Who Is Shanks to Luffy in One Piece?

Who Is Shanks to Luffy in One Piece?

It is hard to look past Shanks when considering the rise of Monkey D Luffy in One Piece. Being one of the original Four Emperors of the Sea, Shanks is a top pirate with a fearsome crew, but Monkey D Luffy doesn’t seem intent on defeating him. So who is Shanks to Luffy?

Shanks is Luffy’s greatest inspiration and a big reason Luffy decided to become a pirate and strives to be the most powerful pirate. Shanks has come to respect Luffy as he continues to vanquish enemies and his Devil Fruit grows in power.

Let’s look at how Shanks met Luffy, determine what Luffy wanted from Shanks, and what the current state of their relationship is. We’ll also delve into some theories to see why they are so closely linked, even more than they currently are.

Who is Shanks to Luffy in One Piece?

Who Is Shanks to Luffy in One Piece?

‘Red-Haired’ Shanks is the chief of the Red Hair Pirates and one of the Four Emperors, formerly being part of the Roger Pirates. Shanks got the straw hat from Roger and eventually gifted it to Monkey D Luffy.

However, their relationship goes further than this, as it was revealed that Luffy’s hero has been Shanks since Luffy had a thought in his head regarding becoming a pirate.

This was partly due to Luffy wanting to find the One Piece, the one and only legendary pirate treasure allegedly found by Gol D Roger before he was executed. 


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Luffy sees Shanks as a role model and idol. He stabbed himself under his own eye in order to show Shanks he is not afraid of pain and is ready to face the world of piracy. 

At first, Shanks didn’t take Luffy’s dream of becoming the most powerful pirate in the world seriously as Luffy was so young, even jokingly calling him ‘Anchor’.

After Shanks notices that Luffy is willing to stand up for Shanks, especially to Higuma and his gang, he begins to realize that Shanks also started to ascend up the pirate ranks when he was the same age as Luffy.

Higuma was very angry at this show of cheek by Luffy and threw him into the ocean but Higuma was soon devoured by the Lord of the Coast, a massive sea monster of the type C variety.

Luffy was doomed to the same fate, but Shanks rescued him at the cost of his left arm.

Luffy decided to form his own pirate gang and surpass Shanks to become the next Pirate King. Shanks left Luffy his Straw Hat with the promise that Luffy would return it when he became King.

The future of Luffy was further made clear to Shanks when told by Benn Beckman that there is more to Luffy than may meet the eye, which Shanks confirmed after noticing the resemblance between the young boy and himself when he was the same age.

Luffy’s grandfather, Monkey D Garp, is not too happy with Shanks as he blames Luffy for becoming the target of the marines due to being inspired by Shanks. 

We see that Shanks is pleased with how Luffy is doing, even throwing a party when he finds out about the first bounty that gets applied to Luffy.

It’s also very important to remember how instrumental Shanks was in the rise of Luffy’s power, as it was Lucky Roux, an officer on the Red Hair Pirates’ ship, who found the Devil Fruit Gomu Gomu no Mi that Luffy accidentally ended up eating.

Are Shanks and Luffy Related?

Who Is Shanks to Luffy in One Piece?

While not everything is known about Luffy’s family tree, it doesn’t seem that there is a direct relationship of blood between Shanks and Luffy.

It is accepted that Monkey D Dragon is Luffy’s father, however the identity of his mother is unknown although there are some fan theories that she used to be part of the elite or World Nobles.

As Shanks was found in a treasure chest by the Roger Pirates, his exact birthplace is unknown but is thought to be somewhere in West Blue. When he was nine-years old, Shanks was already part of the Roger Pirates with his partner Buggy. 

Barring some crazy reveal, there doesn’t seem to be a direct relation between Shanks and Luffy’s family. Shanks was born into a wholly unrelated family and he first met Luffy much later in his life. 

However, Shanks does provide Luffy with a dream and motivation to be a Pirate King, putting him on the path to conquering the world and ridding the world of the corrupt government and its strong arm squadron, the Marines.

Will Shanks and Luffy Have One Last Fight?

Who Is Shanks to Luffy in One Piece?

While Luffy spends much of his early days trying to impress Shanks enough to get into the Red Hair Pirates, Shanks is not interested in letting Luffy join on a voyage with him.

Luffy has become as powerful as the Four Emperors, being designated as the Fifth Emperor of the Sea, Luffy having defeated at least two of the Emperors, Big Mom and Kaido.

The way the Emperors of the Sea are set up in One Piece means that they are all mortal enemies of each other, although they will work together when the situation calls for it. What this means, is that we’re likely to see an eventual showdown with Luffy.

This is even more so to be the case given Shanks’ change of heart in regards to the One Piece, as he has decided to get it for himself, bringing him again to a collision course with Luffy.

Shanks’ desire to see Luffy bring in a new era, away from the corrupt government, is also interesting given that Shanks has often performed the role of a peacekeeper, even being invited into the inner sanctum of the Five Elders.

Pirates are not allowed anywhere near Mary Geoise, so for Shanks to get a private meeting with the Five Elders shows the position he holds, as well as the World Government’s desires to not have Shanks turn against them, could lead to some serious fireworks should he do so.