Dracule Mihawk is one of the most powerful individuals in the One Piece world. He is a true icon of the series, being the man Roronoa Zoro aspires to reach and surpass and an equal to Emperor "Red Hair" Shanks.
After One Piece introduced the concept of Advanced Conqueror's Haki, an absolute game-changing ability that only a few of the strongest characters can use, fans immediately started wondering if Mihawk possesses this power as well.
Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to chapter 1062 and reflects the opinions of the writer.
Being one of the strongest One Piece characters, Mihawk likely is an Advanced Conqueror's Haki user
Mihawk's status in the One Piece world explored
Dracule Mihawk is the World's Strongest Swordsman, meaning he is one of the most powerful characters in the entire series. He is a former member of the Seven Warlords of the Sea. His strength is just outstanding; he is a man of the same caliber as Shanks, one of the Four Emperors. For his great status, Mihawk was awarded an impressive bounty of 3.590.000.000 berries.
A testament to Mihawk's strength is the fact that Zoro, despite having become powerful enough to the point where he can outclass the right-hand man of an Emperor, is still not at the level of the World's Strongest Swordsman. Zoro will need to improve further to be able to fight on par with Mihawk, who is a character as powerful as the Emperors, if not stronger than many of them.
Mihawk is the co-founder of the Cross Guild, a new organization that immediately gained popularity and political influence, shocking the One Piece world. Proof of this, the organization's supposed leader, Buggy, was raised to the status of Yonko, showing how Cross Guild's power and influence are equivalent to those of a Yonko crew.
Since the introduction of the organization, One Piece fans have questioned how a weakling like Buggy could recruit powerful individuals such as Crocodile and even Mihawk as his subordinates. It was later revealed that Buggy is neither the creator of Cross Guild nor its leader and that Mihawk and Crocodile are not his subordinates but the true founders and rulers of the group.
They use Buggy as a figurehead leader to draw any unwanted attention away from them. This was Mihawk's idea: he didn't want to be considered a Yonko, preferring to live without the fanfare that would come with that title. Thus, Buggy was presented as the leader. Believing in the facade, the World Government declared Buggy one of the Four Emperors.
Hence, Mihawk could have achieved the Yonko status had he wanted to. He just chose not to obtain it for personal reasons. That only appears logical, given the fact that Mihawk is at the very least as strong as Shanks, a powerful pirate who is one of the Four Emperors. Shanks truly is a mighty individual, strong enough to intimidate Ryokugyu, a Marine Admiral.
Mihawk and Shanks have a world-renowned rivalry. In the past, they fought ferocious battles, which have become famous throughout the entire Grand Line. Even Whitebeard, the World's Strongest Man and a rival to the Pirate King acknowledged those clashes as legendary.
The One Piece Magazine recently revealed that the rivalry between Shanks and Mihawk is an analogy to the one between Gol D. Roger and Whitebeard, which makes sense as the structure of the two duos is more or less the same.
Mihawk and Whitebeard are the ones who have the world's strongest title; their counterparts are more or less as powerful as them but didn't seek that title. Shanks and Roger obtained the status of Emperor and Pirate King, respectively; their peers could have achieved that, had they wanted, but they weren't interested in those accomplishments.
Outside of combat, Shanks and Mihawk have a friendly relationship. Despite their diametrically opposed personalities, they get along. This is another thing in common with the Roger/Whitebeard duo.
Why the Advanced Conqueror's Haki is the strongest power of all
In One Piece, Haki is an ability based on willpower. While all the other abilities in the series, like the Devil Fruits, have their limitations, willpower is a potentially limitless force. Hence, as One Piece author Eiichiro Oda clearly implied, Haki is the strongest kind of power in the series, and that the Advanced Color of Conqueror's is the absolute pinnacle of Haki.
According to Kaido, Haki surpasses all the powers in the One Piece world and was the asset that allowed Roger to become the King of Pirates. Thus, no matter what power the enemy may wield, an individual with enough willpower and a powerful Haki can potentially overcome any threat and win the fight.
Throughout the One Piece manga, the idea of the characters with the most dominating Haki being the most likely winners of a fight was raised several times. After all, while past, present, and future top-tier characters all have different fighting styles, one thing unites them all—they all have exceptionally strong Haki. Moreover, most of them have the Advanced Conqueror's Haki.
The Conqueror's Haki is one of the rarest traits in the One Piece world. It's the natural-born ability to impose one's own will on others, overwhelming their willpower. This ability can't be learned; it is only available to those born with it. Only a few chosen ones, one in several million people, can awaken and exert the extremely rare Color of Conqueror's.
