One Piece: Usopp character analysis

One Piece: Usopp character analysis

One Piece: Usopp character analysis

One Piece: Usopp character analysis

When I tell you to think about the words “bravery” and “One Piece”, the chances are high that a certain character just appeared before your eyes: Usopp. But why is that? I was thinking about this a lot when I was rereading the entire story the other day. How is it that in a world which is buzzing with brave characters facing the most unthinkable situations, our mind still moves to someone that often is undeniably afraid? What makes Usopp a true symbol of bravery for us? To answer this question, we must first understand

what it actually means to be brave. Bravery is the admirable quality of being able to confront frightening things. And since everyone is afraid of different things, being brave means something different for every one of us. To Illustrate this, imagine two very different characters: A knight that is used to being on the battlefield and a small boy who is rather shy and has difficulties making friends.

Clearly, both of them have very different fears. It might take bravery for the knight to battle a dragon instead of regular people, but it also takes bravery for the shy child to walk into a new classroom meeting new people. A very common misconception about bravery is that being brave equals not being afraid. This is simply not true though.

Brave people DO feel fear, but they are able to manage and overcome this fear so that it does not stop them from taking action. They have trained themselves to manage their emotional response to being afraid. As a result, they overcome their fear rather than the fear overcoming them. You could even say that in a way, one cannot be brave without being afraid.

It is important to understand this, since Usopp is often criticized for still being a coward and afraid in certain situations. As we now know, this argument is not really valid. In order to be brave, you do not have to lose your fear, but much rather learn how to manage and overcome it. What we have to look for in Usopp´s development as a character then, is not whether he becomes less and less afraid over time, but rather if he becomes more and more able to deal with his anxiety.

And that is exactly what we will do in this blog. We will look at the most important moments in Usopp´s character arc and try to understand whether he truly hasn´t developed at all over time or if he maybe is closer to his dream than we all tend to think. We first get to meet He in Syrup Village back in the East Blue.

He is a cowardly and chronically lying young man that struggles growing up without his parents. While the villagers all blame He for this behavior, apparently none of them had the idea to take the orphaned boy in and give him the love and attention he clearly is looking for. Maybe this was due to his father being a pirate.

Still, this is no real excuse to abandon a lonely child in my mind. As a matter of fact, He started his habit of lying in the first place, when he started yelling to his sick mother that pirates were coming, hoping that the thought of her husband returning would strengthen her spirits enough to keep her alive.

It is truly astonishing then, that despite his understandable lack of confidence and need for attention, He still grew up to be a compassionate, extroverted and selfless man. Based on his backstory, I would say that we have a relatively good idea as to WHY He turned out to be such a cowardly and anxious person when he first encounters Luffy and Zoro.

In other words, the starting point for Usopp´s character arc is a lying coward, whose insecurity and deep lack of self-confidence are rooted in a lack of love and attention he received while growing up. In essence, similar to all the straw hats, Usopp´s character arc consists of two major parts: His relationship with Luffy and his dream.

Especially in Usopp´s case, these two themes are very closely interconnected, as we will see over the course of his journey. Usopp´s relationship with Luffy starts of as a mix of admiration, friendship and defiance. Luffy safes Usopp´s village from the evil captain Kuro, who was trying to kill his dear childhood friend Kaya for her family´s fortune.

One Piece: Usopp character analysis

He admires Luffy for his strength and decides to set out to see with him to become a pirate like his father. The friendship he develops with Luffy is different from the other straw hats. Both are two young men around the same age, with similar interests and a similar sort of humor. While this friendship plays an important role in creating the early dynamic of the crew, it also causes He to continuously underestimate Luffy´s authority as a captain.

Especially in the early days of the crew, we often see him trying to compete with Luffy over the role as captain. This is the starting point Usopp´s relationship with Luffy. In comparison, He doesn´t find his dream and ambition until the events at Arlong Park. Only when one of Arlong´s fishman, Chu, is shooting water bullets at He, who is hiding behind a tree, does he realize that he wants to help his friends. He decides to become “a brave warrior of the sea”.

In other words: He dreams of overcoming his fear and insecurity. In this moment, for the first time, he goes on to overcome his cowardness and actually manages to outwit and defeat the fishman by himself. This dream He found for himself, is cemented further on Little Garden after entering the Grand Line, where he meets the two giants Dorry and Brogy.

After learning about their ever-lasting battle on the island, He takes the giants of Elbaf as a role model for his ambitions. A theme that reappears throughout the entire series. The next big obstacle he has to overcome, is in Alabasta, where together with Chopper he has to fight Mr. 4 and Ms. Merry Christmas. For the first time, Usopp´s loyalty towards Luffy is put to the test.

