The Marines in Oda’s One Piece are a very peculiar and interesting bunch. Mostly loyal and perceived as enemies, this group has a versatile cast that includes characters who are more or less interesting and intriguing. One such character is undoubtedly Kuzan, formerly known as Aokiji. The owner of the Hie Hie no Mi, Kuzan, was a former Marine who resigned from his position, but he went even further by joining Blackbeard’s pirate crew as one of his Titanic Captains, captaining his Tenth Ship. In this article, we will tell you what happened to Kuzan and why he joined Blackbeard’s crew.
After his resignation and after traveling alone for a time, Kuzan met the Blackbeard Pirates in the New World, and after a fight, they had a drink together. Afterward, Blackbeard asked him to join his crew, and while Kuzan initially refused to accept, he changed his mind after Blackbeard told him that he was not a World Government man and that he had the freedom to do what he wanted.
The rest of this article will focus on Kuzan and his resignation from the Marines and the events that led to him joining Blackbeard. Kuzan is undoubtedly a specific character, and his story is one of the more interesting ones in the series. That is why we will tell you what happened, how it happened, and why it happened. If you’re not fully up-to-date with the whole story of One Piece, we have to warn you that the article will have some spoilers.
Kuzan seemingly joined Blackbeard simply because he could, but he did have problems with the Marines
The Straw Hat crew meet Admiral Aokiji, nicknamed “The Blue Pheasant,” for the first time; the Admiral tells Nico Robin that she has transformed into a beautiful young lady before lying down and claiming that they did not come there to take them in. The crew and officer come upon survivors of a shipwreck at that point. He freezes a sea monster and the ocean to assist the survivors in leaving the island. Later, Luffy and he discuss Garp. He will then quickly neutralize Zoro, Sanji, and Luffy (all three at once), freeze Nico Robin, and knock Nami to the ground to eventually freeze Luffy. Although he could kill Luffy, he respected the wager he had made with Garp.
Although Aokiji is a pretty quiet guy regarding “work,” there is no sympathy left, and he can kill a pirate he just had a good drink with. In addition, we will also learn that Aokiji has known Luffy’s grandfather and that he owes him a favor. In any case, according to Aokiji, these “little youngsters” have great potential, and in the future, they risk becoming a real problem for the Marines. Aokiji will warn the leader of the CP9 unit, Spandam, that the Straw Hat crew was at Water 7.
He spared Robin and decided to let her live after the fall of the Isle of Justice because he thought she had found her place in the world. He is, of course, present for the execution of Ace at Marineford with all the forces of the Navy. He will present himself as Admiral guarding the execution platform. Kuzan was the first Marine officer to go into action, and for a good reason: he ended up being the one who would stop the first attack in this battle. And not just any attack: it was Whitebeard’s, as the pirate unleashed two huge tsunamis poised to crash into Marineford. Aokiji will then freeze Marineford Bay, allowing both sides to begin the battle.
Of course, he froze Buggy and the other prisoners of Impel Down and the Den Den Mushi. He will then try to stop Luffy, but on Whitebeard’s orders, Marco will protect him. In the company of Sakazuki and Borsalino, he will stop Whitebeard’s shock wave thanks to his Haki aimed at the scaffold where Monkey D. Garp, Ace, and Sengoku stood. He locked Whitebeard in a coffin of ice, but the Emperor’s vibrations, as he will soon learn, couldn’t be frozen. He then confronts Joz (who will interfere in his fight against Whitebeard) and quickly defeats him by freezing him entirely. Later, Ace is freed by his brother Monkey D. Luffy.
He attempts to stop them but is unsuccessful, his power and Ace’s opposing each other. We will see him later witnessing from afar the mortal blow struck by Akainu on Ace. He will subsequently freeze Marineford Bay to prevent pirates’ escape by boat. Just before the end of hostilities, he will try one last time to attack Luffy and the submarine and try to freeze it without success.
We later see him in Marineford in reconstruction with Smoker; when Smoker says he wants to be assigned to the G-5 base located in the New World, Aokiji considers him mad. After Sengoku’s resignation, he recommends him for the position of Chief Admiral to General Kong. This proves to us that in Sengoku’s eyes, Aokiji is neither too irresponsible and immature like Kizaru nor too relentless and cruel like Akainu but much rather calm, thoughtful and responsible.
Sengoku decided to resign and recommended Aokiji for the position of Chief Admiral, but those in high places strongly supported Akainu. Aokiji couldn’t bear to see Akainu as his superior, so he refused this decision. Thus, a bloody duel broke out between two admirals for the first time to decide who would command the Navy. Aokiji and Akainu’s strength was nearly equal, but the fight ended in Aokiji’s failure, and Akainu was the victor, using his lava as an advantage against Aokiji’s ice. Refusing to submit to the latter’s orders, Aokiji left the Navy.
During the Punk Hazard Arc, Aokiji showed up just as Doflamingo was about to finish Smoker, declaring that the Vice Admiral was his friend. Later, despite the appearance of the ex-Admiral, Doflamingo attempts to kill Smoker; Aokiji will immediately freeze him without his opponent has had time to react. However, as Buffalo points out, Doflamingo will come out unscathed, Kuzan not having frozen his heart. After this brief exchange, Doflamingo states that he does not want to fight him; he simply asks him what’s become of him, stating that the rumors are not good.
After Doflamingo leaves, Smoker and Kuzan have a conversation during which the ex-Admiral asks his friend to ask Sakazuki to deploy the Admirals to track down Doflamingo; he considers the latter to be the biggest obstacle since Sakazuki became the new Admiral-in-Chief. It is revealed that he came to Punk Hazard with a penguin for transportation. Kuzan then leaves without having fought. This is actually how Kuzan was reintroduced to the series, as a traveler who now works outside the official framework but always with the same goal: Justice. After the Block C battle royal ends, Burgess contacts his captain, Blackbeard.
During their conversation, Aokiji’s name is mentioned, and the Commander of the 1st Fleet declares not to be trusted. Teach states that this opinion was the same regarding Shiryu. This suggests that Kuzan would have recently come into contact with Blackbeard’s pirates. This is later confirmed after Doflamingo’s defeat, as one of the Five Elders reminds Sakazuki that Kuzan has joined the Blackbeard Pirates. The exact reason that made Kuzan joined the dreaded pirate is not known. We know that he met his crew and froze all of them, after which Blackbeard himself appeared and told him to undo his work; Kuzan ultimately agreed, and the two of them had a drink.
He overheard Blackbeard’s men talking about killing Kuzan and taking his Devil Fruit, which angered him, but Blackbeard calmed him down and asked him if he would like to join his crew. Kuzan refused as it went against everything he stood for, but Blackbeard told him he was not working for the World Government anymore and was a free man who could do whatever he wanted. How that dialogue influenced Kuzan is unknown, but he became a member of his crew afterward and a very important one, as he became the captain of his 10th ship.