The One Piece franchise is – without even a hint of exaggeration – one of the most popular, successful, and critically acclaimed anime and manga in the history of either medium. Existing in one form or another since 1997, this series continues to innovate the kinds of action, adventure, and characters that appear in shounen manga and anime. With more than two decades of publication under its belt, there are perhaps more unique and diverse characters in One Piece than in just about any other work of fiction.
Characters in One Piece are bizarre by any stretch of the imagination. While some are just normal humans who may have a special power thanks to the effects of the mystical Devil Fruit, others only barely fit the idea of what a human being can look like. Between giants, impossibly large and muscular humans, fish and animal people, long arm and leg people, and triclopses; there is a colossal spectrum of the kinds of characters that appear in One Piece. Of course, there is also a terrific spectrum of the strength of these characters.
Like most combat-focused anime and manga, characters that premiere in later parts of the series are usually stronger than those that appeared in earlier sections, and the protagonists have to refine their own ability to overcome these growing opponents. Of course, this progression has the side effect of making some characters in One Piece incredibly powerful and others totally useless, but no less fun or entertaining.
Here are 10 Most Powerful Characters In One Piece (And 10 That Are Just Useless).
20 Powerful: Roronoa Zoro
The second person to join the Straw Hat Pirates, and maybe the crew’s first mate, Zoro is perhaps as powerful as his captain Luffy. A master of the three sword style, Zoro prefers to fight with a katana in each and one in his mouth. On top of throwing off his opponents with this unusual fighting style, Zoro is also able to cut through steel effortlessly and send his slashes flying through the air.
Moreover, when he really wants to eliminate someone his will manifests as four extra arms and two more heads, gives him the appearance and abilities of a nine sword-wielding demon. With the current story arc taking place in the samurai nation of Wano, Zoro is sure to face off against even more powerful swordsmen and continue to prove his overwhelming strength.
19 Useless: Jango
The former pirate and hypnotist Jango is not much of a threat to anyone in the series. Sure his razor-sharp chakram are lethal to those unfamiliar with combat, but a more experienced fighter can easily catch or deflect the ranged weapon.
As a hypnotist, he can send his shipmates into a berserk frenzy where they attack their enemies with little worry for the damage inflicted onto their own bodies, but this ace in the hole backfires on him during his only major fight. This technique also sends Luffy into a frenzy as well, and the pirate captain ends up destroying both Jango’s ship and most of his crewmates. Not only does Jango suck as a fighter, but he also is not a great hypnotist either.
18 Powerful: Sanji
Rounding out the Monster Trio, the strongest fighters in the Straw Hat crew, Sanji is useful in both the heat of battle and in the kitchen. A master of the Black Leg Style of martial arts, Sanji uses acrobatics and devastating kicks to obliterate most enemies in his way.
His fighting prowess is further enhanced by his ability to run through the air as though it were a solid surface and rotate his legs so quickly that they light on fire from the friction. He’s also a master chef and can terrific and restorative from even the most basic and low-quality ingredients. Between these two skill sets, Sanji may contain more utility than any other character in One Piece.
17 Useless: Fullbody
Fullbody is the only member of the Marines to receive a demotion over the course of the series, which he deserved because he is absolutely useless. In the anime, he receives the demotion after starting and quickly losing a fight with Sanji, while in the manga it’s because he cuts a deal with Jango to acquit the former pirate of his crimes.
In either case, Fullbody totally deserves his demotion and it’s a wonder he ever made it to the position of lieutenant in the first place. His use of brass knuckles in battle suggests that his fighting style is similar to boxing, but he’s never lasted long enough in a fight to get a sense of his abilities or make an impression beyond his obvious weakness.
16 Powerful: Big Mom
As a member of the Yonko, Big Mom is one of the four strongest pirates in the world of One Piece. Also known as Charlotte Linlin, this giant pirate captain can reduce an entire nation to rubble simply by going into a hunger fit. If her truly monstrous strength weren't enough, she can also manipulate souls at will and drastically shorten a person’s life with her Soul Pocus technique.
She can also embed weapons and elements with her own and others’ souls to give them sentience and force them to do her bidding. Big Mom is a scary foe and is so powerful that the best the Straw Hat pirates could do against her was run away and barely manage to keep their lives intact.
15 Useless: Patty
Patty is a cook in his late twenties aboard the Baratie floating restaurant. Although, he’s more of a cook in name only, as most of his meals are awful or downright inedible. He makes up for his lack of culinary prowess with some fighting ability, as shown when he fires a suped-up bazooka against the Don Krieg Pirates during their invasion of the restaurant.
