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For the founder of the World Government from the Nerona Family, see Nerona Imu.

Imu is the true supreme ruler of the World Government, who occupies the Empty Throne and whom even the Five Elders bow to and serve unquestioningly.[2] However, Imu's existence is kept an absolute secret within the government and from the world at large, to maintain the lie that there is no singular ruler of the world.[3]

Imu is revealed and first appears during the Levely Arc. Due to their status and indirect actions, they are one of the main antagonists in the Final Saga and one of the primary overarching antagonists of the One Piece series as a whole.

Quick Answers

Who is the true supreme ruler of the World Government in One Piece? toggle section
The true supreme ruler of the World Government in One Piece is a character named Imu. Imu is the highest authority and de facto leader of the World Government, which is a worldwide aristocratic regime. Despite the presence of other figures like the Five Elders, it's Imu who holds the reins of power.
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What is the significance of the Empty Throne that Imu occupies? toggle section
The Empty Throne that Imu occupies in One Piece holds a significant symbolic value. It's officially stated to be unoccupied to maintain peace and equality among nations, symbolizing that no one person will take full control of the world. However, the throne is secretly occupied by the enigmatic sovereign Imu, whose authority supersedes that of the Five Elders. The 19 weapons in front of the throne represent the founders of the World Government, and all royals must pledge not to take the throne when they come to Levely. This throne is a symbol of peace, equality, and the shared power of the world's nations.
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Why is Imu's existence kept a secret within the World Government? toggle section
Imu's existence is kept a secret within the World Government to maintain the illusion that there is no singular ruler of the world. This level of secrecy is so intense that even the Five Elders, who are publicly considered the highest authorities of the World Government, bow down to Imu and serve their every whim. The secrecy around Imu's existence allows them to wield immense power and control while remaining undetected, making them one of the primary overarching antagonists in One Piece.
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What is the role of Imu in the Levely Arc? toggle section
In the Levely Arc of One Piece, Imu is revealed as the secret ruler of the World Government, sitting on the Empty Throne. Despite the world being led to believe there's no singular ruler, Imu holds the highest authority, with even the Five Elders bowing to them. Imu's existence is kept a secret to maintain this illusion. During the Levely conference, the Five Elders consult with Imu about a 'light' that needs to be extinguished from history. Imu also shows a particular interest in certain characters like Monkey D. Luffy, Marshall D. Teach, Shirahoshi, and Nefertari Vivi, keeping their wanted posters or photos.
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Appearance

Imu has only been shown as a silhouette so far. They possess a humanoid figure similar in size to a regular person, with a hand resembling a human's and sharp, almond eyes with red irises, each having a thin ring around the pupil. In terms of attire, Imu dons a crown that has four sharp, incredibly tall spikes on the top and an extremely long robe that flows upon the ground a great distance behind them.[1][2]

Gallery

Imu Face Silhouette
Close up of Imu's face in silhouette.
Imu Silhouette Back
Imu from the back in silhouette.

Personality

Little is known about Imu's personality. When not speaking with the Five Elders, Imu usually spends their time in the Room of Flowers in complete silence, gently handling butterflies and listening in to conversations that may be of their interest.

Imu has developed a particular interest in Monkey D. Luffy, Marshall D. Teach, Shirahoshi, and Nefertari Vivi, keeping wanted posters or photos of all four on their person. Imu was also shown to have left the aforementioned pictures (save for Vivi's) pierced through and cut apart by blades.[2] Imu appears to have a high degree of familiarity with Nefertari D. Lili, one of the First Twenty, and this interest appears to extend to her descendant, Vivi.

