Warning! Contains spoilers for One Piece Chapter 1076!Luffy has one of the most classic origins in manga, but One Piece just revealed that it wasn’t as special as fans were made to believe. This wouldn’t be the first time that mangaka Eiichiro Oda recontextualized plot points from the beginning of the pirate manga in a shocking way, and it likely won’t be the last. However, it does have some worrying implications for Luffy and Shanks’ relationship.
Chapter 1076 brings Shanks back into the story, showing him at a bar on Elbaf. There is a boy there who is begging Shanks to let him join his crew just like Luffy did back in chapter 1. And just like with Luffy, Shanks refuses to let the kid on his ship. This scene implies that whichever island he goes to, even if that island is as special as One Piece's Elbaf, Shanks is probably accosted by children who want to join him on his adventure. So his initial banter with Luffy is likely not as special as the first chapter implied.
Luffy is One of the Many Kids Shanks Has Encountered
Of course, this doesn't mean that Luffy and Shanks don't have a strong bond now. After all, Shanks gave up his arm protecting Luffy from a Sea King and then gave the young boy his straw hat before departing, promising that they would someday meet again. But all of this occurred after Luffy ate the Gum Gum fruit that Shanks and his crew had gone to great lengths to acquire. Given that this fruit is actually the Nika model Mythical Zoan fruit that the World Government wanted to keep from the public, this may be the real reason why Shanks and Luffy's relationship developed the way that it did instead of fading after Shanks left.
While Shanks has been built up as one of One Piece's most important characters, readers don't actually know that much about him. The first chapter may have made it seem like he cared deeply about Luffy the entire time, but he could have actually just viewed him as yet another insignificant child who wanted to join his crew. After all, Yasopp, another member of the Red Hair pirates, didn't even care enough about his own son Usopp to be involved in his childhood. If Shanks shares Yasopp's callousness, then his eventual reunion with Luffy could be much different from what fans expect.
Shanks May Mainly Care About Luffy's Devil Fruit
This latest chapter is a great reminder that readers can't take anything in One Piece at face value. One Piece features lots of mind-blowing twists that recontextualize everything that has come before them, and this would be no exception. But while Luffy's origin may have not been unique, this doesn't diminish his actions afterward. In fact, if Luffy truly wasn't anything special to Shanks before eating the Gum Gum Fruit, it actually makes all that he has accomplished over the course of One Piece even more impressive and may make his idol actually respect him more.
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One Piece Chapter 1076 is available to read from Viz Media.