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In the beginning of the manga, Luffy claimed that he wanted at least ten people to join his crew before entering the Grand Line (not counting himself).[19] This was changed after Usopp told Luffy that after "the chef" joined them, they would rescue Nami and go to the Grand Line.

Although this is long past the expiration date, it can still serve as evidence that there will be at least ten Straw Hats at one point of the manga (excluding Luffy himself). Luffy also claimed in the beginning of the manga, that he would gather a crew strong enough to surpass his childhood hero Red-Haired Shanks.[20]

Invitation

Luffy invites Zoro to join his crew.

Usually when he asks someone to join, Luffy is turned down completely; though the way of which he is turned down varies. Luffy never forces people to join his crew against their will. When Luffy asked Brook during the Thriller Bark Arc, Brook said yes immediately. Luffy did not directly ask Usopp to join the Straw Hats, however when Luffy, Zoro and Nami were about to sail off, Luffy assumed that Usopp would join them as they had just fought off Kuro. The only exception was Franky who was stated to be too stubborn to ever accept joining Luffy willingly (his swim briefs had to be stolen just to lead him back to the Straw Hat Pirates), but ends up joining willingly anyway after being moved by Iceburg's words.

However if the person really interests Luffy, he will still try to get them to join anyway regardless of their initial decision. While most people turn down Luffy's offer regardless of how hard he tries, only those convinced enough will join for reasons of their own. However, even if he is rejected, Luffy will treat the person as if they were already a crew member, much to their annoyance. He'll sometimes act as if it is his decision and not theirs whether they join or not (though it is worth noting that when Luffy's decided someone is joining they do eventually join).

The major exceptions to this rule are Usopp, who was thrilled to be asked to join and accepted immediately, and Nico Robin, who invited herself into the crew and had to convince the crew to let her stay. Also notable was Brook, who actually accepted Luffy's initial invitation to join the crew but later claimed that he could not honor it due to his lack of a shadow, which would result in his death should he step into sunlight, as well as unfinished business with the zombies of Thriller Bark. However, after the Straw Hats and Brook finally defeated the zombies, Brook later asked if they would honor his initial acceptance and Luffy gladly welcomed him into the crew, though everyone else were shocked by Brook just asking like that. Jinbe also wanted to join after being asked but stated he had unfinished business to do (which was to leave his alliance with the Big Mom Pirates), but did state if they still want him to join after that's done, he will gladly join the Straw Hats.

Luffy does not seem to mind if someone he wants to recruit has a profession or not. He allowed Usopp to join, and later on names him the team's sniper, and considered Vivi and Karoo members even though her only "profession" would be a princess. He also did not know that Chopper was a doctor and wanted him to join for his seven transformation abilities. He also offered Gaimon and several Thriller Bark zombies the chance to join his crew, when they had no apparent usefulness to the crew aside from experience and their uniqueness respectively. Also, when a crew member finally joins, they are often run out of their home by loved ones.

Luffy's tendency to ask people who interest him to join often led him to attempt to recruit bizarre creatures into his crew at a whim (such as Chopper, Brook, Unigaro, MocDonald and Ashimaro), which would annoy the rest of the crew, prompting them to snap at him to stop.

Recruiting Process

Though most adventures in One Piece are random, there seems to be a 'process' for recruitment:

  • First, a situation arises where someone new is needed. The crew comes across someone who fulfills the criteria (i.e. Chopper the doctor, Nami the navigator, Franky the shipwright, Sanji the cook etc.). Luffy offers the person a position, and is usually turned down initially (which usually causes Luffy to comically "refuse this refusal").
  • Meanwhile, a situation arises where, some way or another, Luffy ends up battling a 'boss' character, and the would-be crewmate battles an underling (i.e. Luffy vs Don Krieg after Sanji battles Gin and Pearl, and Luffy vs Wapol as Chopper battles Chessmarimo). The would-be crewmate typically defeats one of the villain's henchmen, or otherwise plays a crucial role in the Straw Hats' victory (for example, Brook defeats Tararan and reveals the zombies' weakness, despite losing to Ryuma).
  • During the arc in which the new crewmate is introduced their backstory and dreams are revealed, (although Nami and Robin's back stories were revealed later) thus convincing them to join the Straw Hat Crew.
  • Meanwhile, Luffy's current crew would assist him in battling various enemies generally in rank of abilities and overall strength which is matched by whoever they are battling (i.e. Zoro vs Kaku, Sanji vs Jabra, Chopper vs Kumadori, Nami vs Kalifa), the enemies fought also have similar fighting styles (Zoro vs Hachi who are both swordsman, Sanji vs Kuroobi who are both melee fighting experts, and Usopp vs Chew who are both ranged weaponry experts), this is more consistent when it concerns Sanji and Zoro (and later on, Franky, against close combat experts).

