One Piece: Did the course of history change 22 years ago?

The author of One Piece loves making references with numbers (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
The author of One Piece loves making references with numbers (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

It's a well-known fact that Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the record-breaking One Piece series, loves playing with numbers. Luffy's Gear 4 transformation was first shown in chapter 783, precisely the reverse of chapter 387, the number of the issue that first featured the Gear 2 form.

These number references also play a role in how Oda creates the bounties, often based on puns rather than precisely measuring a character's feats, status, and actions. For example, Roronoa Zoro's latest bounty, which amounts to 1.111.000.000 berries, is based on his date of birth (11/11).

While most of the time Oda plays around with numbers, there's a particular coincidence featured in the One Piece manga in which these references seem to hint at something more than a mere pun.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to chapter 1098.


A major detail of One Piece's numerology that might have gone unnoticed

The year that possibly changed the series

One Piece author Eiichiro Oda made sure that a series of significant events all took place precisely 22 years ago before the present narration. Whether this is a mere coincidence or hints at something more, that year was one of the most important in the recent history of the One Piece world.

In numerology, the number 22 is called the "Master Builder". Its symbolic meaning recalls the concepts of balance, harmony, and spiritual wisdom, as well as the fact that one has to align his actions with his soul to achieve greater results and prospects.

It might sound a bit intricate, but this seems to reference that 22 years ago, the One Piece world saw several major events happening, all especially important to their future consequences.


The hunt for the son of the Pirate King

Gol D. Roger and Portgas D. Rouge (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Gol D. Roger and Portgas D. Rouge (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Sometime after becoming the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger surrendered himself to the Navy. However, the World Government ordered the Marines to explore all the places Roger had visited in search of a possible descendant of the latter.

Under those orders, the Marines killed any children they suspected of being the Pirate King's offspring. Roger's son, Portgas D. Ace, could only be born due to the excruciating sacrifice of his mother, a woman named Portgas D. Rouge.

To deceive the World Government about the connection between her son and Roger, Rouge held her pregnancy through sheer willpower.

Portgas D. Ace (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Portgas D. Ace (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Only after twenty months did she give birth to the child, whom he called Ace, just like the name of Roger's beloved sword.

Sadly, this incredible fatigue cost Rouge her life. Out of respect for her sacrifice, as well as the request he received from Roger himself, Monkey D. Garp decided to take care of Ace without reporting the child's bloodline.

Ace would become an essential character, as his defeat at the hands of Blackbeard would lead to the Paramount War in Marineford, a major event whose consequences caused great upheaval in the One Piece world.


The Ohara Incident

The Buster Call on Ohara (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
The Buster Call on Ohara (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Upon discovering that the scholars of Ohara were researching Poneglyphs, the World Government ordered a Buster Call on the island. Consumed by fear that someone could learn the history of the Void Century, the Five Elders ordered the destruction of the entire country.

Clover, one of the scholars, was one of the first victims. The Five Elders had him killed before he could reveal the name of the Great Kingdom, a nation that, during the Void Century, was destroyed by an alliance whose members were the forefathers of the present Celestial Dragons.

The attack on Ohara turned into a veritable genocide. The island was almost destroyed, and all of its citizens, including people who didn't take part in the research, were murdered. The only survivors were Nico Robin and, as recently revealed, Jaguar D. Saul.

This event seems to be tied with the change of mind that led Monkey D. Dragon, the son of Garp, to leave the Marines and openly rebel against the World Government.


The liberation of the Sorbet Kingdom

Monkey D. Dragon 22 years ago with Vegapunk (Image via Shueisha/Colored by JLjarx)
Monkey D. Dragon 22 years ago with Vegapunk (Image via Shueisha/Colored by JLjarx)

The Heavenly Tribute is a required fee that all the World Government-affiliated nations have to pay to the Celestial Dragons. Each country is forced to give the tribute regardless of the sacrifice needed to accomplish the quota, even if it causes the nation to be left on the verge of starvation.

Bartholomew Kuma's flashback revealed that, after escaping from God Valley, he and Ginny settled in the Sorbet Kingdom. However, the country started suffering under the absolute rule of its new monarch, King Bekori. To pay the Heavenly Tribute, Bekori started vexing the population.

