It's not easy becoming an Emperor in One Piece, since characters have to meet very strict requirements.
The Four Emperors are considered the strongest pirates in the entire world. All of them wield vast amounts of power. Even the World Government recognizes their enormous threat. Becoming an Admiral is very difficult, yet becoming an Emperor is even more so.
Only a select class of One Piece characters may claim this title. They need more than just fearsome strength, they also need political influence. Each of their actions carries shockwaves throughout the seas. Becoming an Emperor is one of the most difficult tasks in One Piece.
How do One Piece characters become Emperors in the first place?
There is a reason why Emperors have the highest bounties in One Piece. All of these captains are dangerously powerful in their own right. Their influence can be felt across the entire world.
They have to be the strongest
First and foremost, Emperors must be extremely powerful fighters. The world of One Piece is ruled by the strong and mighty.
Every single Emperor is highly regarded for their abilities. Most of them use extremely powerful Devil Fruits:
- Big Mom can use the Soru Soru no Mi, a Paramecia fruit that allows her to manipulate human souls
- Kaidou uses the Uo Uo no Mi, Model: Seiryu, a Zoan fruit which transforms him into a formidable dragon
- Whitebeard has the Gura Gura no Mi, a Paramecia fruit that can destroy the entire world with earthquakes
- Blackbeard has both the Gura Gura no Mi and the Yami Yami no Mi, which lets him manipulate darkness
The fact that Shanks can directly compete with them is a testament to his skills. Emperors also have complete mastery of Haki, since most of them possess all three different types.
As a result, the vast majority of One Piece characters are no match for the Emperors. Luffy found out the hard way in his first encounter with Kaidou, where he was defeated in a single blow.
They must own several territories
The One Piece story involves political struggles for power. Each of the Emperors have several territories under their control. A simple declaration is enough to deter rival pirates from invading. Whitebeard protected Fishman Island for several years before his death.
Emperors rule over large sections of the sea in One Piece. Their influence can be felt by every pirate trying to make a name for themselves. For this reason, not just anybody can waltz into Whole Cake Island or Wano Country.
They have to control a grand fleet
Strength in numbers is just as important as pure strength alone. Even the strongest One Piece characters need to rely on their comrades.
Emperors must command a grand fleet to carry out their will. While there is still debate about Luffy's status as the Fifth Emperor, he follows these guidelines to a tee. Bartolomeo represented the Strawhat Pirates by taking down Shank's flag, only to put up Luffy's instead.
Luffy has all the makings of an Emperor
Luffy has everything he needs to become an Emperor in One Piece. All he needs to do is take down Kaidou in the Wano arc. His reputation will definitely speak for itself after defeating the World's Strongest Creature. The world government will have no choice but to accept his status.
Of course, the Strawhats are very powerful in their own right. However, they will also meet the requirements of an Emperor pirate crew. Luffy commands a powerful grand fleet that represents his very flag. Better yet, he even has major allies from Alabasta to Dressrosa.
In the end, becoming an Emperor is the first step to becoming a Pirate King.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.