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Updated November 8, 2022 by Ernie

Shanks and Luffy are one of the most influential characters in the series, One Piece. They both go a long way back ever since the beginning of the series and are still active characters thriving to leave a legacy in the pirate world up till now.

Even though Shanks does not really have that much screen time in the series, his appearances always make a big impact not just to the characters in the anime but to anime fans, as well. This could also mean that the captain of the Red-Haired Pirates may as well be considered as an icon in One Piece and Luffy is one of the people who looks up to him even now. Now the question above our heads is… who is Shanks in Luffys perspective? If you are digging for in-depth answers, then youve come to the right place!

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Who is Shanks?


To start off, lets first focus on Shankss background and who he really is in One Piece. So, Shanks also goes by his other nicknames that he earned while being a pirate. He was called by most of the people as Red-Haired Shanks or simply Red Hair for obvious reasons.

Shanks was once a part of the Roger Pirates when he was a kid along with Buggy who is now called Buggy the Clown. After the death of Gol D. Roger, it was mentioned that it was then he parted ways with the Roger Pirates (Episode 316). He later began to create his own crew of pirates which includes renowned characters such as Benny Beckman, Lucky Roux, and Yassop who is known to be Usopps father.

Now lets fast forward to several years later, before Shanks begins his journey to the Red Line, he encounters a kid named Monkey D. Luffy. Despite being just a kid, Luffy made Shanks realize the value of friendship and lending a helping hand to others in need.

After a certain number of events, Shanks sacrificed one of his arms to save Luffy from a sea monster when he was left in the middle of the sea. He then entrusted his straw hat to Luffy and asked him to return it to him when they met again. Shanks giving his hat to Luffy is not just a simple gesture but believing that Luffy is the one that will change the pirate era as part of a New Generation (Episode 4).

The Captain of the Red-Haired Pirates

During his travels in the Grand Line, he encountered different sorts of pirates and has been nicknamed as Red Hair. He is also acquainted with Ace and Edward Newgate, who is better known as Whitebeard and the captain of the Whitebeard Pirates.

His short scenes in the anime, made us all think that Shanks really knows a lot about the Grand Line and is quite experienced when dealing with the Marines. This was shown when Shanks made his appearance after several episodes during the Marineford Arc (Episode 489).

Of course, his scene here was not that long but the way that the Marines looked at him just means that he is far different from the Shanks before. Just by simply stating instructions from his mouth and making a deal with the fleet admiral, Sengoku, he managed to stop a full-scale war between the Marines and a whole fleet of pirates. It even gives me goosebumps just by thinking about it and his appearance here was very unexpected.

One of the Four Emperors

In his pirate life, Shanks has also eventually become a part of the Four Emperors. These are individuals labeled by the people as the most notorious and strongest pirates in the world. Knowing this information after the Enies Lobby Arc only made Luffy more motivated to conquer the Grand Line (Episode 314).

Add to that, what makes Shanks so unique as a part of the Four Emperors is that hes the only whos not a Devil Fruit user and can still manage to put up a fight with the sword he wields in his right hand. Among the original Four Emperors, Shanks also had the lowest bounty between the four, but it all changed when the new Four Emperors were introduced. This time, he had the highest bounty among them! (Chapter 1053)

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Who is Monkey D. Luffy?

Now we focus the spotlight on Monkey D. Luffy himself, the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates! In the beginning, Luffy has always been a cheerful and loudmouthed person ever since he was a kid. He was best friends along with Ace and Sabo during their early days and caused trouble to a lot of people with their childish antics (Episode 494).

Since Luffy and Ace didnt have any parents, Garp was the one who took them in as their parent and entrusted them to the mountain bandit, Dadan. Garp always wanted the best for Luffy and Ace and dreamed of them becoming high-ranking officers in the Marine (Episode 493). Well, that doesnt seem to be the case for both of them since Ace wants to become a pirate while Luffy was influenced by Shanks into becoming a pirate.

Years have passed and while Shanks and Luffy are hanging at a bar, Luffy ate a food not knowing that its a Devil Fruit. Shanks was shocked by this and told Luffy of the consequences of becoming a Devil Fruit user such as completely losing the ability to swim. After getting saved by Shanks from a grave situation, Luffy was entrusted with Shankss straw hat and told Luffy to return it to him when they meet again.

The Straw Hat Pirates

When Luffy reached the right age of becoming a pirate, he then set out on an adventure to gather his own crew of pirates. The first one he recruited was Zoro when he was a bounty hunter planned for execution at the middle of a village. After gaining Zoros trust and telling Luffys desire of becoming the Pirate King, Zoro became a permanent member of the crew (Episode 3). Then followed by Nami, Usopp, and Sanji who all eventually joins Luffys crew after realizing their dreams.

More members start to join their crew during their journey around the Grand Line such as Chopper, Robin, Franky, Brook, and Jimbei. A character named Vivi also temporarily joined the Straw Hat crew but then eventually left to do her duties as the princess of Alabasta (Episode 129).

Who is Shanks to Luffy?

In Luffys perspective, Shanks could come off as different types of person. In short, he could be a hero, a rival, or a friend. Its even possible that Luffy sees him as all those three that were mentioned!

A hero

I guess this is already common sense to us as to why Shanks could be seen as Luffys hero if youve watched at least a few episodes of One Piece. Thats because in episode 4, if it werent for Shanks using his Haki, both of them wouldve been devoured by the sea monster attacking them.

Although this predicament cost Shankss right arm while Luffy was completely unharmed. Imagine if Shanks wasnt there to save him, then there would be no One Piece at all!

A rival

Now as two fellow pirates with two different destinies with one goal, it is unquestionable that Luffy also sees Shanks as his rival. True, he may have saved Luffys life once but there are no heroes in the world of pirates. Also, in a recent chapter it has shown that Shanks started to go for the One Piece instead of meeting Luffy (Chapter 1054).

You know what that means, right? Shanks also aims to become the Pirate King. When it comes to that kind of dream, Luffy always gets triggered and will defeat anyone who dreams of becoming one and I dont think Shanks will be an exception for this.

A friend

Almost every person Luffy encounters, he always considers them a friend. Luffy values friendship so much and it is no doubt that Shanks is one of them. Even though it is unknown how long theyve spent together during Luffys childhood years, we can tell from the flashbacks that theyve developed a good friendly relationship. Shanks even risked his life for Luffy so if thats not what you call friendship then I dont know what is.


I hope this answers all your questions when it comes to Luffys perspective of Shanks! In summary, Luffy could see him as a friend, a rival, or even a hero! To be honest, they really havent seen each other in a very long time and their fateful meeting is truly one of the most awaited in the series!

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