One Piece Koby vs. Hancock: More Than It Appears?

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Foreword: I do not make theories to be correct, but to fill in the blanks of an ongoing story for myself. I feel no disappointment in being disproven, and generally look forward to finding out the truth of the matter.

So I found the matchup of Koby and Hancock to be interesting, and though we know very little, the very nature of it opens up a world of speculation. So let’s dive into why I think Koby could be immune to the Mero Mero fruit, Hancock could be the next member of SWORD, and how this encounter could be a turning point in both of their character arcs.

Koby and Alvida: The Introduction to the World of One Piece

To fully understand the potential significance of Koby being sent to arrest Hancock, we must start at the beginning. Luffy’s first adventure on the sea, to be specific. Washing ashore on a barrel, and stumbled upon by a group of pirates led by a female pirate, Alvida. The ensuing narrative involves a lot of interesting setup for the story to come, but in ways where a first time reader may not necessarily see them. As one example, the way that Luffy reacts to Koby’s doubts about his dream perfectly characterises the protagonist as someone willing to die fighting for his goals. In this section, however, I will be talking about the points relevant to Koby and Alvida.

Koby is introduced as a young cabin boy, serving underneath Alvida due to fear. It is Luffy’s complete lack of any such fear that figuratively smacks Koby in the face and allows him to start a journey of self-improvement, to become more like Luffy. The pivotal moment in his early character development is telling Alvida what he really thinks. The substance of this speech is important for multiple reasons, all of which become clear when one considers how both Koby and Alvida have been characterised thus far, where the narrative is headed, and how their characters develop.

Alvida is a woman who thinks of herself as beautiful, though she is not conventionally attractive and no-one will complement her, unless she threatens them. In effect, she is ugly on the outside and the inside. As such, when Koby stands up to her and calls her ugly, the meaning of the statement can be taken in either way. Luffy does what Koby lacks the capability to do, and punches Alvida, defeating her. It is here that Koby’s goal is established, to become a marine strong enough to capture Alvida, and his respect for Luffy grows a bit more (it is a gradual growth that extends over the entire Romance Dawn arc, but that part is not strictly relevant to this theory).

Alvida in Loguetown, The Prototype Boa Hancock

Now, you might be wondering, if Koby’s goal was to capture Alvida, why was he sent to deal with Hancock and not accompany Stainless’ fleet to capture Buggy? Well, apart from the fact that he made correspondence with Drake about SWORD matters in the same chapter as he is revealed to be on his way to Amazon Lily, there is also one part in the development of Alvida’s character that makes the matchup with Hancock all the more interesting.

In the cover stories, a woman saves and teams up with Buggy, seeking Luffy. In Loguetown, it is revealed that this is Alvida. She is no longer ugly on the outside, as the citizens of Loguetown are keen to let the readers know, but she still has an obsession with her own beauty. But that’s not all, as her portrayal in this arc reads strikingly similar to Hancock’s in a number of ways.

A dark-haired beauty - as everyone around her seems to agree - who believes herself above others because of this, and having her defenses broken and perceptions challenged by Luffy, claims to have feelings for him. These feelings manifest in blatantly unhealthy, obsessive ways, and are unrequited not because of this, but because of Luffy’s character. Am I describing Alvida or Hancock? That Hancock’s characterisation is so reminiscent of Alvida’s in Loguetown makes the Koby and Hancock matchup the subject of my piqued curiosity, at the least.

Koby’s Characterisation and Parallels to Luffy

When Koby characterised Alvida as ugly, and it was left ambiguous as to whether he was talking about the inside or the outside, it left an opening. Now this may be speculative, but Koby has never been shown to go ‘heart-eyes’ over women. Even Luffy, who was immune to Hancock’s powers, had questionable moments (that in SBS were attributed to Usopp’s influence, rather than how Luffy actually feels). If we suppose that Koby is influenced by Luffy, and he has not been shown to take an interest in someone’s physical appearance, then it is possible that he is immune to Hancock’s Mero Mero powers. In Marineford, there was an opportunity for Koby and Hancock to meet, and they did not. Additionally, just as Luffy may prioritise meat and adventure over women to the point where he does not have the same basic reactions as other men (and some women) in the One Piece world, it is also possible that Koby values his sense of justice more than whatever feelings he might have, to the point where, like Luffy, he does not even feel them. At the very least, I find it interesting that Koby’s characterisation has been avoided in this manner, that we don’t know how he views women other than Alvida, and is suddenly taking on Hancock, who can turn anyone who finds her attractive into stone. There could definitely be something more to that.

The Purpose of SWORD

Koby in the present moment, as he heads to arrest Boa Hancock, is a member of SWORD, an organisation that apparently involves him and X Drake. Drake, to most of the world, is considered a pirate, a member of the Eleven Supernovas, Worst Generation, and up until recently, an undercover member of the Beast Pirates. During the conversation between Koby and Drake, it is reported that CP-0 is in Wano. CP-Aegis-0, as we know, are a secret government organisation who work on behalf of the Celestial Dragons. Now contrasting SWORD in its reveal with CP-Aegis-0 is interesting, as Aegis is a shield from Greek mythology. If we presume there is a connection between one secret organisation with a shield theme, working for the Celestial Dragons, and another secret organisation with a sword theme, one could conclude that SWORD works against the Celestial Dragons.

