Ladies and gentlemen: I’ve done it. I’ve completed the task that’s been daunting me ever since I first became a weeb. At long last, I’m all caught up on One Piece.
Which means I’ve got a promise to keep.
A few months back, I ranked all of the Straw Hats from my least favorite to favorite from before the time skip. Now, I’m gonna revisit that list to see how things have changed. Which crew mates have risen? Which have fallen? Let’s find out, shall we?
Please don’t be mad at me.
Pitch forks and torches down! Let me explain!
The time-skip didn’t treat Usopp kindly. He’s got some great moments, don’t get me wrong! God Usopp is hysterical and his fight with Sugar is pretty good. But aside from that, I honestly think that this version of Usopp is a downgrade in every regard.
His design is less interesting. He keeps pulling new weapons out of his ass, which feels very deus-ex-machina like. Aside from his brief battle with Sugar, he doesn’t even get many fights of his own!
Then there’s the scene with the Tontattas. Remember how Usopp always found his courage when his friends needed him? You know, his primary redeeming character trait? Yeah, forget that! He straight-up abandoned the Tontattas, leaving them dead to save his own skin! He knows that they and the rest of the crew (except Robin because he forgot she existed because of Sugar) are counting on him. But he still pusses out and runs away! You know! The exact opposite thing that Usopp would do!
Honestly, there’s a lot I dislike about the time skip. But out of everything, I feel that Usopp suffered from it the most. The dude hasn’t felt like himself for a long time. Can he redeem himself before the end of Wano? Maybe! Probably not!
Fingers crossed for Elbaph, though. If Usopp’s gonna get a redemption arc, it’ll be there.
Why, Oda?! Why’d you ruin Chopper’s design?! He was cute before! Now he just looks weird!
Chopper has felt really reduntant after the time skip. He had some great stuff in Punk Hazard, when he was protecting all the kids, but that’s about it. All he gets are really repetitive scenes where he goes “I’m a doctor, I’ll help everybody!” and saves large groups of people. It was cool in Punk Hazard! But then he did it again in Zou and Wano, so the drama of it is kinda lessened.
Also, his abilities are way less interesting. Mainly his Monster form. When that shit showed up in Enies Lobby, it was hype as hell! Our cute little mascot turned into a rampaging monster! But now he can control it with little to no consequence. So much for that!
It’s like Professor Hulk in the MCU all over again…
*Sigh* Man… Robin was my favorite Straw Hat before the time skip! And I still love her! But she gets such little time in the spotlight that it hurts!
For one: her design is a downgrade in every way. I don’t know why they needed to white-wash Robin, but they did and it makes me uncontrollably angry. Out of all the Straw Hat redesigns, I think Robin got it the worst.
She does get some cool stuff, though. Her moments in Dressrosa are small, but they’re cool enough to stick in my mind; her protecting Rebecca with her flower move is cool. Plus, I like how she knows the Revolutionary Army. It’s cool to have a little link between Luffy and his father.
And that scene in Zou, where she realizes how much danger she’s in for being able to read Ponegliffs and puts her faith in the other crew mates? I love that. It’s so cute and it makes me feel warm.
Side note: her interactions with Jimbei in Fish-Man Island and Wano are absolutely adorable and hilarious and I hope the two become best friends.
At what point did Nami decide to abandon her shirt? Can she put it back on? Please? I do not wish to be horny anymore, Oda; I just want to be happy.
Nami hasn’t really had much time to shine in the New World. Most of her scenes are very small. She’s got some fun stuff, though! Her deciding to rescue the kids is very in-line with her character and it’s really cool! Her stealing Zeus from Big Mom may be the coolest thing she’s ever done! Better yet: she gets to actually confront the trauma of her past when she meets Jimbei at Fish-Man Island!
Unfortunately, in terms of actual action, she has gotten basically nothing. Her fights are either nothing or short-lived. All she really does when a fight breaks out is cry and beg Luffy for help. Sure, she stole Zeus, but that’s about it!
Still, I love Nami. She’s still one of the best crew members. She handled the time skip pretty gracefully.
But everyone else on the list handled it way better.
Holy shit, Brook turned it around after the time skip! He’s gotten freaking awesome!
His powers are among my favorite of the whole crew. He’s got ice magic and he can detach his soul from his body?! That’s so freaking cool! It’s like if a bard stole the ‘edgy’ card from the rogue and still acted like the comic relief!
Not to mention what he actually does in the story! The dude straight-up stole the Ponegliff prints from Big Mom! Then he sliced her ride and sent her into the fucking ocean!! The skeleton musician has become a bigger thorn in Big Mom’s side than Luffy himself!
