323 hours. That’s approximately how long it would take for someone to completely catch up to the ONE PIECE anime. When a show goes on for this long, it’s for a ton of different reasons. Innovative storytelling, creative world-building, and an engaging protagonist all play a role. However, one thing that makes ONE PIECE truly special is its cast of characters. Over the course of 20 years, creator Eiichiro Oda assembled a cast with over 1,000 characters in it. These characters cover a number of areas, but our focus now is their powers and abilities.
In the ONE PIECE universe, characters can eat something called a “devil fruit.” When this happens, they are granted a special ability. For example, when protagonist Monkey D. Luffy ate the gum-gum fruit, it gave him the properties of rubber. Luffy could stretch his limbs at will and was even immune to lightning damage and the sensation of pain. With so many characters possessing interesting abilities like this, it’s fun ruminating over who the strongest ONE PIECE character is.
Before we get into the list order, I want to talk about my ranking system. When creating this list, I envisioned the ONE PIECE universe as a giant battleground. The person ranked #1 here is, in my opinion, the last person who would be left standing on this battleground. The person ranked #2 would only lose to the person ranked #1, and so on and so forth. Also, we’re only including anime characters. Sorry manga readers, but you might not see your favorite character here or ranked to your liking.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the character rankings.
A lot of you might be surprised Caesar made this list at all. At this point in the ONE PIECE anime, Caesar is essentially a meme character. Luffy’s crew, and fellow pirate Capone “Gang” Bege, always belittle Caesar and call him a loser. Part of this is because his devil fruit power has been restrained for a while now, and he is at the mercy of other stronger characters. However, it wasn’t too long ago in the story that Caesar was the main antagonist of the Punk Hazard arc. People have forgotten exactly how dangerous this guy is, so let’s take a look back at his accolades.
Caesar ate the gas-gas logia fruit, making his body gas. A seemingly useless ability unless matched with genius intellect, and luckily, Caesar has that. He’s acute enough to recognize air is oxygen, a type of gas. As a result, he can physically manipulate the air around people. If Caesar wills it, he could cut off an opponents air-flow and kill them within minutes. It doesn’t matter how strong you are; that technique is impossible to block. Caesar’s also shown ingenuity with the simple castanet instrument. He fills this instrument with explosive powder, clamps them together, and uses his devil fruit powers to fan the flames throughout the air.
Caesar has many more abilities. However, he doesn’t do much fighting due to his cowardly nature. He goes to extreme measures to avoid fighting, but his devil fruit abilities alone earn him a spot on this list.
14. Trafalgar Law
Coming in at #14 is one of ONE PIECE’s most popular characters, Trafalgar D. Water Law. It’s a superfluous name for sure, but the “surgeon of death” isn’t a person you want to make an enemy of. Like Luffy, Law is a member of the worst generation. He earned this title by committing countless heinous acts against the government and quickly accruing a bounty of 500,000,000 bellies (5,000,000 USD.)
Law is a ruthless individual equipped with the op-op fruit, nicknamed “the ultimate devil fruit.” With this fruit, Law can create a giant spatial sphere called the “room.” And within this room, Law can control anything he wants. It gives him an undeniable edge over anyone he can fit in this sphere.
However, Law’s biggest downfall is dealing with foes outside of his rooms. He’s adept with a blade, but not enough to stand up to skilled swordsmen like Mihawk or Zoro. His gamma knife ability, which destroys a person’s internal organs, is certainly powerful. But, it requires a lot of energy and is difficult to hit unless the person is trapped in his room.
Law has potential. There’s no doubt about it. But I ranked him low due to his a few weaknesses in his game.
Donquixote Doflamingo, more commonly referred to as Doffy, is one of the seven warlord’s of the sea. This elite group of pirates is so powerful the World Government in ONE PIECE actively turns a blind eye to their misdeeds. The power of these warlords range quite a bit, but make no mistake about it, Doffy is a force to be reckoned with.
He’s a towering specimen, standing over 10 feet tall with an overall imposing physique. He’s able to use the “color of armaments” Haki, a difficult technique that only skilled fighters can use. Doffy is also blessed with the Conqueror’s Haki ability, which only one in a million people can use. This ability can be used to defeat thousands of enemies at once without moving a single finger.