However, this attack proves totally ineffective against the armor covered captain, and Patty quickly becomes useless in this situation as well. He may be a fun character whose antics spice up some of One Piece’s earlier chapters, but he isn’t very good at the two things he tries to do in the series and simply isn’t good for much.
14 Powerful: Kaido
The captain of the Beasts Pirates, a member of the Yonko, and bearing the moniker of ‘the strongest creature in the world,’ Kaido is obscenely powerful. His first appearance in the series featured him throwing himself off of an island thousands of meters in the sky and landing without injury on an island below. On top of his unparalleled durability, he can also transform into a colossal dragon at will and obliterate an entire town in an instant.
This absolute behemoth of a pirate even managed to defeat Luffy with a single blow after shrugging off the younger pirate’s most powerful attacks. Kaido might be the most powerful foe to face the Straw Hats in the entirety of the series, and witnessing the clash between the two entities is sure to be a treat.
13 Useless: Morgan
The first major antagonist in One Piece, Axe-Hand Morgan is a towering and imposing figure. He stands more than nine feet tall, has a metal jaw, and has a massive ax in place of his right hand. He terrorized the people of Shells Town for years and ruled over them with an almost literal iron fist.
However, he is almost completely useless by the current standards of the series. Now that just about every new character in One Piece is superhuman in some regard, a really buff dude with a weapon fused to his arm can’t hope to measure up whatsoever. With just his above average size and strength going for him, it’s hard to see Morgan making any kind of impact against any foe in One Piece’s more recent story arcs.
12 Powerful: Marshall D. Teach
The most recent member of the Yonko, and perhaps the most detested character in all of One Piece, Marshall D. Teach possess more power and potential than nearly any other character. More commonly known as Blackbeard, Teach eliminated a former crewmate to gain possession of a Devil Fruit that would give him control over the power of darkness.
After gaining this ability, he quickly learned how to use it to steal devil fruit abilities from other characters, such as Whitebear’s ability to create earthquakes with his bare hands. This makes him the only person in One Piece capable of using multiple devil fruit powers at once, and he uses these fearsome skills to spread his reign of terror across the seas.
11 Useless: Spandam
Cipher Pol 9, or CP9 for short, is one of the most powerful and secretive organizations in one piece. They are essentially a secret police for the World Government and are led by the totally incompetent Spandam. Inheriting the position from his father, Spandam lacks all of the tact and battle prowess that one would expect of his position.
He’s prone to wild outbursts, has only a rudimentary concept of battle strategy, and is physically weaker than the average Marine soldier. He might have a sword that can turn into an elephant, but beyond that impractical skill, Spandam is totally useless and only manages to get by due to the privilege he was born into.
10 POWERFUL: SHANKS
Luffy’s idol and the captain of the Red Haired Pirates, Shanks is easily one of the strongest characters in the series. The first member of the Yonko to appear in the series, Shanks frequently converses with some of the strongest characters in the series like Whitebeard and Dracule Mihawk.
He single-handedly ended the Battle of Marineford and can strike fear into any man or beast. Many fans of the series believe that the final battle for the mythic One Piece will occur between Luffy and Shanks, and it really does seem like he’s gearing up to be the final boss of the decades-old series. Even though he hasn’t fought in too many battles so far, his strength and ability are unquestioned.
9 USELESS: CHARLOS
The Celestial Dragons in One Piece are a group of people who are descendants of the founders of the World Government. As such, they are treated as god-like figures and can pretty much do whatever they want to whoever they want. Charlos is one of the worst members of the Celestial Dragons and this life of splendor lets him get away with taking down and controlling anyone he comes across.
That is until Luffy sends him through a brick wall with a single punch after Carlos shoots one of the pirate’s friends. Not only is Charlos a terrible person who’s incapable of doing anything for himself, but he’s also a weakling who buckles under any kind of opposition.
8 Powerful: Dragon
Luffy’s enigmatic father Dragon is the leader of the Revolutionary Army, a group that seeks to directly overthrow the World Government. This essentially pits him against every nation on the planet, and Monkey D. Dragon welcomes the challenge. Luffy’s dad is strong enough to command an entire army of some of the strongest characters in the series and fight against just about any threat the World Government sends after him.
Dragon looms in the background for much of One Piece and still has not gotten a proper introduction. Dragon’s eventual full-fledged debut in One Piece is highly anticipated, though, and many fans of the franchise cannot wait to see this ridiculously powerful character play a more active role in the franchise.
