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This is something that crossed my mind a while ago. Bounties seem to be somewhat arbitrary so far however I get the mild impression that there are a few numbers given to people which seem to have special significance over other numbers. In particular this are the values which could perhaps have some significance:
80 million is the bounty which crocodile and boa had before they were made into shichibukai. It is also pretty damn close to the first bounty robin had (and exactly her second) and if I do recall oda did say arlong would have been worth just about that had he not been bribing the marines for a while.
100 million seems to have an implied more obvious special significance than the 80 mill number, it does not quite seem to be a thing about being worth a mere 20 mil more. The supernova were important (and named supernova) because they were worth 100 mil or more. More so, level 5 was specifically meant for people worth 100 mil or more.
I didn't think there was anything all that special in particular about the 300 mil number until jinbe made a comment.
Why would it be difficult to get any higher in particular from this number? More so, people a lot more powerful than luffy before the timeskip never even reached the number. JInbe supposedly got higher than 400 mil however before he was a shichibukai he was at 250 mil only. Kumar was worth 296 mil, why not just give him an easier rounder number like 300 mil?
The ID situation points a little bit towards a particular meaning behind bounty numbers to some extent perhaps. If I recall each level covered people with bounties within certain ranges. A specific mention was made of level 3, where it was said people worth more than 50 mil were kept. Yet another mention of this was made of level 5 where people worth more than 100 mil where kept.
The bounties are determined by the world government based on perceived threat levels and probably the danger of encountering the person. We've had little to do with bounty hunters but from what we know about bounties includes things like:
Average bounty in East Blue is 3 million, and this is the weakest of the seas. Johnny/Yosaku probablly go after bounties around this level for example, and Zoro was probably picking off guys of this level to get by at the time. In east blue 10 million is considered significant. The highest bounties were Buggy (15mil), Don Krieg (17 mil) and Arlong (20 mil)
When we got to the grand line we've noticed these bounties are pretty small potatoes, with average bounties being around luffy's first/usopp of 30million. When Luffy first entered his bounty was seen as not very special. I always figured average bounty was around Sarquiss bounty of 38million and Bellamy's of 55million for the mid tier of grand line pirates. 100 million is more a threshold in paradise from what we notice. The strongest pirates who end up in the first half of the grand line is pirates over 100 million. It's shown when Luffy's increases this high based on the reactions during the Jaya arc. Also the whole significance of the supernovas, because they're pirates dangerous enough.
Rockstar from Shanks crew was a rookie worth 94 million, so it's generally assumed that any pirate who isn't a subordinate of the yonkou would have to at least have this high of a bounty for a chance of surviving out there. Level 5 is another example, as the level 6 was reserved for the most dangerous criminals, so that would imply 100 million is the threshold for the more dangerous but not top tier criminals arrested by WG
100 million and higher is probably also the lower side of bounties we'll see of captains in NW unless the person is an underling of a yonkou somehow. 300 million would make sense as a cap though. Luffy got it for destroying Enies Lobby, one of the main government branches, after surviving a buster call, and declaring war on the world government itself. I think it was the government making a soft threshold for him, as it would seem underrated now given the severity of his actions, so they gave him the lowest bounty of their "soft cap"
Oda has mentioned through SBS that Crocodile would be twice as much (162 million) if the WG knew about his involvement with Baroque works. With that in mind aside from Hancock every shichibukai seemed to be between 200-350 million range (mihawk unknown, Blackbeard not having a bounty, though he probably does now and is probably even higher than luffy's or jinbei's given his own actions) which would make them on the higher end. Hancock got hers in a single campaign, chances are she would follow suit had she stayed. ALso Oda mentioned before Enel if his actions on Skypeia were known would have been as high as 500million, so for now this is the highest potential bounty we have heard.
If it takes those sort of actions and only be worth 300 million, it means the higher end of bounties will probably be around 300-500 million in general. It can be assumed if anyone gets bounties higher than this will be limited to the yonkou themselves, dragon, roger/rayleigh and similar top tier criminals. Oda has kept them secret so he doesn't dig himself into a hole with the increases. They're sort of a soft power level for one piece as it is, so even though whitebeard could potentially be only 500 million or a little higher, it would make it seem close to luffy for being 400 million then we'd have debates luffy is already close to yonkou level in strength. Because bounty's aren't power level though, it wouldn't be too crazy to assume. I mean in that case they're freaking yonkou. A bounty hunter is probably not going after their heads, and i'm sure once that title was given to them, there wasn't any use to increasing their bounties as civilians would already be well aware how dangerous these pirates are. Though by not announcing them it leaves the sky the limit incase luffy does things crazy enough to get on their level eventually. Though with the recent increase being so small despite his actions at marineford, striking a world noble, and declaring war by ringing the ox bell it also means that oda will keep the increases in check. Its logical after a while that it would be hard to do anything worth topping that to merit any sort of increase. THe increases we see now will probably relate more to his crew catching up to him than luffy himself (like luffy getting 450 million next time, zoro being 200-300, sanji being 200, and so on).
The numbers haven't proven any significance either way though, and its anyones guess how exactly they decide these things, because despite luffy's actions, kidd had a higher bounty just from attacking innocent people (though he probably has more incidents overall than luffy, and it may have gone up exponentially from that) and zoro was one of the lower numbers for the supernovas, so it can be assumed their bounties would be for doing worse than he has. Robin's is super high because the ponyglyph reading makes her dangerous too, not for her actual strength or anything, though the believed reason of sinking buster call ships probably makes her seem more dangerous to the public in general.
I assume yonkou to be worth one billion minimum, because how much did the government pay for marineford? Presumably their thousands of marines get paid, add that to the costs of pacifistas, the seige wall and the eventual damage to marineford. Compare that to how much they might pay to have someone simpley hand them whitebeards head. Not having to fight marineford would have to be worth minumum 1 billion to the world gov
I don't think money is a problem. It's a world government, so it gets money from all around the globe. Not like our governments which only gets from the country it belongs too.
