Some of the best stories I have ever experienced in my life are long-running shonen series. Some tales can last decades, and reading these deeply thorough stories for such a long time; you form relationships with the characters.
But working on a story for decades comes at a cost. Many mangakas have to sacrifice their lifestyle and their health to be able to produce high-quality chapters every week. Some stories lose their flare, while some never reach their conclusion.
There has been a lot of long-running manga, but there is one series that stands above the rest, my favorite manga – Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. Despite the hectic lifestyle of a manga artist, Oda has managed to deliver incredible chapters every week for over two decades. A series that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year is still as popular and loved as it was decades ago.
One of the reasons Oda is able to achieve such a gigantic feat that many other authors can only dream of and why One Piece fans are so loyal to the story even today is the rich and amazing cast of characters. One such character is Brook.
Brook at a Glance
Name: Japanese- ブルック, English- Brook
Epithet: Humming Brook, Soul King
Origin: West Blue
Birthday: April 3
Age: 90 years
First appearance: Chapter 442
Bounty: 83 Million berries
Devil Fruit: Yomi-Yomi no Mi
The Story of the Humming Swordsman
Recently ranked 26th in the 7th One Piece popularity poll, Brook is a fan favorite. The bizarre afro-wearing skeleton is one of the most unique-looking characters that Oda has created in all these years. But beyond his unique appearance Brook has a lot more to his character. So let’s dive into the story of the skeleton musician.
After saving Robin from the world government at Enies Lobby and saying goodbyes to their precious Nakama, The Going Merry, the Strawhats set sail on their new ship, The Thousand Sunny, with their new Nakama- Franky.
Soon after, they sail into the Florian Triangle, a stretch of sea covered in dense fog. Suddenly the crew hears music, and a giant ghost ship appears. And atop that ship is a skeleton singing the song while drinking his tea! The Gentleman Skeleton introduces himself as Brook.
As soon as Brook was done cracking some skull jokes, Luffy asked him to join his crew. And Brook very nonchalantly accepts!
Journey with the Rumbar Pirates
50 years before meeting the Strawhats, Brook was a member of the Rumbar Pirates. Captain Yorki and his crew were a bunch of avid music lovers. They were traveling in the West Blue singing and dancing when they noticed a baby whale was following them.
The whale was alone as it got separated from its pod, and it found solace in the music. The crew grew attached to the whale, and Brook named it Laboon. Laboon sailed with the crew for some time, but it was impossible for the baby whale to travel to the Grand Line. The Rumbar Pirates decided to leave Laboon at the Twin capes with Crocus and promised to return to him in 2-3 years.
The crew faced many hardships in their adventures, but they were happy until one-day tragedy struck. While exploring a forest, Captain Yorki and some crew members contracted an incurable disease. To ensure that the disease does not spread to others, Yorki decided to travel with infected members to escape the Grand Line through the Calm Belt.
The remaining crew carried on traveling through the seas with Brook as their new captain. This was when he got his first bounty. But then another tragedy struck. As the crew sailed into the Florian Triangle, enemy pirates attacked them. They barely survived the upfront attack, but the enemies’ weapons were poisoned, so their deaths were inevitable.
Since Brook had eaten the Yomi-Yomi no Mi or the Revive-Revive Fruit, he suggested that they sing their favorite song for the last time and record it in a Tone Dial. He promised his crew to deliver this dial to Laboon. So everyone sang Bink’s Sake one last time together till everyone passed away.
Soon after his death, Brook’s soul returned from the underworld to return to his body. But due to the thick fog of the Florian Triangle, it got lost! It took the soul 1 year to find its body, and because of that, all that remained of the body were bones.
If you are wondering why his hair did not rot away for a year, it’s because he has strong roots! After rising back from the dead, Brook gathered the remains of his crewmates in the coffins. For the next 5 decades, Brook wandered the seas aboard his broken-down ship. With nothing to do, he spent his time doing stupid stuff like rolling around the ship and talking to himself.
