One Piece 1064 makes fans debate if Shiryu is stronger than Aokiji

After One Piece 1064, fans have started a discussion about who is stronger between Shiryu and Aokiji (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
After One Piece 1064, fans have started a discussion about who is stronger between Shiryu and Aokiji (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

One Piece author Eiichiro Oda recently surprised fans with a sudden fight sparking between Law and Marshall D. Teach. The confrontation, which takes place on Winner Island, also involves the Heart Pirates and some members of the Blackbeard Pirates. One Piece 1064 featured the ongoing battle, which appears to be a very complex situation for Law and his crew.

The chapter also revealed that the unknown intruder who froze Chocolate Town and defeated Cracker of the Big Mom Pirates' Sweet Commanders is none other than former Marine Admiral Aokiji.

Before One Piece 1064, Aokiji's status was unknown. Fans were only aware that he had left the Marine and started an unspecified affiliation with the Blackbeard Pirates. It has now been revealed that Aokiji became a full-fledged member of the crew. This has generated a discussion within the One Piece fandom.

Not long ago, Oda stated that Shiryu is the second strongest individual in the Blackbeard Pirates, second only to Teach himself. Since Aokiji is an incredibly powerful character, fans are now debating whether the number two of the Blackbeard Pirates is Shiryu or the former Admiral.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1064 and reflects the writer's personal views.


Shiryu vs Aokiji has become a new trending argument among One Piece fans

Who is Shiryu?

The former Head Jailer of Impel Down, Shiryu decided to follow Blackbeard instead of stopping him (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
The former Head Jailer of Impel Down, Shiryu decided to follow Blackbeard instead of stopping him (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Shiryu "Of the Rain" is the former Head Jailer of the Impel Down prison. He is a vicious and deceitful individual who enjoys killing, even slaughtering his former subordinates without mercy. A formidable swordsman, Shiryu owns a Famous Sword called Raiu. He was shown using it to perform deadly attacks at extreme speeds.

Before the time skip, Shiryu was as powerful as Magellan, the other Head Jailer of Impel Down. The latter was confident that the former was strong enough to stop Marshall D. Teach - who at the time was one of the Seven Warlords - and his crew. However, after meeting Teach, Shiryu became interested in him. Thus, he reneged on Impel Down and joined the Blackbeard Pirates.

After two years of time skip, Shiryu likely improved his fighting capabilities. He also gained a new power, granted by the Clear-Clear Fruit. Allowing him to become invisible, this ability enhanced his stealth skills. Combined with this swordsmanship, this power makes him one of the most lethal fighters in the One Piece world.


Who is Aokiji?

Aokiji was a Marine Admiral, but he left the organization after fighting Akainu for the office of Fleet Admiral (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Aokiji was a Marine Admiral, but he left the organization after fighting Akainu for the office of Fleet Admiral (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Kuzan, better known as "Aokiji", is a former Marine Admiral. Despite his status as one of the strongest fighters at the World Government's disposal, he is a forgiving and laid-back guy who enjoys cycling and napping more than anything else. Before the time skip, Aokiji was appointed by Fleet Admiral Sengoku to be the successor for the leading position of the Marine.

However, Aokiji was opposed by Admiral Akainu. The two fought a fierce battle, which lasted ten days. Ultimately, Aokiji ended up losing the fight. After that outcome, he left the Marines and started an unspecified affiliation with the Blackbeard Pirates.

Aokiji ate the Ice-Ice Fruit, a Logia-class Devil Fruit which allows him to create and control ice, freezing anything or anyone. He has outstanding endurance, being able to sustain a prolonged battle against a deadly opponent such as Akainu. In the Paramount War, Aokiji engaged Whitebeard in a head-on fight. He later defeated Jozu, the third strongest member of Whitebeard Pirates.


Why Shiryu vs Aokiji has become a topic of debate now

One Piece 1064 revealed that Aokiji is not only an ally of Blackbeard, but a full-fledged member of his crew (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
One Piece 1064 revealed that Aokiji is not only an ally of Blackbeard, but a full-fledged member of his crew (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Before One Piece 1064, Aokiji's affiliation with the Blackbeard Pirates was unspecified. Most fans assumed that he acted as sort of an external ally of theirs. However, the latest installment of the series has now revealed that he is a full-fledged member of the Blackbeard Pirates.

One Piece 1064 disclosed that, some time ago, Aokiji went on Whole Cake Island together with Van Augur, another member of the Blackbeard Pirates. They were tasked with the mission of capturing Pudding - one of Big Mom's daughters - because of her rare ability to read Poneglyphs.

Cracker, one of the Big Mom Pirates' three Sweet Commanders, tried to oppose them, but he was no match for Aokiji, who used his powers to freeze him, along with the entire Chocolate Town.

Aokiji is one of the strongest characters in the One Piece world. Thus, his addition to the Blackbeard Pirates should massively increase the crew's potential.

However, the confirmation that he is a member of the Blackbeard Pirates for all intents and purposes has triggered a heated debate among One Piece fans.

While most agree that Teach is even stronger than Aokiji, there's a discussion regarding who is the most powerful after the former.


Reasons why Shiryu may be stronger than Aokiji

One Piece author Eiichiro Oda made it abundantly clear that Shiryu is the second stronger member of the Blackbeard Pirates right after Blackbeard himself (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
One Piece author Eiichiro Oda made it abundantly clear that Shiryu is the second stronger member of the Blackbeard Pirates right after Blackbeard himself (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

One Piece author Eiichiro Oda recently released information that the number two of the Blackbeard Pirates is Shiryu, the former Head Jailer of Impel Down. 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, right after the captains.