While even basic traits of this power are rare, the upgraded version is even more extraordinary. A minimal number of mighty individuals are able to coat their bodies, their attacks, and their weapons with their Conqueror Haki, immensely improving their strength. The characters who have this ability are steps ahead of those who don't have it.
Users of this ability can damage others, or defend themselves, through a Haki barrier without even making physical contact. The same application can be combined with Armament Haki as well. Unleashing this power, the user receives an enormous boost, reaching a whole new level of strength.
Despite being accomplished fighters in their own right, most of Conqueror's Haki users weren't able to upgrade that ability at its advanced stage, lacking the needed strength. The Supreme King Haki can't be trained directly, as it is the embodiment of the user's spirit. It can only become stronger if the user himself does.
Even among those born with the Conqueror's Haki, only a few are able to upgrade that power to its furthest level. To this day, only Whitebeard, Roger, Rayleigh, Shanks, Luffy, Zoro, Yamato, Kaido, and Big Mom have been shown to be Advanced Conqueror's Haki users. According to Kaido, being able to use this ability is what separates the strongest from the rest.
Shanks and Zoro are Supreme Kings, thus Mihawk has to be one as well
At the moment, it is yet to be confirmed if Mihawk possesses the Conqueror's Haki. However, it is very likely that he does, both in the basic version and the advanced one. Since the beginning of the One Piece series, Mihawk has been set up as Zoro's final and greatest opponent, waiting for him at the top of the world.
With Zoro being revealed not only as a Supreme King but an Advanced Conqueror's Haki user as well, it's unrealistic to think that Mihawk, who will face him at the end of the series in one of One Piece's most epic battles, won't have those abilities.
Those born with Conqueror's Haki all have the attitude to be king, meaning that they have the willpower and the potential to become an individual among the absolute strongest in the world. Conqueror's Haki users overwhelm their opponents. The weakest people can't even face them, getting intimidated or even losing consciousness when in their presence.
Conqueror's Haki users have the greatest ambitions. They strive to be the strongest in the world and have often attained a highly respected status, indicating their dominating role. Owning all three types of Haki, they achieved a rare feat, making them feared and respected in the One Piece world. They don't follow others, being the kinds of people who lead, not the ones who tag along.
This description is completely fitting for Mihawk, who is the World's Strongest Swordsman, meaning that he is sort of a king who sits on the throne above all the others. Mihawk gained fame by fighting and defeating stronger and stronger foes until he had no worthy challengers left. He now reigns at the top as the strongest swordsman in the world.
Thus, to be the World’s Strongest Swordsman is to be the king of all swordsmen, the one who dominates them all. If Zoro, who has that as an aim, is a Conqueror, then the current wielder of the title, the individual whom Zoro seeks to surpass, has even more reasons to be one.
While in the past, they have given rise to legendary battles, Mihawk stopped being interested in fighting Shanks once the latter lost an arm. The One Piece Vivre Card databook revealed that Mihawk is waiting for a challenger even stronger than Shanks. Most likely, that person will be Zoro, who is continuously improving until he reaches the strength needed to fight him on equal grounds.
MIhawk possesses an incredibly powerful Armament Haki. He was able to make his sword a Black Blade. No one else except him and Ryuma, the legendary swordsman, was ever able to achieve this feat. He also taught Zoro how to use Haki and was able to clash with Shanks, a master of this ability. Given Mihawk's outstanding Haki prowess, it's likely that he can use the Color of Conqueror's.
Mihawk's greatest rival, Shanks, and his disciple and future challenger, Zoro, are both able to use Advanced Conqueror's Haki. Hence, it's almost a given that Mihawk is also a user of that rare power.
With the importance placed on Advanced Conqueror’s Haki during the Wano Arc, it’s clear that this game-changing power is the signature ability of the absolute strongest characters, separating the best from the mere good. It is yet to be disclosed if Mihawk possesses the Color of the Conqueror's. However, it appears that he may have it.
It would be very anticlimactic if Mihawk didn't possess that power, given that both Shanks and Zoro, his greatest rival and his disciple, respectively, have it. Moreover, it was emphasized that Advanced Conqueror's Haki is the power of the strongest characters, a small group to which Mihawk unquestionably belongs.
With Mihawk being depicted as a swordsman even stronger than Shanks, who is a powerful Conqueror's Haki user, it would not make any sense for the former to lack such a prominent Haki power. If Zoro's ambition comes from him being a Supreme King, there's little doubt that the same also goes for Mihawk, who has already reached that goal and now sits at the top of the world.
One Piece fans can't wait to see Mihawk in action and learn more about him. With the series having entered its endgame, it's reasonable to think that the time for the World's Strongest Swordsman to receive his well-deserved spotlight is finally about to come.
Poll : Do you think that Mihawk will be revealed as a Supreme King's Haki user?