Encounter with Gecko Moria
As Brook was drifting with the tides, he was lured to Thriller Bark. Expecting to find parts to repair his ship, he embarked on this island. But to his surprise, what he found were monsters and zombies! He got caught on that island, and his shadow was stolen by Gecko Moria using the power of Kage-Kage no Mi.
Moria put the shadow in the corpse of the legendary samurai Ryuma. To get his shadow back, Brook battles Ryuma but is utterly defeated. He begs for his life and runs away.
After drifting in the Florian Triangle for 5 more years, Brook meets the Strawhats.
After living alone for so long, he was overjoyed to meet the Strawhats. He had just finished explaining his situation to the crew when a ghost appeared in front of them! He ran to the deck, and to his surprise, the island he had been waiting for, Thriller Bark, was in front of his eyes. (Even though he has no eyes. Yohohoho! Skull Joke!) He said his goodbyes to the crew and ran for the island to get back his shadow.
He challenged Ryuma but was defeated once again. He was about to get his afro cut when Zoro saved him. Zoro challenged Ryuma in place of Brook and defeated him. Finally, Brook got his shadow back.
A New Journey
Celebrations ensued the day after Gecko Moria was defeated. Brook decided to play Bink’s Sake on the piano. Luffy asked Brook to join his crew once again, and this was when Brook told Luffy about Laboon. But to his surprise, Luffy had met Laboon at the Twin Capes.
Brook was so happy to learn that Laboon was still waiting for him, that he burst into tears. He decided to pledge his life to the Strawhats and only meet with Laboon after circling the world as he had promised.
Franky, Usopp, and Chopper prepared a gravestone for the Rumbar pirates. And after saying his goodbyes to his old crew there, Brook embarked on a new journey with his new family.
His Adventures with Strawhats
Brook has since then gone on a lot of adventures with the Strawhats.
His first excursion was at Sabaody Archipelago, where they met Silvers Rayleigh, former first mate of the Roger Pirates. Brook learned from Rayleigh that Crocus had tried to look for him as part of Roger’s crew.
But things went south when Luffy punched a Celestial Dragon, and so the marine headquarters sent an Admiral, Kizaru, to deal with them. Unable to deal with the combined Might of Kizaru and Kuma, the Strawhats were in a pinch. Kuma started attacking them one by one and vanishing them from the scene. Brook also vanished after the attack by Kuma.
Brook landed on Nakamura Island in the middle of a demon summoning. This made the people believe he was the demon they summoned. Brook read the newspaper and learned about Luffy and Ace. He also deciphered Luffy’s message of meeting in two years. Brook decided to better himself in these years.
Soul King Brook
In these two years, Brook has become a huge rockstar. He has been touring the world doing his concerts and has been given the name Soul King Brook. He announced his final concert on Sabaody, and in that concert, Brook announced to the world that Strawhat Luffy was alive and would become the king of the pirates.
MVP of the Whole Cake Island
After sailing through Fishman Island, Punk Hazard, Dressrosa, and Zou, Brook finally got his chance to shine on Whole Cake Island.
This is what Brook accomplished in this one arc:
- Retrieving the Poneglyph – Brook managed to get a copy of Big Mom’s Road Poneglyph. (Something even the other Yonko desire)
- Fighting Big Mom – Brook is the first Strawhat to fight a Yonko 1v1. And despite being overpowered, he stood his ground.
- Sleeping with Big Mom(If you want to count that. LoL)
- Destroying Mother Caramel’s portrait – Brook destroyed Mother Caramel’s portrait at the wedding, which was a prerequisite to hurting Big Mom.
- Bisecting Zeus – Brook sliced Zeus in two while trying to protect the Thousand Sunny from Big Mom.
Current Status in the Story
In Wano, Brook spent most of his time trying to scare people as a ghost. Right now, he is busy trying to save Robin from CP0 agents.
