The four Emperors are the most powerful pirates in the world. They rule over the second half of the grand line and are the reason why it’s so chaotic at the beginning of the series.
These Emperors consisted of Shanks, Whitebeard, Kaido, and Big Mom. However, over the course of the series, these ranks have shifted to where Blackbeard, Buggy, and Luffy are now at the top. However, before we get into detail, what is an emperor? The four Emperors, or the yonko, are four separate pirate crews that rule over the second half of the grand line, aka the new world.
To put this into perspective, it’s often stated that as a pirate in the new world, you have to either make an alliance with other pirates or ally yourself with an emperor to survive.
This sentiment is true for most rookie pirates as even the lower-ranking officers in an Emperor’s crew can take out entire pirate crews by themselves. As for the highest ranking officers, mostly known as commanders, they are some of the strongest individuals in the One Piece world, often having insane devil fruit powers and/or overwhelming hockey.
However, it’s also said that the crew of the yonko don’t even compare to the emperor themselves. In fact, most of the yonko are considered top 10 strongest characters in the series. For context, the yonko are the entire reason why the seven warlord system even exists, to give the world government somewhat of an even playing field.
But even then, it took the combined forces of the Marines and the Warlords to just stop one Emperor and his crew during the Paramount War. So as you can imagine, the combined forces of two Emperors are said to be unstoppable, but that would never happen because all four yonko are locked in an eternal struggle to find the one piece.
This is basically why there are four Emperors, as if one yonko were to try to attack another, and even if they succeeded, they would still be left in a vulnerable state and be screwed over by the other two. Though that’s not to say that the Emperors or their forces don’t clash from time to time. So without further ado, let’s get into the first of the four Emperors.
One piece: Edward Newgate (Whitebeard)
Edward Newgate, or more commonly known as Whitebeard, was the former captain of the Whitebeard Pirates. He was often regarded as the strongest man in the world and a rival to the pirate king himself.
Whitebeard commanded 16 divisions of his crew and 43 other allied pirate crews. Each division was commanded by Whitebeard’s 16 Division Commanders, who are all powerhouses by themselves. But Whitebeard alone is a completely different beast. He is the user of the Guragura Nomi, or the Quake-Quake fruit.
This allows him to destroy entire islands with ease. And even then, he still has mastery in all three types of hockey. Edward Newgate was also a close friend of the pirate king, despite them being rivals.
And Whitebeard could have learned the location of the one piece if he wanted to. But while fame and power aren’t really his thing, see all Whitebeard wanted in this world was a family. And that’s why he calls every member of his crew his sons.
He was even described as the man who sat Before the Throne by Doflamingo because instead of learning the location of the One Piece from Roger, he decided to learn the true history of the world instead. As a Yonko, Whitebeard was less of a conqueror and more of a peacekeeper despite him being overwhelmingly powerful.
However, Whitebeard’s reign as an emperor came to an end when he and his entire crew went to go save Ace from being executed in this battle known as The Paramount War. Whitebeard lost his life and he failed his objective to save Ace as he died as well, but that’s not to say that the Whitebeard Pirates are weak as they gave the entire Navy and the Warlords a run for their money.
One piece: Big Mom
Big Mom, also known as Big Mom, is the captain of the Big Mom Pirates. Big Mom is a completely unnatural force as even at the age of five, she was able to kill Giants just because of her uncontrollable hunger tantrums and by being manipulated by Streusen and many others. This monster was cultivated into the unstoppable force that we see today.
The Big Mom Pirates are commanded by three Sweet Commanders, and under them are the officers, which are made up of Big Mom’s 85 children, yes, 85 natural-born children, no adoptions. These forces largely reside in Totto Land, a paradise for all races of the world made out of candy and other sweets.
Now, Big Mom herself has the powers of the Soul Soul Fruit, which allow her to manipulate the souls of others as well as herself. This ability allows her to use techniques such as bringing life to objects by using other souls and generally increasing her own power. On top of that, she has all three types of hockey as well.
