One Piece: Could the next Straw Hat Conqueror's Haki user be Usopp?

Usopp as seen in a One Piece opening. (Image via Toei Animation)
Usopp as seen in a One Piece opening. (Image via Toei Animation)

Usopp has long felt like a misfit in One Piece’s Straw Hat Crew. The scaredy-cat sniper (at least in pre-timeskip One Piece) never felt as intimidating or powerful as the other Straw Hats did.

Even in post-timeskip One Piece, the addition of Jinbe makes Usopp feel like his role is slowly dwindling. While Usopp did awaken Observation Haki in One Piece's Dressrosa arc, we’ve yet to see Sniper King actually use any other type of Haki.

Perhaps Usopp’s next powerup will be Armament or Conqueror’s Haki, both of which may seem unrealistic but have their evidence.

Note: This article contains spoilers.

God Usopp might be the next Armament and Conqeuror’s Haki user in One Piece's Straw Hat crew

Who is Usopp?

Usopp as seen in the Onigashima Raid. (Image via Toei Animation)
Usopp as seen in the Onigashima Raid. (Image via Toei Animation)

Unlike most other Straw Hats, Usopp has a relatively non-violent upbringing. Most everyone else in the Straw Hats grew up around some sort of violence or high-intensity training/survival situations.

While Usopp’s childhood wasn’t violent, it wasn’t exactly peaceful. Usopp’s lies started out as a way to comfort his mom, saying his father had returned for them. Tragically, this lie didn’t come true before Usopp’s mother passed. Usopp continued the tradition of lying by telling the town day in and day out that pirates had arrived.

Interestingly enough, Usopp’s lie does eventually become true with the arrival of both the Straw Hat and Black Cat pirates. This lying-becomes-manifestation gift perfectly describes Usopp’s character, who in name and inspiration has so many motifs for fables and fibbing.

Famous fable writer Aesop has a mythological story in which Aesop couldn’t speak, but the goddess Iris gifted him speech and storytelling for his kindness. Aesop also once proclaimed that the tongue is the finest thing imaginable, saying “all philosophy, all education” and most aspects of life are controlled by the tongue.

Conceptually, Usopp is a One Piece character which depends on language and emotions. He’s defeated enemies so many times by manipulating their feelings or faking it until he makes it by lying. Interestingly enough, Usopp models himself after the Giants of Elbaf, which spelled backwards is fable. Yet another connection to Usopp’s character inspiration.

Usopp’s Power-Ups

Although Usopp often claims he wants to be a brave warrior of the sea, Usopp spends most combat situations in a tactical or support role. While he has taken out warriors in close combats, he is predominantly a supporting player in One Piece, especially post-timeskip. Usopp is also incredibly smart and handy, being resourceful and able to think on his feet.

Usopp also simultaneously pushes the crew forward while somewhat holding them back. There have been so many battles (Enies Lobby, Thriller Bark, Dressrosa) where failure in Usopp’s pivotal role spelled doom for the rest of the crew. He's also admitted that as a regular human he just can’t keep up with the monstrous strength other Straw Hats and general One Piece characters possess.

Usopp’s Haki?

Before discussing Usopp’s specific power ups, whether or not the Straw Hat Sniper will unlock all Haki must be discussed. While Armament Haki can be replaced for him by Seastone bullets or weapons, Observation and Conqueror’s Haki have no such easy substitutes.

Thankfully, Usopp has already awakened his Observation Haki as of One Piece's Dressrosa arc. Based on evidence in the story so far, it seems like Usopp will eventually awaken Conqueror’s Haki as well. While this may seem unrealistic to some, there is certainly great evidence behind the claim.

Conqueror’s Haki relates very much to one’s spirit and spiritual presence, as well as their ability to affect the spirits of others. Usopp has also been shown to be spiritually in-tune via his interactions with the Going Merry’s Klabautermann.

Usopp also has an interesting list of lies which have come true; essentially, he has become a Conquering King and turned these lies into truths as a result. One of the best examples of this is his claim to having 8,000 men who support him. After being crowned God Usopp in Dressrosa and essentially leading the Straw Hat Grand Fleet, this lie became true under amazing and extraordinary circumstances.

