Rob Lucci and Luffy preparing to fight

10 Strongest One Piece Characters, Ranked

One Piece has been an institution of the anime and manga space for nearly three decades. But with so many people vying for the title of King of the Pirates or preventing anyone from trying, let’s try to figure out who the top ten strongest characters in One Piece are.

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10 Strongest One Piece Characters, Ranked

There are a lot of factors that could determine a person’s strength in the world of One Piece. While some elements, like powers and bounty, might be a great starting point, we’re going to go even deeper to determine who is the strongest. We’ll be looking at past events, one-off lines of dialogue, and, of course, battles to try and determine who is the strongest. We’re also going to try and keep the discussion to canon events and not from random asides by series author Eiichiro Oda or non-canon films. With that being said, here are the ten strongest characters in the world of One Piece:

10) Zoro

Zoro holding a sword in his mouth.
Image via Toei Animation

Being the first mate of an emperor is no laughing matter, but Zoro has shown time and time again that he’s one of the best swordsmen in the world. Being trained by Dracule Mihawk, Zoro has defeated some of the strongest first-mates of other pirate crews, like Doflamingo’s officer Pica and former emperor Kaido’s first mate King. Zoro isn’t invincible, however, and has needed saving every so often (mostly by Sanji), but that shouldn’t diminish just how powerful of a swordsman he is. 

9) Kuzan/Aokiji

Aokiji/Kuzan appearing as a black figure.

Former admiral Aokiji, now known as Kuzan, is a bit of an enigma. He was in the running to replace Sengoku as Fleet Admiral, but after losing to Akainu, he left the Marines and now works for Blackbeard as one of his Ten Titanic Captains. What we have seen of his combat capabilities, though, is frightening. Not only was he able to beat powerful opponents like Cracker and Vice Admiral Garp, but we’ve never seen him truly try against his opponents. His Hie Hie no Mi powers have been shown to be devastating, so it’s safe to say that when Kuzan goes all out in the Final Saga, it will be one hell of a thing to witness. 

8) Silvers Rayleigh

Silvers Rayleigh with his glasses tinted over.

The Dark King himself is a man who is able to strike fear into anyone he comes across. As the man to teach Luffy the basics of Haki and, more notably, the first mate of Gol D. Roger, there are very few people who can outmatch Rayleigh in a fight. However, Rayleigh is acutely aware of his own power and limitations, confessing that he probably wouldn’t be able to defeat Blackbeard in a fight despite Blackbeard’s fear of him. He has no Devil Fruit ability, but that makes it all the more notable that his control of Haki and swordsmanship have created the reputation he has. 

7) Dracule Mihawk

Dracule "Hawk Eye" Mihawk looking angry.

Hawk Eye Mihawk has been an ever-present threat since the very early days of the manga. Ever since he eviscerated Zoro without even trying back in the East Blue Saga, fans knew that he was going to be one of the strongest people in the series. He is, after all, the strongest swordsman in the world. Now serving as one of the executives of the Cross Guild and, let’s be honest here, the real muscle behind the organization, he has a bounty of over 3.5 billion berries. Given his feats, like splitting a battleship in half and his direct assault on Whitebeard at the Battle of Marineford, Zoro has a nearly impossible task of proving his superiority to his mentor. 

6) Monkey D. Luffy

Luffy smiling in One Piece
Image via Toei Animation

It’s easy to say that since Luffy has unlocked the powers of Gear 5, he’s too overpowered. However, that’s not true. While Luffy is strong, using the raw power of imagination to defeat foes like Kaido, Rob Lucci, and Admiral Kizaru, he still has several major weaknesses. He can’t sustain that form forever and becomes quite drained after its use. Even then, he knows when he’s faced with a foe that’s too strong, like his recent encounter with the Five Elders, which he decided to flee from due to their immortality. Luffy is clearly one of the strongest characters in One Piece, but he has a little bit more to go before becoming the King of the Pirates.

Related: One Piece: What Episode Does Luffy Fight Kaido? Answered

5) Sakazuki/Akainu

Akainu/Sakazuki smoking a cigar. This image is part of an article about the 10 strongest one piece characters, ranked.