Big Mom’s reign came to an end when, at the Battle of Onigashima, she was defeated by Captain Kidd and Trafalgar Law. It’s important to note that this feat was accomplished by careful planning from both Kid and Law because even though Big Mom is an unnatural force that can rival even Whitebeard, she’s still kind of a brute, and with a good enough plan, she can be bested in combat.
However, it’s important to mention that after this battle, both Kid and Law were on the verge of death, so it’s safe to say that this was not an easy feat at all.
One piece: Kaido
Kaido is the governor-general of the Beast Pirates. He is often regarded as the strongest creature in the world, and one of his epithets is King of the Beasts. Kaido commands over 20,000 crew members, and under him are his three commanders or the All-Stars, but none of these forces compare to the captain himself.
Not only does Kaido have complete mastery over all three types of hockey, but also insanely thick skin that can only be penetrated by the strongest characters in the series.
Like seriously, he’s so durable that his main hobby is trying to commit suicide, and even beyond that, you still have to get past his Zoan and Devil Fruit Powers, which allow him to turn into a dragon.
Kaido is somewhat of an anarchist; his goal is not only to die at the hands of someone stronger than him but also to bring about a war that will shatter the status quo and create a system where only the strong survive.
This is why he has over 500 artificial Devil Fruit users in his crew, and some of his top-ranking officers, such as the Tobiroppo or the All-Stars, have rare Devil Fruits that allow them to turn into exotic creatures. But unfortunately or fortunately, this stream was cut short by the hands of Monkey D Luffy and his allies during the raid on Onigashima.
One piece: Redhead Shanks
Redhead Shanks is the chief of the Red Hair Pirates, and out of the original four Emperors, he’s the one that we know the least about since the plot has not decided to focus on him yet. However, what we do know is that Shanks is a bit of a prodigy, being the youngest one out of the original four Emperors to actually gain the title.
He has ten officers in his crew, which are all extremely strong. However, at the time of this recording, we don’t really know anything about his extended forces yet. Also, Shanks was on Gol D. Roger’s crew when he was just a kid. We do know that Shanks was actually found by Roger when he was just a baby during the God Valley incident, which may suggest that he’s a son of a Celestial Dragon.
Now, that is a pretty crazy theory, but the reason that I say this is because during the Reverie Arc, Shanks by himself entered Mariejois and talked to the Gorosei, and it wasn’t like they were being held hostage or anything. When Shanks walked in, they literally treated it as if it were just a normal thing, paying him no mind whatsoever.
For those who don’t know, the Gorosei are the second-highest-ranking individuals in the World Government. They’re basically on top of the world and have been pulling the strings this entire time, kind of, but that’s a different blog.
But still, the fact that Shanks was able to do this or even go to Mariejois in the first place tells us that we really don’t know anything about his true intentions. I mean, as an Emperor, Shanks is a peacekeeper, kind of like Whitebeard, and he just now decided to go after the One Piece, even though Luffy is already three-fourths of the way there.
But whatever, speaking of Luffy, whenever we see Shanks, he’s always talking about the new generation of pirates. And this is actually why he entrusted his Straw Hat to Luffy, to invest in the new generation, as he said. Just like the other Emperors that we’ve talked about, Shanks is extremely powerful.
And while he doesn’t have any devil fruit powers, he makes up for this in his hockey usage. For real, he’s so good at using conquerors hockey that he can literally stop observation hockey users from seeing into the future.
He was also seen clashing with Whitebeard, and before he lost his arm, he would regularly duel with Mihawk, the world’s greatest swordsman. After the Paramount War and the defeat of the Whitebeard Pirates, Marshall D. Teach or Blackbeard decided to fill the power vacuum.
One piece: Blackbeard
It actually turns out that the defeat of Whitebeard was all a part of Blackbeard’s grand plan and to secure his spot as one of the four Emperors. He defeated the remnants of the Whitebeard pirates in an event known as the payback War.
Now that he has accomplished this, he and his 10 Titanic captains rule the new world. But unlike the other Emperors, Blackbeard is a bit on the weaker side, as he’s nowhere near as physically strong as the other four, and he may not even have conquerors hockey. But to make up for this, he has two devil fruit powers.