This process also led many fans to think Vivi would become a permanent crew member.

The only crew members not to follow this process were the female members, Nami and Robin, both of whom never helped fight an enemy during their joining and had their backstories fully revealed later on, despite initially being hinted at. Nami's official recruitment was when Luffy, Zoro, Usopp and Sanji defeated Arlong and his pirates. Robin was the first to initially willingly join, and officially joined after Luffy's crew came to her rescue from CP9.

Jinbe's recruitment process is quite different as he officially joined the crew after several arcs from the first time he fought an enemy alongside the entire crew.

As a side note to this process, Luffy has several times stated the need for a musician,[21] because he believes that "pirates love music" due to him being influenced by Shanks the captain of the Red-Haired Pirates whom are mostly seen singing and partying. As a result, whenever the need for a new crew member arises, Luffy would usually bring up the musician position despite it being completely unrelated to the problem at hand. While Franky plays the ukulele in addition of being a shipwright, Luffy's plea was finally fulfilled when Brook joined the crew. There are still lots of roles on the ship that need to be filled.

Crew Numbers

Luffy is the captain as he founded the crew. The numbers given to each crew member are:

  1. Monkey D. Luffy (Captain)
  2. Roronoa Zoro (Combatant/Swordsman)
  3. Nami (Navigator)
  4. Usopp (Sniper)
  5. Sanji (Cook)
  6. Tony Tony Chopper (Doctor)
  7. Nico Robin (Archaeologist)
  8. Franky (Shipwright)
  9. Brook (Musician)
  10. Jinbe (Helmsman)

Usually when numbering the crew on color spreads however, Oda will include Luffy as #1 thus the crew members get +1 added onto their numbers. For most of the crew members, Oda designates their number in the title of the chapter in which they join. For some like Nami and Usopp, their numbers were designated after they returned to the crew for previously leaving it. So far, only Chopper, Robin, and Jinbe have no chapters whose titles designate them. In the case of Robin, though she has yet to have a number chapter, she however was numbered as the 7th one in the anime. This however refers to her being the seventh character in the crew which includes Luffy.

Returning to the Crew

The crew toasting to the returning Robin and Usopp, new member Franky, and new ship - Thousand Sunny.

If a Straw Hat crew member leaves the crew without Luffy's permission, Luffy does his best to recruit them back. So far, Nami, Robin, and Usopp have all chosen to leave the crew in the past, before returning. Additionally, Chopper and Sanji have been coerced by third parties to leave the crew despite their wishes, with Chopper returning soon afterwards. The situation with Sanji, however, lasted for around a week.

Nami rejoined after the defeat of Arlong, who blackmailed her into betraying the crew, while Robin rejoined the crew after they convinced her that they would stand by her even if it meant declaring war on the World Government, and saving her from Enies Lobby and probable incarceration at Impel Down. However, while Robin and Nami were never on bad terms with the crew when they left, any suspicion that they had betrayed the Straw Hats was soon proven false.

Usopp was a different case; he had officially left the Straw Hat crew, over a dispute concerning the Going Merry (yet returned to the crew in his alias "Sogeking" to help in the rescue of Nico Robin) and his own insecurities about his strength. Afterward, Usopp originally planned to make the crew beg for him to return, but Zoro had given the crew a stern speech about him rejoining them on their terms, not his, and would accept him only if Usopp begged them after a thorough apology. After being ignored while they were fighting off Garp, Usopp finally apologized, and Luffy happily and tearfully accepted him back into the crew.

After losing the first game of the Davy Back Fight, Chopper was selected by Foxy to join his crew; as part of this, Chopper was required to swear allegiance to his new captain. However, after Zoro and Sanji defeated the Groggy Monsters in the second game, Luffy reclaimed Chopper into the crew.

