The following post has mild spoilers for the Thriller Bark Arc in One Piece. If you aren’t that far
If there is one thing I praise almost every time I discuss One Piece’s finest merits with someone, it is the way Oda crafts his story. There are a ton of moments I could have chosen for this, because in actuality, One Piece is filled to the brewy brim with lots of forethought. Tons and tons of plot points in One Piece are subtlety foreshadowed far before they actually occur in the series. While this convention is nothing new in terms of literature, in the world of manga, your story is not one you spent 2-3 years on with no one bothering you while you create your hopeful magnum opus. Mangakas are on a weekly grind to keep making their stories fit in a page limit, and deadlines that loom over them consistently. Planning that far ahead is difficult when every week your chapter needs to produce results in accordance to the reader base. It’s a game of staying popular, whilst trying to maintain the original vision of your art. The moment I want to talk about today is all linked to two events in the over-arching plot of One Piece that took place 8 years apart from each other. Let’s talk about Bink’s Sake!
Right after One Piece broke the 100 chapter milestone, a singular chapter in the long narrative focused on a seemingly one-off character. This was a whale named Laboon who was bashing it’s head in a wall over and over again, and in the process damaging his body. Laboon was promised many years ago that the crew he knew when he was a young infant whale would return to play music for him again. A specific tune, and pirate crew that were assumed to be never named. The crew makes efforts to convince the whale to not inflict self-harm, and to hold steadfast for they will return to see it someday when they find the crew that was missing. It was an empty promise, that meant well, or so we all thought.
8 years later during the Thriller Bark arc, something that seemed almost forgotten in the 400+ chapters of the series resurfaced. We met Brook, the musically inclined skeleton who had his shadow taken away from him. Despite being trapped in one place for so long that he died, and came back with the luck of his devil fruit, he was still jovial as the man he was. As we learned more about Brook we learned him and his crew had become stuck in a place with no way out, and they all slowly died from poison one at a time. Prior to this tragedy, Brook and his pirate crew the Rumbar Pirates had one mission. They wanted to spread the cheer and pleasantries of music all across the sea. They weren’t out to become fearsome or hated, no, they wanted to make others happy with one of life’s most joyful things. During their travels, there was one song they were particularly well known for. This was of course, Bink’s Sake. A tune that now goes down in One Piece history as one of the most famous pieces of music in the entire series.
Early in their travels the crew met a lonely baby whale and befriended him with the help of their musical charm. They forged a rather strong bond, Brook especially, yet decided it was far too dangerous to let him follow them through the Grand Line. They promised to one day return and see him again after their ventures. As we all know, this is not how things played out, but what did happen was an amazing occurrence of long term planning coming to fruition. After so many years, to finally show who was connected to Laboon, and to make it a promise that one day Brook would see him again was beautiful to behold. This sort of staging is something rare to behold. Having an early small bit become what will most likely be the resolution to Brook’s character arc in the finale of One Piece. And it was all connected through a song. A song called Bink’s Sake.
You see, Oda wanted this song to not just be something enjoyed through his print media of manga. Knowing full well, at this point that One Piece was doing successfully as a brand, he got together with a real musician, and had his assistance in composing the song he planned to use many years later in his story. Finally, when the anime caught up to that point in the story, this song that he had planned for nearly 10 plus years at that point came to life. I don’t mention the anime very much on here, since it isn’t always my cup of tea(sorry Brook!!), but I gotta say, sometimes they really put the effort in when Oda gives his input. Many of the Openings are wonderful, the Sogeking song is hilarious as can be, and the most memorable and greatest musical work One Piece has attributed to me is…..Bink’s Sake.
Well that is all folks! I just wanted to talk about one of my favorite long term ideas that came to be fully developed in the world of One Piece. This song was really something emotional and brilliant in execution. Oh, and if you are curious on my thoughts on the OP’s throughout the series, I did make a list of them so I will link that below. Until Next time, see you my little wanderers!