Imu has demonstrated greater cruelty and apathy than the Five Elders. While the Elders tend to feel hesitant about ordering mass executions to protect their secrecy, Imu annihilates entire islands in order to erase them from history with a level of enthusiasm.[4] This immense callousness is best evidenced by Imu ordering the destruction of Lulusia Kingdom purely to field-test the Mother Flame, completely disregarding the lives of its inhabitants, solely due to the close proximity of the target island.[5]

Despite their existence being meant to be secret from the world at large, Imu is not above revealing themselves to individuals of interest, as with Nefertari Cobra when he questioned the lost records of his ancestor and Ohara's scholars.[6] However, Imu and the Five Elders had no intention of letting Cobra leave the room alive after Imu showed themselves. Likewise, when Sabo appeared and attacked, Imu was furious that their existence was revealed to an outsider.[3]

When confronting Cobra, Imu was initially polite in their speech and offered to explain what the Will of D. actually meant, but quickly became much more hostile when talking about the subject of the Poneglyphs. Likewise, Imu has an intense hatred of those who bear the Will of D., as the moment Imu discovered Cobra's ancestor had the "D." in her name, Imu immediately attempted to kill him.[3]

Imu uses the unique first-person pronoun "Mu" (ムー, ?) seemingly derived from their name, as well as the unique second-person pronoun nushia (ヌシア?) for others.

Relationships

Five Elders

Imu Sits on the Empty Throne

The Five Elders bow before Imu, the true ruler of the world.

As the true supreme leader of the World Government, the Five Elders are all extremely loyal to Imu and obey them without question. The Five Elders often come to their all-mighty sovereign for council about matters of the upmost importance. What Imu personally thinks of the Five Elders is currently unknown, but they seem to trust them enough to handle government affairs on their behalf. The Five Elders understand that any outsider that learns of Imu's existence must be eliminated to maintain the illusion of peace and equality among the allied nations.

Will of D.

Imu possesses an immense hatred for those who bear the letter D. as the middle initial of their names, due to it being the moniker of an "ancient enemy". For this reason, they sliced up the wanted posters of Monkey D. Luffy and Marshall D. Teach, who are both possible threats to them, and became angered when Cobra admitted that his ancestor, Lili, also had it.

Nefertari Family

Imu shows great disdain for the Nefertari Family, particularly because of the actions of Queen Lili during the Void Century that resulted in the dispersing of the Poneglyphs across the world and suspected that it was no mere accident. However, despite this disdain, Imu seemingly keeps a portrait of Lily inside Pangea Castle to look at for unknown reason.[7]

Despite their utter contempt for Lili, they were polite to her descendant King Cobra, although they fully intended to kill Cobra when the conversation ended because he had become aware of Imu being the shadow ruler of the world. Hostilities intensified when Imu learned that Arabasta's royal family had the initial "D" in their middle name. When Cobra sacrificed himself to ensure that Sabo escaped Mary Geoise, this greatly angered Imu.

Imu has also developed an interest in Princess Vivi for currently unknown reasons. After she escaped the custody of CP0, Imu ordered the Five Elders to capture and bring her to them.

Shirahoshi

For unknown reasons, Imu seems to greatly dislike Princess Shirahoshi, as shown when Imu stabbed a portrait of her with a saber. It is unknown if they are aware of her ability to control Sea Kings.

Sabo

When he and his fellow revolutionaries infiltrated Mary Geoise, Sabo inadvertently learned of Imu’s existence. Sabo was surprised and appalled by the fact that there was a secret monarch of the world. After Sabo escaped, Imu became extremely determined to silence him.

Abilities and Powers

The full scope of Imu's abilities and power is unknown, but the fact that they sit upon the Empty Throne, a seat whose occupant would be associated with sole authority over the entire world, plus the fact that the Five Elders—who are publicly considered the World Government's highest authorities—bow down before Imu and address them honorifically, indicates that Imu indeed holds the highest authority within the government.[2] However, their power seems limited insofar as they cannot publicly exert their authority, thus electing to direct the Five Elders to act out their will instead, by proxy.[2][5]

Notably, Imu appears to have possession of one of the ancient weapons,[8] which is powered by the so-called "Mother Flame" invented by Dr. Vegapunk. This weapon, which floats in the sky above the target location, can effect the total annihilation of an entire island within seconds, as proven when it wiped out the Lulusia Kingdom.[4]

Transformation

Imu's Transformation
Imu's transformation.
Imu Arrow Attack
Imu wounds Sabo.

