The most relevant character could be an extra

In the early seasons of A play viewers might struggle to find a character they can relate to. Zoro is too determined and driven by his motives to be truly relatable, despite being a wonderful character. Nami, is a borderline sociopath with her ability to compartmentalize her trauma and what she needs to do to stay alive, which, while admirable, isn’t something the average fan has gone through. Luffy is more easygoing yet intense than any human viewers are likely to have encountered, and his body is rubber. However, in the Orange Town Arc, a few background characters introduced for a few moments of levity are the most real characters introduced to the story so far.


A play follows the story of Monkey D. Luffy on his quest to find the One Piece and become the Pirate King. One of the first Arcs is the Orange Town Arc, at this time Luffy has recruited Zoro and in the arc recruits Nami to his crew, sort of. They don’t have a ship yet but are well on their way. Luffy and Zoro must first help Nami deal with Buggy the Clown and his renowned crew.

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Who are the related characters?

As Luffy battles with Buggy, who both possess Devil Fruit powers, much of the city of Orange is destroyed. Part of this is due to their fight, part is due to Buggy’s prior use of Buggy Balls, and part is due to the various other side fights that took place. As a result of this destruction, the building on which the pirate crew stood was also eventually demolished. This leaves the crew more or less tattered and scattered among the debris. Buggy’s first and second companion sit down and indulge in a series of banter that are common in anime but likely aren’t what any given individual would actually say in the real world. For example, the average person is unable to hold an adult lion with one hand in front of them as a shield of meat.

Later, after a particularly vicious blow from Buggy to Luffy, the scene briefly cuts to three members of Buggy’s crew lying in the debris. One starts asking questions while another cowers. The third tells his friend to pretend to be knocked out because if he gets involved in this fight, he’s sure he won’t make it out alive. These three pirates are not given names, but later reappear saying similar things. Intended to make the audience laugh, they also give the audience a chance to remember what they would do, rather than what they would like to do if they were actually there.

Why are they linked?

In the anime, especially this one, people are exceptionally strong and brave. It’s safe to say they may be more stubborn than brave, but the end result is the same. Even ordinary people stand in situations where they are extremely overclassed and underarmed. This happens only two arcs later in A play during the Arlong Palace arch. The townspeople are ready to fight Arlong to the death. While that’s admirable and something people would like to think they’re capable of, it’s extremely unlikely.

It’s much more likely that an ordinary human wouldn’t want to stand up and fight against such immeasurable odds. And those three extras perfectly encapsulate a much more sensible and rational approach to the situation than can be found elsewhere in the series. Mostly because the fight they choose not to participate in is between a man who can cut himself into small pieces and control each independently, and another man who has proven to be almost physically invincible due to the rubbery, springy nature of his body.

What ordinary human could possibly stand up to beings like that? The blow that demolished their building and left them slumped in the rubble was caused by Luffy transforming into a balloon and bouncing a massive explosive cannonball at them. Even under optimal conditions, what could they hope to accomplish against something as inhuman as this?

A brief moment of levity in the midst of an intense fight, and among other emotionally-filled anecdotes, certainly served its purpose. But it also introduced three truly human characters into an otherwise staggeringly unrealistic cast. If these three played a larger role in the series as a whole, it would probably be an incredibly boring story. It’s much nicer to watch extraordinary people live their extraordinary lives than it is to see completely normal people be normal.

That being said, the juxtaposition reminds viewers just how extraordinary the protagonists really are, showing them characters who behave like a truly normal person would in such strange situations. By being the show’s most relevant characters, they create a sense of scale that, especially so early in the show, is hugely important.

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