7 Useless: Buggy
Buggy the Clown is so weak that his surprising success as a pirate is a running joke in the series. Initially a small-time pirate in the East Blue, Buggy was arrested by the World Government and sent to prison after his defeat at the hands of Luffy. After he escapes from prison thanks to Luffy’s help, he accidentally becomes a respected figure among the other – and more powerful – escapees.
This prompts the World Government to make Buggy a Shichibukai, or a government-sponsored pirate that keeps order in the pirate world. Of course, Buggy isn’t actually worthy of such a lofty position and his tremendous success despite his massive incompetence is one of the best jokes in One Piece.
6 Powerful: Sakazuki
The current Fleet Admiral of the Marines, Sakazuki is a massively powerful man. His devil fruit ability gives him a mastery over magma and he can incinerate nearly anything that stands in his way. This includes other strong characters, like Luffy’s brother Ace, who Sakazuki eliminated towards the end of the Marineford War. His command of an entire army only adds to his own personal strength and he is able to subject countless people to his own twisted idea justice.
It’s almost certain that the Straw Hats or another powerful group will one day defeat Sakazuki and his Marines, but until then he exists as one of the most capable characters in the long-running franchise.
5 USELESS: HIGUMA
Higuma was the first antagonist to appear in the One Piece manga, and is pretty weak even by the standard at the beginning of the series. A bully through and through, he leads a group of mountain bandits and terrorizes Luffy’s home village until Shanks arrives. Seeing himself losing easily to the exceedingly powerful pirate, Higuma kidnaps a young Luffy and threatens to end him if Shanks intervenes.
However, the weakling mountain bandit swiftly dies when a Sea King monster comes upon the two and tries to eat them. Shanks does manage to save Luffy, but the bandit dies feebly to the serpentine sea monster in a cowardly and fruitless attempt to save his own pathetic life.
4 POWERFUL: SILVERS RAYLEIGH
The former first mate of the Roger Pirates, Silvers Rayleigh is an absolute powerhouse in any combat situation. Known as the Dark King, Rayleigh is feared by just about every pirate and Marine officer in the series, due to his connection to the Pirate King Gol D. Roger and his own devastating abilities.
His mastery of Haki gives him utterly inhuman powers and the ability to fight any other character in the series on even footing. Considering that he passed on the basis of his abilities to Luffy, who’s incredibly powerful in his own right, it’s fair to say that Rayleigh is even stronger than his student and more powerful than nearly any other character.
3 Useless: Foxy
Foxy the Silver Fox is a joke character in every sense of the word. His appearance is pretty goofy, even by One Piece standards, and he can only battle against the Straw Hat Pirates by forcing them into super specific circumstances. He can temporarily slow down people and objects with his devil fruit power, but he still isn’t strong enough to land a finishing blow on an enemy with this handicap.
Admittedly he is a lot of fun and his antics are pretty funny, but he’s not exactly the first person you’d reach out to when in danger. It’s unlikely that Foxy will ever appear in One Piece again, which is fine considering he’s already made a solid impact and the character shouldn't overstay his welcome.
2 Powerful: Monkey D. Luffy
The future Pirate King and the main protagonist of the series, Monkey D. Luffy starts out as an incredibly powerful fighter at the start of the series and is currently one of the absolute strongest characters around. While there are definitely stronger foes for Luffy to face waiting in future episodes and chapters, the rubber man is one of the most powerful and infamous characters in One Piece.
With his ability to extend his limbs at will, accelerate his body increasing his heart rate, expand his fists to the size of a giant’s, and compress his body for even stronger attacks; Luffy can take on nearly any foe. So long as he stays out of the ocean, as salt water drains him of his stamina as a Devil Fruit user, Luffy is a force few others can stand against.
1 Useless: Mohji
You know a character is pretty weak when he’s an underling to one of the first antagonists in the series. Mohji the Beast Tamer is the first mate of the Buggy Pirates and beaten easily by Luffy during the Orange Town Arc. Notably, Mohji doesn’t actually fight Luffy himself and has his giant pet lion Richie fight for him. After Luffy easily beats the lion, Mohji runs away to his captain only to be defeated by a single attack from Luffy.
Not only is this pirate unable to put up any kind of semblance of a fight without his pet by his side, but he also isn’t even that good at controlling animals! Later on in One Piece, Richie the lion takes over as the captain of the Buggy Pirates and leads them across the sea, proving Richie is utterly useless.
Which of these characters do you enjoy seeing appear on One Piece? Let us know in the comment!