Although I’m not a fan of his Soul King design. I think that’s a bit much. His old one was much better.
Don’t worry, that’s the last time I’m gonna say that.
Oh Captain my Captain! Hello again, Luffy!
Luffy’s changes are very subtle. He is a bit more mature than he was before; he’ll think things through in order to protect his crew much more than he ever did before. Sure, he’s still reckless as hell and stupid and he’s still a Shounen can-do character. But it’s nice to see him actually grow as a captain.
Aside from that, what is there to say? He’s still Luffy, he’s still great! Not the best character in the series, but he’s still a fantastic protagonist.
Also, his design is the one I’m the most ‘meh’ on. His scar is fantastic! But his new shirt is just kinda… *shrug* who cares? You could stick him in his old outfit and it wouldn’t make any substantial difference.
Unlike this wonderful motherfucker!
What’s this?! A new design that’s actually good?! Wow!!
The time skip treated Franky really well. His design and new abilities are both absolutely hilarious! I don’t care who you are, the nipple-lights are fucking hilarious! Plus, the gag where the girls don’t get the appeal of his robots and laser beams has never failed to make me laugh. It’s so much fun!
Plus, he gets some cool dramatic moments to go along with it! His guardian dad relationship with Luffy in Dressrosa, while short-lived, is really fun! Plus, he’s the guy that drags the crew into the war against Doflamingo! All because he’s the most empathetic and emotional member of the crew!
Not to mention that his fights are amazing! There aren’t many, sure. But the few that he gets are absolute treasures! His fight with Senor Pink is somehow both hilarious and awesome at the same time!
Franky is great. He was always great, but now he’s SUPER great! The dad of the crew has only gotten better!
When one arc saves your entire character.
For the first major chunk of the Time Skip, Sanji sat near the bottom of my list. He had just gotten creepy and annoying. He didn’t really get much time to shine and be cool. It was just pervert gag after pervert gag.
Then Whole Cake Island happened and he turned it all around! Just like that, Sanji became cool again! His new backstory details are absolutely heartbreaking and super engaging! His relationship with Pudding is equal parts adorable and sad! The dude straight-up takes Big Mom down by baking a ridiculously delicious cake! And best of all: his conflict with Luffy is one of the strongest emotional gut punches in the entire series!
I’m not a fan of his stealth suit, though. It would be awesome… if it didn’t have stealth powers. Oda, why’d you have to give Sanji the power to peep? Don’t give him that victory!
Oda built this dude up for fucking years and god damn was it worth it!
Now, there is a mild problem: so far, his interactions with most of the crew have been very limited. We still don’t really know how he’ll fit into the group dynamic going forward. We’ve seen glimpses; his brief interactions with both Robin and Sanji, somewhat stiff and awkward and “Yeah sure, I’m the new guy, you’re in charge” is absolutely amazing!
Plus, this dude’s powers are just really cool! He’s got special karate that lets him control the ocean!! You know! The thing that all the characters are constantly sailing on!
It’s also really nice to finally have a helmsman. It only took… 990 chapters to get someone who could properly steer the ship?
Don’t worry, Zoro. You may not be the #1 swordsman yet. But you’ll always be #1 in my heart.
Zoro aged the most gracefully after the time skip. His new design doesn’t have the same charm as his old one, but it’s plenty cool in its own right! He gets plenty of cool stuff to do, starring in some of the coolest fights! Especially now in Wano!
He’s also the one to change the least. In terms of personality, he’s basically the exact same person. Still a directionless moron with swords on the brain. No one aspect of his personality got blown up too far, like how Sanji’s perversion became even more annoying. He’s still just as likable as ever.
What else can I say? Zoro is the walking embodiment of cool. I don’t know how Oda does it, but he somehow keeps making this dude cooler and cooler!
And we still haven’t reached the end of Wano! Watch! This dude’s gonna cut Kaido in half!
Jesus, dude. One thousand chapters. I remember back when I thought DBZ was the longest anime… oh, the innocence of youth.
Now, in case it weren’t obvious: I love all ten of these characters. I have my complaints, don’t get me wrong. But even with the effects of the time skip, I still think the Straw Hat crew is among the strongest set of characters fiction has to offer. If they weren’t, lists like this wouldn’t exist.
Though I can’t say I’ll be mad that I can’t write another update anytime soon. If I ever do it at all, it’ll be when the series is over. And we’ve still got… what, five years left until that happens?
If it does at all. Which it very well may not.