Now that we’ve heard that our clown prince of piracy is an Emperor of the Sea, we need to talk about Buggy, chop-chop. How did this flashy character ascend to the top of the pirate pecking order? How did this fool fool everyone and gain such immense power? Definitely not intentionally… probably. Or could it be that Buggy is masking his true power level? Buggy did after all tank a direct hit from Mihawk’s black blade.
There aren’t too many characters that can do that and live to tell the tale. Sure, his fruit is immune to cutting, but is that still the case when we’re talking about a haki-infused strike? He also took out an awakened zoan user in Impel Down and threatened to challenge Whitebeard himself. Not only was he a regular member of the Roger pirates, but was also invited by SHanks to join his new crew, after Roger’s death.
So, since we don’t know yet, what direction Oda will take this in, let’s just assume for a second, that Buggy is indeed an extremely powerful pirate, similar to Shanks, who has simply been hiding his true strength.
So when Luffy faces Buggy in orange town, he would obviously be way out of Buggies league and the only way he could win this fight would be by Buggy underestimating him and being outsmarted. Weirdly enough, you could argue that Buggy never was interested in killing Luffy. He only wanted his treasure back and go for Luffy’s slash Shanks slash Roger’s straw hatm, that still carries the scars of his attack.
The reason Buggy lost, was because he got outmanouvered in his rage. And given that he not only succesfully escaped Impel down, keeping his true powers secret there as well, but survived all types of monster attacks druing the war at Marienford, it would at least fit within the established story, that Buggy is a wolf in disguise. An actual Yonko.
I’d be aboslutely on board with that, but for now, let’s look at the facts or at least what Oda wants us to think about Buggy: Itt semms that our clown gained his power the same way that many powerful people in this world do:
Through no “real” work or effort of their own! Along with a dash of cunning and trickery, and in this case a natural aptitude for mass media manipulation! And, of course, having a pretty cool devil fruit power doesn’t hurt. Though, he could stand to use it a bit more effectively. For many, the hierarchy of the One Piece world is merit based.
Luffy and Coby, for instance, had to fight tooth and nail to get where they are today. They started as weaklings and through insane willpower and determination have made names for themselves in the world. However, many other characters are granted power in ways that have little to do with their own will or strength.
Characters like the Celestial Dragons rule the world just because they happened to be born as Celestial Dragons and the same is true for royalty like King Riku or Princess Vivi, though they don’t abuse their power in the same way. Our two favorite recently defeated Yonkou, Big Mom and Kaidou, ascended to Emperor status because they had unnatural inborn strength.
Judging by their flashbacks, they didn’t have to train very hard to amass their physical prowess – Big Mom was just an ungodly strong child, taking down giants as a little kid. Buggy, however, wasn’t born with his power – in fact, in terms of physical strength, he still really doesn’t have much to speak of.
Instead, the clown star Buggy had to depend on a few other factors – like his personal connections and the good old fashioned power of lying! It should come as little surprise that Buggy has come so far in the story. In a manner similar to Blackbeard, Buggy has also paralleled Luffy’s journey throughout his travels. His story, like Luffy’s, harkens back to the East Blue.
After all, he was one of the first major villains to appear in the series. He was also the first antagonist to wield a devil fruit power, with his chop-chop fruit proving a formidable challenge for the early crew to overcome. It was thanks to Buggy slashing the straw hat that Nami got to learn what it meant to Luffy, indirectly leading to one of the most emotional moments in the series, when Luffy gave her the hat in Arlong Park.
As Luffy’s bounty has grown arc by arc, Buggy has scaled with him, becoming a Shichibukai and now a Yonkou. Everyone assumes that Blackbeard is Luffy’s greatest rival to become the Pirate King…but does our favorite clown have a shot? I’m not going to lie – it would be hilarious for Buggy to claim the mantle temporarily.
Let’s explore how exactly Buggy fooled everyone and became an Emperor of the Sea. The first way Buggy came into his current power is that he has the kind of networking connections that any LinkedIn user would be jealous of. After all, they say it’s all about who you know and Buggy knows a real who’s who of the pirate world.
Though, he probably doesn’t know the character literally named…Who’s Who. Buggy probably would have rotted away in an Impel Down cell for the rest of his days if it weren’t for his connection to the real hero of the story, Luffy. Being dragged along by the absolute force of nature that is Monkey D. Luffy, he managed to escape this supposedly inescapable prison.
During the Marineford War, many of the escapees rallied to his side largely because it was revealed that he was a part of the former Pirate King’s crew. Surely an associate of Gol D. Roger himself must be a powerful leader – the kind of person you’d want to follow if you want to hedge your bets on the future of the pirate world.
Buggy’s ability to gain power based on his previous associations with pirates like Luffy, Shanks, and Roger, of course, are based in no part on his own strength (which is lacking to say the least). However, this doesn’t stop an increasing number of people from joining him. When Shanks approached the Gorosei to talk about a “certain pirate”, could our assumptions have been wrong in thinking he was talking about Luffy or Blackbeard. Perhaps the true threat to the state of the world is none other than Buggy-Sama.
And, of course, we can’t underestimate the power of lying. If Buggy truly does have a strength, this is it. Buggy is cut from the same cloth as Usopp, another habitual liar. Strangely enough, whereas you would expect a story to impart moral lessons such as “lying is bad”, One Piece in general has not taken a hard stance on dishonesty.
