8 best mentors to the Straw Hats in One Piece, ranked
The concept of inherited will is one of the most consistent themes in One Piece. It forms the core of One Piece’s lessons and overarching, connecting messages. It also makes for incredibly deep dynamics between characters.
Similarly, the relationship between a mentor and a student in One Piece can also be classified as an inheritance of will, whether philosophical or ideological lessons are learned or not. The Straw Hat mentors, in particular, fall into this category, with some being more significant and impactful than others.
Here are the eight best mentors to the Straw Hats in One Piece, ranked.
Note: This article solely reflects the opinions of the writer
Time-skip teachers dominate list of One Piece’s best Straw Hat mentors
8) Shimotsuki family
Kicking off the list is the Shimotsuki family, who were responsible for training Zoro in the ways of swordsmanship during his childhood.
While the family was incredibly skilled, they only taught Zoro the basics of swordsmanship, as evidenced by the constant growth he experiences throughout One Piece.
The family's lessons still created the formidable man who is one of the series’ most revered fighters. However, their contributions are less significant than other mentors.
For this reason, the Shimotsuki family receives the lowest ranking on this list.
Haredas is a citizen of Weatheria, one of One Piece’s sky islands, which is where Nami ended up during the time-skip.
After a rocky start to their relationship, he agreed to tutor her in the weather of the New World, as well as his invention known as Weather Balls.
Both subjects of Nami’s education proved incredibly useful when the Straw Hats reunited and entered the New World. Additionally, her ability to use Weather Balls as weapons has allowed her to greatly contribute to various fights throughout the New World saga.
Heracles served as Usopp’s mentor during his time on the Boin Archipelago. He fell prey to the food that grows there and almost became food for the island himself. He became incredibly (and comically) out of shape as a result.
Once steeling himself after receiving Luffy’s message, Heracles trained Usopp in both fitness as well as the ways of Pop Greens. His use of the latter throughout the New World saga has proved instrumental in getting the crew out of many sticky situations.
Hack is a Fish-Man member of the Revolutionary Army. He is also a master in Fish-Man Karate.
During the One Piece time-skip, Nico Robin eventually found her way into the care of the oppositional group and grew close with Hack and others as a result.
It was revealed during the Wano arc that he was something of a mentor to Robin during the time-skip, teaching her how to use Fish-Man Karate.
Considering the skill directly led to her victory over Black Maria, he’s undoubtedly one of the better Straw Hat mentors in the series.
4) Emporio Ivankov
While Ivankov didn’t do much direct training with Sanji during the One Piece time-skip, he did make a promise that resulted in the cook getting the Attack Cuisine recipes. These recipes strengthen those who eat them, making their attacks and overall endurance much more powerful.
Additionally, the process Sanji had to go through to win these recipes made him much stronger. He needed to defeat the 99 masters of Newkama Kenpo to win them.
As a result, although indirectly, Ivankov’s mentorship of Sanji not only benefited the Straw Hat chef but the Straw Hat Pirates overall (because they were able to eat the Attack Cuisine).
3) Dracule Mihawk
Dracule Mihawk trained Zoro in swordsmanship and Armament Haki during the One Piece time-skip, resulting in the Straw Hat swordsman becoming incredibly strong. The power he wields once the crew reunites is much closer to Mihawk’s level rather than his old strength, emphasizing just how significant this training was.
While Mihawk’s training doesn’t directly benefit the crew like other mentors' lessons, his making their first mate stronger does have many indirect benefits. As a result, he’s solidified as one of the best Straw Hat mentors in the series.
Serving as Luffy’s initial mentor on how to be a pirate, Shanks is one of two mentors on this list whose teachings took place before the time-skip.
Much of the Straw Hat captain’s outlook, attitude, and actions on being a pirate are directly influenced by the lessons he learned from the Yonko.
Arguably, Shanks' role as a mentor to Luffy is still in play, even if only as an ideal or goal to strive towards rather than direct teachings of right or wrong. There’s little doubt he’s one of the best Straw Hat mentors there is in One Piece.
1) Silvers Rayleigh
One Piece’s Dark King narrowly wins the number one spot for a variety of reasons. One of the most significant reasons is that he served as something of a mentor to the crew at large. He helped them along on their post-time-skip journey and educated them on Raftel.
Additionally, Silvers Rayleigh trains Luffy during the time-skip and is directly responsible for the absolute powerhouse he’s become throughout the New World saga.
Many of the Straw Hats’ achievements wouldn’t be possible without their captain being as strong as he is, solidifying Rayleigh’s number one rank here.
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