Shanks losing his arm set the tone for One Piece early on.
Sailing the seas always has its risks in the series. Many savage creatures lurk beneath the waters, so a pirate's life is always in danger.
A young Luffy found out the hard way during the Romance Dawn arc, several years before the current storyline.
Shanks may have a missing arm, but he is still a major player in the One Piece world. The decision that cost him a body part was very calculated.
How did Shanks lose his arm in One Piece?
Luffy has wanted to become the Pirate King ever since he met Shanks. His respect for the red-haired pirate cannot be denied.
With that said, Shanks did something that nobody else would do for the young boy. He made a willing sacrifice for the future Straw Hat.
Shanks wanted to protect Luffy from a Sea King
When Luffy was only six, he got the chance to meet the Red Hair Pirates in Foosha Village. He greatly admired Shanks and wanted to be a pirate just like him.
On a related note, Luffy also ate the Gomu Gomu no Mi, a Devil Fruit that was in the Red Hair Pirates' possession at the time.
When a few mountain bandits started causing trouble, Luffy picked a fight with them and lost. Their leader Higuma ended up taking Luffy hostage when his bandits were easily taken out by Shanks and his crew.
Higuma went out into the sea with Luffy but was eaten by a Sea King. Shanks would swim after Luffy and protect him from the creature. However, the pirate ended up losing his left arm in the process. He still managed to save Luffy right in the nick of time.
Apparently, Shanks didn't get any weaker from losing his arm
Six years before the current storyline, Shanks became a Yonkou and was recognized as a major threat. Sengoku confirmed this in the Wano Country arc when he was going over bounties.
Shanks currently has a bounty of 4,048,900,000 bellies, which is right up there with Kaido and Big Mom.
The Paramount War came to an abrupt end when Shanks made his appearance, which is another testament to his abilities. He certainly hasn't gotten any weaker since losing his arm.
Unfortunately, Dracule Mihawk no longer wanted to spar with Shanks. The swordsman wanted his opponents to have both arms.
This incident continues to stir debate among One Piece fans
Sea Kings are ridiculously weak by One Piece standards. In fact, Luffy easily defeated one at the end of the very first chapter.
Shanks is a Yonkou, who are highly regarded as the strongest pirates in the seas. One Piece fans still disagree about how the Sea King managed to bite off his arm in the first place. Arguments range from retroactive continuity to Shanks allowing it to happen. It's still a hot topic among power scalers today.
The above Twitter poll demonstrates that some fans are still divided over the issue. Most fans seem to believe that Shanks wanted to show Luffy the dangers of the seas and that he bet himself to prove it.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.