One Piece: Yamato – Character analysis

One Piece: Yamato - Character analysis

One Piece: Yamato – Character analysis

One Piece: Yamato - Character analysis

I have seriously fallen in love with Yamato‘s character after only 17 chapters. Not only do I love the entirety of her character design, but I also think that she’s had an incredibly refreshing and enjoyable impact on the story. So, I’ve been enjoying pretty much every single moment with her in the story so far. Honestly, I’ve always thought I’d be immune to fanboying for a specific character, but I’ve been proven wrong. Luckily, turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks that way.

And if you know me, simply saying that a character is cool isn’t satisfying for me. And if you don’t know me, hi, my name is Ohara, and in this blog, I want to explore with you what made Yamato so lovable as a character in such a short span of time. And why I personally believe that she should be the next Straw Hat. But first things first, I can already hear people typing comments about me using her in the intro, and even though I’d love to jump right into all the awesome things that I like about Yamato, I want to clear this up first.

Luckily enough, however, I think that this debate is actually a pretty big part of what makes a character’s design and personality so interesting. So here’s my take on why I believe that Yamato is one of the best female characters in the story. Now, of course, I’m not claiming to be objectively right here, but as of now, this is my perspective.

I strongly believe that people should be able to freely identify the way that they see themselves. And since we sadly still live in a world where there’s a lot of discrimination and stigmatization, not only in the context of gender but also when it comes to things like race, I also think that it’s important to stand up against intolerance so everyone has the chance to be who they are. And so, having this sort of debate is important. Periods.

Now, that being said, however, when people get upset about Yamato being called a her, I think they’re missing the fundamental point of her character. For comparison, take someone like Kiku. Here we have someone that clearly is stating that they are a woman at heart. A very uncontroversial statement about Kiku seeing herself as a woman. Case closed.

With Yamato, on the other hand, the context is fundamentally different. Now, the reason for this entire controversy is that Yamato calls herself “Kaido-son” and also uses the pronoun “boku,” which is predominantly used by boys in Japan. Now, “boku” in itself, however, is in no way exclusive to boys and is actually quite often used by girls as well to not appear too girly. The truly male pronoun to use would be “ore,” that is used way more often among boys and has a sort of tough guy connotation.

And in any case, pronouns in Japan these days are much more a statement about personality than about gender. The much bigger point, in my opinion, however, is the fact that Yamato clearly doesn’t want to be a guy. She wants to be Odin. Yamato is literally role-playing Odin, not because he’s a chat, which, by the way, he 100% is, but because of his ideals and his personality.

I think it’s pretty clear that the true struggle Yamato has with her identity is not a matter of gender but of morality. She’s literally being held captive by her father, who killed the very man she idealizes. Her real identity crisis is all about finding a way to fight for her dream, to leave Wano, make friends, and see the world.

One Piece: Yamato - Character analysis

And so, taking on Odin’s persona is a way for her to both keep his and her dreams alive while at the same time fleeing the tragic nature of her own miserable life. Now, time will prove me right or wrong here, but I strongly believe that a large chunk of Yamato’s arc during Wano will be about embracing who she truly is and being able to let go of Odin as an ideal to cling to.

And again, since none of this has anything to do with gender in my opinion, I think it’s not only tolerable to call Yamato “her,” I’d actually say that it’s a great thing. When you consider that the number of women in One Piece that can actually keep up with the men are very few and far between indeed, Yamato being as strong as she is and having the guts and stamina that usually are reserved for Oda’s alpha males, in my eyes, makes her a refreshingly dominant female character.

In fact, Oda was inspired for Yamato by the character Oscar from a shoujo manga, The Rose of Versailles, a woman raised by her father as if she were a boy in order to succeed him as the commander of the royal guard at the Palace of Versailles, a concept that Oda found very intriguing, as he mentioned in his notes on chapter 945. And I have to 100% agree with that point. Having Yamato take on Odin’s identity has been a major part of her charm in more than just one way, I think.

Okay, so with that out of the way, let’s talk about Yamato’s character. First of all, just visually alone, I think she’s absolutely unique. White hair, the beautiful face, and the red horns together with the traditional Japanese outfit she’s wearing make her one of my favorite visual designs in the story. I think everything here just really fits. The name “Yamato” by the way, is actually a very old term for Japan itself, roughly translating to “harmony,” which when you think about it, both in a way fits perfectly and not at all at the same time.

Now, the fact that she’s the main villain’s daughter that has allied with Luffy is an incredibly refreshing and interesting concept in my opinion that instantaneously added so many more layers to the plots and also to Kaido himself. What is their true relationship? How does Kaido feel about her? What does it mean for her role in the war?

Just a fantastic puzzle piece that gave us so many new options in this already epic arc. And I think it’s great that while she clearly dislikes her father, she nonetheless shares a lot of similarities with him. Her direct and imposing manner, her fighting style that also includes a huge iron club, as well as several of Kaido’s own techniques that he clearly must have taught her personally, and finally, her wild and beast-like vibe that of course also includes an animal transformation.

One Piece: Yamato - Character analysis

In many ways, her character is a great twist on the typical princess trope. Yes, she is a caged bird that has to be freed by our hero from the claws of the villain, but she’s pretty much the exact opposite of being all whiny and fragile. In fact, she’s actually really, really strong, just not quite strong enough to deal with her Yonko father.

Now, I personally think that in many ways what makes Yamato so incredibly relatable and refreshing in the story is that she often feels like a female version of Luffy. With all the things we love about him – his strong will, his altruism, his sturdiness, and also his naivety and quirkiness – all of them can also be found in Yamato.

And I think that’s why so many people, including myself, immediately resonated with her character, and as a result, Yamato feels very organic, and despite her quick introduction to the story, it kind of seems like she’s been around forever. Which actually brings me to the most pressing question about her: will Yamato join the crew?

Now, if I had to bet money on it, I would say yes, not only because I really, really want this to happen, but also because Yamato fulfills all the requirements for a new crew member perfectly. Actually, almost a bit too perfectly, to be precise. First of all, we have the dream. As we have already established, Yamato wants to travel the world just like Odin did.

So not only do we have a dream here, but, as with all the Straw Hats, we have an inherited dream, an inherited will, not only from Odin but also from Ace. Secondly, while we’ve only gotten parts of it so far, we already know that Yamato has had a very tragic past, being held captive by her father and shielded from the world.

And even more importantly, Luffy is the one who can save her and give her a path forward, something also shared by all other Straw Hats. The fact that she’s powerful enough to also fight with the crew and that she knows about the importance of finding One Piece are just cherries on top at this point.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that she actually asked Luffy to join? I’m 100% convinced that she will play a major role in this battle, and I can just cross my fingers that my new favorite female character will join Luffy on his journey. Put “Yamato for nakama” in the comments if you agree. Peace.

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