Love and pirating go hand in hand sometimes, as One Piece demonstrates well. But for every, Luffy and Nami, the main boy and girl pairing that comes along and is generally satisfying, there are more than a few that come out of nowhere.
Sometimes this is a good thing, as romances or spontaneous affections can blossom even in the oddest of places and circumstances. Other times it's weird and interrupts whatever's going on or just comes out of nowhere, and given this is One Piece, that's a given.
With that in mind, here are 10 One Piece romances that came when people least expected them!
Note: The following will contain One Piece spoilers. This article is only the author's opinion.
10 One Piece romances like Luffy and Boa Hancock that came when people least expected it
1) Luffy and Boa Hancock
It was one of One Piece's most one-sided romances ever, heavily favoring Boa Hancock. Seeing as their relationship started rather frosty, fans were surprised when Boa warmed up to and became rather loving towards Luffy. Luffy was oblivious and rejected these feelings.
To summarize how this came about: after being defeated during the Sabaody Archipelago Arc, Luffy wound up on Amazon Lily, an island entirely made up of women who execute men. After a series of trials and tribulations, Luffy showed he was selfless and noble by stopping the Amazons from turning to stone. Post this, Boa relented on the kill order after recounting the tale of how the World Nobles turned their backs on the Amazons and allowed them to be sold into slavery.
Luffy punching one in the face, and generally having a good nature, caused Boa to start exhibiting symptoms of love-sickness towards him. Thankfully, whilst she survived the sickness, it came out of nowhere and her one-sided love for Luffy caused her to not eat, collapse, and all manner of other symptoms. It was shown that he does care about her, even if he doesn't quite return her feelings.
2) Charlotte Pudding and Sanji
Arranged marriages aren't the best thing to happen to a pirate on the high seas, but even worse when your father and an emperor arrange one for political points. Charlotte Pudding and Sanji were both thrown into this by Big Mom and Sanji's father Judge during One Piece's Whole Cake Island Arc.
Despite the horrifically manipulative start, and the fact that the whole thing was a ruse to kill Sanji's whole family, Sanji was charmed by Pudding and cried at the deception. He also called her third eye beautiful, and saved her during the Straw Hats' raid on the wedding. The two revealed just how broken they both were, bonding over that if nothing else.
This caused Pudding to like him in return, the two seeming to get along swimmingly and even lovingly as they tried to escape. It was a bittersweet entry, however, as she couldn't leave Big Mom. So Pudding not only kissed Sanji, but erased his memory of the last kiss they shared. Pudding does want Sanji back, as evidenced by her bittersweet thoughts as the Straw Hats escaped Totto Island.
3) Sai and Baby 5
This one really came out of nowhere and is odd to discuss about. Baby 5 is obsessed with serving others ever since her mother abandoned her in the mountains and served Donquixote Pirates, whereas Sai was the 13th leader of the Happo navy. The two met on the battlefields of Dressrosa during the Straw Hats' altercation with Donquixote Doflamingo.
Due to her abandonment issues, Baby 5 always sought companionship even in the middle of a battlefield. It was rather difficult since Doflamingo was killing her husbands and destroying their countries. Numerous failed assassination attempts from Baby 5 to Doflamingo, culminated in Sai and Baby 5's duel in the Dressrosa arc.
Despite being on opposite sides and fighting hard, Sai oddly kept an open mind about Baby 5 especially when she tried killing herself in the middle of a battle over a sarcastic remark. Sai went on to earn Baby's freedom and affection, and the two ended up married. Turns out Otacon from Metal Gear Solid was right: love CAN bloom on a battlefield.
4) Sabo and Koala
Sabo and Koala were seen as two very different people. For one thing, Sabo was born into wealth with dreams of piracy but had his boat sunk two months after first meeting Luffy and Ace at the age of 10. Since then, he's been in an amesiatic state as part of the Revolutionary Army. Koala was a slave since childhood, rescued by the Fisher Tiger, who eventually joined the Revolutionary Army after the Sun Pirates.
During the Dressrosa Arc, it was revealed that not only is Sabo alive and well (albeit amesiac until Ace's death), but Koala is part of the Revolutionary Army as well! Fans were also ecstatic to see the two having a good, almost romantic relationship in nature. It may not come off that way at all times, what with Koala being rather short with Sabo, but they seem happy working together.
Given that she comforted him after Ace's death, cried over him potentially leaving, and was overjoyed when he stayed? It's not hard to see at least something of a surprise romantic link between her and him.
5) "White Chase" Smoker and "Black Cage" Hina
This one is more coincidental than anything else. Smoker and Hina are Marines working at the G-5 Marine base, with Smoker being a vice admiral and Hina being a rear admiral, the two being longtime friends and classmates. Whilst office romances aren't ideal, these two seem to have more than enough in common.
