Like most shonen franchises that draw inspiration from history, there are a lot of interesting facts buried under Eiichiro Oda’s long-running yarn. Longtime fans already know all of these facts but for people like me who only got caught up a few months ago, the following facts could be interesting:
Gol D. Roger’s Execution and Final Words
The catalyst for the entire One Piece story is Gol D. Roger’s execution, with the Pirate King surrendering on his own accord and leaving behind a cryptic message that set a lot of things into motion: “My fortune is yours for the taking, but you’ll have to find it first. I left everything I own…in one piece.”
Both Roger’s execution and his last words were based on something that really happened: The pirate Olivier Levasseur, named La Buse (The Mouth), was executed by the French government on July 7, 1730 and it is said that when he stood on the scaffold, he was wearing a necklace containing a cryptogram of 17 lines. La Buse threw it in the crowd of people gathered and shouted “Find my treasure, the one who may understand it!”
Whitebeard Doesn’t Have a Beard
It may seem weird that a pirate named Whitebeard only has a moustache instead of a beard. It has to do with the fact that his Japanese name is Shirohige (shiro = white, hige = facial hair.) You have to admit that Whitebeard rolls off the tongue much better than Whitefacialhair or Whitemoustache.
The recent manga chapter finally confirmed Sabo’s whereabouts (and the fact that he’s still alive.) Like many of the important characters in the series, Sabo is based on something that Oda liked. In his case, the character Artful Dodger from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, who is part of a gang of child thieves and uses a trademark top hat.
Sanji was inspired by Steve Buscemi’s character in Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Pink, and was originally named Naruto before Oda found out about Kishimoto’s upcoming manga.
Robin’s Change of Heart
Nico Robin used to refer to Nami only as “Navigator” but after the Enies Lobby event, Robin started referring to her by name. This is not a gaffe, and Oda himself admitted in SBS Volume 49 that Robin has already opened up her heart to her crewmates. He also made a note that in spite of the story’s huge size, he still wants to depict the little human things.
The Real Blackbeard
Edward D. Newgate (Whitebeard), Tatch, and Marshall D. Teach (Blackbeard) are all based on the real life 18th century Caribbean pirate, Edward Teach (sometimes referred to as Thatch). However, Whitebeard and Tatch only take the name. It’s Marshall D. Teach who is actually modeled after the real Blackbeard in terms of look and personality.
One Piece’s Readerbase
Even though Weekly Shonen Jump’s target demographic is teenage boys, only 12% of One Piece’s readers are aged 1-18. 13% are aged 50 and above, 32% are aged 30 to 49, and 43% are in the 19-29 age range. Of course, one can easily attribute this to the fact that the series has been going on for a decade and a half now, so chances are many of its fans started reading as teenage boys and grew up along with the series.
Sources: OnePiece.Wikia.com, Sankaku Complex (note: NSFW so we’re not providing the URL. If you’re old enough to view the site, you’re old enough to know how to use Google.)