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Laboon[6] is a whale the Straw Hat Pirates encounter immediately after entering the Grand Line. He is native to West Blue and is classified as a Type A creature, "Big Friendly", and at the top of both the size and friendliness scale.[7]

Appearance

Laboon is an extremely large whale, comparable in size to most of the Calm Belt's Sea Kings; his eye alone is several times larger than the Going Merry. His skin is black (blue in the anime), coupled with short fins and a fluked tail. Much of his head is crisscrossed with scars, from his many years of tackling Reverse Mountain. After meeting the Straw Hats, Laboon had a crude replica of their Jolly Roger painted over these scars.

His interior contains a complex network of metal chambers and tunnels, installed - presumably by Crocus - to deal with his habit of swallowing ships that challenge or annoy him. The largest of these chambers, built into his stomach, can receive newly-swallowed ships from his esophagus and allow them to leave through a set of gates leading to his blowhole; it also holds an artificial island with a cabin for Crocus to "vacation" in. This chamber is "painted" with an unknown material that not only resembles the daytime sky (complete with clouds) but apparently produces its own light.

52 years ago, he had rounder teeth and was around the size of a small dinghy, just large enough to carry two or three men.[8] Brook remarked that he looked "cute" around this time.

Gallery

Little Laboon.png
Laboon as a young whale, fifty-two years ago, at age 1.
Laboon 22 Years Ago.png
Laboon as he appeared twenty years before the start of the series, at age 31.
Laboon manga.png
Laboon's color scheme in the manga.
Laboon Anime Concept Art.png
Laboon's concept art from the anime.
Laboon interior.png
Laboon's interior.

Personality

Laboon is heavily emotional and surprisingly understanding for a whale. He has both the patience and loyalty of a good friend. He formed strong bonds with the Rumbar Pirates, Crocus (his caretaker), and the Straw Hat Pirates as well. He is also a bit stubborn, as he would not believe the fact that his friends had died, despite Crocus's constant explanation. He would hit the Red Line constantly, completely ignoring Crocus's protests. He also seems to have a bit of a playful nature, as evidenced by Crocus.

In his early years, he was a happy little Island Whale who formed a strong bond with the Rumbar Pirates. However, his happiness was shattered and he fell into a deep depression after he was told that they had fled the Grand Line, leaving him behind. His strong will and determination was led by a blind ambition to see his friends again, clinging on to what little hope he had for their safety. Because of this, he tried to break through the Red Line, so that he could get to the West Blue and rejoin his friends. Later, when Luffy fought him and painted the Straw Hat Jolly Roger on his head, Luffy promised to have a rematch when they meet again. Laboon honored this visual promise on his head and stopped bashing into the Red Line so that it would not disappear. His connection with the Rumbar Pirates remained strong even after that, as when Brook joined the Straw Hat Pirates, Laboon was noted to be unusually happy.

Abilities and Powers

Due to the foremost part of his head, called "hammer head", that has spike-like protuberances,[9] Laboon is resistant to most physical damage, and was able to survive daily headbutts against the Red Line for decades (albeit not without medical assistance from Crocus). However, he did react in pain when Luffy slammed the mast of the Going Merry into a fresh wound on his head.

Laboon is also able to swallow small-to-medium-sized ships without much difficulty, trapping them inside his stomach. While his stomach acid is mild enough that even an unarmed human can survive brief exposure, lengthy exposure can very much prove fatal.[10]

Intellectually, Laboon is highly capable of understanding both human language and psyches. This is partially due to his "brain oil" (sperm oil), mainly used for sensing obstacles or searching for preys, but apparently can also be used to recognize music.[11]

History

Past

Time With the Rumbar Pirates

Over fifty years earlier, Laboon met the Rumbar Pirates after becoming lost and separated from his pod and began following them in his loneliness.[2] After a while, they noticed how sad he looked and they cheered him up by singing and as a result, he continued to follow them. The crew grew attached to him because he was "cute". Eventually, while feeding him bait, Brook named him "Laboon". He was accepted as a crew member and even aided them when an attack caused a few crew members to fall overboard and no one else could help them.

Despite being a crew member, when the Rumbar Pirates decided to go to the Grand Line, they chose to leave Laboon behind because he was just a baby. However, Laboon refused to leave them and Yorki, their captain, ordered the others to ignore Laboon.[12] When the pirates finally entered the Grand Line, they found that Laboon had followed them much to their surprise. After repairing their ship, the crew finally bid farewell to Laboon, promising him they would return in two or three years, after having traveled all the way around the Grand Line.

Fifty Years of Waiting

Laboon patiently waited for them at Grand Line's entrance under the care of Crocus, who mans the lighthouse that introduces travelers into the Grand Line. After many years passed by without the return of the Rumbar Pirates, Crocus decided to travel with the Roger Pirates to discover what happened to Laboon's crew. Upon his return, Crocus told him that his friends had effectively abandoned him by fleeing the Grand Line through the Calm Belt. The old doctor had cared for Laboon ever since his friends left him and tried to make Laboon understand the situation. Although Laboon knew the truth about his friends, he refused to admit to himself that they were gone.[13]

That night, Laboon turned his head towards the mountain and slammed himself into it for the first time. Over the years that would pass, Laboon gained many scars on his head from slamming into Reverse Mountain. He believed that by doing this, he could destroy the mountain and return to the West Blue where his friends would be waiting for him.

