Shanks Could Become Luffy’s: Luffy may need to fight Shanks in order to succeed as Pirate King. If so, their conflict might be the biggest in the entire series.
There is much discussion over how One Piece may finish, particularly how Straw Hat Luffy and Red-Haired Shanks’ reunion may play out. There are many factors to take into account because a lot has changed between them in the past 12 years since their last interaction. On the one hand, Luffy and Shanks share a close relationship and a vow to reconnect once the former achieves greatness as a pirate, which he has. However, Shanks is an Emperor of the Sea and will likely have to defend his position if Luffy shows up to challenge him.
Most likely, a meeting between Shanks and Luffy will result in a heated argument. It is challenging to pinpoint the exact nature of the disagreement because Shanks’ genuine motivations are still mostly unknown. Nevertheless, information from Chapter 1054, “Flame Emperor,” has reopened discussion concerning Shanks and provided a few additional insights.
While discussing Luffy’s sudden elevation to the position of Emperor, Shanks and his team were visible close to Wano’s exterior. Despite Shanks’ reluctance to see the youngster again, they all agreed that Luffy had kept his end of the bargain. They understood that Shanks’ standards for a “great pirate” could reveal a lot about who he is.
The Red Hair Pirates’ theft of the Gum-Gum Fruit was flashed back in this chapter, which was another significant event. This appears to indicate, as many have surmised, that Shanks was aware of the true nature and worth of this Devil Fruit. If Shanks was willing to steal from a World Government in order to obtain something so significant, that could be yet another indication of his true goals.
The notion that Shanks was aware of the Gum-Gum Fruit’s true nature also calls into doubt his affection for Luffy, the child who ate it. In addition to the boy spending a year in Foosha Village, he also grew fond of him since he recognized parts of both the boy and his former captain Gol D Roger in himself. His relationship with Luffy appears to be completely genuine in this aspect.
However, Shanks’ knowledge that Luffy consumed one of the most priceless Devil Fruits in the entire world may help to further explain why he holds Luffy in such high regard. In addition to giving up his arm to save him, he also gave him the straw hat that Roger had handed down to him. He likely recognized the ability of this young East Blue child, who was only seven, to alter the course of history and shape the course of piracy. It’s unclear what he has in mind for the Fruit, but it’s possible that he wants to employ Luffy for it.
Of course, it’s a little difficult to think that Shanks has such lofty goals. Even as Emperor, he has thus far had a rather weak attitude toward piracy. When he or those near to him are threatened with violence, he is a happy-go-lucky pacifist who only really fights or gets serious. Since Luffy’s piracy appears to be heavily influenced by Shanks’ mannerisms, it is possible to infer something about Shanks’ personality from Luffy. Because of what he hasn’t done rather than what he has, not even the World Government tries to take action against him. It’s difficult to envision him and Luffy ever clashing because of his blatant lack of ambition. Having said that, it is important to keep in mind Luffy and Shanks’ place in the world. As the potential King of the Pirates, Luffy has vowed to vanquish every Emperor, including Shanks, however, if he can, he’d like to deal with Shanks later rather than sooner. Shanks demonstrated in Chapter 1054 that he must uphold the deference that comes with being the Emperor by preferring stopping Bartolomeo from infringing on his domain over visiting Luffy once more. At the very least, it’s clear that these two captains’ goals and obligations will compel them to disagree at some point.
But Chapter 1054 also revealed something more about Shanks that might make him disagreeable with Luffy. In his concluding scene, he declares that the Red Hair Pirates should “make their move” and seize control of the One Piece. It’s unclear what Shanks plans to do with the One Piece, but if it’s anything like his desire for the seismic Nika Devil Fruit, he most likely has a major plan. In order to prove himself as the King of the Pirates, Luffy plans to reach the treasure first. It is most likely that Shanks and Luffy’s disagreement will result from their shared desire for the titular primary story point.