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Also, a lot have changed with the bounty value. Smoker mentioned that a pirate that really wasn't a treat, had a 50 mil. bounty. This could mean that Rayleigh, Roger, WB, etc. may not have that high a bounty even tho they were much more dangerous than the SH are at the moment.
Some bounty numbers in One Piece stuck me as very weird: eg 249 mil, 108 mil, 79 mil. To explain this I came up with this theory:
The last digit in the bounty holds significance: eg.249 000 000 - Basil Hawkins bounty. I think 240 mil berri is his actuall bounty, while the '9' is a Marine code used to classify wanted men. Obviously there would be 10 such groups from 0-9. Therefore when Robin's bounty changed from 79 to 80 is was not her bounty so much as her classification in Marine code that changed.
Hmm, I actually think that would be interesting. The last number I mean. BUT since most numbers ends with 0 I think it doesn't work like that.
There must be some meaning, though.
I always thought it was a formula that combined events+potential+known power (DF or technique). Seems that WG doesn't think deeply about it, since characters as Boa Hancok have only 80 millions while Bonney has 140 millions. Which is outrageous considering that Boa is not only stronger but it's obvious that She has also more potential as a threat and have one dangerous ability and the only ship able to sail trough Calm Belt aside than Marines. So even if that was a rookie bounty...it was kinda off.
Hancock has only 80 mil 'cause her bounty was frozen the moment she became a Shichibukai and since that time many years passed so i don't find it strange that her bounty is only 80 mil . If she suddenly was striped by that title i think her bounty would be around 500 mil or something like that .
As for Booney's bounty i think that amount of 140 mil reflects more the threat (which is still unknown atm ) to WG and not her pure strength since we saw already she's not that strong , Sanji could easily deal with her IMO (well that is if his baka character of not being able to fight girls would change )
lol, well i don't know if would go that far when it comes to sanji... We still don't know how her ability works either, but if it involves physical contact in order to turn him into a baby or an old fart then he might have a chance with quick contact hits, but if she simply needs to be near you in order to change you, then sanji would have no chance since his fighting style is close combat type techniques.
As for the bounties thing, i never really thought about them have a significance other then the fact that it shows that they are a threat to the WG. higher the bounty then higher the threat. But now that Natli said what he thought... I think it could be pretty close to that. The Zero at the end could possibly mean something very importent, i mean luffy has alway's had a zero at the end of his bounty, the first being in east blue, so perhaps when in east blue it signifies he's among the strongest in that area at the time... then he got his 100 mil. Yet again another zero at the end, the fact he got this after beating crocodile showed that he was a potential threat while in the grandline. Then he got 300 mil after his enny's lobby bit which then should he was one of the top rookies. And also you could look at it as if the zero isn't the lowest in the line. Your all thinking from 0-9, but what if the zero stand for 10. so it would be more like 1-0. Which mean that robin's 9 means that she was a huge threat when she was younger and then when she joined the Mugiwara's she became an even more threat and it went to 10, or in the bounties case 0.
Well, my idea was about the possibility of a bounty number saying a bit more than merely a numeric value. Kinda like specific numbers or bounty numbers would work as labels and say something specific about the person who holds the bounty in question. Lets take the 100 million bounty as an example. As we saw, this is pretty much the number that marked the supernova, every one of them was worth more than 100 mil. With my theory that number (and anyone above it perhaps) would be used by the marines to identify a particular sort of people. For example, in this case perhaps we could argue that people who hold bounties superior to 100 mil are people who the world government has acknowledge could become threats to the world government as a whole, kinda like "hey, this guy might be a yonko someday". In turn, the 300 mil bounty could mean the realization of the previous suspicion so perhaps it would say something along the lines "hey, this guy is a threat to the world government as a whole". Realisitically speaking the amount of people of actual strength in any given organization is minuscule (3 admirals and some VAs for the world government, 16 commanders for the WB pirates, the monster trio in the strawhats and so on) so anyone capable of defeating any one of those guys is a huge threat to say the least. Hypothetically, a 300 mil bounty could mean that someone could throw of the balance of the world as a whole with a single fight. Of course, this is purely hypothetical and just meant to explain kinda what I meant with specific bounty numbers having a specific special meaning.
Maybe the number means "One on X people". A pet like "chopper" according to the WG can be found every 50 people. A girl like nami every 16K. A guy like Luffy every 400K. It's an estimation, of course.
That could actually be a good way o looking at it as well... Cause the world government doesn't know for sure how strong someone can be in the future, they just have an idea of what they could be. So as time goes on the WG see that this person might be harder to come by so the up his bounty. instead of thinkin, "bah, we see guys like him in every 30 mil people." But then he gets stronger and they are like "oh shit, maybe he's not 1 in 30 mil. he's actually 1 in 100 mil. might be a good way of seeing it...
That's an interesting take on the subject as well, but i'm not sure how they would figure something like that out, even as a wild guess.
Since the purpose of a bounty is monetary incentive for non-government affiliated persons to capture a criminal. The person going for the capture is looking at risk vs. reward factors. The higher the bounty, the greater the risk. A bounty hunter is essentially risking their life to begin with by bringing a criminal to justice, so the number can just be a factor to how big the game they'll go after is. The number can just help them decide if they want to go after the reward.
Though you never know with the OP world, since some people make assumptions that the marines screwed up the bounty, is anyone going to take a 79 million bounty seriously for a little girl? More see it as easy cash, and when Luffy entered the grand line, some people even thought 30 million seemed a bit much given how foolish he was perceived to be....until he proved them he was worth more than every cent of course