While one could argue that anyone with charisma could do this, Usopp is certainly a unique case. All throughout One Piece, Usopp’s motto has essentially been fake-it-till-you-make-it. Similar to how Luffy is able to make friends with everyone he meets without trying, Usopp naturally says “lies” and they eventually turn into true situations, without Usopp even trying.

Rayleigh has said to Luffy that he’s incredibly attuned to living thing’s emotions within the confines of Observation Haki; Usopp has been shown to be incredibly attuned to and able to manipulate people’s emotions. As a result, it makes sense he’d be able to use Conqueror’s Haki considering that in its most basic form, it is the manipulation of the spirits and emotions of others.

Even beyond these extrapolated connections, the One Piece manga provides two concrete examples of Usopp potentially using Conqueror’s Haki. In the One Piece manga, Conqueror’s Haki is always shown to make its victims foam at the mouth.

A clear example of this distinction is when Caesar apparently knocked out Smoker and the marines with Conqueror’s Haki, but it was later revealed to just be oxygen manipulation. When Usopp knocked Sugar out both times, Sugar began foaming at the mouth. When Usopp fights Perona and delivers the final knockout hit, Perona begins foaming at the mouth shortly after.

In both instances, Usopp used his opponent’s emotions against them and manipulated them in such a way that it forced them to pass out. Instead of overwhelming someone with his presence, perhaps Usopp uses Conqueror’s Haki in a new way to manipulate his opponent’s emotions and beliefs.

Usopp’s unique application of Conqueror’s Haki

Usopp could also use this Conqueror’s Haki to try and manipulate his opponent’s perception of his own presence. Essentially, Usopp could become the ultimate sniper by making himself invisible to his enemies, essentially imposing his will onto them. Usopp doesn’t necessarily need to become invisible for this to work, he could just make himself literally invisible to a select group of enemies at a time.

One of the most effective ways this could be done would be through the mixing of emotionally tuned Observation Haki. Usopp could essentially supersede others will powers with his own by doing this, and with will power being such an important theme in One Piece this ability falls in line with One Piece’s themes and approaches.

It’s entirely possible that One Piece fans have already seen this technique used by Usopp subconsciously. One of the biggest critiques of the Luffy vs. Lucci fight is how Luffy was able to tank so many hits by Lucci after seemingly being at his limit. Usopp tells Luffy to get up, keep fighting, and stop acting like this is the end for them.

It’s after this speech that Luffy is able to stand up and continue fighting, having such willpower it seems almost impossible for him to fall down or even die. The Thriller Bark arc already shows us Luffy is able to handle an insane amount of physical pain and stress; it’s entirely possible Luffy was able to withstand similar levels of pain and stress thanks to this ability of Usopp’s. It certainly explains why Luffy was able to come back after being so close to defeat at the hands of Rob Lucci.

Usopp does something similar in One Piece's Dressrosa arc when trying to knock out Sugar a second time. Before Usopp makes the shot, Kin’emon and others tell Usopp it’s impossible. Before taking the shot, Usopp responds by saying he’s a sniper and taking enemies out by surprise to protect his people is what he and snipers do.

Even with her Devil Fruit powers assisting, Violet is blown away at Usopp’s success. Perhaps this was another instance of Usopp superseding his own will onto himself and rising to a nearly impossible challenge as a result.

In summation

With the rest of the Straw Hat crew making leaps and bounds by the weekly chapter in One Piece, it’s time to give Usopp the teased Haki he deserves. Oda isn’t one to inadvertently or accidentally tease something he doesn’t want teased, and there’s certainly enough evidence in One Piece for this theory to become reality.

Usopp has always felt somewhat out of place in the One Piece world, especially within the Straw Hat pirates. While he has a role, he’s certainly one of, if not the weakest member, on One Piece’s main crew. However, awakening Conqueror’s Haki and creating an essentially reality-bending ability would be a fantastic powerup for the scaredy-cat sniper.

Be sure to keep up with evidence for this theory and others by supporting One Piece’s official release every Sunday, at 11AM EST via various Shonen Jump platforms.

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Edited by Mason J. Schneider
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