These abilities make Doffy a dangerous fighter, but he also has the string-string devil fruit to further augment his strength. It might sound like an underwhelming power, but these are no ordinary strings. They’re strong enough to support his tremendous size and weight, allowing him to use a make-shift flying technique. He can also use them as stitches to heal his internal/external injuries, and create copies of himself to fight. Last but not least, Doffy awakened his devil fruit power, allowing him to perform more advanced moves. For example, he can turn buildings into string simply by touching them.
Doflamingo is extremely powerful and can hold his own against any character in the ONE PIECE universe. However, I believe he’d end up losing most hypothetical fights against everyone listed ahead of him.
Sabo is second-in-command of the Revolutionary Army. This organization directly challenges the corrupt officials of the World Government. It’s home to some of the most dangerous fighters in the world, and Sabo made them look like total chumps as a kid. He fought his way to the top of the organization, and as a teenager, is already strong enough to fight Navy admirals. His battle with Fujitora was brief, but people shouldn’t overlook the fact that Sabo stood on even ground with him.
Arguably the most impressive part about their battle was that Sabo didn’t even have full control of his devil fruit yet. The flare-flare fruit is highly lauded for its destructive abilities and is the perfect fit for an anarchist. He recently acquired it earlier in the Dressrosa arc and was merely feeling out his abilities. He’s already shown the ability to use armament Haki as well, which will catapult his strength further.
As the story continues, Sabo will only continue to hone his abilities. He’ll be absolutely lethal when he finally fulfills his potential.
Kuzan is one of the original three Navy admirals, although he eventually forfeits this position. He arrived rather early in the series while pursuing Luffy’s crewmate Robin. However, Kuzan had to go through Luffy first if he wanted any piece of Robin. Even though Luffy has taken down strong foes at this point, Kuzan made him look like an amateur. It’s not just Luffy though. Kuzan has taken down giants and even halted emperors with his combat prowess.
Since he’s above the rank of a vice-admiral, Kuzan can use armament Haki. He’s also gifted with the ice-ice logia devil fruit. He uses this fruit to control, create, and become ice. So to Kuzan, it doesn’t necessarily matter how big you are. He can freeze you. It doesn’t matter how far away you are. He can freeze the environment around you, or manifest his ice into projectiles to track you down.
Kuzan is every bit deserving of his admiral rank. He is strong enough to fight for ten days against Admiral Sakazuki, whose magma-magma fruit directly counters his. ONE PIECE fans up to date with the series will enjoy seeing how his uncertain future plays out.
Issho joined the ONE PIECE cast of characters in the Dressrosa story arc. He replaced Kuzan’s position as a Navy admiral after he leaves his position. As a Navy admiral, Issho is one of the strongest fighters in the ONE PIECE universe. He mostly relies on two overall abilities when fighting.
The first is his devil fruit, which has yet to be named. It does, however, give Issho the ability to manipulate gravity. This lends Issho an advantage heading into any single fight. He can raise gravity levels so high that people can’t even stand up. Conversely, he can make objects have no density and manipulate them as he pleases. We saw his powers on a grand scale when he manipulated the density of a meteor and sent it hurdling towards Dressrosa.
The second is his Haki. Issho himself is blind but uses “color of the vision” Haki to accurately predict enemy attacks.
Overall, Issho is an absolute powerhouse. However, he is still blind. It’s an unfortunate, self-inflicted handicap that will hinder his efficacy on stronger opponents.
Shanks’s combat abilities are a bit of a mystery. However, we know enough about him to give him a high ranking on this list. For starters, he’s one of the Four Emperors, making him one of the strongest pirate captains in the world. His power and reputation are highly feared, and we see this a couple of times throughout the series. For example, Admiral Sakazuki fought through many powerful people, even warlords, to get to Luffy in the Marineford arc. However, he didn’t even attempt to challenge Shanks when he arrived on the battleground. Even fellow emperor Big Mom noted she would have to form an alliance with Elbaf’s army of giants, which is famed as the strongest in the world, to have a chance at killing Shanks.
So, we know at one point that Shanks was an immensely powerful pirate. We don’t know, however, if he’s still a fighter of that caliber. Shanks lost an arm protecting Luffy when he was a child. He’s undoubtedly a weaker fighter, and even his friendly rival Mihawk questions if he’s still in any condition to fight.