Both are brash, independent people who are infamous for obsessively and aggressively chasing their prey, in this case, pirates. In Smoker's case, he was on Luffy's tail from the time they crossed paths in Loguetown and went all the way to the forbidden island of Punk Hazard and Alabasta to try capturing him. In Hina's case, she likewise tried capturing Luffy at Marineford but was thwarted by Gear 2.
As for their romantic involement? Mangaka Elichiro Oda drew them hailing a cab together, with Hina being visibly drunk to boot, for One Piece manga Chapter 586 aka "City of Stench." This seems to lend more credence to some fan's love of the relationship. They also seem at their most relaxed when around each other.
6) Usopp and Kaya
Usopp and Kaya is practically one of One Piece's official pairings, confirmed by Mangaka Eiichiro Oda himself. Usopp and Kaya met when they were both young, with Usopp's tall tales of pirates and adventures keeping her entertained when she was sick. The problem was, he had discovered her butler Kuro/Klahadore had been planning to execute Kaya and inherit the fortune as part of the Black Cat Pirates.
Long story short, she only believed him after he had to save her and Syrup Island from the Black Cat Pirate attack alongside the Straw Hats during One Piece's Syrup Island arc. He nearly died for her, and she gave the Straw Hats their first ship, one of One Piece's most iconic ones, the Going Merry in return. They've made it known they care deeply about each other.
As far as romances go, other than maybe Capone Bege and his wife Charlotte Chiffon, this one is about as confirmed and as real as it gets without being a flashback for One Piece. Kaya is even shown being defended from multiple suitors, still awaiting Usopp.
7) Chopper and Milky
As One Piece's mascot and one of the very few anthropomorphic animals, Tony Tony Chopper didn't seem to have any romantic interests. However this changed during the Zou Arc, when the Straw Hats landed on a kingdom filled with anthropomorphic animals. It should be known that the kingdom is on the back of a massive elephant wandering the seas.
Long story short, they found themselves in the middle of a battle between the Guardians of the Mokomo Dukedom and Jack and his Beast Pirates, with Chopper and his half of the Straw Hats rescuing Zou in the aftermath of Jack's attack. During that time, a sultry reindeer Guardian named Milky aided him as his nurse.
Chopper seemed taken by her, if the Sanji-like hearts in his eyes and big open mouth was any indication. This was a massive change from the normally timid, child-like around humans, and mature Chopper. The time skip really did add a lot, and this fling with Milky certainly proved it.
8) Zoro and Hiyori
The youngest child of the late and notorious daimyo Oden Kozuki, Kozuki Hyori became an ally of Zoro's after he saved her and Toko from a rampaging Kamazo during One Piece's Wano country arc. She vowed to kill the warlord Orochi for oppressing the citizens of Wano and being the mastermind behild her parent's murder. After having the assassination plot foiled, she went into hiding with Zoro.
Hiyori felt comfortable revealing her identity to Zoro after he revealed her brother, Momonosuke, was indeed alive and they were allies. Hiyori's trust in Zoro was so paramount that she gifted him Enma, a blade used by her father that injured Kaidou, after he aided her multiple times. She finished Orochi herself thanks to Zoro's aid.
While their personalities may be complete opposites, and it's difficult to call it love? Zoro does get close to her, physically as well as emotionally. The pain of loss, the swords and their legacies, and the fact that she slept on top of him after helping heal his wounds and giving him food, also lends some credit to these two.
9) Rayleigh and Shakky
For those who don't keep up with One Piece's complementary materials, this likely came as a surprise. It's another odd duck of a pairing, the retired Right Hand of the Pirate King and the bartender of Shakky's Rip-Off bar. But, somehow, the two made it work.
This is one of the pairings One Piece fans may have seen coming, but was still surprising nonetheless. Shakuyaku/Shakky is the knowledgable bartender of her own bar, having quit the pirate life some 40 odd years ago. Raleigh is more relaxed than his wife, but still knows how to train up the best pirates with Luffy.
Despite the lack of direct confirmation in the source material, the two's relationship was confirmed in Volume 2 of One Piece's Vivre Card Databooks. It was a surprise for many, considering their different attitudes and occupations.
10) Capone Bege and Charlotte Chiffon
Another one of Big Mom's many arrangements throughout One Piece, this was still a huge surprise. Considering Big Mom married off her children and discarded her husbands, and how many of the marriages are for convenience's sake or have an ulterior motive? Capone and Chiffon making it work and having a kid was definitely a curveball.
Chiffon's resemblance to runaway Lola caused a rather large amount of abuse to be heaped onto her by Big Mom and the rest of the siblings. It was so much, in fact, that it caused Chiffon to sever ties with the biggest family in One Piece and aid her husband’s attempt to assassinate Big Mom.
While the assassination attempt may have failed, Capone (a mafia boss turned pirate) does love Chiffon and their son Pez so much so that they escaped together. Truly a surprise, considering he's a mafia don, and he and Luffy didn't see eye-to-eye at first, but a good relationship nonetheless.