One Piece: What Is the Meaning of Nami’s Tattoo & How Is It Connected to Arlong?

One Piece: What Is the Meaning of Nami's Tattoo & How Is It Connected to Arlong?

The live-action version of One Piece has brought a lot of changes to the series, but some of the many details from the earlier chapters of the manga were left unchanged, and one of them is related to Nami and her past. Nami is “the Girl with the Swordfish Tattoo,” and that tattoo is quite important for her story, which is why we are going to explain its meaning as well as how it is connected to Arlong, one of the series’ first major villains.

The trademark swordfish tattoo is proof of being a member of the Arlong Pirates, a relatively powerful and very evil pirate gang led by Arlong, one of the series’ first villains. Nami was a member of the group against her own will, and she was blackmailed and threatened by Arlong to actually betray the Straw Hat Pirates, whom she joined shortly before her betrayal. Of course, with Luffy being Luffy, he and the group went after Nami, and after discovering what happened to her, they defeated Arlong, saved Nami, and had her rejoin the gang. This could also be considered to be the official “formation” of the Straw Hat Pirates.

The rest of this article is going to explore Nami’s relationship with the Arlong Pirates and their leader, Arlong. The meaning of her tattoo, which is tied to the story of her and the Arlong Pirates, will also be explained, as well as how all these facts influenced Nami’s story and her relationship with Luffy and the gang. Of course, this article will draw both on the live-action series and the original manga story that has more details, so we have to warn you that there will be numerous spoilers from the manga that will expand on what we’ve seen in the live-action series.

Nami’s swordfish tattoo was proof of membership, but she never wanted to be a part of the Arlong Pirates

This article is basically going to be about Nami and her story. Regarding the live-action series, we first saw Nami stranded on a ship in the sea, feigning that pirates had robbed her. Two members of Buggy’s Pirates fell for her trick, and she stole their ship, making her way to Shell Town, where both Luffy and Zoro were at the time.

Not long after realizing Nami’s navigational skills are amazing, Luffy recruited her for his own pirate gang, and the rest is, more or less, history. But Nami had a very dark and depressing history that is tied to the swordfish tattoo she had, and she was hiding. This tattoo was proof of her being a member of the Arlong Pirates, and this story would soon come to haunt her.

Now, since the manga obviously provided us with more details than the live-action series, we are going to combine this information with those we’ve gotten from the live-action series to give you a complete and in-depth look into the meaning of Nami’s tattoo and her relationship with Arlong.


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Nami is found as a baby by the badly injured Bell-mère, together with little Nojiko, who is wandering aimlessly in the ruins of a destroyed village. At the age of eight, Nami is already quite a brat who keeps stealing books from the bookstore. When she runs away after a fight with her mother and hides with Genzō, he tells her that Nami, Nojiko, and Bell-mère are not related by blood but are still a family, which calms her down a bit.

Nojiko then comes to pick up her little sister, but Arlong and his gang suddenly end up in Goza and demand a tribute for every person in the village: 100,000 berries for each adult, 50,000 for each child.

The villagers hide Nami and Nojiko and hope that the Fish-Men won’t discover Bell-mère and her secluded house either, but Bell-mère is about to cook a reconciliation meal for Nami – and the smoke rising from the house’s chimney gives her away.

Bell-mère initially defends himself and surprises Arlong but is then overpowered by him shortly afterward. Although she can raise 100,000 berries, she only pays the sum for her two daughters, who are now secretly watching what is happening. Both then have to watch helplessly as Arlong kills Bell-mère.

Later, Nami finally joins Arlong’s gang and makes a deal with him: as soon as she pays him the sum of 100 million berries, Arlong gives her Goza and the villagers. Nami now collects the money as a pirate thief and buries her treasure in Bell-mère’s orange plantation.

She takes out all sorts of pirate gangs, including Buggy. During the raids, she finally encounters Luffy, who still needs a navigator for his gang. She keeps protesting that she hates pirates, but then apparently lets herself be persuaded by Luffy, but forms nothing more than a community of convenience: she comes along and then sacks a large part of the treasures in return.

Nami initially experiences a carefree time with the Straw Hats, almost making her forget their problems in Goza. Only a wanted poster of Arlong, which Johnny throws around to show Fullbody the pirates who have already been caught, pulls her out of this dream: while Luffy and his friends are busy in the Baratié, she steals the Going Merry with all the treasures on it from the gang and returns to Arlong Park.

What she didn’t expect, however, was that her friends would rush after her to get her back into the gang. Since she sees her agreement with Arlong in danger, she sends them away again, but they stay. When Arlong breaks his deal, and her sister Nojiko is shot, she falls into despair.

She attempts to use a dagger to cut off the tattoo that marks her as a member of the Arlong gang from her shoulder, but Luffy stops her. When she asks him to help her, he entrusts his Straw Hat to her and takes care of Arlong while Zoro, Sanji, and Usopp take care of the rest of the gang.


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After Luffy demolishes Arlong Park in his fight with Arlong, she finally rejoins the Straw Hat Pirates and leaves her homeland. On her upper arm, she lets Dr. Nako make her a new tattoo depicting Genzō’s windmill and Bell-mère’s oranges while leaving a scar from the tattoo’s removal. And that is pretty much it. The live-action adaptation never revealed so many details about Nami’s past, her relationship with the Straw Hats, and her relationship with Arlong, but this is the story, and there are all the details you need to know.

We actually wanted to provide you with a more in-depth analysis of the situation, as this is one of the most important moments in Nami’s story and in the Straw Hats’ early days, as it showed just how well they treat each other, as well as how loyal they are to each other, regardless of the hardships they have to face together.

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