When it comes down to it, Shanks’s pedigree alone earned him a spot on his list. However, the uncertainty of his current fighting condition places him in a mid-tier position.
If you’ve noticed a trend on this list, it’s that almost everyone has eaten a devil fruit. Mihawk, however, has no such ability. What he lacks in this department, he more than makes up for in sheer power. Mihawk, aptly nicknamed “hawk-eyes,” is the world’s strongest swordsman. His swordplay is so great he can take down master swordsmen with a mere dagger and minimal effort.
He’s also advanced his abilities so far he can overcome any swordsman’s natural enemy: distance. Through sheer power, and possibly armament Haki, Mihawk can fire beam-like projections from his blade. These projectiles are so powerful they’re capable of cutting massive steel ships and even glaciers in half. With this kind of power, it’s no wonder only Shanks of the Four Emperors could match his swordplay.
Like Issho, Borsalino is one of the three Navy admirals. He’s a bit of an oddball, and honestly one of my least favorite characters. But, I have to give credit where it’s due, and there’s no denying how truly powerful Borsalino is.
He ate the glint-glint logia fruit, and gained the ability to create, control, and transform into light at will. Borsalino is capable of shooting laser beams from his hands, fingers, or feet (which are capable of causing massive explosions). He can also travel great distances almost instantly, and attack enemies in their blind spots. When you combine this with his armament Haki, Borsalino can take down powerful foes in a matter of seconds.
There aren’t many weaknesses in Borsalino’s game. You’ll be hardpressed to find people in the ONE PIECE universe capable of combating his agility and devil fruit abilities.
6. Charlotte Linlin (Big Mom)
Big Mom, the only female member of the Four Emperors, was first introduced in the Fishman Island arc. Luffy, in his typical brash nature, expressed his desire to kick her butt. We didn’t know much about her then but her insane power was revealed during the Whole Cake Island arc.
Big Mom, as her name might suggest, is an absolute behemoth of a person. She stands at 29 feet tall, and her body is so sturdy that she’s only been cut once in her whole life. Her power is off the charts as well. As a 5-year old child, she single-handedly defeated many of Elbaf’s strongest warriors.
Although she’s 68 years old now, people still fear her name. Showing your fear, however, is the last thing you want to do in front of Big Mom. Showing fear activates the condition of her soul-soul fruit, which allows her to freely interact with another person’s soul. She can remove years from a person’s lifespan, or kill them in one fell-swoop if she wants.
Big Mom’s only weakness is to those who aren’t afraid of her. It’s a big one though, as Navy admirals and new world pirates won’t be afraid of her. Her overwhelming strength, size, Haki, and use of Prometheus and Zeus are still enough to take down ONE PIECE’s mightiest foes.
No list would be complete without Whitebeard. For a very long time, people considered Whitebeard the clear-cut favorite to be the new pirate king. The only reason as to why he never became the pirate king is because he found it rather low on his priority list. Nonetheless, he was unequivocally the strongest man in the world. Part of this was from the tremor-tremor fruit, but Whitebeard’s strength is deeper from that.
Like Luffy, Whitebeard gathered his strength from being hell-bent on protecting his friends. He took an excruciating amount of pain during the Marineford arc to defend these convictions. This includes 267 wounds (mostly from Navy admirals), 152 gun wounds, 46 cannon shots, a point-blank stabbing, and a fight against the entire Blackbeard pirate crew. It took all of this to bring down a 72-year old man.
Sakazuki is the current fleet admiral and replaced Sengoku after he stepped down. As such, he is the strongest military power in the world and is a one-man army of sorts. His magma-magma logia devil fruit is one of the strongest on record. It allows Sakazuki to control, create, and transform into magma at will and is even strong enough to burn fire.
Above all else, Sakazuki is cunning, manipulative, and dangerous. So much so that Blackbeard of the Four Emperors fled on sight after hearing Sakazuki was aboard a Navy ship. Part of that is Blackbeard’s tendency to panic in the face of elite enemies, but it’s also great planning on his part. He recognized any encounter with Sakazuki would likely be drawn-out, and if he’s not careful, could result in his death. Sakazuki’s extremist ideologies also make him a formidable foe. He’ll fight to the end to protect his belief in absolute justice, and purging the world of “unclean pirate blood.”
