Attention: Contains spoilers of Chapter 1054 One Piece.
When Monkey D. Luffy rose to the ranks of the world’s most powerful pirates, One Piece shocked fans by showing that his next opponent would be his strongest rival. Red-haired Shanks, Luffy’s original mentor, and now also a friend, has announced his intention to finally go after the treasures of One Piece, which means that he will stand in the way of the Straw Hat Pirates.
Shanks is still one of the most mysterious characters in One Piece, despite the fact that he debuted in the very first chapter of the series. After making their way to the Grand Line, Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates learned that Shanks had become one of the Three, four most powerful pirates in the world. Of the original Team, Shanks is the only one whose past and current goals remain a mystery. Currently, he is the most wanted active pirate in the world, has inexplicable connections with high-ranking members of the World Government, and his strength is enough to put him on a par with such legends as Belous or Kaido.
Related: One Piece Confirms That There Are Now Two Gods in Luffy’s Family
In chapter 1054, Shanks and his crew sail near the Country of Vano, where Luffy is recovering from a decisive battle with Kaido. Surprisingly, Shanks decides not to date the boy to whom he entrusted his valuable straw hat many years ago. Talking to his deputy, Shanks boldly declares that it’s time for them to go after One Piece, the legendary treasure left on the island of Laugh Tale by the only Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. This makes Shanks and the Red—Haired Pirates direct rivals of the Straw Hat Pirates, whose goal is to make Luffy the Pirate King by finding Van Pease.
Compared to Luffy’s other big rival, Blackbeard, Shanks has a huge advantage. As a child, he was a member of the Gol D. Roger team, and even if he and his friend/rival Buggy had to stay when Roger’s Pirates sailed to the hidden island of Laughter Tail, he should be privy to information that is inaccessible to anyone else. Perhaps this includes the location of the missing road poneglyph, which is necessary to get to the island. Shanks’ statement also raises many questions about his real motives. So far, he and his team have not been directly involved in the major incidents that have rocked the One Piece world in recent years. His decision to move may be due to the fact that Luffy has awakened the real powers of his Devil Fruit, which Shanks was confirmed to have known about when he stole it from the World Government.
Luffy has yet to meet Shanks after he sailed and became a pirate, as he promised him many years ago. Fans have been looking forward to their reunion, but Shanks’ statement opens up a whole new perspective, making him Luffy’s most dangerous rival to date. Red-haired Shanks is without a doubt one of the most powerful pirates in the world, not only in terms of personal strength, but also due to his knowledge of the most important secrets in the series. If the Straw Hat and Red-Haired Pirates really compete for One Piece, there is no guarantee that Luffy will actually come out victorious.