One Piece: Brook's touching backstory with Laboon, explained

The reunion between Brook and Laboon is one of the moments One Piece fans wait the most (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
One Piece can't wait to see Brook being finally reunited with Laboon (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Eiichiro Oda's masterpiece, One Piece, revolves around the journey of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, the Strawhat Pirates. On one adventure after another, Luffy manages to gather many comrades. His crew currently consists of ten official members. Among them is Brook, the musician and the oldest member of the bunch.

Follow this thread to learn everything about Brook's heartwarming past.

Brook's tragic backstory has moved many One Piece fans

Who is Brook?

"Soul King" Brook, as seen in One Piece's Wano Arc (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
"Soul King" Brook, as seen in One Piece's Wano Arc (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Brook first appeared in One Piece during the Thriller Bark Arc. He is the Strawhat Pirates' musician. He is 90 years old, making him the oldest member of the crew.

Brook is especially skilled in playing the violin, which happens to be his favorite instrument. After the time skip, he also became a masterful guitarist, to the point of earning himself the epithet of "Soul King" and being regarded as a world-famous rock star.

Brook's music can also become a weapon. He is able to use a technique where he strums his violin using his sword instead of a violin bow, creating a soothing tune that makes people fall asleep immediately. His music has shown the capability to change its listener's attitude and emotions. He can play enchanting songs which can completely captivate even animals.

He ate the Revive-Revive Fruit, which allowed his soul to return to the world of the living and reinhabit his body after he died. Thanks to this power, Brook's soul can reside within his own corpse. He can even perform all the normal functions that his body implemented when it was alive and contained flesh and muscle.

After the time skip, Brook improved his mastery over his Devil Fruit powers, earning significant control over his own soul and the souls of others. He learned to separate his soul from his body, moving it independently.

As a result, Brook can become sort of a ghost: he can move through walls and enter into areas that would otherwise be impossible for him to physically reach.

Despite his tendency to act silly and goof around, Brook is a skillful and expert swordsman. He relies on a combination of fencing and iaido techniques, enhanced by his Devil Fruit powers. In fact, he can coat his sword, Soul Solid, with the aura of his soul, freezing the blade and anyone or anything that comes in contact with it.

After the timeskip, Brook defeated Zeo, a fish-man enhanced with Energy Steroids, and Giolla, an officer of the Donquixote Pirates. In One Piece's Wano arc, he helped Nico Robin in the fight against Black Maria, an officer of the Beasts Pirates. On that issue, Brook was also able to simultaneously defeat a Number and three Gifters all at once with a single attack.

Brook looks like a gentleman and thinks of himself as one. However, he does possess vulgar and perverted manners, especially towards women. Despite this behavior, Brook's way of speaking is polite and formal. He usually refers to people respectfully, speaking to everyone, enemies included, in a courteous manner.

Not only a funny individual but also a very compassionate person, Brook absolutely despises wickedness and cruelty. However, what truly made One Piece fans appreciate him is his touching backstory, which is set many years before the current story takes place.

Brook's past: The Rumbar Pirates and the meeting with Laboon

Brook paying homage to the Rumbar Pirates, in front of their grave in Thriller Bark (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Brook paying homage to the Rumbar Pirates, in front of their grave in Thriller Bark (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

More than fifty years before the current events of the One Piece series, Brook was a member of the Rumbar Pirates. The captain of the crew was "Calico" Yorki, a carefree and light-hearted man who loved music more than anything else. One day, the Rumbar Pirates came across a baby whale that got lost. After they played some music to cheer her up, the whale began following them.

The Rumbar Pirates grew attached to the whale, accepting it as a sort of crewmember. Brook even gave it the name "Laboon". Together, they went through a lot of adventures, always singing joyful songs in the meantime.

Before venturing into the Grand Line, the Rumbar Pirates decided to leave it behind, fearing that further events could be too dangerous for Laboon, who was still a baby.

Unable to convince Laboon, Brook and the rest of the crew tried to ignore it, hoping the whale would be dissuaded from following them and leave. However, when they entered the Grand Line, they noticed that Laboon had followed them.

After stopping at Reverse Mountain for some time to fix the ship, the Rumbar Pirates decided to leave Laboon under the care of Crocus.

They then promised Laboon that they would return after some time. By then, the whale would have grown, becoming big and thus able to travel with them in more dangerous seas. After leaving Reverse Mountain, the Rumbar Pirates traveled across the Grand Line, experiencing all the challenges it had to offer.

One day, Yorki and several other members of the crew caught an incurable disease. A selfless man, Yorki told the crew to leave him and the infected, worrying that the others could catch the same disease.

Seeing as he could not return to Laboon, he asked Brook and the other survivors to give his regards to the whale, and to send him and the infected off with his favorite song, "Binks' Sake".

Brook was appointed as the new captain of Rumbar Pirates, and they resumed their journey. Upon entering the Florian Triangle, they were attacked by some enemy pirates, who wounded all of them with poisoned weapons. As a result, Brook and the others were slowly wasting away, with no other horizon than death.

Knowing that he had eaten the Revive-Revive Fruit, which would bring him back to life once after dying, Brook suggested one last thing to his crewmates. He asked them to play one last song, which would be recorded on a Tone Dial. He would take that Dial and bring it to Laboon, to let the whale hear the Rumbar Pirates' last song.