Blackbeard actually stole Whitebeard’s ability upon his death, and now he too can shatter islands with one punch. He did this through some mysterious ability that we don’t know of yet, but what we do know is that he’s trying to gather a crew of powerful devil fruit users. And it seems that he has accomplished this because even a former Navy Admiral is on Blackbeard’s crew.
However, unfortunately, Blackbeard is another one of those Emperors that the story has not decided to focus on yet. But what we do know is that Blackbeard is always scheming, and he probably knows something about the will of D.
The reason I say this is because Blackbeard actually planned the entire downfall of Whitebeard, from the murder of Commander Thatch all the way up to the Paramount War. He was also extremely confident while executing this entire plan, which may tell us that he knows something about the will of D or something about his greater destiny.
Now we’re on to one of the most recent Emperors. After the defeat of Big Mom and Kaido, the Marines saw the threat of the new organization known as Cross Guild. Cross Guild’s main objective is to put bounties on Marines, which gives other criminals more of an incentive to go after them.
One piece: Buggy
With this and all the other issues that the world government is facing, Cross Guild was labeled a new Emperor, or should I say, Buggy the Clown was. Now, this was a big revelation in the One Piece community because Buggy isn’t exactly the emperor type. He’s a coward, doesn’t have hockey, and one of the weakest antagonists in the entire series.
But since he has the backing of multiple underground organizations, plus Mihawk and Crocodile, he is seen as the ultimate threat.
And let me put an emphasis on “seen as” – in reality, Crocodile and Mihawk came together to form a new pirate crew after the collapse of the Seven Warlords, and Crocodile thought it was convenient to take over Buggy’s organization since he owes him money. The only reason Buggy is seen as the ringleader is because his face is on the front of the flyer by complete accident.
But Buggy was allowed to seem like the figurehead of Cross Guild, so he can take more of the attention. For all intensive purposes, though this plan is pretty solid, Crocodile is a mastermind who almost took over an entire country. Mihawk is the world’s greatest swordsman who is actually Yonko level, and Buggy is the one who takes all the blame, simple as that.
Now, I saved these guys for last for obvious reasons. The Straw Hats are the main characters, and you probably already know everything about the crew, but you may not know about the extended forces of the Straw Hats, aka the Grand Fleet.
The Grand Fleet is made up of seven other pirate crews, which puts their combined numbers at 5600 members. Each of these crews is fairly strong in their own right and are basically half the reason why Doflamingo was defeated.
One piece: Luffy
Now, if you already know this, you may be saying, “Well, these crews are nowhere near as strong as the Whitebeard Pirates,” but they also don’t have the numbers of the Beast Pirates, so what’s the big deal? Well, being an emperor also comes down to infamy at the end of the day, and to the general public of the One Piece world, Luffy himself is a menace, and I don’t mean that in a term of endearment.
I mean he’s an actual menace to society. So let me just run down some of the accomplishments and chaos that Luffy has caused.
First, Luffy is the only person to have successfully rated all three major government facilities, along with declaring war on the world government themselves.
Second, Luffy has defeated three Warlords of the Sea and made allies with many others.
Third, he is the son of the Revolutionary Army’s leader, Dragon.
Fourth, he and his pirate alliance managed to defeat two Emperors of the Sea simultaneously.
And finally, to the public, he defeated the Marine hero Garp in one hit. Garp is also his grandfather, by the way.
So yeah, to the general public of the One Piece world, Luffy is literally one of the most dangerous people alive, especially since he was able to do all of that in such a short amount of time.
So yeah, that was basically all of the Yonko explained. Hopefully, you guys enjoyed, and this blog is a little bit longer than my other ones, so tell me if you like the extended length pause. But anyways, um, I think I’m gonna do a blog on each of them individually, maybe. Tell me if you have something that y’all would like in the comments.
Um, I’m thinking about it because I really want to do one on the Beast Pirates, and I really want to do one when film red comes out and we get to learn more about Shanks and them. So, uh, I’m running out of breath, so, uh, yeah, let’s just end the 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.