In that issue, Oda featured Zoro for Strawhats, Rayleigh for Roger's crew, Benn Beckman for the Red Hair Pirates, Shiryu for Blackbeard Pirates, and more.

In a subsequent SBS - a special column where One Piece author Eiichiro Oda directly answers fan letters - the author stated that all the characters portrayed in the chapter 1031 color spread are the second strongest men in their crew, even if not all of them hold the official rank of first mate.

The first mate - otherwise 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 someone that the entire crew can rely on. If the captain is elsewhere or is incapacitated, the vice-captain is 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, Oda clarified that while not all the number twos do automatically also hold that formal rank, they still have the ensuing authority. Being stronger than their comrades, the number twos are more prominent than them.

Many One Piece fans stand by the assumption that Shiryu is the strongest person in the Blackbeard Pirates right after Teach, the captain. With this concept being officially confirmed by the One Piece author himself, it must be considered true until proven otherwise.

With Aokiji being confirmed to be a member of the Blackbeard Pirates, and Shiryu being depicted as the strongest individual in that group, below only Blackbeard himself, it follows that Shiryu is even stronger than Aokiji.


Reasons why Aokiji may be stronger than Shiryu

If Aokiji, who is a powerful character able to stand up against Akainu, isn't a true member of the Blackbeard Pirates, he is not bound to be weaker than Shiryu (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
If Aokiji, who is a powerful character able to stand up against Akainu, isn't a true member of the Blackbeard Pirates, he is not bound to be weaker than Shiryu (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Aokiji is a former Marine Admiral and an individual who was able to stand up against Admiral Akainu, the current Marine Fleet Admiral. The latter had to put his maximum effort into a ten-day-long battle before being able to overpower Aokiji.

Hence, some One Piece fans have started arguing whether it is correct to label Aokiji as being inherently weaker than Shiryu, regardless of any other circumstances.

Aokiji was only revealed to be a member of the Blackbeard Pirates in One Piece 1064. When the cover of chapter 1031 and the subsequent SBS were released, the former Admiral wasn't considered to be part of that crew. Thus, it can be inferred that the One Piece author depicted the number twos depending on the readers' knowledge of the various crews at that given time.

It follows that Aokiji, who was disclosed to be a full-fledged member of Blackbeard's crew only some time later, shouldn't be part of that assessment.

It's also likely that Aokiji is not truly part of the Blackbeard Pirates. For an honorable man and a former Marine member such as Aokiji, it appears rather odd to join a pirate crew. Especially when it comes to a group of ruthless criminals who aim to make Teach, a greedy and wicked individual, become the Pirate King.

Many One Piece fans believe that Aokiji is trying to infiltrate the Blackbeard Pirates on behalf of the Marine. The former Admiral is often involved in theories about SWORD, the secret unit within the Marine. Considering that he was mentored by Garp and Sengoku, it's very feasible for Aokiji to share the same ideals as them. If they are a part of SWORD, he likely is as well.

Other fans have theorized that Aokiji is behaving in agreement with Akainu. The former considered the latter excessively cruel, to the point of being detrimental to the Marines’ cause of preserving peace. Akainu, however, saw Aokiji as too soft and lazy to put a true end to evil. As a result, their tremendous battle occurred.

When Akainu ultimately ended up as the winner, despite his usual ruthless behavior, he decided to spare his colleague's life. A possible explanation is that, after the brutal fight, Akainu realized that Aokiji also possesses a strong sense of duty and justice. Seeing him ready to die for his beliefs, he started to respect Aokiji.

Thus, Akainu didn't kill Aokiji, but recruited him into SWORD and charged him with the most dangerous mission: to infiltrate the Blackbeard Pirates. Which is why Aokiji is pretending to operate as a member of that crew.

In any case, this would mean that Aokiji is not truly part of the Blackbeard Pirates. Hence, the fact that Shiryu is second in strength to Teach only in that group would not make Aokiji inherently weaker than Shiryu. If Oda doesn't consider the former Admiral to be a true member of the Blackbeard Pirates, he likely didn't take him into account when he estimated the number two of said crew.


Final Thoughts

Aokiji's strength is certainly exceptional. However, being one of the final villains of the One Piece series, Blackbeard will likely prove himself to be a fair amount stronger than the former Admiral.

Every captain needs a powerful and reliable number two on his side. Luffy can count on Zoro, Shanks can depend on Benn Beckman, and Roger used to rely on Rayleigh. Needless to say, the same goes for a mighty man like Blackbeard.

Hence, with Blackbeard being even stronger than Admirals and Emperors, it is completely possible that Shiryu, who is his most powerful subordinate, may be an individual as strong as the Admirals, if not even stronger. Otherwise, it would be difficult for him to effectively support Blackbeard in his quest to find One Piece and become the Pirate King.

The aforementioned notions would explain how the two concepts - Aokiji being a member of the Blackbeard Pirates, and Shiryu being second in strength only to Teach within the same crew - are not necessarily two opposing issues.

At this point, it's equally possible for Shiryu and Aokiji to be fighters of comparable strength. It's also feasible that one of them is slightly more powerful than the other. With the series having entered its endgame, the time for all these intriguing questions to be answered isn't too far off.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal
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