Anyone who couldn't contribute to the tax would get jailed. Sometime later, Bekori decided to split the kingdom in half, rendering the southern part a lawless land whose inhabitants could be subjected to enslavement.

Luckily, Monkey D. Dragon and Emporio Ivankov arrived in Sorbet with their newly-formed group, the Freedom Fighters, overthrew Bekori, releasing the country's people from the wicked king's tyranny.


The establishment of the Revolutionary Army

Kuma, Dragon, and Ivankov (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Kuma, Dragon, and Ivankov (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Following the liberation of the Sorbet Kingdom, Kuma and Ginny joined the Freedom Fighters. Immediately after, a new group arose, as Dragon, Kuma, and Ivankov established the Revolutionary Army.

Over the years, the Revolutionary Army became the only faction to directly oppose the World Government, seeking to dismantle the rotten system of the Celestial Dragons. This military comprises five sub-groups, each operating in a specific region: Grand Line, East Blue, West Blue, North Blue, and South Blue.

At one point, Ivankov was captured by the Marines. At the same time, Kuma, for unknown reasons, became a member of the Seven Warlords and later allowed Dr Vegapunk to turn him into a mindless cyborg at the World Government's service.

The current Revolutionary Army (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
The current Revolutionary Army (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

After the events in Impel Down two years ago, Ivankov returned to being part of the Revolutionary Army. Currently, the group's supreme leader is Dragon, whose right-hand man and second-in-command is Sabo.

The Revolutionary Army was involved in many important moments, most notably the attack on Mary Geoise during the latest Reverie, which led to major plot developments.

A very idealistic person, Dragon, wants to free the entire world from the shackles of the World Government. As such, the Revolutionary Army is likely waiting for the right moment to make a decisive move during One Piece's final saga.


Shiki escaping Impel Down

Shiki (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Shiki (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

After Gol D. Roger's execution in Rogue Town, Shiki attacked Marineford, but he was defeated and subdued by Garp and Sengoku. Against the two legendary Marines, Shiki didn't stand a chance. Still, their fight was fierce enough to destroy half of Marineford.

Once defeated, Shiki was imprisoned in Impel Down. However, 22 years ago, he managed to escape, somehow cutting off his chained legs. Since then, no individual jailed in Impel Down has ever made a successful break-out until the mass escape shortly before the Paramount War.

In place of his legs, Shiki started using his two swords, Oto and Kogarashi, as prosthetic limbs. As the happenings narrated in the movie One Piece: Strong World is non-canon to the story's main plot, fans can't wait to see how a legend of Shiki's caliber will be involved in the current events.


Gaimon arriving on the Island of the Rare Animals

Gaimon with Nami and Luffy (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Gaimon with Nami and Luffy (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Exactly 22 years before the present One Piece narration, Gaimon arrived on the Island of the Rare Animals. This event is unrelated to One Piece's main plot but has notable importance, as it's essential to understand the unique spirit of Eiichiro Oda's story.

A greedy pirate who only cared about plundering gold, Gaimon arrived on the island in search of riches. He climbed the island's highest cliff, atop of which he found several treasure chests. However, he accidentally fell right into an empty chest that was below.

Not seeing him return, Gaimon's companions sailed off without him. With his body forced into a permanently hunched position in which he could barely move, Gaimon remained trapped inside the chest.

At one point, Luffy and Nami met Gaimon. Upon hearing the latter's story, Luffy volunteered to scale the cliff and recover the chests for him. Still, by doing this, he confirmed Gaimon's worst fears, as all the lockboxes were empty.

Understanding that he had permanently changed his life for nothing, Gaimon was brought to tears. Nonetheless, he resolved to spend the rest of his days protecting the island's rare animals, whom he had regarded as his true treasure, from poachers.

Based on his appearance, Gaimon seems to be just a gag character, but he represents something much more significant. He dedicated his life to protecting a treasure he wasn't sure existed and learned to prize peace and companionship more than any material wealth.

With this story, One Piece taught its readers that a treasure is only as valuable as people believe it to be. Eventually, Gaimon met Sarfunkel, a woman likewise trapped inside a barrel. The two became a couple and have continued living together on the island.


Keep up with One Piece manga, anime, and live-action as 2023 progresses.