He raises to the challenge, and that in a fight where he even takes a hammer to the head. Nonetheless, He overcomes his pain, proclaims Luffy as the future pirate king and ultimately manages to defeat the two agents together with Chopper. Battles like this continue to progress Usopp´s dream to become a brave warrior of the sea.

But with every arc, his insecurity about his role in the crew grows worse, slowly but steadily. The reader already starts to get a feeling that these negative emotions might end up in disaster. What follows next, is one of two decisive turning points in Usopp’s character development: The Water 7 and Ennis Lobby arc marked a low and at the same time turning point for He.

After the straw hats learn that the Going Merry won´t be able to continue her journey due to irreparable damage, Luffy decides to leave the ship behind. This is a breaking point for He for several reasons: Obviously, the Merry was a fond memory of his village and his friends. But of course, it goes much deeper than this.

Usopp´s feeling that he doesn´t have a role in the crew has slowly been building up in him over time. Even though Sanji calls him the straw hats sniper in Alabasta, He is not able to identify with this position yet. In the Merry he sees a crew member that has grown too weak and as a result was abandoned by the crew.

Not only does he see himself as one of the weakest members on the ship, he also doesn´t feel like he has another purpose to fulfill, like Nami or Chopper do. As a result, He is afraid to be left behind by his comrades, just like the merry was. Luffy even goes so far as to tell him that he is not a shipwright, after he unsuccessfully tries to fight for the Merry´s remain.

He then goes on to openly confront Luffy with his anxiety: “You can just cut off those members that are useless. There’s no way I could catch up to you monsters, you don’t need any weak members, right Luffy?” This anxiety of not being good enough and being left behind combined with his lack of respect for Luffy´s position culminate in his decision to leave the crew and ultimately fightLuffy for the ownership of the merry.

One Piece: Usopp character analysis

This marks the absolute low point in His story arc. Not only was he unable to act according to his dream, but he also broke his ties with Luffy, which removed him from the crew on an ideological level as well. After instantly regretting his decision to break with the crew, He creates the character of “Sogeking” for himself.

He is a representation of everything Usopp wants to be and at this point in the story serves as a source of courage for him. Hiding behind a mask gives him the opportunity to fight besides his forsaken friends and gives him a feeling of security during the battle on Ennis Lobby.

After almost being killed by Jabra, Sanji safes Usopp and tells him: “Do what only you can do!” Finally, Usopp accepts and establishes his role and purpose in the crew and starts sniping towards the gates of justice to protect Robin. When the crew is about to leave him behind back at water 7, he finally demonstrates bravery and manages to overcome his fear of being left behind and not fitting in. He apologizes to Luffy and the crew and fully accepts Luffy as the captain. This entire arc of redemption was of great importance to the development of Usopp in regard to both his dream AND his relationship with Luffy.

Usopp has now officially rejoined the crew after an incredible 106 chapters of absence. Our next stop is Thriller bark, where Usopp once again has to rely on Sogeking in order to fight Perona. It is the first situation though, in which he is the only one capable of defeating an enemy.

This time, he has to overcome his anxiety to fight for the sake of the entire crew. After the events of Marineford, Usopp desperately tries to get back to Luffy, saying that if he cannot comfort his captain in times like this, he could not call himself a true straw hat. This shows us that his acceptance and relationship with Luffy has gone full circle.

Over the course of the two years, Usopp then tries to get as strong as he can for his captain and aims to become a true sniper, worthy of fighting for the future pirate king. The last arc that we have to look in order to understand Usopp´s character development is Dressrosa. This is the second major turning point for Usopp in the story so far.

When stuck in the underground harbor, Robin gets turned into a toy, leaving Usopp as the last remaining straw hat against Trebol and Sugar. The Tontatta, who are being wiped out by Trebol, put all their hopes in Usolando, another character created by Usopp to hide behind. This puts immense stress on Usopp that has been building up for the majority of the arc.

Finally, he can´t handle it anymore and, as he did at Arlong Park, he runs away to hide. Tragically, right here Usopp represents one of the main themes of Dressrosa: Deception. All this time Doflamingo had been deceiving the Tontatta and now they have to find out that Usopp was essentially doing the same. Yet, as he did at Arlong Park, Usopp realizes that this is not who he wants to be.

He comes out and tells the Tontatta´s the truth. He is Usopp, the sniper of the Straw hat pirates. And he will be their hero. In this moment, having neither Sogeking nor Usolando left to hide behind, he finally overcomes another one of his great insecurities and stands against Trebol and Sugar as himself. He no longer needs a mask to hide behind.

One Piece: Usopp character analysis

He successfully saves the Tontatta and even manages to knock out Sugar twice. His newly found courage and self-confidence are almost directly rewarded by the awakening of his observation Haki, that he uses to safe Luffy and Law. Finally, he was able to prove his worth for Luffy, not to the others, but to himself and confirm his right for being part.