Home أخبار Why One Piece’s World Government Is a Masterclass in Villainy

Why One Piece’s World Government Is a Masterclass in Villainy

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The following contains minor spoilers for One Piece.

Summary

The World Government in One Piece is a massive entity with countless members and powerful weapons at its disposal.
The World Government feels scarily real as a political entity, no matter its shonen fantasy flair.
The World Government’s mysteries, including its founding and true leader Imu, keep viewers engaged.

Over the course of 1,100+ manga chapters and anime episodes, the saga of One Piece has introduced countless antagonists, ranging from minor threats like Don Krieg and Mr. 3 all the way to superboss villains like the Emperor Kaido, Charlotte Katakuri, and Donquixote Doflamingo. What they have in common is that they are individual people, and with the right tactics and enough force, a single person can be defeated and captured. By now, Kaido is out of the picture and Doflamingo is locked up in Impel Down with no chance of escape, but Luffy won’t have such an easy time against an incredible villain like the World Government itself.

No government is just one person — it’s lots of people, from politicians to secretaries to the officers and soldiers of its military, and much more. While Luffy can beat up his enemies with his Gears and Haki, he’s not going to punch the World Government out of existence. The World Government is a masterclass in anime villainy because of a few combined factors, from its sheer size as a non-individual to its many weapons and powers, not to mention how scarily real it feels.

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The World Government is a Massive Entity, Not One Villain

Sometimes, an anime’s story is compelling because of a single villain whose dialogue, scary charisma, and unique powers steal the show. It’s simply a matter of writing whether an organization or a single character makes for the best villain, and anime fans have seen various shonen series take both routes to great effect. For example, the singular villain Sosuke Aizen in Bleach is an unforgettable threat, and fans fear Ryomen Sukuna, the king of curses, in Jujutsu Kaisen.

Conversely, some anime series make an entire faction the antagonist, such as the Marley Empire in Attack on Titan, and One Piece took that route, too. Each arc and island may have its own singular villain to hold everything together, but for the overall story, Monkey D. Luffy and his friends need more than just an Aizen or Sukuna to face — they need an entire government, a sprawling entity with countless members to threaten the heroes.

The World Government is a masterclass in villainy for a few reasons, including the fact it lacks the vulnerabilities a single villain may have. No matter how powerful a single antagonist may be, they can’t be everywhere at once, and they will have weaknesses the hero can exploit. Or at least, the shonen hero will win via plot armor and beat the odds, and once an individual villain is vanquished, there’s no one to replace them — the threat is gone.

However, even if the World Government has powerful leaders who aren’t easily replaced, the World Government isn’t so vulnerable as to collapse if a single warrior or leader is defeated. Such a huge entity can endure many losses and keep functioning. It even lost leaders like Admiral Aokiji/Kuzan, who has since joined the Blackbeard Pirates. In a way, that makes it feel like Luffy and his friends are fighting the world itself, and given the World Government’s size, name, and power, that’s not far from the truth.

No matter how many Marines, officers, or Warlords of the Sea One Piece’s heroes vanquish or redeem, there is always much more to face, and less strong-willed pirates might despair that there is no winning against this threat. Luffy seems confident that he can handle the World Government and realize his dream of becoming the Pirate King, but few other pirate captains would have the nerve to declare war on a seemingly infinite foe like the World Government, a vast entity that can throw countless bodies at the offending pirate until the World Government emerges victorious.

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The World Government Has Many Weapons and Groups at Its Disposal

It’s common for shonen anime series to give the main villain some allies or even an elite corps of their own so they are not a one-man army. Anime fans have seen plenty of examples before, from Muzan Kibutsuji’s Lower and Upper Moons to the Akatsuki organization to the Phantom Troupe and certainly the League of Villains. In some ways, the League of Villains or the Paranormal Liberation Front might feel like a mega-group on par with the World Government, but not even the supervillain All For One has the sheer quantity of assets that One Piece’s World Government has.

An underground army like that can never compare to a political entity that can tap into all the resources, tax money, and manpower in the world. Over time, One Piece fans have seen the incredible amount of weapons and warriors the World Government has at its disposal, some of which were foreshadowed before becoming a major on-screen threat. One example is the Navy fleet itself, a massive fleet thickly armored and well-armed battleships that roam the four seas of One Piece’s world, easily able to wipe out ordinary pirate ships in naval battles.

Fans saw this early on, with Luffy and his small Straw Hat crew repeatedly fleeing the Navy while lacking the power to shoot back. One example was the Alabata arc’s conclusion, where Luffy needed Mr. 2’s aid just to escape the Navy blockade, let alone try to sink the enemy fleet. The World Government has far more than Navy ships and Marines to enforce its will, though. Even a serious threat like that is just the conventional stuff, because when the World Government faces its most powerful foes, such as one of the Four Emperors or a rebellious island, the World Government can call upon devastating powers like a buster call or even the Ancient Weapons.

Practically no one can survive a buster call’s wrath, as fans saw when a buster call leveled the island of Ohara, and the young Nico Robin was quite lucky to survive that thanks to Jaguar D. Saul’s intervention. Few other anime villain groups or individuals can even approach that kind of power, aside from the Six Paths of Pain using Almighty Push to level the entire Hidden Leaf Village. And even then, that was one major village, not an entire island nation.

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For a time, the buster call remained the World Government’s and Navy’s best emergency option against rebellious islands, but much more recently, the World Government upped its game yet again with the unseen Ancient Weapons. The World Government has one or more such weapons at its disposal, as demonstrated when Imu ordered the destruction of the entire Lulusia Kingdom and the island on which it sat.

