According to leaks from One Piece 1063, the Heart Pirates, led by Trafalgar Law, are about to face Blackbeard and other members of his crew. After his failed attempt to seize Boa Hancock's Devil Fruit power, which was stopped by "Dark King" Rayleigh's providential intervention, Blackbeard seems to be on the move once again.
While Law doesn't stand a chance of winning a one-on-one fight against Blackbeard, the game is still on. To make matters worse, the former's crew seems unable to help their captain in this predicament. One Piece fans were incredibly disappointed with Bepo, Law's number two, for being unfit to handle the situation.
Not every captain can have a robust and reliable number two. Say, Luffy can count on Zoro, or Shanks can depend on Benn Beckman. However, a mighty pirate like Law should have a strong individual on his side who he can trust in times of trouble. Kid, Law's rival, has this covered, thanks to Killer, his right-hand man.
Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1063 and reflects the writer's personal views.
To compete for the One Piece, Law would need a strong first mate
What does a first mate do in One Piece?
The first mate - also known as the vice-captain - is the top officer on board the ship. He ranks below the captain and answers only to him, acting as his right-hand man. The first mate is an individual the entire crew can rely on. If the captain is elsewhere or is incapacitated, the vice-captain is the next in line to take over his job.
In the One Piece world, the second strongest in the crew is usually the first mate. However, the number two does not automatically also hold that rank. Even those who aren't formally in charge of that rank still have the ensuing authority. Being stronger than their comrades, the number twos are more prominent than them.
The strongest character will inevitably have greater authority. This was portrayed with the color spread of One Piece chapter 1031, which depicted the line-up of the "number two," the second strongest individuals from the most prominent crews.
- Roronoa Zoro - The number two of Strawhat Pirates, and Luffy's right-hand man.
- Silvers Rayleigh - The number two of Roger Pirates, and Roger's right-hand man.
- Benn Beckman - The number two of Red Hair Pirates, and Shanks' right-hand man.
- King - The number two of Beasts Pirates and Kaido's right-hand man.
- Katakuri - The number two of Big Mom Pirates.
- Killer - The number two of Kid Pirates and Kid's right-hand man.
- Marco - The number two of Whitebeard Pirates and Whitebeard's right-hand man.
- Sabo - The number two and chief of staff of the Revolutionary Army.
- Shiryu - The number two of Blackbeard Pirates.
- Bepo - The number two of Heart Pirates.
According to One Piece author Eiichiro Oda, Bepo is the number two of the Heart Pirates. The author stated that the other members of the crew recognize that his strength is superior to theirs and therefore acknowledge his role.
Why does Law lack a proper first mate?
The first mate needs to be strong and should be an able replacement for the captain. For instance, this is what Zoro does in the Strawhat Pirates. In Thriller Bark, Zoro fought Kuma to protect Luffy, while in Wano, he saved him from Kaido and Big Mom on many different occasions during the fierce battle on the rooftop.
While not officially proclaimed as the vice-captain of Strawhats, Zoro acts as one due to his strength and influence. His attitude and willpower as a Conqueror, his dominant leadership, and his wisdom allow Zoro to fulfill this role in the best possible way. His strength is exceptionally close and comparable to their captain's.
The connection between Zoro and Luffy is similar to that between Rayleigh and Gol D. Roger. The bond between Benn Beckman and Shanks is also an analogy to this. These first mates all have a similar status: they don't appear to be mere followers of their leaders. Instead, they are powerful individuals who are comparable to their captains.
Of course, crews such as Strawhat Pirates, Roger Pirates, and Red Hair Pirates are special. These groups are on a level of their own. However, if Law wants to compete for One Piece, he cannot do so without a mighty crew. He would need a strong first mate and other powerful subordinates to rely on. Otherwise, the Heart Pirates have no chance against their rivals.
This was made clear in the latest installment of the series, One Piece 1063. The new chapter featured Blackbeard attacking Law to steal his Road Poneglyph. The "Surgeon of Death" and his crew tried to escape the ambush, but they were eventually cornered and forced to accept a head-on showdown. Given Blackbeard's immense power, this could be fatal for them.
Some of his subordinates accompanied Blackbeard. Burgess, Van Augur, Doc Q, and Stronger, all Devil Fruit users, could not overwhelm Law but at least proved themselves to be dangerous individuals who could effectively benefit their captain.
Conversely, Law's subordinates were unable to give him any support. Even Bepo, who should be the second strongest member of the crew after the "Surgeon of Death" himself, wasn't able to provide any assistance to Law. As a result, the latter had to handle everything by himself.
What occurred highlights how weak the Heart Pirates are. Despite Law's strength, they won't get far if the other crew members are so powerless. Many One Piece fans find this extremely disappointing.