If this much is true, then we can start to piece together who else may be involved with SWORD. As a relevant example, Garp trained Koby and is known to dislike the World Nobles. If the goals of SWORD were to work against the interests of the Celestial Dragons, then it would make a lot of sense if Garp was in charge or in a high ranking position in the organisation. Furthermore, if SWORD is working against the World Nobles, who enslaved Boa Hancock and her sisters, then it gives her a motivation to join up with the group, as they have a common enemy.

Koby, Garp, Luffy, Hancock: A Common Thread

Though Koby’s opinions on the Celestial Dragons are unknown, from the fact he trained under Garp who dislikes them, and his opinion of Alvida, who more or less used him as a slave, it is probably safe to assume he does not like them. In this aspect, Koby, Garp, Luffy, and Hancock all share that dislike. In addition, there are connections between them from a narrative perspective. Hancock fell in love with Luffy, Koby admires Luffy, and Garp is his grandfather. It may be that Koby’s connections to Luffy and Garp will play a role in how Hancock is persuaded not to kill him.

How a Potential Confrontation Between Koby and Hancock Might Play Out

We have not seen Koby fight post-timeskip, but even so, I have serious doubts that he could succeed in fighting Hancock even with the advantage of Mero Mero immunity. As such, I think he will encounter a challenge similar to Luffy, that will ultimately either prove his strength of character and similarity to Luffy, or his weakness and difference. I’m hoping for the former, personally, as such a display will most easily allow for Hancock or Koby to bring up Luffy, and a dialogue to begin about how they both know him, and from there talk about other things.

The other unknown at this time is Marineford - both Koby and Hancock were present, but neither have yet to acknowledge what each did - did Hancock see Koby stand up to Akainu? Did Koby see Hancock protect Luffy? I lean towards no in both instances as they seemed to be concentrating on different things at those pivotal moments. In any case, the fact they were both at Marineford should make for some interesting dialogue if it gets brought up.

Koby’s Character Arc After Meeting Hancock

Koby’s arc is to become a navy admiral capable of fighting Luffy, at least as he said at Water Seven. He also wants to capture Alvida. But what if meeting Hancock changed that? Him working with SWORD, if their goal is to oppose the Celestial Dragons, seems to be completely unrelated to either of those goals, apart from perhaps helping him get stronger in a broader sense. Hancock acts a lot like Alvida in some respects, but this is a front, and her real personality is that of someone who was enslaved and struggles to deal with it. Perhaps realising this truth about Hancock may cause Koby to reexamine what he thought he knew about Alvida - perhaps his goal might change. Koby and Hancock share a similarity in that they both were enslaved - the difference between them being how they coped with that. Hancock developed thoughts about men not unlike how Fisher Tiger, Jinbe, and Arlong viewed humans, whereas Koby developed coping mechanisms similar to Koala’s. This is where we come to Hancock’s character arc.

Hancock’s Character Arc After Meeting Koby

Luffy broke through Hancock’s defenses and challenged her perceptions. However, he was only one man, and so in her naivety, she fell in love with him. She is obsessive, protective, jealous, and hardly even understands her own feelings. It could just be for the sake of a gag, but there’s a possibility that this is just a stepping stone on her character arc - a part of her personal growth. Once she meets a second man who will break through her defenses and challenge her perceptions, she might start to realise that not all men are the evil she thought them to be. She might become a much more complex and interesting character who overcomes her trauma and prejudice and comes to her own conclusions not based on preconceptions, but on character, much like the man she claims to love.

Conclusion

Koby and Hancock have many things that could connect them and help establish character growth for both of them, as well as drive the narrative forward in an interesting way by making Hancock a member of SWORD. That Hancock and Alvida share similarities, yet Koby and Hancock also share similarities, that neither of them have seemingly met yet though were both at Marineford, that Koby has not been shown to think of women in any other context than disliking Alvida inside and out, and everything else mentioned here. There is too much to ignore, and I don’t know if the story is headed there for sure, but even as I put it all together, I kinda hope it does.


Hope you enjoyed reading. I don’t know how much of this will come to pass, but it does feel like there’s a lot of connections that can be drawn, and a lot of potential that could come from this matchup. What do you think? Let me know and we can talk about it some more in the replies.
 
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Interesting thoughts :unsure:

I really like the comparison you made between Alvida and Hancock. I can imagine Sanji's reaction would be similar to Hancock as the one he had to Alvida (even though that was way before Oda started with the whole noseblood/turning to stone jokes).