During the Zou Arc, Sanji disappeared following the revelation of his arranged marriage to Charlotte Pudding. It was explained by Pekoms to Luffy that, if and when the marriage is formalized, Sanji will automatically cease to be a member of the Straw Hats and will become a member of the Big Mom Pirates. However, it turns out to be false, as Big Mom's true intention is to assassinate Sanji and the entire Vinsmoke Family during the ceremony. During the prelude of the marriage, Sanji, under duress, acted thoroughly disrespectful to Luffy and Nami in an attempt to get them to give up on him, though Luffy did not buy it, seeing Sanji's insincerity, and eventually managed to assist him to escape without consequence.

Themes

So far, each one of Luffy's crewmates follows a very specific pattern of introduction, and shares characteristics with other crewmate who can be considered their counterpart but from a different area.

  1. The first recruit in each region were Roronoa Zoro, Tony Tony Chopper and Jinbe:
    • They were first introduced tied or chained to something:
      • Zoro tied to a pole.
      • Chopper to a sled.
      • Jinbe to the walls of his cell in Impel Down.
    • They were considered monsters in some way and feared by people:
    • They saved Luffy on their first encounter:
      • Zoro saved him from Morgan when the latter attempted to attack him from behind.
      • Chopper saved him when he was about to fall from the mountain of the Drum Castle.
      • Jinbe saved him when he was going to fall into the sea with the rest of the escapees of Impel Down.
        • Jinbe also saved Luffy from his depression of losing Ace.
    • They have shown preparedness to throw away their pride or status for the sake of helping Luffy:
      • Zoro resigning his dream by offering his own life to Bartholomew Kuma in exchange for Luffy's and begging Dracule Mihawk to train him.
      • Chopper stating that he does not care to be called a monster again if it is in order to help Luffy.
      • Jinbe resigning both his loyalty to Big Mom and her crew.
    • They were inspired by a figure from the Japanese culture:
  2. The second recruit in each region were Nami and Nico Robin:
    • They are the only female members of the crew.
    • They were first introduced sit on a high place:
      • Nami on the roof of a house.
      • Robin on the railing of the Going Merry.
    • They needed to convince Luffy to join first.
    • They left the crew to join officially some time after they are introduced.
    • When they left their crewmates they did it to keep them from danger.
    • They worked for other pirate crews as a survival method.
    • They survived a great military conflict at a very young age and were save by a Marine who later resigns:
    • They both fight with a fighting style that does not rely on impacts or cuts:
  3. The third recruit in each region were Usopp and Franky:
    • They also go by a different name:
      • Usopp by Sogeking.
      • Franky by Cutty Flam.
    • They were first introduced accompanied by their subordinates as part of a group named after them:
    • They fought Luffy at Water Seven.
    • They were introduced in an arc where there is a plot of the main antagonist to kill a wealthy friend of them:
    • They possess a very strange nose, even for the world of One Piece:
      • Usopp's nose is particularly long.
      • Franky's is a metal prosthesis.
    • They occasionally use eye-wear:
    • Their joining to the crew is accompanied with the addition of a new ship for the crew with the help of their friends:
    • They are sons of pirates who abandoned them:
      • Usopp by his father Yasopp.
      • Franky by both his parents.
    • They have dreams consisting in a process rather than a specific goal:
      • Usopp wants to become a brave warrior of the sea.
      • Franky wants to create and ride a ship capable of circumnavigating the world.
    • They fight with weapons and tools crafted by themselves and focused more on long-range combat than close range.
  4. The fourth recruit in each region were Sanji and Brook:
    • They were first introduced aboard a ship holding a hot liquid:
    • They wear suits.
    • They are perverts.
    • They can run over surfaces other than land:
      • Sanji over air.
      • Brook over water.
    • They have dreams related to a marine lifeforms:
      • Sanji wants to find All Blue, a sea with all type of fish living there.
      • Brook wants to reunite with Laboon, a whale.
    • After the timeskip they got a great improvement on their spying abilities and those abilities were also used by them to peek on naked women:
    • They fight with a fighting style of great speed and that are somehow a limited version of another crewmember's style:
      • Sanji fights only with his legs, somehow a limited version of Luffy's who uses his full body.
      • Brook fights with a single sword, somewhat a limited version of Zoro's who uses three.
    • They name their attacks with terms related with their position in the crew.
    • When at full power they heavily rely on the generation of a classic element:

References

  1. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 1 Chapter 5 (p. 19) and Episode 3, Zoro agrees to become Luffy's crewmate.
  2. Monkey D. Luffy - Beli.png1,500,000,000
    Roronoa Zoro - Beli.png320,000,000
    Nami - Beli.png66,000,000
    Usopp - Beli.png200,000,000
    Sanji - Beli.png330,000,000
    Tony Tony Chopper - Beli.png100
    Nico Robin - Beli.png130,000,000
    Franky - Beli.png94,000,000
    Brook - Beli.png83,000,000
    Jinbe - Beli.png438,000,000
  3. One Piece Manga — Vol. 90 Chapter 903 (p. 4,16-17), Luffy and Sanji get new bounties.
  4. Monkey D. Luffy - Beli.png500,000,000
    Roronoa Zoro - Beli.png320,000,000
    Nami - Beli.png66,000,000
    Usopp - Beli.png200,000,000
    Sanji - Beli.png177,000,000
    Tony Tony Chopper - Beli.png100
    Nico Robin - Beli.png130,000,000
    Franky - Beli.png94,000,000
    Brook - Beli.png83,000,000
    Jinbe - Beli.png438,000,000
  5. One Piece Manga — Vol. 90 Chapter 901 (p. 13), Luffy proclaims that he is Jinbe's captain.
  6. Vivre Card - One Piece Visual Dictionary (Card #0010).
  7. Monkey D. Luffy - Beli.png500,000,000
    Roronoa Zoro - Beli.png320,000,000
    Nami - Beli.png66,000,000
    Usopp - Beli.png200,000,000
    Sanji - Beli.png177,000,000
    Tony Tony Chopper - Beli.png100
    Nico Robin - Beli.png130,000,000
    Franky - Beli.png94,000,000
    Brook - Beli.png83,000,000
  8. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 80 Chapter 801 (p. 15-17) and Episode 746, The Straw Hats are given new bounties after Dressrosa.
  9. Monkey D. Luffy - Beli.png400,000,000
    Roronoa Zoro - Beli.png120,000,000
    Nami - Beli.png16,000,000
    Usopp - Beli.png30,000,000
    Sanji - Beli.png77,000,000
    Tony Tony Chopper - Beli.png50
    Nico Robin - Beli.png80,000,000
    Franky - Beli.png44,000,000
    Brook - Beli.png33,000,000
  10. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 61 Chapter 601 (p. 11) and Episode 521, Luffy's fourth bounty.
  11. Monkey D. Luffy - Beli.png300,000,000
    Roronoa Zoro - Beli.png120,000,000
    Nami - Beli.png16,000,000
    Usopp - Beli.png30,000,000
    Sanji - Beli.png77,000,000
    Tony Tony Chopper - Beli.png50
    Nico Robin - Beli.png80,000,000
    Franky - Beli.png44,000,000
    Brook - Beli.png33,000,000
  12. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 50 Chapter 489 (p. 6-7,12) and Episode 381, Brook joins the crew.
  13. Monkey D. Luffy - Beli.png300,000,000
    Roronoa Zoro - Beli.png120,000,000
    Nami - Beli.png16,000,000
    Usopp - Beli.png30,000,000
    Sanji - Beli.png77,000,000
    Tony Tony Chopper - Beli.png50
    Nico Robin - Beli.png80,000,000
    Franky - Beli.png44,000,000
  14. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 45 Chapter 435 (p. 16-17) and Episode 320, The crew members' bounties for attacking Enies Lobby are revealed.
  15. Monkey D. Luffy - Beli.png100,000,000
    Roronoa Zoro - Beli.png60,000,000
    Nico Robin - Beli.png79,000,000
  16. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 23 Chapter 213 (p. 22) and Episode 128, Luffy's and Zoro's bounties after Alabasta.
  17. Monkey D. Luffy - Beli.png30,000,000
  18. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 11 Chapter 96 (p. 6) and Episode 45, Luffy's first bounty is put by Brannew in the wanted list.
  19. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 1 Chapter 1 and Episode 1, Luffy declares how many crewmates he wants.
  20. One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 1 Chapter 1 and Episode 4, Luffy declares he will surpass Shanks.
  21. One Piece Manga and AnimeChapters 8 (p. 3), 42 (p. 7), 94 (p. 15), 303 (p. 18) and Episodes 4, 19, 244, 203, Luffy declares the crew needs a musician.

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