When Does Jinbei Join the Straw Hats?

by Hazel

Jinbei, also known as “Knight of the Sea,” is a pivotal character in Eiichiro Oda’s expansive manga and anime series “One Piece.” His transition from a Warlord of the Sea to a full-fledged member of the Straw Hat Pirates marks a significant development in the series’ storyline. This article will delve deep into Jinbei’s journey, exploring his background, his evolving relationship with the Straw Hat crew, and the momentous occasion of his official joining. We will also consider the broader implications of his membership within the narrative structure of “One Piece.”


Jinbei first appears in the series as a member of the Shichibukai (Warlords of the Sea), a group of powerful pirates sanctioned by the World Government. He is a fish-man, specifically a whale shark fish-man, who is highly respected in the Fish-Man Island due to his role as a former captain of the Fish-Man Pirates and his moral standing.


Jinbei’s Background and Ideals

Jinbei’s story is deeply intertwined with the history of Fish-Man Island and the plight of fish-men and merfolk. As a character, Jinbei is depicted as wise and principate, often guided by a strong sense of honor and justice. His background as a leader in the Sun Pirates under Fisher Tiger and later as captain himself has endowed him with a diplomatic demeanor and a profound sense of responsibility towards his people and allies.


His political and social aspirations are evident in his efforts to foster peace between humans and fish-men. Jinbei’s ideals often put him at odds with the World Government and his duties as a Shichibukai, setting the stage for his eventual departure from this role.


Initial Interactions with the Straw Hat Pirates

Jinbei’s first significant interaction with the Straw Hats occurs during the Impel Down and Marineford arcs. He plays a crucial role in aiding Luffy, the protagonist, in his attempt to save his brother Ace from execution. During these events, Jinbei’s respect and admiration for Luffy grow, primarily due to Luffy’s selflessness and his genuine care for his friends and allies.


The Fish-Man Island Arc

The Fish-Man Island Arc serves as a crucial narrative arc for Jinbei’s character. It is here that his past actions as a member of the Sun Pirates and his connections with characters like Arlong come to light. Jinbei’s history with Arlong, who is known for his tyranny over Nami’s village, creates tension and initially strains his relationship with the Straw Hat navigator, Nami.

However, Jinbei seeks redemption and peace, apologizing to Nami for the indirect role he played in her suffering. This moment is pivotal as it showcases Jinbei’s integrity and his willingness to address past grievances for the sake of mutual understanding and healing.

The Whole Cake Island Arc and Jinbei’s Pledge

Jinbei’s formal commitment to the Straw Hat Pirates unfolds during the Whole Cake Island Arc. Prior to this arc, Jinbei had expressed his desire to join Luffy’s crew but felt compelled to settle his obligations towards his former crew and the people of Fish-Man Island before he could do so.

In a defining act of allegiance to Luffy and the Straw Hats, Jinbei directly confronts Big Mom to sever ties with her and join Luffy’s crew officially. His actions during the arc, including risking his life against a Yonko (one of the four most powerful pirates in the world) to protect Luffy and help his escape, cement Jinbei as a formidable and loyal crew member.

Jinbei’s Official Joining

The moment when Jinbei joins the Straw Hats varies between the manga and the anime adaptation of “One Piece.” In the manga, Jinbei announces his intention to join the Straw Hats during the Whole Cake Island Arc, but due to various circumstances, his joining is postponed. He reappears in the Wano Country Arc, arriving in the nick of time to aid the Straw Hats in their battle against Kaido’s forces. It is here, during the height of the battle, that Jinbei is formally welcomed and acknowledged by Luffy as the helmsman of the Straw Hat Pirates.

In the anime, this moment is dramatized with Jinbei pledging his loyalty to Luffy in front of his friends and foes, symbolizing his official status as a member of the crew.

Implications of Jinbei’s Membership

Jinbei’s joining the Straw Hats is significant not only for the dynamics of the crew but also for the broader geopolitical implications in the “One Piece” world. As a former Warlord and a respected leader among the fish-men, Jinbei brings a wealth of experience, strategic acumen, and diplomatic connections that enhance the Straw Hats’ capabilities and influence.


Jinbei’s integration into the Straw Hat Pirates marks a culmination of his character development and his journey from a government-sanctioned pirate to a cherished ally of Luffy. His story arc enriches the narrative of “One Piece,” bringing depth to the series’ exploration of themes such as discrimination, redemption, and the meaning of true justice and freedom. Jinbei is not just a valuable addition in terms of strength but also a moral compass for the crew, steering them towards noble pursuits as they navigate the treacherous waters of the Grand Line and beyond.


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