I would have to say that Alvida and Hancock appear quite different in personality. Alvida seems quite the bad person and while Hancock does have some bad qualities, she has gotten more redemption from Oda in way of backstory etc. Hence I would doubt that meeting Hancock will have Coby changes his mind about capturing Alvida.

I think the main points of discussion in the theory are these two:
- How will Coby react to Hancock's backstory
- How will Hancock react to Coby's backstory

As you mentioned Coby shares similarites with Hancock but in my opinion they were quite a bit different. You could say Coby was a slave to Alvida but that was mainly because he didnt have the courage to stand up to her untill Luffy straightened his spine. Hancock was truly a slave to a force she couldn't fight against (Celestial Dragons) untill Fisher Tiger came along and helped her and her sisters escape.

The interesting part will be whether Coby will learn of her backstory and whether Coby is actually in charge of the mission to capture her. Since Coby seems to follow Garp/Aokiji's justice its likely he will let her go when he finds out she is not that bad of a person. Similar to how Garp never arrested the bandits that raised Ace/Luffy and how Aokiji let Robin go when he found out she found her happiness with the Strawhats.

The question remains however if Coby is in a position to let her go. Say for example a different vice admiral is in charge like Momonga or someone similar. In that case Coby would have to choose between following orders or leaving the marines and go rogue, since the Navy under Akainu is likely not soft enough to stand for insurrection from a mere vice admiral.

If you look at Hancock's perspective you would indeed have a good reason for why she would let Coby go if the Marines are defeated by the Kuja. Coby would only have to say he is friends with Luffy and he is instantly on her good side :LOL:
 
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Interesting thoughts :unsure:

I really like the comparison you made between Alvida and Hancock. I can imagine Sanji's reaction would be similar to Hancock as the one he had to Alvida (even though that was way before Oda started with the whole noseblood/turning to stone jokes).

I would have to say that Alvida and Hancock appear quite different in personality. Alvida seems quite the bad person and while Hancock does have some bad qualities, she has gotten more redemption from Oda in way of backstory etc. Hence I would doubt that meeting Hancock will have Coby changes his mind about capturing Alvida.

I think the main points of discussion in the theory are these two:
- How will Coby react to Hancock's backstory
- How will Hancock react to Coby's backstory

As you mentioned Coby shares similarites with Hancock but in my opinion they were quite a bit different. You could say Coby was a slave to Alvida but that was mainly because he didnt have the courage to stand up to her untill Luffy straightened his spine. Hancock was truly a slave to a force she couldn't fight against (Celestial Dragons) untill Fisher Tiger came along and helped her and her sisters escape.

The interesting part will be whether Coby will learn of her backstory and whether Coby is actually in charge of the mission to capture her. Since Coby seems to follow Garp/Aokiji's justice its likely he will let her go when he finds out she is not that bad of a person. Similar to how Garp never arrested the bandits that raised Ace/Luffy and how Aokiji let Robin go when he found out she found her happiness with the Strawhats.

The question remains however if Coby is in a position to let her go. Say for example a different vice admiral is in charge like Momonga or someone similar. In that case Coby would have to choose between following orders or leaving the marines and go rogue, since the Navy under Akainu is likely not soft enough to stand for insurrection from a mere vice admiral.

If you look at Hancock's perspective you would indeed have a good reason for why she would let Coby go if the Marines are defeated by the Kuja. Coby would only have to say he is friends with Luffy and he is instantly on her good side :LOL:
Thanks for the feedback. Regarding Coby capturing Alvida, I was unclear about my full thoughts. I think it's less that he'll stop, but there is an opportunity for some doubt, and questioning of Alvida's motives. And yes, I am aware of Alvida and Hancock's differences, too, for the purposes of the theory I focussed on their similarities. I think that if Oda takes this meeting and uses it as a chance to explore different perspectives on the dynamic between men and women, that Alvida would be more similar to Arlong in this regard, while Hancock would be more similar to Jinbe; Coby would have similarities to Koala/Nami. I think how Hancock has been written so far has done a lot to redeem her, but her character arc kind of feels like it's in the middle of something, so I speculate on how meeting with Coby might change that.

Interesting point regarding who's in charge. Given who we know is there, it seems unlikely to me that Coby would succeed in capturing Hancock if he is the one in charge, she mentioned being strong right before the scene ended, so it seems to be set up for Hancock to get the initial win. I could see Coby being placed in the same gladiator type situation as Luffy, and maybe even covering her sister's mark. (this is all speculative, but I like to consider the possibilities). In the end though, I think that if Coby manages to get on Hancock's good side, there will probably be talking between them, and perhaps some realisations made.

Anyway, this is all based on what I think could happen within the limits of my theory, as stated at the top of it, if I am wrong about any or all of it, I'm okay with that. Writing it all out I would like to see some of it, but if I don't, that's alright too. I like to lay out possibilities as I see them because it gets me thinking about narrative structure, to where even if I'm wrong, it shows that I saw potential there. At the end of it, having predictions/speculation/theories about an ongoing series is a useful exercise for me as a writer.
 
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