The Rocketman was Tom's prototype sea train. The Straw Hats used it temporarily to travel from Water 7 to Enies Lobby. Despite all its flaws, the Rocketman proved to be a very useful instrument to the Straw Hats during their raid on the Judicial Island.
Appearance and Design
The Rocketman is a gray locomotive with a shark's face painted on the front, though it is mentioned that the shark is of little significance. It consists of the locomotive itself and one passenger car. Like the Puffing Tom, it has a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement and is capable of traversing across water as well as on land. The Rocketman was considered by all who worked on it an experimental failure, as the train could only travel at dangerously high speeds, had no means of braking, had no controls such as steering, and lacked the momentum to plow through obstacles without getting derailed. This meant that once Rocketman reached its top speed, it would continue going forward with no ability to stop itself, making it far too dangerous to be used commercially.
Water 7 Saga
Water 7 Arc
After surviving the onslaught of the Aqua Laguna, Monkey D. Luffy and company decided to pursue the Puffing Tom in order to rescue the captured Robin. However, two major factors were stopping them: the Aqua Laguna was raging on, meaning that no ship available was suitable to travel under such conditions, and the Puffing Tom was the only known sea train built to travel under them.
It was then that Kokoro revealed the Rocketman in an abandoned warehouse. Fixed up by Iceburg, the Rocketman was all ready to go. It was then when the Franky Family begged to join Luffy in order to save Franky, at which Luffy accepted.
After setting off into the storm, the Franky Family latched their Franky Houseboat onto the Rocketman. Later its revealed that several stowaways had snuck on-board: Chimney, Gonbe, and most notably the Dock One foremen now reduced to three due to the treacherous circumstances.
During the pursuit of the Puffing Tom, several events happened. These included Luffy and Roronoa Zoro being able to break through the Aqua Laguna, Yokozuna joining the apparent army and, Zoro defeating T Bone of the Marines. The most notable however of them all was when the Straw Hats, the Galley-La foremen, and the Franky Family decided to put aside their differences in order to ally themselves against a common enemy as presented when Luffy, Paulie, and Zambai crossed their arms together in a sign of allegiance. This moment was a vital turning point between the three groups as the alliance would prove instrumental in the upcoming battle.
Despite all its speed, the Rocketman was not able to catch up to the Puffing Tom to prevent it from reaching it's destination. It was however able carry the Straw Hats and their allies through the storm to the aforementioned destination, the never night island, Enies Lobby.
Enies Lobby Arc
The Rocketman was very instrumental during the invasion, aiding the Straw Hats and their allies in the battle in ways that left onlookers stunned.
After waiting the agreed five minutes, the Rocketman was steered into the direction of the Enies Lobby front gate. However, as the gate was closed by some Marines and Government Agents who noticed the speeding sea train, a drastic alternative was devised by Zoro. With Yokozuna's strength, a ramp was created out of the fence in front of the speeding train which enabled the Rocketman to be flung over the first and second gates and crash into Oimo. This act apparently made all efforts of the Franky Family and Galley-La in opening those gates useless.
After crashing into the isle of Enies Lobby and being hit with a cannon shell, the Rocketman was fixed up and put to use again. It then sped across the island to the court house where it barged in and apparently ran over Baskerville. Using the halfway extended broken draw bridge as a ramp, it made another momentous jump across the waterfall gap separating Enies Lobby and the Tower of Justice, carrying the Straw Hats along with it, and crashed into the tower. After that the Rocketman was apparently beyond repair and abandoned in the tower. It was thus left behind in the tower during the escape from the Buster Call attack where it is presumed to have been destroyed by the hellish onslaught of the Buster Call.
- The Rocketman appeared as an attack used by Green Generals in the game One Piece: Unlimited Adventure.
- The painted fangs and eyes are similar to the faces often painted on old war planes but retained on some planes such as the A-10 Thunderbolt.
- The Rocketman's name comes from the steam locomotive Rocket, often called Stephenson’s Rocket, the first modern steam locomotive, it was the fastest powered vehicle of its time.
- As Kokoro pointed out, once it reached its top speed she would no longer be able to control it. In real world terms it would essentially be considered at this point a "runaway train". This is a term applied to operating trains that continue along on a track with humans being unable to control its path or speed leaving the train at the mercy of whatever lies ahead of it.
- One of the children on Punk Hazard is seen playing with a model version of Rocketman during a flashback.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 38 Chapter 365 and Episode 255.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 38 Chapter 366 and Episode 256, The Straw Hats, Galley-La Foremen, and the Franky Family ally together.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 40 Chapter 380 and Episode 267, The Rocketman flies over the gates and into Oimo using the fence as a ramp.
- SBS One Piece Manga — Vol. 39, Fan Question: Hello, Oda-sensei. I was watching TV the other day, when I saw a program with locomotives named "Puffing Billy" and "The Rocket". Are those the basis for Puffing Tom and Rocketman?
- One Piece Anime — Episode 585.
- South Devon Railway Comet class – Wikipedia article about the class of train the Rocketman was based on.