Reverse Mountain Arc

After entering the Grand Line, Laboon was the first thing the Straw Hat Pirates saw. Launching the cannon in the hopes that it would slow them down, Luffy hit Laboon instead.[14] After saving him from Mr. 9 and Miss Wednesday, who were trying to use Laboon for food, Crocus explained to Luffy why Laboon would slam his head into the Red Line.[15]

Luffy, in an effort to give Laboon a renewed sense of hope, picked a fight with the whale by jamming the Going Merry's mast into the whale's head. After the battle (which Luffy called a draw), Luffy promised Laboon that he would return to see him, under the guise of wanting a rematch, which moved Laboon to tears of joy. As a sign of the promise of the future rematch, Luffy painted the Straw Hat Jolly Roger on Laboon's head, commenting that the insignia would wash away if Laboon hit Reverse Mountain further. This prevented Laboon from hitting his head any further. Laboon and the Straw Hats then parted ways as the crew departed in good spirits for Grand Line.[16]

Thriller Bark Arc

After Brook joined the Straw Hats, Laboon was seen again with Crocus, with the Straw Hat Jolly Roger still on Laboon's head, undamaged. Crocus commented on how Laboon seemed to be in good spirits, which Laboon replied to with a triumphant roar, as if knowing that the Straw Hat Pirates and Brook would return.

From the Decks of the World

After two years, Laboon was seen at the Twin Cape with Crocus, who was drinking with an unknown person. The badly drawn jolly roger is still in perfect condition on his face, showing that he has not hit his head against the wall since his meeting with Luffy.[17]

From the Decks of the World: The 500,000,000 Man Arc

After the Straw Hats' adventure at Dressrosa, Laboon was shown to be happy about Brook's new bounty while Crocus read the newspaper.[18]

Major Battle

Translation and Dub Issues

The 4Kids-dubbed anime, in one of its more extensive (and notorious) edits, completely removed Laboon from its storyline, creating in its place a heavily-truncated Reverse Mountain Arc where the Straw Hats do not meet any new characters and simply destroy an iceberg on entering the Grand Line. No official reason has ever been given for this, though many have theorized it was meant to dodge media controversies about whaling (which frequently involve Japan and Japanese practices in particular).

In any case, this removal left an immediate plot-hole in regards to how the Straw Hats acquire their first "Grand Compass" and learn the Grand Line's geography; as a solution, 4Kids created new scenes (mostly from recycled footage) establishing that Nami, Usopp, and Sanji had been given the necessary knowledge by their respective mentors. Retroactively, it also created a plot-hole concerning the Thriller Bark Arc and Brook's motivations, though 4Kids lost the anime license long before reaching this point in the storyline.[19] In contrast, both the Viz manga and the Funimation anime keep Laboon's existence and role in the story totally intact.

(Interestingly, Laboon's removal was sometimes ignored even by merchandise released alongside the 4Kids anime. The localization of Bandai's contemporary collectible card game retained and faithfully translated his card, while the 4Kids-dubbed Pirates Carnival not only retained him but gave him a "voiced" role to replace the one Donquixote Doflamingo held in the original game.)

Due to the fickleness of rendering katakana, his name is spelled "Raboon" by some older fan translations (as well as a "preview" version of the aforementioned collectible card, exclusive to the July 2006 issue of the American Shonen Jump).

Merchandise

Video Games

Playable Appearances

Support Appearances

Non-Playable Appearances

References

  1. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 12 Chapter 102 and Episode 62, Laboon makes his debut.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 50 Chapter 486 and Episode 378, Brook recalls how they met Laboon.
  3. One Piece Blue Deep: Characters World (p. 200), Laboon's birthday is given.
  4. One Piece Magazine Vol.2
  5. Vivre Card - One Piece Visual Dictionary, Laboon's blood type is revealed
  6. Vivre Card - One Piece Visual Dictionary, Laboon's name is romanized.
  7. One Piece Blue: Grand Data File (p. 88-89), Classification of animals by dangerousness.
  8. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 12 Chapter 103 (p. 19) and Episode 62, Crocus recalls how the Rumbar Pirates would party with the young Laboon, some even riding him.
  9. One Piece Magazine Vol.2
  10. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 12 Chapter 103 (p. 10) and Episode 62, Crocus dives into Laboon's stomach juices; a number of half-digested shipwrecks and human skeletons can be seen in the depths.
  11. One Piece Magazine Vol.2
  12. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 50 Chapter 487 and Episode 379, Yorki and crew try to lose Laboon for the whale's safety.
  13. One Piece Anime — Episode 63, Laboon waits for his friends.
  14. One Piece Manga — Vol. 12 Chapter 102.
  15. One Piece Manga — Vol. 12 Chapter 103.
  16. One Piece Manga — Vol. 12 Chapters 104105.
  17. One Piece Manga — Vol. 64 Chapter 631, cover story: From the Decks of the World Vol. 16.
  18. One Piece Manga — Vol. 81 Chapter 813, cover story: From the Decks of the World: The 500,000,000 Man Arc Vol. 7.
  19. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 47 Chapter 459 and Episode 353, Brook's relationship with Laboon is revealed.

External Links

  • Sperm Whale – Wikipedia article about the type of whale Laboon resembles.
  • Whaling – Wikipedia article about the controversy which 4kids censored Laboon for.

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