Shanks… everyone knows who Shanks is! He is a secondary character, but he is one of the most popular ones in the whole One Piece series. He is a legendary pirate and one of the strongest characters in the whole series, so it certainly makes sense that he is one of the Yonko! But how and when did that happen? How did Shanks become a Yonko? Keep reading to find out all the details!
Shanks was recognized as one of the Four Emperors roughly six years before the present timeline or roughly six years after leaving Foosha Village. This information has been confirmed in Chapter 957 of the manga, which was adapted in Episode 958, both of which focused on some details from the series’s past. As for the whys, it is currently unknown what Shanks did to earn the title of Emperor, but since he and his crew had, at the time, been famous around the world for their adventures and deeds, it does not surprise us that such a powerful character, and a respected one as well, has been named as one of the Emperors of the Sea.
Shanks’s story is, as you might assume, going to be the focus of this article, in which we will tell you all about his history up to the moment when he became known as an Emperor. We don’t know the exact details, of course, as the series has not revealed the exact reason why he became an Emperor, which is why it is necessary to go over his story up to that point, from which you will be able to infer what happened to him and why he received the title in question. Spoilers will be present, so be careful how you approach certain parts of the article.
Shanks became an Emperor roughly six years ago, but the exact circumstances are not known
Chapter 957 of the manga, titled “Ultimate” and published on September 30, 2019, revealed an important detail from Shanks’ history. This chapter was adapted in Episode 958 of the anime, which was titled “A Legendary Battle! Garp and Roger” and premiered on January 17, 2021.
The detail we are talking about is the information that confirms when Shanks became an emperor. So, when was it? Well, the sources in question confirm that Shanks became an Emperor six years before the present timeline or six years after leaving Foosha Village.
Now, if you’re wondering what happened at the time that earned him the title – we don’t know. Eiichiro Oda has not revealed these facts to us in the series, so we don’t really know what Shanks did to earn the title in question, but it was obviously deserved, as only the most notorious pirates in the world have actually earned that title.
So, because we really have no clue what exactly happened, we will go over Shanks’ known exploits in that period, which will hopefully shed some light on what happened at the time.
Shanks was born on an island in West Blue. When he was one year old, he was found by Roger’s Pirates in a chest in God Valley, so they took him in, and he became an apprentice. He sailed with Roger for years, and during these adventures, he befriended Buggy the Clown while gaining a lot of experience for his later career. After Roger’s execution, Shanks formed his own crew and would soon set on numerous adventures with them.
One of his first major adventures was an attack on a World Government ship, from which he and his crew stole the Gomu Gomu no Mi, which would later be accidentally consumed by Luffy, a young boy from the Foosha Village who adored Shanks and wanted to (unsuccessfully) join his crew.
As a sign of respect, Shanks gives Luffy the straw hat that Roger had given him, and he also ends up saving his life despite sacrificing one of his hands in the process. How did the latter happen? Well, Luffy was kidnapped and taken out to sea, which was especially dangerous as Luffy could no longer swim after eating the Devil Fruit.
Shanks noticed Luffy in the sea about to be devoured by a Sea King who had just done the same to Higuma and intervened to his aid, losing his left arm. The pirate resorted to using his Conqueror’s Luffy by telling the animal to leave, which, terrified, ran away. Then he thanked Luffy for defending them, telling him that Makino had told him what had happened. He then told him not to cry because, after all, he was a man, but the boy was even more desperate as Shanks had lost his arm. The latter told him it was nothing, being happy that he was safe.
Later, while the crew was preparing to set sail, Luffy told him that he had heard that they would never return, and he confirmed it, claiming that they had been stationary for a long time and that they would leave for distant lands.
He asked him if he was sad, and the boy initially denied it but then admitted that he was a little sad; however, he underlined that he would not ask him to take him with them, explaining that he had decided that he would become a pirate relying only on his strength of him.
Shanks replied that even if he asked, he wouldn’t take it anyway, sticking his tongue out and adding that he was sure he would never become a pirate. Luffy yelled at him that he would become one, that one day he would find better mates than them, find the most valuable treasures in the world, and become the Pirate King. Sensing that he wanted to outdo them, Shanks put his hat on his head, telling him that he would gladly lend it to him and that it was for special occasions. He said that one day, when he would become a great pirate, he would return it to him.
Shanks made his way to the ship, and Benn Beckman told him there was no doubt Luffy would make his way through. He replied that he was okay with it since he looked a lot like him when he was little.
He then ordered the anchor to be raised and the sails unfurled, so the crew set sail. He later befriended Dori and Brogi. In the same year, Shanks met Rayleigh by chance at the Sabaody Archipelago, to whom he told about Luffy and how similar he was to Roger. He also told Mihawk about the baby. Soon after that, it was revealed that he had become an Emperor.