While the Kid Pirates pale compared to the Strawhats, they are at least better than the Heart Pirates. Eustass Kid can rely on a trustworthy first mate such as Killer. Law would need a second in command like the latter.
Why is Killer a great first mate for Kid?
Throughout the One Piece series, Killer is depicted as a much more reliable first mate than Bepo. Known as the "Massacre Soldier," he is Eustass Kid's right-hand man.
Unlike Bepo, Killer is one of the Eleven Supernovas of the Worst Generation. Moreover, among the strongest rookies, he is one of the only two who aren't the captains of a crew. A further testament to Killer's strength, he was among the five most powerful rookies to confront the Emperors in Onigashima's rooftop battle.
Killer is calmer and sharper than Kid, thus acting as the voice of the reason for him. They grew up together, sharing a close bond that goes back to their childhood. More than a relationship between a leader and his subordinate, it's the connection between two friends.
Similar to Zoro-Luffy, Killer has immense loyalty towards Kid. When Hawkins managed to link his life to Kid's, which forced Killer on the defensive so he would not accidentally kill his captain, he even started begging Hawkins to take his life to release Kid's.
Kid and Killer started an alliance with Apoo to challenge Kaido. However, Apoo betrayed them. As a result, they were forced to fight the Emperor in a prohibitive battle, which they ended up losing. Following this, during the events of the beginning part of the Wano Arc, Killer was forced to work as an assassin at the service of the shogun Orochi Kurozumi.
Working under the alias of "Kamazo," Killer met Zoro and challenged him for a fight. However, Zoro inflicted a severe defeat on him. Due to his failure, Killer was imprisoned in Udon, where he reunited with Kid. After Luffy's takeover of the prison, they eventually managed to escape.
After meeting the rest of the crew, Kid and Killer joined them and took part in the Onigashima raid with the Ninja-Pirate-Mink-Samurai Alliance. During the raid, Killer backed up Kid in the battle on the rooftop. In a heated confrontation, they, together with Luffy, Zoro and Law, confronted Kaido and Big Mom.
During the fierce battle, Killer was able to cause Kaido some damage, earning himself the Emperor's praise for his combat abilities. Killer also endured several attacks from Big Mom, who struck him at full force with her Devil Fruit abilities. He also attacked Big Mom head-on and temporarily disarmed her.
Kid and Killer later chased after Big Mom to prevent her from rejoining Kaido. However, their path was blocked by Basil Hawkins, a fellow Supernova, who joined the Beasts Pirates. Killer told Kid to proceed while he would take care of Hawkins himself.
Having prepared beforehand, Hawkins could redirect the damage caused by Killer on Kid. Hawkins even started hurting himself, aiming to wound Kid even more. However, Killer was able to come out of the difficult situation.
He cut off Hawkins' left arm, knowing it would not affect Kid as the latter had a reconstructable arm made of metal. Killer pulled out the last straw doll from Hawkins' severed arm, nullifying the latter's attempt to blackmail him.
With his plans foiled, Hawkins tried to attack Killer head-on. The battle between them ended shortly after, with an overwhelming outcome. Killer completely crushed Hawkins, inflicting a brutal defeat on the fellow Supernova who chose to side with Kaido.
Given his feats during the Wano Arc, most One Piece fans consider Killer a solid Commander-level pirate. He is a skilled fighter who excels in speed, acrobatics, and agility. Killer is very tough, and his attacks are swift and lethal. He wields two scythe-like blades, the Punishers. With them, he can damage his enemies by generating powerful shockwaves.
It's rather obvious that Killer would never leave the Kid Pirates to join Law's crew. However, the Heart Pirates should manage to increase their strength as soon as possible. Otherwise, the rival crews will wipe out Law and his men.
Many One Piece fans believed that Basil Hawkins would have joined Law's crew, becoming the new first mate of the "Surgeon of Death." Other theories assumed that the Heart Pirates and the Kid Pirates would merge, joining their strength to become a single crew powerful enough to challenge the Strawhat Pirates in the quest for the One Piece.
However, none of this happened. Thus, the Heart Pirates remain a relatively weak crew. Law is a powerful and dangerous pirate, but even he can't handle everything alone. He would need a trustworthy first mate who is strong enough to assist him as Killer stands by Kid.
Killer is one of the Eleven Supernovas of the Worst Generation and is depicted as the fifth strongest member of that group. He was able to wreck a fellow Supernova in a one-on-one battle. He has also shown enough endurance to survive direct hits from Big Mom's attacks and enough power to damage Kaido.
While Killer is great, Bepo has been inadequate so far. He needs to step up his game. Hopefully, the next One Piece chapters will show Bepo and the other Heart Pirates helping Law in the challenging battle with Blackbeard.
Poll : Who do you think is a better first mate? Killer or Bepo?
Killer from the Kid Pirates
Bepo from the Heart Pirates