Imu has shown the ability to transform themself into a massive, bestial, yet vaguely humanoid creature capable of consuming fire, as well as control what appears to be a sharp-pointed, arrowhead-shaped appendage or tentacle used for impalement, strong enough to severely injure even the Logia user Sabo.[3] It is unknown if this ability stems from a Zoan-type Devil Fruit power, though it is evident that the Five Elders' transformations are the results of awakened Mythical Zoan fruits.[9][10]

Weapons

Imu possesses a saber, which they used to cut apart wanted posters and photographs or stab them.[2] If they have any skill in wielding it for combat is unknown.

History

Whole Cake Island Saga

Levely Arc

Imu With Straw Hat

Imu approaches Mary Geoise's Straw Hat.

As royals gathered at Mary Geoise for the Levely, Imu went to a underground frozen chamber deep within Pangaea Castle, and approached a large straw hat while carrying several wanted posters and photographs including Monkey D. Luffy's.[1] Imu later went to the Room of Flowers and cut apart Luffy and Blackbeard's wanted posters and stabbed the photo of Princess Shirahoshi. Afterwards Imu is alerted by an unknown servant that the Five Elders had arrived, while carrying a photo of Nefertari Vivi in hand, Imu then met with the Five Elders while sitting on the Empty Throne. The elders requested that Imu reveal the name of the "light" that needed to be extinguished from history.[2]

Wano Country Saga

Wano Country Arc

On the fourth day of the Levely, Nefertari Cobra went to the Empty Throne room to talk with the Five Elders about why Nefertari Lili, the Queen of Arabasta 800 years ago, was not officially documented after the Void Century. As the two parties conversed, Imu listened in on their conversation from the Room of Flowers. Without notice, Imu then entered the Empty Throne room and proceeded to sit on the throne in front of the Five Elders and a surprised Cobra.[6]

Imu refused to answer any questions about their own identity but went on to reveal that the Will of D. was the moniker of the government's ancient enemy; it has cropped up more frequently in recent times, but Imu referred to it as nothing but a faint echo and individuals who carry the name aren't even aware of its true meaning. Imu then explained Lili's involvement that caused the Poneglyphs to be scattered all over the world, considering it the worst possible outcome for the World Government. In exchange, Imu, who had shown interest in a letter written by Lili that Cobra mentioned having beforehand, ordered the Arabasta king to reveal the full name of its author.

Imu & the Five Elders Transformations

Imu and the Five Elders target Cobra and Sabo.

Realizing he had no chance to escape and was set to die anyway, Cobra admitted that Lili carried the moniker D. on her name and was impaled by a strange shadowy tentacle summoned by Imu. Sabo, who was eavesdropping nearby, quickly jumped in to attack the Five Elders and Imu, but the latter was able to cancel Sabo's flames with their own ability. Having let Sabo witness some of their biggest secrets, the top brass of the Government gave chase to the revolutionary and Cobra, only managing to stop and kill the latter. Wapol also happened to witness the whole thing through a peephole and ran away as far he could.[3]

Sabo managed to escape with knowledge of Imu, and the World Government went on high alert to locate him.[4]

After the Levely ended, Imu called the Elders. They wished to test out Vegapunk's latest creation, the Mother Flame, and upon being asked where to use it on, Imu named Lulusia Kingdom as its target simply due to the Kingdom's proximity to the Mother Flame, regardless of the people living there. Imu also ordered the Five Elders to capture Vivi and bring her to them.[11]

Final Saga

Egghead Arc

Lulusia Kingdom Destroyed

The Lulusia Kingdom destroyed in an instant by the command of Imu.

