One Piece: Everything to know about the Five Elders

The Five Elders bowing down to Im, the true leader of the World Government (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
The Five Elders bowing down to Im, the true leader of the World Government (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

One Piece has finally introduced fans to the mysterious figure of Dr. Vegapunk. However, fans are yet to be informed about the true essence of the Gorosei, better known as Five Elders.

The Five Elders are enigmatic figures who hold the greatest authority in the world of One Piece. They only answer to the likewise cryptic Imu. Follow this thread to find every piece of information available regarding the Five Elders, as well as the main theories about them.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1065 and reflects the writer's personal views.

Who are the Five Elders in One Piece?

The Five Elders are mysterious but prominent individuals

Few One Piece characters are as enigmatic as the Five Elders (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha One Piece)
Few One Piece characters are as enigmatic as the Five Elders (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha One Piece)

The World Government is the greatest political power in One Piece. It rules most of the world. The overall leader is Im, whose direct orders are carried out by a restricted group of individuals called the Five Elders.

Im bears the highest sovereignty, being a figure even the Five Elders bow down to. However, Im's existence is kept a secret, and the Five Elders act as the greatest authority as a facade for the public. They usually gather in the Room of Authority in Pangaea Castle.

The Five Elders are the highest-ranked Celestial Dragons, the aristocratic descendants of nineteen of the Twenty Kings who established what is now known as the World Government. Other Celestial Dragons do possess a certain degree of authority, but not even remotely as much as the Five Elders do.

To this day, the names of the Five Elders have yet to be revealed to One Piece fans. It's also unknown how they became the leaders of the World Government directly below Im, or how long they have held that position.

Unlike other Celestial Dragons, the Five Elders don't wear the full-body white suit that is typically worn by their brethren. They also don't have their heads encased in a glass case. All of them are elderly men of a similar age, with some differences in somatic features.

  • The first unnamed individual - A bald man who wears glasses and a white gi. He also holds a samurai-style sword. This person is the only one of the Five Elders to not wear a black suit, and to not have facial hair.
  • The second unnamed individual - A grey-haired man with dreadlocks. He wears a hat and holds a walking cane. The left side of his face has a noticeable scar.
  • The third unnamed individual - A tall and thin man with long white hair. He has a long beard but no eyebrows.
  • The fourth unnamed individual - A bald man with large mole spots on his forehead. He also has a massive white mustache.
  • The fifth unnamed individual - A blond-haired man with a beard of the same color. He has a scar on his chest, which can be seen through his semi-open suit. At least judging by his appearance, he seems to be the youngest member of the group.

The role of the Five Elders in the World Government

The Five Elders aren't afraid to discuss with Fleet Admiral Akainu (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
The Five Elders aren't afraid to discuss with Fleet Admiral Akainu (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

The primary concerns of the Five Elders are protecting the balance in the One Piece world and maintaining the public image of the World Government. They are willing to do anything to keep the truth a secret from the public, regardless of morality.

The Five Elders have ordered the killing of an entire island to hide the discovery of the Void Century. They have hidden the fact that Warlords member Gecko Moriah was beaten by Luffy, and later ordered his assassination to make it look like he died in the Paramount War.

The Five Elders have near total control of what is published, unless a rebel journalist defies them, as Morgans did. Some of their decisions have even angered Fleet Admiral Akainu, as well as his predecessor Sengoku. Regardless, not even that seemed to worry the Five Elders.

The Five Elders answer to Im, the current sovereign of the Empty Throne. They will obey Im's orders regarding whichever "light" they will have to permanently erase from history. Such has been their role in the World Government's oppressive tyranny for centuries.

The Five Elders also hold deep hatred towards Monkey D. Luffy for his heritage as Dragon's son and for all the trouble he and the other Strawhat Pirates had caused. Especially after he awakened the true abilities of his Devil Fruit and defeated Kaido, they acknowledged Luffy's strength and started to fear his potential.

They have a paranoid fear of anyone learning the history of the Void Century. For this reason, they ordered the utter destruction of the entire country of Ohara. They were shocked at the words of Professor Clover, one of the Ohara historians. The tall, thin elder spoke with Professor Clover. He then ordered an agent to kill the archeologist before he could reveal the name of the Great Kingdom.

The Five Elders have paramount influence over the World Government and its military. The World Government's main operative force involves the Marines, tasked with law enforcement, international security, and military operations. The Marines were allied with the Seven Warlords, but that group was recently disbanded and substituted with the Seraphim Unit.

