There are few series that can compete with One Piece in regards to cast, whether that be in quality or quantity. One Piece relies on its characters to tell its story. The plot doesn’t dictate the characters, it’s the other way around – or at least that’s how it would seem from how vivid the characters are. Each story-altering decision made by Luffy and the gang is backed up by so much individuality, you’d think they were in charge.
That being said, there’s only so much room in One Piece for characters to shine. When a series is infested with so much gold, some are bound to be buried – never to be retrieved. It’s a bummer, but that’s just how the law of the jungle works.
Though her time in the series was unimaginably brief, the impact Kuina had on Zoro was unignorable. She was such a strong character who could’ve done so much more as Zoro’s rival, while simultaneously empowering female readers. But she was killed by stairs! If Oda was so bent on killing her for Zoro’s development, he could have at least done so while keeping her dignity intact.
Momonga’s character design is easily one of the coolest in the series, the man himself is no pushover either. There were times where Oda put him in the spotlight, only to rob him of it a few panels later. The current pirate-marines dynamics are obviously unbalanced. As the main antagonist faction, the Marines should have a few more relevant characters to cancel out the overwhelming influence of pirates.
So far, Oda is doing a sub-par job representing women. Tsuru, one of the strongest female characters in the series, is but a bland canvas. We know that she is a big shot, but we don’t know why. Tsuru clearly has an interesting role in One Piece‘s history, but the woman in question has only ever been there for decorative purposes. Hopefully, she gets the backstory she deserves before it’s all over.
Rebecca immediately captured the hearts of the fans when she first made her debut. Unfortunately, her character development took a terrible turn and she was rendered useless. Fans expected more from “The Undefeated Woman.”
She even knew Haki. All her potential was brutally strangled when she decided to give up her sword – and for no good reason whatsoever.
6. Bartholomew Kuma
“Tyrant” Kuma is one of the most intriguing characters in the series. There’s something about mysterious characters that appeals to most fans. With that in mind, all of Kuma’s potential was wasted when he helped the Straw Hats escape. It was as if his only purpose in life was to trigger the timeskip. He was the victim of the plot.
5. Sir Crocodile
Sir Crocodile is a big fish– a way bigger fish than what Alabasta could house. He was rich in character and possessed an interesting devil fruit. There was absolutely no reason to cut him off after the timeskip. Moreso, Crocodile’s backstory is subject to plenty of wild fan theories, a testimony to his position within the community. A panel or just some rumors regarding him in the New World would have sufficed.
4. Trafalgar Law
Law’s potential isn’t exactly wasted, it’s just not being realized. He obviously has more room to grow, but there’s absolutely no reason to justify his lack of pre-growth. He is, in all likelihood, yet another victim to the cruel narrative.
Frankly, if Law were allowed to shine with zero moderation, he would be just as powerful as Luffy, if not more. His wits and devil fruit ability are way superior to those of Luffy’s.
Even though Enel is not a well-rounded character like Crocodile, he is striking nonetheless. His lost potential mainly lay in his unique devil fruit and combat capabilities. Who needs an intricate inner design when they are flashy on the outside? Just look at Big Mom. There has been much speculation on the possibility of Enel’s imminent return, but no statements have been made by Oda.
As a member of the Monster Trio, Sanji should always be in the spotlight – but no. The further the series progresses, the less relevant he becomes. Even non-combatants like Usopp and Chopper get more attention than he does. Oda himself confirmed that Sanji will never be as ‘cool’ as he was during the Whole Cake Island arc. Whatever Oda means by that statement, it’s not looking good for Sanji.
Buggy’s potential was sacrificed to boost his codemic nature. Due to this, there exists no future where Buggy can now realize his immense potential. He will always be the happy-go-lucky Buggy who only scores big with the assistance of the system. He is a clown in every sense of the word, a character with no other purpose other than to entertain the audiences.