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It is a common theme in One Piece, but before I go on, no this is not about the main characters, for example Luffy, and another example Ace. Or even part of the SH crew, this is about Family in general, including them. I love how Oda makes this a central theme, most recently with Kinemon and Momonosuke. It was a theme with Sabo and his parents, Nico Robin and her mother, Usopp and his father, Luffy and Dragon, Ace and Gol D. Roger. It is common indeed, it is about this theme as a leitmotif in the series and the meaning behind it.
Family in general is portrayed by Od by being in danger. Before the WB war many families were praying and stuff, recently with the whole kids on PH and the parents crying to the marines. On Fishman Island the small children asking Madam Shirley about what will happen. Also the way Oda focused on the family on Fishamn Island when the crew was exploring it.
Even though Fathers are dominant figures even in the world of One Piece, what does Oda symbolize with the many family relationships, focusing on children as well. For example the CP9 were orphans, trained by the government. So for Oda the government is a threat to the common family? And to the children as well? Is this why this theme is present, to represent that strong family bonds may hold people up in a crazy and upside down world like the one the people in the One Piece universe are living in? Discuss more, i am eager for everyone's opinions.
Does even One Piece have a "bad" guy with family?
You're right. Oda's representation of "good" guys/(girls), usually shows them having a family that is killed or damaged by 'bad' guys who are trying to get their objectives, and who never have family. Thanks for making me notice it.
Now, how does Oda use it? I think this way: OP is not a manga about family or friendship. Instead of it, I would say friendship and care for others is used as a main tool of the kind, by OP protagonists. That works in this way: family ties are central in the initial representation of a main character: you can find many characters caring for children, sons, mothers, friends, etc in their initial appearances,... and then being killed or seriously damaged by bad guys. But, once that happens, those characters that survive the traumatic experience, recreate their lives, find another "family" in their friends (nakamaness (ugh that sounds horrible)), and start to use those friendship ties to get their objectives. But, the objective, in many cases, has nothing to do with something like to get a family or close friends. In that sense, the manga is not about family or friendship as a theme, but it is a tool or a power used by the main characters.
To sum it up: family/friendship is a frame idea or concept, used by Oda to create believable and loving characters. He uses it mostly in the beginning of their stories, and also to give power to his characters, it is a tool used by them in their searches. But One Piece is not a manga about it in the sense that the plot is not focused on family or friendship. It is a central frame concept, a concept that remains always behind the central scenes.
So, Luffy's main power is to get people be with him in his search. But his objective doesn’t have anything to do with family or friendship (until now); (that would not be valid about Edward Newgate or Robin). In contrast, Naruto is in deep a manga about friendship: the breaking off of a friendship between two orphans is the beginning of a search, then friendship is a force, a power used by the protagonist, and the recovering of a friendship will be the happy end. In contrast, I would mark the will as the central theme of One Piece. All the other themes gravitate around it: friendship, family, power, stupidity,...
Last edited by ukimix; October 21, 2012 at 11:00 PM.