The title of Pirate Captain is the title given to an individual in control of a pirate crew at sea.
Role and Duties
Pirate captains are the ones who are at the very head of a pirate crew. They also tend to be the mightiest members of their crew, and most of them tend to exploit their strength even over their own subordinates to ensure loyalty. However, anyone can attain the rank of captaincy out of pure leadership, as a founding member or voted by other crew members. All major decisions are made by them, though they may be usually advised and influenced by other members.
Although a captain may be the highest authority of the crew, there are situations where they are betrayed, overthrown and even killed in mutinies. Possible reasons include the captain acting selfishly at the expense of the crew (Kuro and John), conflict of personal interests (Mont Blanc Cricket and Breed) or when the subordinates try to flee in cowardice after their tyrannical captain is defeated (Demaro Black and Hody Jones.) Upon confirming Monkey D. Luffy utilizing Haoshoku Haki, Roronoa Zoro claims that had Luffy not been able to perform at least this much, the crew would have to find a new captain, showing that at least he has high standards for someone to be his captain.
Although rare, there are a few captains who would take on a role within the crew in addition to their captaincy: Zeff served as both captain and cook of the Cook Pirates, Brook was both the second captain and musician of the Rumbar Pirates, and Trafalgar Law is the captain and doctor of the Heart Pirates. There are also several crews that have two captains simultaneously, such as the Giant Warrior Pirates (Jarul and Jorul, and then Dorry and Brogy), the Decalvan Brothers, and the Caribou Pirates (Caribou and Coribou).
If multiple pirate crews were to form an alliance, the captains of the allied crews must share equal standings, becoming co-leaders of the alliance. They thus have limited control over their allied crew's men, and when it comes to important decisions, their opinion must be included.
In a fleet, the captain that is in charge of it is referred to as "admiral" (or commodore in English dubs), and he or she tends to have a number of commanding officers who each lead a division of the crew. This is seemingly done as a means of ensuring that a large pirate crew is able to function efficiently and properly reap the benefits of having such an extensive membership. For example, the core crew of the Whitebeard Pirates was sectioned off into divisions as more and more crewmembers joined, eventually reaching a point where the crew contained over a dozen distinct sub-groups and spanned multiple enormous pirate ships. In the case of the Blackbeard and Beasts Pirates, high-ranking members in charge of named pirate ships are referred to as captains. While not under direct orders from their Admiral, these high-ranking crewmates are allowed to take liberties one would expect from a captain of their own crew. This is best demonstrated with Jack making the executive decision to attack Zunesha directly without consulting Kaido beforehand.
There are also some captains who are referred to by other titles instead of captain or admiral, such as:
- Shanks is referred to as Ogashira (大頭 Ōgashira?), which can be translated as "boss" or "leader" ("Chief" in the Viz Media translation). Demaro Black also demanded his crew to refer him as such. Eustass Kid is referred to as Kashira (頭 Kashira?), a shortened version of Ogashira.
- Foxy and Jinbe are referred to as Oyabun (親分 Oyabun?), a term used for a boss of a criminal organization.
- Edward Newgate is referred to as Oyaji (親父 Oyaji?, literally meaning Pops) by his subordinates, giving the fact that he considers and treats them as his own family.
- Donquixote Doflamingo is referred to as Wakasama (若様 Wakasama?, literally meaning Young Master) by his subordinates ranked from officer below, contrasting the crew's executive officers, who address their captain with the far more casual and familiar "Doffy".
- Kaido is referred to as Sotoku (総督 Sōtoku?), which can be translated as "governor" or "governor-general" ("Supreme Commander" in the Viz Media translation).
- Charlotte Linlin is referred to as Mama (ママ Mama?) by all of her subordinates, regardless if they are actually blood-related to her.
- Capone Bege is referred to as Father (
頭目Fāzā?, literally meaning "Boss") by his men, based on the stereotypical conventions of a mafia family, which the crew used to be prior to changing their profession to piracy.
- Urouge is referred as High Priest by the rest of the Fallen Monk Pirates, as a nod to his religious theme.
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- Supernova Eustass Kid has the romanized version of "Captain" (キャプテン Kyaputen?) as an epithet.
- Many pirate captains, from rookies such as Buggy and Bellamy to renowned veterans such as Whitebeard and Gold Roger, wear greatcoats in the Marine officer fashion - unbuttoned and draped over the shoulders with sleeves hanging loose. It is unknown whether this is an independently-developed trend, or a deliberate attempt to mimic (and/or mock) the Marines.
- In real life, pirate captains were often elected to the post by the rest of the crew. Even if they owned the ship, if the captain fell out of favor with their crew, another could be elected without notice. Sometimes, inadequate captains were even murdered. Also, cases occur when a first mate would kill the captain to take over.