One Piece Where Are All of the Ladies? - The Straw Hat Gender Pattern

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Hello again, everyone!

In my last theory, I proposed three possible patterns that Oda may have established with Nami and Robin's introductions and interactions with the crew: the Looking Down Pattern, in which their name card scenes involved them sitting on elevated platforms so as to be looking downward at Luffy; the Hair Pattern, in which their hair is short when first introduced (and by extension when they join the crew), but grew out to be quite long post-timeskip; and the Cage Pattern, in which both of them at some point deceived Luffy, leading to him being captured and placed in a cage to await death from the arc villain.

Based on these patterns, I suggested a number of possible female characters that could join the Straw Hats based on how well they fit one or more of these patterns. The only character who fit all three nearly perfectly was Marguerite of the Kuja Pirates, but in all three, another character managed to fit more closely. Though both of them had the right pose, only Monet's was in her name card scene (though she subverts the pattern by looking down at a picture of Luffy rather than the man himself). Her short hair remains short post-timeskip, so she can still join while having short hair, but Carrot's Sulong form allows her to gain long hair during critical moments while not sacrificing her short hair, so she matches Nami and Robin visually in both respects, while Marguerite only matches in one. Finally, though she did put Luffy in a cage on Amazon Lily, she did not have to deceive him to do so, as he was unconscious, and he escaped without ever being in any real danger, while Pudding pretended to be Luffy's friend to lead him to an ambush where he was subsequently imprisoned by Big Mom and awaited execution. I also noted that Tama fits the Hair Pattern by virtue of having short hair and sort of fits the Looking Down Pattern by sitting atop the Horse Smile-user, Speed, but again, she doesn't fit either of those patterns as well as our top candidates right now.

You may recall, though, that at the end of said theory I noted that these three patterns must be mutually exclusive by our current understanding of the Straw Hat Recruitment Patterns. Known as the MFMM Pattern, the prevailing theory is that each of the three major seas in the story brings four new recruits to the Straw Hat Pirates, being a male, a female, then two more males. This has thus far held true, with Zoro, Nami, Usopp and Sanji in East Blue, Chopper, Robin, Franky and Brook in Paradise, and now the cycle has begun again with Jinbe in the New World. By this logic, our next recruit will be a female, and the following two will both be male. Therefore, if any one of the three patterns I found holds true, the other two inherently cannot. Barring interference from Ivankov, only one of my top three choices can possibly join, if any of them do.

But wait! You may also recall the subtle implication that I know of a workaround, a way to have my Whole Cake Island and eat it too!

Remember how I said that Vivi, the sole holder of the title of Honorary Straw Hat, does not fit even a one of the three patterns? I believe that there is greater significance to this than that she simply was not to join the crew. I once discussed this same idea back on Oro Jackson, so if you'd like to see this theory in its original incarnation, feel free to read it here.

Back to the present, allow me to once again direct your attention to beck's seminal work, Scaling the Red Line. beck's claim was that Vivi's refusal to continue her journey with the Straw Hats was indicative of a Failed Recruitment Pattern, in which one character asked in earnest to join the crew (not just as a gag) turns down the request, thus far due to the need to fulfill a role. In East Blue, Luffy asked Gaimon, who refused because of his status as the guardian of the Island of Rare Animals...


...while in Paradise, Vivi tearfully refused so as to remain the princess of Alabasta.


Both had an obligation to the inhabitants of their land, and prioritized that over the prospect of freedom and adventure.

Apologies to beck for doing this two theories in a row, but there are two key issues that I have with that theory. For one, there is a major difference between Gaimon and Vivi: Vivi is, to this day, considered a Straw Hat by the crew, many fans, and the author himself.


Did Gaimon sail with the crew? Was Gaimon around for several major arcs? Was Gaimon instrumental to defeating a major enemy? Is Gaimon considered Straw Hat 3.5? No. He was around for one chapter, had a heartfelt moment, and then was only ever acknowledged in cover stories from that point on. Sure, his refusal to join may have foreshadowed Vivi's to some extent, and someone else may similarly not join later out of obligation to their people, but it is undeniable that Vivi is, for all intents and purposes, already a Straw Hat Pirate.