Powers and fighting abilities
Aside from all the gag abilities that Brook enjoys because of his skeletal nature(like being able to run on water), he has two main weapons in his arsenal- his devil fruit and his swordsmanship.
A long time ago, Brook ate the Yomi-Yomi no Mi, a paramecia type devil fruit. Thanks to this devil fruit, after he died as the Captain of Rumbar Pirates, Brook’s soul returned to his body. While at first, it looked like this was the limit of the fruit, Brook later learned to utilize more of its powers.
Brook can now separate his soul and move it independently of the body. This ghost-like ability allows Brook to move through walls and reach areas he can’t otherwise. He cannot be killed even when someone slices his head off. As Brook himself explains, “What keeps me alive in this world is neither bodily organs nor muscles. It’s my soul.”
The fruit also allows him to access the “chills of the underworld,” which grants him the power to use ice in his attacks.
Brook is an incredibly skilled swordsman. He uses fencing as well as iaido techniques in his attacks. His sword, soul Solid, is a Shikomizue-type sword concealed inside a cane. Brook uses his sword in combination with his devil fruit to show his opponents hell.
Brook is a self-proclaimed gentleman. And even though his dialect makes it feel like he is one, his actions are quite the opposite. From shouting at the dinner table for food to burping and farting while talking, nothing he does is very gentlemanly. Let’s not even go to his perverted nature where all he does as she meets a woman is ask them, “Pantsu misete moratte mo yoroshii desu ka.”
Brook may not be a true gentleman, but no one can deny his altruistic nature. And nothing in the story depicts this better than when Brook tried to save Sanji and Usopp from Kizaru and Kuma at Sabaody.
” I will protect you even if it costs me my life.”
This single dialogue shows that Brook is a hero. As All Might said: The most important qualification of a hero is the spirit of self-sacrifice.
Brook drifted along the seas for 50 years after the death of his crew. All alone with nothing to do, he tried to keep himself entertained just to survive. When Franky asked Brook why he didn’t kill himself as it would have been easier than living such a miserable life, Brook told him about his promise to Laboon.
“Death isn’t an apology.”
He told Franky that his death would not be enough as an apology to his friend who had been waiting for him.
Brook’s first bounty was 33 Million berries. He got this bounty while he was the captain of the Rumbar Pirates. His bounty was stagnant for decades until he joined the Strawhats. After Dressrosa, Brook’s bounty shot up to 88 Million Berries.
The Musician of the Pirate King
Brook is an eccentric, undead virtuoso musician who has mastered the art of music to such a degree that he can use music as a weapon. In his first fight as a Strawhat, Brook used Nemurita Flan, a technique where he uses his sword to play his violin, to make his enemy fall asleep. He has mastered his art to such a level that he can effectively hypnotize his opponents.
All I can say is Brook is truly fit to become the musician of the pirate king.
Some Fun Facts
- Brook is the oldest member of the Strawhat Pirates, almost doubling the age of Jinbei.
- Brook’s wanted poster is the only wanted poster in the series that does not follow the uniform format. The marine HQ has instead decided to use Brook’s concert poster for this purpose.
- Brook’s birthday, April 3, comes from his Devil Fruit’s name. 4-3 = Yo-mi.
- According to Oda, If Brook were not a pirate, he would have become a detective.
Brook One Piece Guide: FAQs
Question: Why does Brook care about his afro?
Answer: The reason why Brook cherishes his afro above anything else is his connection to Laboon. Brook believes that when he finally gets to reunite with Laboon, she may recognize him based on his afro. Some Rumbar pirates also remarked that Laboon and Brook look similar because of their afro.
Question: Can Brook use Haki?
Answer: Brook is a fierce swordsman and deserves more recognition in the one-piece world. But he is unable to utilize haki (Yet!). But he might gain this power in the future. I, for one, would definitely love to see black bones Brook all coated in armament haki.
Question: Is the Brook the main character?