However, the World Government also employs some secret agencies, the Cipher Pols. The members of these groups are meant to conduct investigations, covert activities, and assassinations under the Five Elders' direct order. The most prominent of all Cipher Pols is CP0.

The Five Elders even have veto power over the orders of the Fleet Admiral of the Marines. They can declare a Buster Call attack on any island that they deem a threat and can pass that authority onto World Government agents of lower rank. They can also revoke a Warlord's status as they see fit. As the standard Celestial Dragons, the Five Elders can summon a Marine Admiral.

It is currently unknown if the Five Elders are fighters and how strong each one of them is. However, they have muscular bodies, with scars over them. One of them has been shown to wield a sword. Hence, it seems that One Piece author Eiichiro Oda is hinting at them having at least some battle experience.

The Five Elders' activities throughout the story of One Piece

The Five Elders weave the threads of everything from the Pangea Castle, one of the most impenetrable places in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
The Five Elders weave the threads of everything from the Pangea Castle, one of the most impenetrable places in One Piece (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

One of the main actions the Five Elders established was the the Buster Call on Ohara. Since the citizens of that island researched the Void Century, they were all sentenced to death. Professor Clover tried to claim the right of humanity to know the story, but to no avail.

Clover questioned the "Hundred Years of the Void" and the creation of the World Government, deducing that at one point there was a great and powerful kingdom whose existence was destroyed and removed from history. When Clover attempted to reveal the name of the kingdom, the Five Elders had him shot and ordered that the island be destroyed.

After the Paramount War, the Five Elders gathered to discuss the state of the One Piece world. They talked about how Luffy had become a huge threat, and spoke of his bloody ties with Garp and Dragon.

Later on, they discussed Marshall D. Teach’s activities in the New World, mentioning his easy victory over one of the Eleven Supernovas, Jewelry Bonney. They stated that the only people who could stop Teach from seizing Whitebeard’s territory and status were the three remaining Emperors and the remaining Whitebeard Pirates, who were led by Marco.

In the Dressrosa Arc, the Five Elders were confronted by Fleet Admiral Akainu, who was enraged at the falsehood behind the story about Doflamingo's resignation from the Seven Warlords of the Sea. Akainu angrily asked them why the whole One Piece world had to be misled for Doflamingo's sake, noting that if a similar incident were to occur again, his reputation would be disgraced.

The Five Elders ignored Akainu, saying that his reputation was not their concern. When Akainu retorted that the five are nothing more than puppets of the Celestial Dragons, they responded in anger, blaming him for former Admiral Aokiji joining Blackbeard. Their dispute was interrupted by a soldier reporting Doflamingo’s recent defeat at Luffy’s hands.

At one point, the Five Elders had an unexpected meeting with Shanks. They stated that the only reason he was granted a private audience with them was because of his status. Shanks expressed his gratitude to the Five Elders before discussing an unspecified “certain pirate” with them.

Sometime later, the Five Elders headed towards the chamber of the Empty Throne, while discussing how members of the Nefertari family were traitors to the Celestial Dragons. Upon arriving at the chamber, the Elders quickly knelt down at the sight of Im. They then asked Im which "light" they should make disappear from history.

During the Wano Arc, the Five Elders discussed the ongoing battle in Onigashima, debating how they could exploit the occurrence to capture Nico Robin. They later became concerned that the Gom-Gom Fruit could be awakened. Thus, they ordered CP0 to eliminate Luffy due to the potential danger the latter could represent.

After a failed attempt at killing Luffy and stopping the awakening of his Devil Fruit, the Five Elders debated what effect the defeat of the Emperors would have on the world. When the new bounties were established, the Five Elders angrily questioned the Marines about Luffy’s bounty poster showing his Gear 5 transformation and having his D., despite their request that such traits be erased.

During the Levely, Sabo and his comrades from the Revolutionary Army attacked the Holy Land of Mary Geoise. On that occasion, before escaping, Sabo caught sight of Im sitting on the Empty Throne.

Sabo ran away and tried to contact Dragon to report his findings, but his call was intercepted by the surveillance division of the Marines. The Five Elders then ordered the Marines to stop the call before Sabo could speak any further.

They then ordered the Marines to forget about anything they intercepted at all, and declared that the place where Sabo was hiding, Lulusia Kingdom, never existed. A few instants later, Im destroyed the entire island.