Overjoyed with Brook's proposal, the remaining survivors mustered whatever little strength they had and started singing and playing "Binks' Sake" one last time. Throughout the recording, they slowly succumbed to the poison and died one after another. Each of them was smiling.

The last one to die was Brook, who, suffering for his crewmates and remembering the promise they all made to Laboon, continued playing all alone until he finally succumbed to the poison. This widely struck fans as one of the most sad yet beautiful moments in the entire One Piece series.

Thanks to the peculiar power of the Devil Fruit he ate, Brook's soul was able to return to the mortal world. Unfortunately for him, the fog in the area made it hard to find the ship, and had to search for it for a year.

When the soul finally found Brook's body and rejoined it, it was just a pile of bones, with only his afro hair remaining intact.

Brook gathered up the remains of his dead crewmates, all of them also being reduced to skeletons, and stored them in coffins which he later located deep within the ship.

Due to the ship's rudder having been broken during the previous battle, in the years to come Brook was forced to stay aboard all alone on the ship, left to the whims of the ocean's currents.

The decades Brook spent stranded on the ship were incredibly harsh. He always dreamed of his dead crewmates, and felt oppressed by the lonely and cruel reality surrounding him.

Five years before the start of One Piece's current story, Brook's ship drifted to Thriller Bark, and he disembarked. There, he was captured by Warlord Gecko Moriah, who stole his shadow to have it put into one of his zombies.

At one point, Brook met the corpse where his shadow was put in. The corpse belonged to Ryuma, the legendary swordsman, who immediately proved to be too strong for him. Seeing himself completely outmatched, Brook asked Zombie Ryuma for mercy and quietly ran away from Thriller Bark.

After another five lonely years on his ship in the Florian Triangle, during the events of the Thriller Bark Arc, Brook happened to come across the Thousand Sunny and its passengers, the Strawhat Pirates.

Following the subsequent events, he served as their ally. After Zoro defeated Zombie Ryuma and retrieved his shadow, and Luffy defeated Moriah, Brook officially joined the crew as a new member.

Before leaving Thriller Bark, Brook and the Strawhats buried the remains of the Rumbar Pirates. A beautiful gravestone marked the sepolture of Brook's former comrades. In front of the grave, he decided to play one last song for his dead friends.

The connection between Laboon and the Strawhat Pirates

When they were about to enter the Grand Line, the Strawhat Pirates met Laboon (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
When they were about to enter the Grand Line, the Strawhat Pirates met Laboon (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Even after joining the Strawhat Pirates in their quest for the One Piece, Brook's dream is still to reunite with his old friend Laboon, who is waiting for him at Reverse Mountain together with Crocus.

Twenty-six years before the current events, Crocus joined Roger Pirates to find out what happened to the Rumbar Pirates, who never returned to Reverse Mountain. Unaware of their tragic deaths and of Brook's condition, he believed the crew had fled the Grand Line in cowardice, breaking their promise to return to Laboon.

After Roger found the One Piece and then surrendered himself to the Marines, his crew disbanded. Crocus returned to Reverse Mountain and told Laboon what he thought had happened to the Rumbar Pirates.

The whale refused to believe him, and started bashing his head against Reverse Mountain in an attempt to break it, enter the Grand Line and seek its pirate comrades, to rejoin them.

Despite not knowing what really happened to the Rumbar Pirates, Crocus continued to take care of Laboon in their place. On the cover of One Piece chapter 813, he and Laboon were seen reading a newspaper detailing the new bounties of the Strawhats Pirates.

Thus, it can be assumed that Crocus and Laboon now know of Brook's survival and his current condition as a member of the Strawhats.

Before entering the Grand Line, the Strawhats stopped at Reverse Mountain, where they met Crocus and Laboon, and heard the latter's story. To give the whale a renewed sense of hope, Luffy picked a fight with it.

After the battle, which was called a draw, Luffy promised Laboon that he would return someday to have a rematch. This moved the whale to tears of joy.

As a sign of the promise of their future rematch, Luffy painted the Strawhat Pirates' symbol on Laboon's head, commenting that the drawing would wash away if the whale hit Reverse Mountain further.

This prevented the whale from hitting his head on it any further. The Strawhats then parted ways with Laboon and entered the Grand Line, continuing their search for One Piece.

Final thoughts

The reunion between Brook and Laboon will be one of the most emotional moments in the entire One Piece series (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
The reunion between Brook and Laboon will be one of the most emotional moments in the entire One Piece series (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

After telling his story to Strawhats, Brook learned from them that Laboon is still waiting for him at Reverse Mountain. This made him overjoyed to have another chance to fulfill his former crew's promise. When Brook heard from Silvers Rayleigh, Roger's former right-hand man, of how Crocus went out to sea in search for the Rumbar Pirates, it made him cry in gratitude for his efforts for them and Laboon.

Because of the promise he and the other Rumbar Pirates made to Laboon, Brook feels obligated to meet with Laboon in order to fulfill the promise he and the other Rumbar Pirates made to the whale. This bond is one of the most touching in the entire One Piece series.

Laboon and Brook have been patiently waiting for half a century to meet again. This emotional reunion will likely not happen until the very end of the One Piece series, with the whale finally being able to hear the Rumbar Pirates' final song.

After achieving a fantastic victory against the Beasts Pirates in the Wano Arc, the Strawhats Pirates are ready to enter the decisive phase of their adventure in search of the One Piece. With the series nearing its end, the moment of the long-awaited reunion between Brook and Laboon is getting closer.

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