One Piece’s current arc has been widely acclaimed as being one of the best in all of the manga’s publishing history. Perhaps even the best and it isn’t hard to see why. With an interesting premise, an ‘Old Japan’ inspired aesthetic, and amazing new characters, this is the mangaka’s writing at its finest. And one of the standout characters of this arc has been the ultra-powerful Kozuki Oden, but fans have a question: Is the former Shogun at Yonko level yet?
Welcome to Character Analysis – a section of this website where we take beloved characters from across all Otakuverse and analyze what makes them so iconic. I mean, sure, character bios exist but they aren’t half as obsessive as we are and don’t go in-depth as a fangirl would.
With a show like One Piece, there is an entire roster of characters so increasingly powerful that it’s hard to categorize them by power level alone. This is even more complicated with a character like Oden, who is definitely a top-tier individual and might’ve touched Yonko status once in his past. But now?
Let’s just say there’s a lot to consider here when we look at Oden’s history as a pirate, a commander, and now, the Daimyo of an entire county. But when it comes to One Piece, having strength and influence alone aren’t enough to make you feared across the high seas as a Yonko level being. So, let’s break down what does and if Oden Kozuki reaches that standard.
Oden Kozuki: Born To Be A Legend
Oden wasn’t some no-name orphan from an island. He was the son of Kozuki Sukiyaki, the former Shogun of Wano Country. He was born with monstrous strength, and with that strength came tenacity. Because by age 9, he had not only out gambled the Yakuza but burnt down their casinos.
He was imprisoned for his actions, but it was here that he flourished and turned himself around from the brash child he had been, to a fearsome Samurai. And yet, it’s his escape to the ocean that brought him to his true calling: the life of a Pirate. He went on to join the Whitebeard Pirates crew and after a stint with them, where he found love in the form of Toki, a woman he rescued.
But it was Gol D. Roger who gave him purpose. During a ceasefire between the Whitebeard Pirates and the Roger Pirate crew, Gol. Revealed to him his dream of becoming the Pirate King. And when Oden was shown to be fluent in Poneglyphs, that was the end of it. Oden joined the Roger Pirates.
After the Roger Pirates disbanded, Oden returned to the Flower Capital, his hometown, and overthrew the tyrannical ruler that had taken control of the Shogunate.
What Makes A Yonko Anyways?
So, the Yonko isn’t a specific power level. It is a term given to four legendary pirates, also known as the Four Emperors of The Sea. They are the most powerful in all aspects, including rank, influence, and sheer strength.
The pirates that are considered Yonko are Kaidou of the Beast Pirates, Marshall D. Teach of the Blackbeard Pirates, Charlotte Linlin of the Big Mom Pirates, and Shanks of the Red Hair Pirates. These four combined rule over the New World.
They are unmatched, their biggest opposition being themselves. They are notorious for ruling their respective spaces with an iron fist. To join the ranks of Yonko, you need to be at the level the previously mentioned four are. Apart from them, the only people that have reached the status are the deceased Whitebeard and, most recently, Monkey D. Luffy of the Straw Hat Pirates crew. But the last one is unofficial, of course.
Can Oden Be Considered Yonko Level?
Quick answer? No. Sadly, as prolific as Oden is, he still can’t be considered Yonko. Well, not anymore.
We’ve talked before about how strong characters in One Piece tend to lose their power levels when they’ve been in stasis during the plot which is likely what happened here. Even though Oden was strong enough to land a hit on Kaidou 20 years ago, we can’t say with certainty that he can defeat present-day Kaidou. Kaidou always spoke of him with respect.
But it isn’t a stretch to say that he probably came close to becoming Yonko. The man’s nobility and strength were no joke. Even in the end, he was a beacon of power and hope for the people of Wano. I mean, the man endured boiling point heat for an hour just to protect his people from Orochi’s wrath.
Not only was he a possessor of master swordsmanship skills, but he was one of the very few that had control of the most elusive form of Haki out there, the Haoshoku Haki aka the Power Of The Kings.
However, we will never know if he could’ve surpassed his way into Yonko status because he was killed by Kaidou during the Wano arc.