The main theories involving the Five Elders

As a Celestial Dragon, Doflamingo may have had some tie with the Five Elders (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
As a Celestial Dragon, Doflamingo may have had some tie with the Five Elders (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Given the enigmatic nature of the Five Elders, One Piece fans have always tried to formulate conjectures about them. One of the most common theories involves the possibility that the Five Elders are immortal or, at least, have an incredibly long lifespan that dates back to the Void Century.

Believers of this theory claim that the Five Elders participated in the World Government’s establishment, meaning that they have been leading the organization for centuries. The main piece of evidence of this theory is that the Five Elders apparently don’t age.

Admittedly, there is no visible difference between their current appearance and that of the Ohara flashback, which happened more than 20 years before the ongoing storyline. Given that the Five Elders don’t seem to have aged at all during such a prolonged period of time, many One Piece fans think that these characters could be immortal.

Some fans say that the Five Elders’ secret is connected with the National Treasure of Mary Geoise. What’s certain is that they don’t age at a normal rate. In comparison, other One Piece characters have shown visible signs of aging in time spans much smaller than 20 years.

It’s possible that someone used a Devil Fruit power on them, which was able to slow, if not almost stop, their aging process. It is also possible that someone performed the Ope-Ope Fruit’s secret technique on them, granting them eternal youth.

According to Doflamingo, if someone was able to use Mary Geoise’s National Treasure in conjunction with the Ope-Ope Fruit, it would allow the user to effectively conquer the entire world.

However, to perform the Perennial Youth Surgery, the user of the technique has to give his life. The Ope-Ope Fruit would disappear along with him and reappear somewhere around the world every time this surgery is performed.

Thus, in order for all five members of the group to gain perpetual youth, they would need to repeat the process of tracking down the Ope-Ope and his user every time. That is, unless they have found a way to keep the user alive or resurrect him after each surgery.

If the Five Elders are powerful warriors, they may challenge the strongest rising pirates, such as Zoro (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
If the Five Elders are powerful warriors, they may challenge the strongest rising pirates, such as Zoro (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

The fighting capabilities of the Five Elders are yet to be revealed to One Piece readers, and it’s not even a given that they can fight. But, interestingly enough, one of them wields a sword that appears to be the Shodai Kitetsu, one of the Supreme Grade blades.

If that sword really is the Shodai Kitetsu, then it would hardly be feasible for such a fine blade to be in the hands of an individual who is not a strong fighter in his own right. Hence, many fans have theorized that the Five Elders are powerful fighters and that, if the Strawhats ever faced the Five Elders, the one wielding the sword could confront Zoro in a fierce battle.

According to another popular theory, which also goes by the assumption that the Five Elders are mighty warriors, they would fight against the five most powerful Supernovas of the Worst Generation, the same five who confronted Kaido and Big Mom on Onigashima’s Rooftop during the Wano Arc.

While the World Government is in constant conflict with pirates, the Five Elders seem to hold Shanks in special regard. Despite his status as a notorious pirate, he was allowed to meet them in the sacred land of Mary Geoise, even during the very important Levely. One Piece fans were shocked at the sight of Shanks being received by the Five Elders.

The Five Elders know that Shanks represents a great potential threat, but they consider him a man who will not try to overthrow the world by himself. Therefore, they would tolerate his actions unless they were to reveal an immediate danger.

This behavior could explain the unusual relationship between them and Shanks. However, to this day, his intent behind telling them about a “certain pirate” has yet to be explained.

Final Thoughts

With the endgame of One Piece approaching, the Five Elders' secrets will be unveiled soon (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
With the endgame of One Piece approaching, the Five Elders' secrets will be unveiled soon (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

The Five Elders are some of the most mysterious characters in the world of One Piece. Much about them is yet to be revealed. Ruling the World Government on behalf of the similarly enigmatic Im, the Five Elders seem to set the tone to many of the most relevant events in the series. In fact, they may be involved in the ongoing Egghead Arc as well.

The World Government has sent some of the strongest members of CP0, such as Lucci and Kaku, to kill Dr. Vegapunk. Shockingly enough, old villains like Lucci and Kaku have become much stronger than they were before, having been promoted to be masked agents of CP0. They've also been given the task of killing the greatest scientist at the World Government’s disposal.

Such an outrageous mission can only be an order from the Five Elders. After all, CP0 is at the direct employment of the World Government. However, the decision to kill someone as valuable as Vegapunk seems weird. In fact, this disclosure left One Piece fans very dubious.

Waiting to know what lies beyond this choice, what’s for sure is that the Five Elders are involved in it, as usual. Due to this role, it is very likely that they may serve as antagonists in the final part of the series, when their mysterious and likely dark past will be finally unveiled.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal
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