Straw Hats can also fight full, high bounty Redheads.
All this without mentioning the theory that Shanks is a great antagonist.. Many fans have theorized that he has a master plan in mind that has been in the works for all these years. His desire for things like Joy Boy’s ancient devil fruit and One Piece certainly points to him wanting a lot more than he lets on. If this is true, then not only does it justify all of the unusually threatening faces of him throughout the series, but it also means that Luffy is ready for the fight of his life.
Nevertheless, things turn out between Luffy and Shanks, they promise to be significant. Each of them has ambitions that could lead them to bring about a great change in the world. Whether the Straw Hats and the Redheads fight it out in friendly competition or for something bigger, it will be unlike anything that has happened in the series thus far. It will be an intense interaction filled with emotion, nostalgia, and maybe even some drama.