Does Shanks Know Where the One Piece Is? (& How?)
The legend of the One Piece treasure in Oda’s One Piece series is the pivotal narrative point of the whole series. The grand treasure hidden by Gol D. Roger somewhere on Laugh Tale is the key that everyone wants, it is the ultimate proof of becoming the Pirate King. This is why Luffy is after the treasure and this is why it is so important for the story. But, where is it? What is it? There are more questions than answers surrounding the One Piece treasure and in this article, we are going to answer one of these questions. Namely, some fans think that Shanks knows where the One Piece is and in this article, we are going to elaborate on that.
There is no proof that Shanks actually knows where the One Piece is, save for the fact that everyone knows it is located on Laugh Tale. Theories suggest that he might know where and what it is due to the fact that he was a member of Roger’s original crew during his voyages, but this doesn’t seem overly plausible. Since he was a cabin boy, it is more likely that he wasn’t even on the journey when Roger discovered and hid the One Piece.
The rest of this article is going to focus on the One Piece and Shanks, as we are going to elaborate on what the One Piece is and how it could be possible that Shanks, of all the characters, actually knows its location. If you don’t know the whole story of One Piece, we have to warn you that there are going to be spoilers in the following paragraphs.
Where and what is the One Piece?
From what we know, Roger was baptized King of the Pirates because he was the only one with his crew, the Roger Pirates Crew, to have conquered The Grand Line. According to legend, before going to the Navy, Roger had hidden his treasure, the famous One Piece, on the last island of the Grand Line, Laugh Tale.
At the beginning of the story, only Edward Newgate, aka Whitebeard, knows that the One Piece really exists, because Roger told him himself before he went to the Navy. Just before dying at Marine Ford, Whitebeard shouted loud and clear that One Piece existed. Whoever found it would then become the Pirate King. But at the start of the story, it’s been more than 22 years since Roger’s execution that pirates have set sail to try to find him and no one has yet arrived (Monkey D. Luffy, the main protagonist of One Piece desperately wants to find this treasure to become the freest man in the seas).
It could easily be that the One Piece is actually not some treasure, but rather an object that Roger loved. Or it could be an object from the Void Century, which would be likely, since the Rio Poneglyph is on the same island, Laugh Tale. All the Pirates are looking for it, but no one really knows what One Piece is, other than the surviving members of the Roger Pirates, excluding – quite probably – Shanks and Buggy.
The Straw Hat Pirates came close to discovering the truth when they met and shared secrets with Rayleigh on the Sabaody Archipelago. When Usopp asked Rayleigh what One Piece was, Luffy interposed and said that it would destroy the purpose of traveling and having adventures and that becoming the Pirate King would be pointless if we already knew how to access One Piece and what it really is.
How could Shanks know where the One Piece is?
To answer this question, we have to go back to Shanks’ youth. Shanks is originally from West Blue and in his past was a member of the crew of Gol D. Roger, the former Pirate King. On the Oro Jackson, he was a sailor with his friend Buggy. As Roger’s Pirates were the most powerful pirate crew in the world, Shanks fought against powerful pirates such as Shiki and Edward Newgate, better known as Whitebeard.
At some point, Shanks acquired the Straw Hat from Roger, although the circumstances are still unknown, as well as when he got the hat. Shanks spent a lot of time with this hat in the company of his comrade Buggy, arguing over totally insignificant things like, which pole was the coldest. Their frequent bickering got on the nerves of the chief mate, Silvers Rayleigh.
At one point, Roger’s crew was preparing to attack a nearby ship. As they prepared for the fight, Shanks and Buggy had a discussion about the importance of treasure. Shanks said a treasure wasn’t the most important thing in life. After the battle, the crew threw a party to celebrate the victory. Shanks attempted to invite Buggy to join them, as they had found a strange treasure.
The two recruits were discussing what they were going to do when they left the crew. Buggy says he would be happy to take Shanks on as a member of his crew. Shanks said he didn’t want to be Buggy’s disciple and that people with different beliefs like them should travel different paths. The two agreed that they would become like enemies as soon as they left the crew.
At some point, Roger’s Pirates caused a ruckus on an island. After defeating a group of Marines, they learned that the Whitebeard Pirates were docked on the other side of the island. The Roger Pirates then clashed with the Whitebeard Pirates for three days and three nights before the skirmish eventually turned into a gift exchange. Shanks and Buggy chatted about Marshall D. Teach’s inability to sleep.
Roger’s Pirates were later joined by Kozuki Oden and his family as well as Inuarashi and Nekomamushi. At some point, the crew visited Skypiea, where Oden transcribed Roger’s message in poneglyph form. After leaving Skypiea, the crew’s journey took them to Water 7, Tequila Wolf, the Sabaody Archipelago, and Fishman Island. Sometime later, they left Toki, Momonosuke, Hiyori, Inuarashi, and Nekomamushi in Wano Country.
After Roger returned from Laugh Tale, Shanks asked Roger something and then shed tears afterward. Roger was the first to leave, and after parting ways with their captain, the rest of the crew sent Oden back to Wano Country. The other members, including Shanks, left the crew one by one. Twenty-six years before Monkey D. Luffy became a pirate, Roger had contracted a deadly disease and made one final journey with his crew into the Grand Line to conquer it. A year before his death, he disbanded his crew.
Shanks and Buggy were together one last time in Loguetown the day Roger died. Shanks immediately began his quest to form his own crew by offering Buggy a spot, but Buggy refused, and the two went their separate ways. Shanks continued to hear rumors that Buggy was still a pirate somewhere over the next few years.
As you can see, Shanks could know about the One Piece because he was a member of Roger’s crew and thus had access to the same information as the other crew members, and since the only people who know what and where the One Piece is are the surviving members of Roger’s crew, Shanks – and Buggy – could also have that piece of information.
Does Shanks know where the One Piece is?
Having said everything we’ve said, we do not think that Shanks actually knows where the One Piece is. Namely, he was a very low-ranking member of the crew and was basically a cabin boy at the time, along with Buggy. He did participate in some of the fights, but he wasn’t on all of Roger’s journey and he certainly wasn’t let in on all the secrets of the crew. Also, Shanks doesn’t really act like he knows the secret of the One Piece plus there is this: if Shanks knows, then Buggy knows as well, and knowing how greedy Buggy is, he’d certainly have tried to get it, but since it’s quite obvious that Buggy does not know where the One Piece is, Shanks probably doesn’t know either. There are three theories that explain this:
The first one is that neither Shanks nor Buggy know about the One Piece and that one seems to be the most probable one based on what we know now. Shanks doesn’t really care about treasure that much, that is correct, but Buggy does and we don’t think that Buggy would miss the opportunity to become the Pirate King just like that. Sure, Buggy might avoid it because he’s not strong enough to get it, but Buggy tends to think of himself in superlatives, so it doesn’t seem likely that he would just ignore that fact. This is why them not knowing seems plausible.
The second theory is that Shanks knows about the treasure, but Buggy does not. This could explain Shanks’ behavior – he knows that it is and simply does not care about it, because he doesn’t care much about treasure anyhow, and he doesn’t have the ambition to be the new Pirate King. This could also account for Buggy’s behavior, but there is an issue. Namely, the two of them were together almost all of the time and were close friends who shared everything with each other, so it is unlikely that one would know, while the other would not.
The third theory is that both know where it is but Shanks doesn’t want to claim it simply because he does not care about it, and Buggy knows that he would die on the journey. This one doesn’t seem plausible enough and is not based on what we know from the manga. And with this, we can conclude our analysis of the issue. Shanks probably does not know where the treasure is, but we are going to see whether Oda decides to surprise us at one point!