You may ask yourself: What does Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and his charismatic personality have to do with a blog about One Piece? After all you can´t really say that these two topics are too closely related, right? But what if I told you that the Rock and One Piece DO have something in common.
Or rather that there is a character in the story of One Piece that closely resembles Johnson in more than just one way. Franky is without a doubt one of the more flashy characters in the story. At first glance, comparing him to the Rock may seem a little superficial, but I promise you that it will all make sense, once we make it to the end of this blog. So, bear with me here.
To be completely honest with you, I personally didn’t really like Franky as a character too much for quite some time. And I can’t really tell you why. Maybe it was his unusual character design or his rowdy-like language that didn´t speak to me, but I simply couldn’t enjoy him as a character as much as I did the other straw hats at that time.
And then, as a grew older and got more and more involved with One Piece, I noticed something weird. I caught myself liking the chapters and scenes with Franky more and more and before I knew it, I thought that he was actually an amazing character. How the hell did that happen? As I came to realize, my mistake was, that I thought that Franky was designed to appeal to younger readers. And in a certain way that is probably true.
But the way his character is designed actually resonates a lot more with my older self. So, let´s find out who Franky the Cyborg truly is and why Oda might have written the Rock into One Piece by accident. Franky is a powerfully built, tall man with a height of at least seven feet…or a little over 2 meters in case you´re like me and don´t know how much that is.
An immediate eyecatcher are Franky´s forearms, which are enormously big while his biceps are comparatively small. The same goes for his muscular upper body, with unproportionally thin legs. He has brightly-colored blue hair and blue star tattoos on his forearms. Going with his existence as a cyborg, he has a very geometric looking face with a metallic nose and a triangular chin.
His choice of clothing usually comprises of speedos and an open Hawaiian “Aloha” shirt with a large golden chain necklace around his neck. Before becoming a cyborg, Franky went half-naked simply because he felt like it. Now however, his cyborg body is built in a way that covering himself up would actually limit him in using his technical features, that include a variety of weapons and other, let´s say interesting features? Also, he only wears a shirt to cover his back, the only part of his body he cannot reach and modify and as a result is most vulnerable to damage. To make his character even more
quirky and round things up, his body runs entirely on cola. Next to Robin, Franky is the only other Straw Hat that initially started out as an antagonist for the crew. Franky grew up on Water 7 as an orphaned boy from the south blue, where he was thrown overboard by his parents, who also were pirates, when he was barely 4 years old. He was found by the legendary shipwright Tom, who took him in and made him his apprentice.
Franky´s REAL name is Cutty Flam, but his fellow apprentice Iceburg decided to nickname him Franky and the name stuck ever since. When Tom was arrested for building the Oro Jackson for the pirate king Gol D. Roger, he managed to evade his sentence by offering to build a Sea Train in order to help the struggling city.
Together with Iceburg and Franky he managed to finish the train in time. However, Spandam, an official of the World Government, framed Tom for attacking Water 7 using Franky´s own personal fleet of mini battle ships, that he had built to fight off the sea kings. His goal was to get his hands on the blueprints of the ancient weapon Pluton, that was in Tom´s possession.
When Tom was taken to Enies Lobby on the Sea Train, Franky tried to stand in its path and was run over. Heavily injured, he drifted to a ship where he modified his own body into a cyborg and returned to Water Seven several years later. He revealed himself to Iceburg, who was now the mayor of the prospering Water Seven.
From him Franky received the plans for the Pluton, and he decided to protect Iceburg and Water 7 from the shadows. To do so, he became a ship dismantler, bounty hunter and thug and form the Franky Family, taking in cast outs from the city. So now that we know Franky´s crazy and tragic story, let´s look at his character.
Franky has been filled with positive characteristics by Oda, that maybe aren´t apparent at first glance. But let´s start with a more obvious one: Franky has shown us over and over again how strong-willed he is. And he takes it to the utmost extreme, by performing self-surgery and modification on himself while he was at the verge of death, after being run over by the sea train.
This is a feat that maybe even a Luffy or Zoro would have difficulties with, regardless of the technical knowledge involved. Hand in hand with this go his craftiness, his sharp wit and his creativity that make him such a unique shipwright. Franky is one of the very few people that are able to create and handle technology on an advanced level.
Not only is his cyborg technology incredibly advanced, but he also had no problem understanding and integrating Dr. Vegapunk inventions during the time skip. Franky also has a very free-spirited and eccentric personality. He is proud to be who he is, with all his quirks and unique features and doesn´t like to follow social norms let alone the law of the world government.
This also reflects really well in his language that is kind of punky and includes him rolling his R. Another side of Franky that often gets overlooked is his altruism and kindness towards others. Whether it is with the children on Punk Hazard or the Tontatta on Dressrosa, our Cyborg clearly cares, not only for his crew and family but also those around him in general.
This is closely related to his emotional side, that makes him tear up very quickly when hearing a tragic story. Most importantly though, and I think this is one of the core messages of this blog, Franky is actually incredibly mature, despite all his goofiness. When stopping the sea train, he shouts that he wants to be like his father figure Tom.
Someone who took him in, even after his parents abandoned him. So that´s what he did. He went through the streets of Water 7 and took in those people who had been forgotten by everyone else. He gave them a family and a place to belong. We can also see this in Franky´s relationship with everyone in the crew.
He takes on the role of a kind of father or big brother for especially the younger ones, teaching Usopp about engineering, taking care of Chopper and supporting those who need him, like Luffy in Dressrosa and Robin in Enies Lobby. While we often see him goofing around and entertaining the crew, he always seems to keep serious matters in mind. And his world view in general is one of the most mature in the crew as well.