Imu didn’t even bother with a buster call — one shot from the unseen Ancient Weapon was enough to utterly vaporize the island, leaving a hole in the ocean that seawater was starting to fill. Now, the World Government has its own Death Star, with the Lulusia Kingdom’s island as its Alderaan. If that weren’t enough, the World Government can also call upon its most elite fighters to take down its enemies, with these elite agents coming in not just one, but three different groups.

Only an organization of this size could have three different teams that, on their own, would each equal the likes of the Akatsuki or the Phantom Troupe. That provides some variety with the World Government’s villainy, starting with the Seven Warlords of the Sea. They are powerful pirate captains who have their bounties erased in exchange for operating on behalf of the World Government when asked, and the original lineup in One Piece’s early days included powerhouses like Dracule Mihawk, Boa Hancock, and Gecko Moria.

Since then, the lineup has changed a few times to include the likes of Blackbeard and Trafalgar Law, though the Warlords have been disbanded. The other super-groups within the World Government’s ranks include the Five Elders and the three Admirals, with the latter group experiencing some changes in its lineup, similar to the former Warlords. The three original Admirals were Aokiji, Kizaru, and Akainu, each of whom wield a devastatingly powerful Devil Fruit, including Aokij’s ice, Akainu’s lava, and Kizaru’s beams of light.

Even in the post-time skip era, Luffy would be hard-pressed to fight any of them without the power of Gear 5. Meanwhile, the Five Elders were introduced as the World Government’s highest authority as five older men who remain in Marijoa while dishing out orders, but they are capable fighters, too. As One Piece fans have seen in the ongoing Egghead Island story arc, the Five Elders can and will do their dirty work in person if need be.

The five of them are the World Government’s living weapons, all bearing awakened mythical Zoan-type Devil Fruits, some of the strongest Devil Fruit powers a fan could possibly imagine. So far, none of the Elders have been conclusively defeated in battle, though Jaygarcia Saturn did struggle against Luffy’s power of Gear 5, at least.

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The World Government Has Cooler, Deeper Secrets Than Most Anime Villains Do

It’s common for anime villains to have some cool secrets, such as the true nature of their powers, their origins, or even the fact that they are villains. One of the best twists in Bleach’s Soul Society arc was the fact that the charming Captain Sosuke Aizen was actually the bad guy, for example. And it took time for Naruto fans to learn the full truth of why the Akatsuki organization was doing what it was doing, and under whose leadership. However, the World Government in One Piece has them all beat with its masterclass villainy thanks to its enticing secrets.

These aren’t just mysteries like “who’s the boss?” or “What’s the boss’s origin story?” The mysteries of the World Government concern the entire world of One Piece, since that government is a massive entity spanning the globe. One such secret concerns the World Government’s founding several centuries ago. One Piece fans do know some basic details, such as the fact that twenty monarchs came together as the First Twenty to create the World Government, and that their descendants became the smug, complacent Celestial Dragons.

Fans also know that the fledgling World Government defeated the Great Kingdom during the Void Century and thus defeated Joy Boy, but the exact details are still unknown. In fact, the World Government wants it that way, since it’s illegal for anyone to research the mysteries of the Void Century and thus learn more about how the World Government rose to replace the Great Kingdom that Joy Boy inhabited. The World Government also has a cool secret in the form of Imu, the true leader of this massive political entity.

The people of One Piece’s world accept that the Five Elders are the World Government’s ultimate authority, but they are being deceived, because the Five Elders all answer to Imu, who sits on the supposedly empty, neutral throne of Marijoa. One Piece fans don’t yet know who or what Imu is, partly because this character appears as a silhouette with red eyes, with no other details visible. There’s no telling where Imu came from, their sex/gender, their age, or even their nature, such as whether Imu is a human being, a monster, a supernatural entity, or something else entirely. It’s an even better mystery than the question of what the Akatsuki’s hologram leader in Naruto was like.

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The World Government May Be Shonen Fiction, But It Still Feels Chillingly Real and Familiar

Even if the World Government is 100% fictional, from its leaders to its weapons and ships, it’s a palpable threat in One Piece’s world, because it feels real on some levels. Fiction is a reflection of reality, which is what makes anime, movies, TV shows, books, and graphic novels feel relevant and thought-provoking. Even space operas and high fantasy remain grounded with how the real world and its people function, including governments that rely on tyranny and force to function.

Fans might compare One Piece’s World Government to real-life political movements, regimes, kingdoms, and governments, while a fan’s own political views may dictate exactly how that comparison is made. Still, it’s universal that all people wish for freedom and reject harsh oppression, no matter their own worldview and politics, so One Piece’s World Government feels like a Big Brother that anyone would fear. The World Government can also be compared to other examples of fictional governments and regimes that are well-established comments on the real world.

Fans might compare the World Government to the Galactic Empire of Star Wars fame, since both groups have a mysterious leader, a massive fleet, oppressive methods, and access to superweapons like the Death Star that use fear to keep their subjects under control. And Star Wars fans certainly know the real-life parallels that are made with the Galactic Empire, including the Roman Empire under Julius Caesar the dictator, so that helps make the World Government feel real in ways that the Akatsuki and League of Villains never could.

One Piece (1999)

Follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew in order to find the greatest treasure ever left by the legendary Pirate, Gold Roger. The famous mystery treasure named “One Piece”.

Release Date October 20, 1999

Creator(s) Eiichiro Oda

Cast Mayumi Tanaka , Akemi Okamura , Laurent Vernin , Tony Beck , Kazuya Nakai

Seasons 1

Studio Toei Animation

Creator Eiichirô Oda

Production Company Toei Animation

Number of Episodes 1K+

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