This is the first time a bounty has been given for an incident unrelated to the World Government, with this, we are given more insight as to how Bounties work. This will include some details related to Whole Cake Island arc in order to make points regarding the nature of Bounty. I will also add the original version of this write up if any is interested, but for the most part, it shows that I change opinions only based on evidence which is the only way to further understanding.
Bounties as we all know indicate how dangerous a character is deemed by the World Government by their achievements. The way in which it’s understood and interpreted has brought about some confusion and I intend to clarify with a new perspective.
My aim with this write up is to showcase that Bounty only gives a brief general summary of a character’s success as an antagonist of the World Government, and conversely, how huge a threat a character is perceived to be by the World Government and that it doesn’t reveal strength at any level beyond the binary; strong or weak without degree
A Measure of Strength?
Each time we get a new bounty, there’s a penchant towards concluding that x-character must be as strong as that given value with the misconception it’s an established gauge of strength. Eventually, we see what this character has to showcase and we end up somewhat disappointed or confused due to expectations having fallen short.
What I’m trying to get across with this is when we look at bounty only in light of strength, we will read it completely wrong most of the time.
What a bounty generally tells us is x-character has been involved in an incident or incidents. What the value doesn’t tell (no matter how low or high) is the specifics, therefore, bounties are in essence vague ambiguous values until a history and/or a detailed account of the incident(s) is revealed and said character’s role in this incidents.
The Importance of Context to the Value?
Take Boa Hancock and Robin, Hancock has a bounty of 80 million while Robin had a bounty of 79 million (80 million for simplification). Both characters have a bounty of 80 million, yet, if we look at bounty as a measure of strength, it’d imply Robin at the age of 8 years old is just as powerful as Boa Hancock at the age of 18.
The why is important as this example showcases, otherwise, we’d have to assume both Robin (age 8) was equally as strong as Hancock (age 18). This evidently shows the error in such assumptions from looking at bounties. The underlying truth is it truly only indicates that these characters have been involved in incidents.
Until we get insight into character’s said crime, there’s very little we can infer. Robin’s incidents are Poneglyph based while Hancock’s are probably pillaging based exploits.; a polarity in the reasons that earned those bounty values.
What Bounties don’t Tell Us
How many years of Pirating does this individual have under their belt?
How many years it’s taken to obtain this bounty? Weeks, months, years, decades?
How many incidents it took to obtain this bounty? 10, 20, 100?
What were the nature of these incidents? Poneglyphs? Infiltration? Fights? Collateral damage? Assassinations?
If they fought to obtain such bounties or whom they fought?
The nature of the fights If they fought: Were the fights fair? Were underhanded tactics utilised in these fights?
All the above points are important because they tell us a story of a Pirate’s escapades and successes
However, the focus is on bounty & strength. Just to test the reliability of bounty in determining strength, point 6 will take precedence in the next sub-topic. For the strength to be remotely relevant, the fight details must fundamentally be considered when those assigning the bounties.
If a bounty takes into consideration factors that determine a fair fight, then perhaps, bounty does reflect strength. Do they?
Do Bounties take Fairness of Fights into Account?
The answer is rhetorical to many, and understandably so. My answer to this is an increase in bounty after a fight doesn’t take into account the specifics or the trivia or the how, it merely considers the results; results don’t give details, results only give the conclusion.
In real life, 2 boxers fight? Who wins? Not necessarily the stronger or better fighter. The stronger fighter might win all 11 rounds and get knocked out by the underdog in the 12th round. Results don’t tell a story, they only tell the conclusion. A prime example in the Manga are Luffy’s fights against Cracker and Katakuri:
Did he simply overpower these opponents?
Did he use under-handed tactics?
Did he poison opponents?
Did he catch them off-guard
Did he receive help?
Cracker’s defeat takes no consideration that Luffy required Nami’s help with included aid of Homies nor does it take into consideration Luffy barely defeating Katakuri, it simply takes the result. Thus for this reason, had Luffy simply poisoned his opponents to defeat them or used underhanded tactics, he’d still have equally received a raise of this magnitude.
The bounty isn’t reflecting the character’s strength, the people assigning the bounties are oblivious to the fine details. What bounty increases after fights tell us is the magnitude of the feat achieved.
Most Important Factors: Incidents and their Severity
Note: An Incident is defined as event that is considered threatening to the World Government even if it’s not against the World Government indirectly.
While it’s important to understand bounty in context, there are 2 factors that push bounty more than anything else, and that is the incident and the severity of the incident; one thing to take as a rule of thumb is there aren’t many incidents that will catapult bounties to astronomical figures, therefore, it’s necessary to assume the majority of bounties was attained over a series of incidents especially when it’s a large figure until context says otherwise. Context is very important.
Every time Luffy for example has had his bounty raised, it has always been after an incident that was recognised by the World Government and the severity of the incident:
Luffy initially gained a bounty of 30m after the incident in East blue.
He then gained a bounty of 100m after the incident at Alabasta.
He gained an increased bounty to 300m after incident at Enies Lobby & Thriller Bark.
Another increase to 400m after the incident from Sabaody to Marineford.
After Dressrosa where he had taken down the Shichibukai and disrupted the system once again shaming the World Government, bounty is raised 500m.
Shortly after taking on the Big Mom Pirates and leaving a dent in their territory, it’s been raised to 1.5 billion.