Coincidentally, the World Government eventually was able to trace Sabo's location to the Lulusia Kingdom, after intercepting a call where he attempted to reveal Imu's existence to the rest of the Revolutionary Army. In the Room of Flowers, Imu listened in on the Five Elders' discussing the discovery of Sabo's location and the country of Lulusia being destroyed by an explosive energy barrage from the sky, with the Five Elders proclaiming that it never existed at all.[4]

Imu is seen witnessing the rise of the sea in the world.[12] The next day, Imu listened to Vegapunk's broadcast message about that rise of the sea and the discoveries he had made about the Void Century while looking at a painting of Nefertari Lili.[13][14][15] With the broadcast nearing it's end, Imu listens to Vegapunk state that the fate of the world will be decided by whoever is able to claim the One Piece.[16]

Major Battles

Translation and Dub Issues

In the VIZ Media translation, Imu talks in first person with the standard subject pronoun "I", but instances of the objective form "me" are replaced by "mu".

Imu's unique second-person pronoun nushia (ヌシア?) in Japanese is seemingly derived from the dated "you" pronouns onushi (御主?) and nushi (?). In the VIZ Media translation, Imu uses the archaic English pronouns "thou" and "thee".

Trivia

  • Regarding Imu's name:
    • The two katakana making up Imu's name (イム) are the two radicals comprising the character , which means "buddha".
    • The Japanese verb imu (忌む・諱む・斎む?) translates to "shun, avoid" or "detest."
  • The existence of an authority even higher than the Five Elders within the World Government was first hinted in Chapter 793 when Fleet Admiral Akainu learnt from the Five Elders that the orders approving Doflamingo's charade of falsely quitting the Seven Warlords came from an authority that superseded their own.[17]
  • Emporio Ivankov has hypothesized that Imu may be one of the First Twenty from 800 years ago: specifically a member of the Nerona Family named Saint Imu, who may have received the "Perennial Youth Operation" since no ordinary Celestial Dragon would be able to command the Five Elders. This belief is supported by Marcus Mars referring to Imu as a "Creator" the same way as the First Twenty are referred to, although whether Imu is indeed one of those 20 kings is unknown as of now.[18]
  • Imu's position as ruler of the world is a title that the infamous pirate Rocks D. Xebec once aspired to obtain.[19] It is not known if Rocks was ever aware of Imu or the Empty Throne, though the island on which he met his downfall, God Valley, was later wiped off the map much like the Lulusia Kingdom and a great kingdom during the Void Century that also disappeared.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 90 Chapter 906 (p. 16-17) and Episode 885, Imu is first seen before a Straw Hat.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 90 Chapter 908 (p. 15-17) and Episode 889, The Five Elders bow before Imu taking the Empty Throne.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 One Piece Manga — Vol. 107 Chapter 1085 (p. 2-12).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 105 Chapter 1060 (p. 13-15) and Episode 1089, Imu destroys the Lulusia Kingdom.
  5. 5.0 5.1 One Piece Manga — Vol. 107 Chapter 1086 (p. 6-10).
  6. 6.0 6.1 One Piece Manga — Vol. 107 Chapter 1084 (p. 9, 17).
  7. One Piece Manga — Chapter 1116 (p. 2), Imu keeps a portrait of Lily despite condemning her for her actions.
  8. One Piece Manga — Chapter 1116 (p. 7), Vegapunk theorizes that the weapon that destroyed the Lulusia Kingdom is an Ancient Weapon.
  9. One Piece Manga — Vol. 108 Chapter 1094.
  10. One Piece Manga — Vol. 108 Chapter 1100 (p. 3-6).
  11. One Piece Manga — Vol. 107 Chapter 1086 (p. 6-10).
  12. One Piece Manga — Vol. 108 Chapter 1089 (p. 5).
  13. One Piece Manga — Chapter 1114 (p. 11).
  14. One Piece Manga — Chapter 1115 (p. 17).
  15. One Piece Manga — Chapter 1116 (p. 2).
  16. One Piece Manga — Chapter 1121.
  17. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 79 Chapter 793 (p. 4-5) and Episode 736.
  18. One Piece Manga — Vol. 107 Chapter 1086 (p. 13-14).
  19. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 95 Chapter 957 (p. 6-11) and Episode 958.

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