I think this maturity was something that I didn´t manage to see when I was younger, and it explains why I came to love Franky as a character a little later than some of the other Straw Hats. It seems to go against his character and yet, when you look at the big picture fits perfectly.
Interestingly enough, this maturity also reflects in Franky´s drivers for character development. Because in a way, he truly is already matured. His only real inner need is his inability to forgive himself for the death of his master Tom. Otherwise Franky doesn´t really have anything he has to change I order to become a better person.
Yes, he indeed did do some immoral things, like beating Usopp or stealing from pirates like the straw hats. But he mostly did all of those out of a sense of atonement and love. In memory of Tom, he decided to spend the rest of his days on Water 7, attacking incoming thieves and looters, organizing all the thugs so that he could keep the city´s crime in check and overall protecting the city that Tom loved so much.
Franky´s dream on the other hand is really hands on: He wanted to create a dream ship out of Adam Wood and see it sail around the world. In other words, Franky is literally living his dream with the straw hats at the moment. At the same time, he strives to become stronger to be able to protect his friends on their dangerous journey.
No wonder then that Franky values family and kindness as much as he values freedom and of course craftsmanship. How then does this impressive cyborg of a man influence the story? Being the shipwright of the straw hats, Franky is the one enabling the crew to sail on the dangerous waters of the grand line in the first place.
He was the one who built the Sunny and also is the one to repair her and keep her in good shape over the course of their journey. In other words: Franky quite literally is responsible for moving the plot along. Apart from his duties as a craftsman though, he also is an important fighting asset, when things get a little heated.
And more often than not, he actually plays a major role in events taking place. On Enies Lobby, he helped the Straw Hats save Robin. As a matter of fact, he was the one to unchain and protect her until the rest of the crew arrived. And later he helped everyone escape by using a Coup de Vent, blowing the blockade of buster call ships apart and sending the Going Merry flying through the air.
But he also knows how to support his fighting friends, as we could see on Dressrosa, where he took care of Luffy during his fight with Doflamingo. Another detail, that is often forgotten, is that Franky most likely still holds the knowledge of how to rebuild the ancient weapon Pluton. A plot point that might well become relevant again down the line.
And finally, in terms of character development, he also provides guidance for the younger crew members, helping them feeling safe and comfortable on this dangerous journey. In that context, it is of course also worth looking at Franky´s own character arc. Since Franky has a very mature and as a result nearly complete character, his development over the course of the story is rather minor and altruistic.
Franky definitely still is working on overcoming his guilt regarding Tom´s death, but it is nothing that Oda puts too much into focus for us. Still, we can see Franky making progress in this regard, be it defeating Spandam, who was responsible for his pain, joining the straw hats, meeting Tom´s brother Dan on Fishman Island or simply fulfilling his dream, sailing with his friends.
It is a very low-key, but nonetheless fulfilling change of character, that I hope will be brought up again at one point in the story. For his character as a whole, I feel like there are three arcs in particular where Franky was at the center of events. The first one is obviously the Water 7 and Enies Lobby arc.
And yes, that is also Robin´s big arc, no doubt about it. But that Oda managed to make it the major point of events for not just one but TWO straw hats, just confirms for me how great this arc truly was. Starting out as antagonists, Luffy and Franky came to forgive and trust each other over the course of events.
And after all they went through together, in the end there really was no other option for either of them to not journey together from then on out. The time skip was another confirmation about how important Franky would be for the crew. Stranded on the island of Karakuri, the hometown of the infamous Dr. Vegapunk, he was able to further improve himself as well as the sunny.
All that for the sake of protecting his friends and making the Sunny into a ship of dreams for the crew. Finally, Franky got to play a major role in the events unfolding on Dressrosa, where not only he showed true bravery and kindness in protecting the Tontatta and Luffy, but also had an ideologically amazing fight against Senor Pink of the Donquixote family.
Franky may not seem like it at first glance, but he truly is a fantastic character, that is much more complex and contributes much more to the plot than one would think. So why the Rock? I hope by now you already have a feeling what I´m talking about here. Because Franky and Dwayne Johnson actually share a lot of similarities, and in more than one way. Let´s start with some of the more obvious ones.
I personally think that both Franky AND the Rock are extremely likable characters. They both have a very positive aura around them and basically ooze energy and motivation. Then of course there is the look. [Franky next to the Rock] I mean c´mon. If these guys don´t look similar I don´t know.
Beside the thing with the glasses, which I found super hilarious once I realized it by the way, thy both have the bulky, muscular ‘Strong Man’ look. They also both have a connection to Hawaii and Oda actually stated that Franky would be American, if One Piece took place in the real world. I mean these are minor things, but I just feel like they round off the analogy quite well. Then of course we have their upbringing.
Both had a difficult childhood. But they also managed to work their way out of there through their enthusiasm and positivity and finally managed to lead a life that brings them happiness every day. Finally, I feel like they also resemble each other immensely in their personality.
Both strongly value kindness and humor and both are extremely eccentric and free-spirited. Now that I think about it, in a way they even resemble each other in the way they changed over the years. Pre-time skip Franky, with his rowdy-like appearance really reminds me of a younger wrestling-Rock, while post-time skip Franky is closer to the Dwayne Johnson today.
Mature, altruistic and somehow looking more like a tank than before. So, there you have it. With Franky, Oda has created a truly amazing character and by accident he might have made the Rock join the straw hats. Hey everybody. Thank you so much for watching. Making this blog turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected.
I really enjoy making all of these blogs, but for Franky I just kept coming across these small details that I just found so fascinating. Also, I will be answering some of your questions in the comments below. So, don´t forget to leave a comment and maybe even a like. Today, I also want to give a shout out to my wonderful translators.
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.