It took Luffy multiple incidents to garner the bounty he currently has. Contrast Luffy’s recognised incidents to Boa Hancock’s only 1 recognised incident (as many other bounties bar these)? It showcases how there’s a positive correlation towards the presuming high value bounty assigned imply multiple incidents as opposed to strength; one still needs to take account the enormity of the incident as that also majorly influences value. Hancock roughly gained a 100m bounty in 1 escapade/incident while it took Luffy 2 incidents.
Even when a bounty skyrockets to high values in a short time, it doesn’t really change the general idea that bounties are usually gained over long periods. There aren’t many things one can do to increase bounty value to astronomical heights in a short period.
Minor Factors that Determine Bounty
While the number of incidents and nature of incidents are the main drivers of bounty, secondary factors can marginally boost them; Kidd had a higher bounty than Luffy simply because he had a proclivity towards sadism and a rather short temper. It still needs be recognised that it’s the activities/incidents involved in that would still be the primary factor that drives bounty.
How Pivotal Incident is in Bounty Values and Recognised Participation
Dressrosa is a very good example of this. Law and Luffy got bounties raised to equal values of 500m for both playing leading roles while those who had somewhat secondary roles got bounties increased by 50m as their presence was known, but their roles weren’t really known or not as significant.
This is also highly showcased in the WCI bounty; Luffy’s bounty goes up significantly for playing a pivotal role while Sanji who didn’t fight got a bounty raise by 153m.
Everything that takes place to raise a bounty whether it’s a fight or kidnapping is categorised as an incident. Whomever has the biggest role gets the biggest boost in bounty while those who participate get a general increase despite not knowing fully what they’d done.
Zoro and co. who didn’t participate in WCI never got bounty increases while Nami may also not have gotten huge bounty increases or any at all as her presence was probably unknown, or her participation wasn’t deemed significant enough for a bounty increase. It shows how bounties attribute things very simply and very generally.
What Bounties Tell Us
The only thing we can really know regarding bounties is this character been involved in a incident or multiple incidentsto warrant the determined value, we only get a general idea of the individual as being a huge threat while from the individual’s perspective, their bounty doesn’t give away their strength, but their success. When a character is known and the reasons for their bounties, it narrates their story and adventures.
Nature of Incidents & Progression
It needs be acknowledged that the nature of the activity needs be recognised. Most Pirates tend to be known for the calamities they have caused here and there overtime. Bare in mind it only took 1 known incident for both Robin and Hancock to gain 79m+ bounties, the nature of the incidents were different.
Someone like Robin would be far more likely to be inclined to have committed the incident of reading Poneglyph after Poneglypgh, but it would require the World Government being actively aware. The Government are not aware of all locations of Poneglyph, therefore, it’s difficult to increase bounty without being able to track her activities.
The generic Pirate’s escapades would be similar to that of Eustass Kidd, someone who pillages and kills. This contrasts vastly to the sort of crimes Robin would commit, therefore, if Robin had a similar bounty to Kidd, it wouldn’t reflect strength, it would mostly just indicate she’s dangerous to the World Government’s eyes, but in what way is she dangerous? We wouldn’t even know without an enumeration of the incident to know their inherent nature.
Relevance of Time with Bounty
There aren’t many things a Pirate can do to skyrocket their bounty value in a short time. Bounties tend to go up incrementally and over time, therefore, as a rule of thumb (until there’s context or reason to deviate), people with huge bounties should be assumed to be relatively old and there will still be exceptions to this rules which is something that makes the Supernova pretty special or Worst Generation special.
Katakuri: – Age: 48 Years old – Bounty: 1 Billion – Years Active: Maybe 30 Years – Bounty Average: 33m/Year
Luffy (Pre-WCI): – Age: 19 Years old – Bounty: 500 Million – Years Active: 3 years – Bounty Average: 167m/Year
Ace: – Age: 20 Years old Bounty: 550 million – Years Active: 3 Years- Bounty Average: 183m/Year
Most people will only be able to get their bounty up to high levels only over time. In that sense, these bounties are not really low even when compared against those with significantly high bounties given the time they’ve had to increase their values. The above values shared by Luffy and Ace (and the Supernova) are pretty special.
Even a Pirate with 200m could possibly defeat a Pirate with 600m as was the case between Urouge and Snack. Bounty isn’t a measure of strength, just a measure of success, but we can assume anyone with a bounty over 100m must be pretty strong and should be taken seriously.
A bounty is just a summary of the level of threat a character posses at a superficial level and a reflection of the character’s success, but until we get a context regarding the character’s background and history, it’s impossible to truly grasp bounties and what they mean in regard to a character. it requires knowing the number of incidents involved in, the nature of these incidents and the magnitude to understand them.
This is why trying to determine strength via bounty will always fall short and give the impression that there’s something wrong with certain values, it never really represented strength. A character of relatively low bounty in essence could be stronger than someone of higher bounty.
One has to ask where does strength come into this? It hardly does, it’s difficult to deduce any level of strength from bounty as it doesn’t really tell us given that even after fights, bounties will only go up based on the result regardless of how it was achieved. At the very best, it can indicate that a Pirate is hard-boiled, seasoned, smart and experienced, but it wouldn’t indicate how strong one is even below the binary level – we can only really assume the character is strong, but we will not know exactly how strong.
Credits – HPsyche