Becoming the Fleet Admiral of the Navy is no small feat, but that just goes to show why Sakazuki is a man to be feared. With his Magu Magu no Mi powers and based on what he said before killing Ace, he can outclass fire-based Devil Fruit users like Sabo due to the strength of his own abilities. We know for a fact that he was able to defeat Kuzan for the title of Fleet Admiral, easily putting him above his former frosty friend’s fearsome faculties, but don’t forget that this is the man who has the entire Navy at his beck and call now. He’s the most hated man in One Piece for a reason, but he’s also one of its strongest.

4) Blackbeard/Marshall D. Teach

Blackbeard/Marshall D. Teach clinching his fist. This image is part of an article about the 10 strongest one piece characters, ranked.

He may be dirty and underhanded in accomplishing some of his feats, like killing Whitebeard, but Blackbeard is a powerful person in his own right. Sporting two Devil Fruit powers due to some unknown method, Teach is an anomaly in the world that makes him very dangerous. Once you add on the fact that these two Devil Fruits, the Gura Gura no Mi and the Yami Yami no Mi, are some of the most powerful Devil Fruits in the world, then you have an even more dangerous threat. He is an Emperor, after all, and having just defeated Law, who himself just came off of defeating the former Emperor Big Mom, Blackbeard is poised to be one of the biggest players of the Final Saga.

3) The Five Elders

The Five Elders looking terrifying. This image is part of an article about the 10 strongest one piece characters, ranked.

If you had told me a year ago that the Five Elders were some of the strongest characters in One Piece, I would have said yes, only in a symbolic sense. But that’s not true anymore after the events of Egghead Island. Each of the Five Elders has immeasurable power, like Haki that can affect even Gear Five Luffy and speed that can disable every Pacifista station on Egghead in a matter of seconds. Even after taking fatal injuries, the Five Elders seem to be able to regenerate from certain death, making them appear near invincible. How anyone can take them out is a mystery at this point, but it’ll require a lot of strength to do so.

2) Shanks

Shanks looking down. This image is part of an article about the 10 strongest one piece characters, ranked.

Shanks has a mythical status in One Piece, but his position as one of the most talked about figures in the community partially comes from his strength. First of all, he’s an Emperor and one who was able to gain the loyalty of the Giants, who have been able to at least hold their own against the Five Elders at Egghead. His Haki is extraordinary, to the point where he can cause an Admiral to flee even if he is miles away from shore. Then you have how he decimated Eustass Kid in one hit. Finally, and most importantly, Shanks had a meeting with the Five Elders, and while we don’t know what was discussed, the mere fact that the Five Elders had a conversation with Shanks and didn’t arrest him outright means that even they are hesitant to directly engaged with him. 

1) Imu

Imu sitting on a throne. This image is part of an article about the 10 strongest one piece characters, ranked.

Claiming Imu is the strongest One Piece character may be a bit hard to prove given how little we’ve actually seen of them, but considering the Five Elders respect and revere them like a god can only make them more dangerous than the Five Elders. We know that they can also transform like the Five Elders, given how they transform alongside them when encountering Sabo, and they have access to weaponry like the Mother Flame that can destroy kingdoms like Lulusia and alter the very nature of the world, like raising the water level one meter on every island. Imu also sits upon the Empty Throne, giving them power over every country aligned with the World Government. No matter how you look at them, they are almost certainly the strongest being in the world of One Piece, both politically and physically.

And those are the 10 strongest One Piece characters, ranked.

One Piece is available to read online in English through VIZ Media and other services.


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Author
Jesse Lab
Jesse Lab is a freelance writer for The Escapist and has been a part of the site since 2019. He currently writes the Frame Jump column, where he looks at and analyzes major anime releases. He also writes for the film website Flixist.com. Jesse has been a gamer since he first played Pokémon Snap on the N64 and will talk to you at any time about RPGs, platformers, horror, and action games. He can also never stop talking about the latest movies and anime, so never be afraid to ask him about recommendations on what's in theaters and what new anime is airing each season.