Whereas Buggy lies for personal gain, we see Usopp lie for justified purposes. Both Usopp and Buggy actually inhabit a role in literature called the “trickster archetype.” An archetype, by the way, is a heavily recurring character or story element that pops up again and again throughout literature and mythology.
The “trickster” is a character that is cunning, deceitful – sometimes malicious, but at other times heroic. On the sinister side, we have figures like Loki…so we may meet another trickster in Elbaf. On the more delightful side, though, we have Bugs Bunny (whose name sounds suspiciously close to Buggy if you ask me).
Perhaps an even more apt comparison from the Looney Tunes canon, though, is Wile E. Coyote, based on the Coyote characters of Native American mythologies. Like Buggy, Wile E. Coyote also frequently has his own explosives blow up in his face. I’m starting to suspect that Buggy Balls must be manufactured by the ACME corporation. Usopp uses his lies to bring joy to others like Kaya or to ultimately work toward an ultimate good, such as Luffy becoming the Pirate King.
However, Buggy uses his lies for immoral purposes and mostly for his own personal gain. Is Buggy Oda showing us what an evil Usopp would be like? No. No, probably not. But it is Oda showing us two different takes on the same classic archetype. Buggy crafts lies in order to bring tons of Impel Down escapees to his crew.
Long before the prisoners on Dressrosa would proclaim the glory of God Usopp, Buggy gained an almost religious following after his followers believed he was able to open the giant gate preventing their escape. And what makes him such an effective liar? Well, it helps that he wholeheartedly believes his lies thanks to his massive delusions of grandeur.
We might also be able to speculate that Buggy is a little smarter than he lets on. His followers listen to every word he speaks with adoration. They think he’s an all-powerful genius. However, it’s pretty clear to the audience that his ravings come from his ego more than his intellect.
But could we be wrong? Has he engineered more of his rise to fame than initially meets the eye? After all, it would appear that he shares “the most dangerous power in the world” – just like Luffy, Buggy manages to amass allies wherever he goes. Another reason that Buggy the Clown has ascended to Yonkou status is because of a grasp on the media.
Other than Big News Morgans, there are few characters in the One Piece world that have a better handle on how to manipulate public opinion through mass media. At the Marineford War, Buggy notably took control of a surveillance snail to broadcast flashy messages to the world. This hugely increased his notoriety and allowed him to become a Shichibukai. His narcissistic, megalomaniacal personality couldn’t stand for Monkey D. Luffy drawing all the attention for himself at the Summit War.
Instead, he brought himself front and center and proclaimed himself as Buggy the Magnificent. I’m actually super curious what Buggy’s new Yonko bounty will turn out to be. More than Luffy’s 3 Billion i would bet. But no matter how much it is, it’s way way more than my lousy little bounty of 61 million berries, 100 berries for each of my subscribers.
So while buggy seems out of reach, this dripping man right here isn’t with 99 M on his head. And so we have been fighitng for over a month now to not lose the wild race to 100M berries against Trebol. Please help to beat him by subscribing and getting freshly pressed One PIece content in return every single week. Now, True to his status as a clown, Buggy is a natural performer, able to draw in an audience.
It’s not just his shiny red nose that garners such attention – in fact, he’d really rather not bring too much attention to that… Instead of the physical strength that allowed pirates like Big Mom and Kaidou to take the position of Yonkou, Buggy rolled a Nat 20 on charisma and has been making waves ever since. Of course, this blog wouldn’t be complete without speaking about Buggy’s devil-fruit power, so let’s talk about the chop-chop fruit.
He’s not the most effective user of his fruit in combat, but he has used it in ways that play up the other qualities that make him so renowned. In this way, he’s almost an inverse of Luffy, who used what we initially thought was a fairly weak fruit and became a powerhouse. On the other hand, Buggy uses a fruit that is full of potential and then usually just ends up tied up on the ground, unable to reform himself.
Most characters in One Piece who possess devil fruit powers have character traits that perfectly reflect the powers bestowed upon them by Goda. Blackbeard is the ultimate force of darkness in the world. Galdino is a dummy (of the wax variety). So how does the Chop-Chop fruit perfectly resemble Buggy? Well, on the outside Buggy always looks like he has it all together…but in reality, he’s in pieces.
Take his post time-skip appearance, where we see that he’s wearing a comically large outfit and through the manipulation of his fruit he appears to be gigantic in stature. Little do most of his followers know that under this facade, there’s no substance to this giant figure of piracy.
Or could it be that just like that oversized costume, he’s hiding his true power and abilities? Was he underestimated being from the East Blue, supposedly the “weakest sea”? Could this brother of Shanks just be laying low until the time to make his move and find the greatest treasure of all – the One Piece. After all, there are few things that Buggy enjoys more than treasure hunting.
And so the big looming question that has opened up now is: Will Buggy fail his upwards all the way to becoming the King of the Pirates? Or he actually a Yonko-level character in disguise?
I think no matter what the answer is, it seems clear that Oda-sensei has set Buggy up to play a much much bigger role during the end-game of One Piece than any of us could have ever guessed. He might end up being the same sort of schemer and wire-puller as shanks, and spaking of Shanks, if you want to understand why he stole Luffy’s devil fruit from the marines, you should really check out that blog, right here.
That’s me, Andreea Blaga, author of the blog anime-everything.com. I work as a content creator in the US. I am also passionate about Japanese Anime.