Right now, Sakazuki is painted as the central antagonist of the series. The inevitable showdown between him and Luffy is likely years away but it’s something fans can’t wait to see.
3. Monkey D. Luffy
It’s about time we got to our beloved protagonist! Luffy has kicked up a storm everywhere he’s sailed to. At first, he didn’t have much more to his game than out-punching opponents. However, Luffy seriously stepped up in the Water 7 story arc. He honed the abilities of the gum-gum fruit and developed techniques like Gear 2nd and Gear 3rd. In the Dressrosa and Whole Cake Island arcs, he took things up a notch by developing and mastering his Gear 4 technique. Luffy also has the same Haki powers Doflamingo has, which theoretically qualifies him to fight the world’s strongest opponents.
And if that wasn’t enough, Luffy has limitless energy, and the gall to fight anyone regardless of their badass reputations. He won’t take anyone slandering his friends and has several lethal fighting techniques. However, arguably Luffy’s biggest strength, as noted by Mihawk, is his ability to draw people to him. Luffy has a penchant for turning doubters, haters, and immensely strong people into his close allies. His actions speak louder than words, and part of this is what makes him one of anime’s most fascinating protagonists to watch.
“Magellan is #2? Are you out of your mind?” This name might surprise a few at first, but let’s remember who we’re talking about here. First off, Magellan is endowed with the poison-poison fruit. This turns him into a toxic human, which is perfect for his career choice. Magellan is the chief warden at Impel Down, a prison home to the world’s most dangerous criminals.
Throughout this list, we’ve seen some amazing abilities. Magellan needs to be able to counter all of these should they ever be imprisoned at Impel Down. It just so happens that Magellan’s absurdly strong venom serves as the perfect neutralizer to any foe.
To Magellan, it doesn’t matter how strong you are. If you punch him, his poison will kill you within minutes. It doesn’t matter if you’re faster than him. He can manifest his poison into different shapes, like a hydra, to catch you as you run away. Magellan only needs a few drops of poison to kill you, making him incredibly dangerous. The only way someone could possibly beat Magellan is if they could nullify his devil fruit powers. This train of thought is the perfect segue into our number 1 slot.
1. Marshall D. Teach (Blackbeard)
Maybe not a shocker, but come on. Let’s be honest here, Blackbeard is an absolute freak of nature, even by ONE PIECE standards. He’s a gargantuan human being (11 feet tall) and has a massive body. The latter allows him to store not one, but two devil fruit powers. This much potential power kills any other person foolish enough to try eating multiple devil fruits. Blackbeard, on the other hand, can balance his two devil fruit powers with no ill-effects.
Furthering his case for this #1 spot are his actual devil fruit powers. The first fruit he ate, the dark-dark fruit, is lauded as the strongest devil fruit ever recorded. It turns Blackbeard into a man of darkness, as he can literally manifest himself into dark matter. Furthermore, his devil fruit can temporarily nullify the abilities of other devil fruit users. To this extent, it doesn’t matter what awesome powers you might have, Blackbeard drowns everything in his darkness.
If, by some miracle, you can survive this ability, then you deal with Marshall’s second devil fruit, the tremor-tremor fruit. This gives him the ability to cause quakes. Blackbeard can cause earthquakes by slamming the ground, or by even punching the air and reverberating nearby objects. With all of these ludicrous abilities, it’s no wonder Blackbeard is the favorite to become the new pirate king. So move over Whitebeard. There’s a new favorite to become king of the pirates.
Only the Strong Survive in ONE PIECE
As mentioned earlier, this list isn’t categorical. ONE PIECE has a near infinite cast of characters. As a result, one person might value a certain character higher than someone else. They might feel that Whitebeard is the strongest pirate, and there’s certainly a case for that. Germa 66, Marco, Vice-Admiral Garp, and Silvers Rayleigh all make legitimate cases to be on this list too. But, at the end of the day, it’s all fun and speculation. Even so, I’d love to hear your opinions about who the strongest ONE PIECE character really is.
Comment below with your personal rankings, and let me hear your opinions!
Featured Image Courtesy of Crunchyroll.com