But what does that mean for the MFMM Pattern? For that, let's examine the other missing piece to said pattern: Luffy himself. As it stands, the MFMM Pattern specifically applies to people that Luffy recruited, and obviously he did not recruit himself, so why would he count? But why must it be that way? The only reason people have considered it as "Luffy's recruits" rather than all of the members of the crew is because as far as they knew, there were only four Paradise recruits. They weren't counting Vivi, so they weren't counting Luffy either. If you do count them, though, there are no longer four recruits per sea, but five.

Consequently, adding in one more recruit per sea completely throws off the MFMM Pattern. Counting Luffy, the East Blue Straw Hats come out as MMFMM, while the Paradise Straw Hats come out as FMFMM. Not a very cohesive pattern, visually. However, while it's not alternating between genders as predictably anymore, another pattern emerges! In East Blue, there were four male Straw Hats and one female, while in Paradise, there were three males and two females. 4M1F, 3M2F. One fewer male, one more female. So now the pattern has gone from MFMM to -1M+1F, or perhaps -M+F for simplicity. If this pattern continues, then the New World's recruits won't be MFMM as originally speculated, but 2M3F.

This could also explain why each of the strongest candidates in terms of both pattern and narrative only truly fit one pattern each. It's because the three patterns were established for each of them individually, not for all of them. It would either be too obvious, as suddenly three girls would fit the patterns, while also running the risk of nullifying the patterns in peoples' eyes because too many characters fit. That would explain why the ones who fit loosely do so, to differentiate themselves from the ones the patterns are truly meant for.

There is, however, one small problem to this theory, though how much it really affects it is a matter of opinion. See, I said that people only believe in the MFMM pattern because they ignore Luffy and Vivi, but this isn't wholly true. There is another reason: the Straw Hat 13 Theory. Sadly, I don't recall who proposed this one, (if anyone knows who started it, please send me the link), maybe it was beck, who knows, but the theory goes as thus: in Japanese, the Straw Hat Crew is called "Mugiwara no Ichimi," which obviously is translated as Straw Hat Crew, but through number-based wordplay (known as Goroawase), "Ichimi" can also be read as "13", with ichi being one and mi being three. Therefore, it is a popular theory that the Straw Hat Crew is destined to be, quite literally, the Straw Hat 13. Of course, much like the one being discussed here, the Straw Hat 13 Theory is just that: a theory. Only time will tell which is correct.

Assuming the two are mutually exclusive, of course.

Don't forget, while I maintain that Vivi is an official member of the Straw Hat Crew, she is also officially recognized as member 5.5. This implies two things: A) her number will not be updated should she return to the crew, and B) she does not count towards the final number. Jinbe is pretty clearly set to be number 10, and the three remaining that people were already expecting will surely take slots 11, 12 and 13, but should the -M+F Pattern hold true, shouldn't the final addition be number 14?

Not necessarily. After all, the first addition of Paradise was 5.5. Who's to say that one of the additions in the New World won't also be a .5? Who's to say that we haven't already gotten 9.5? Remember, the points of contention between the MFMM Pattern and the -M+F Pattern are those who were added first in each sea; Luffy, the progenitor of the Straw Hat Crew and Vivi, the deposed princess of Alabasta, who left the crew to be with her people.

Some of you may already be ahead of me.

Who is the first person that sails through the New World with the Straw Hats, has been relevant to the plot for several arcs now, and will likely be instrumental in defeating a major enemy? None other than the future shogun of Wano, Kozuki Momonosuke.

Momo's been a pretty major point of contention among Recruitment Pattern theorists for a long time. Some have dismissed him because of his age and lack of fighting ability, others because his color scheme is so heavily pink and overlaps with Chopper's signature color, and more still because of his royal status. For many, I imagine the reveal that he was next in line in the Wano shogunate was the final nail in the coffin: once Kaido and Orochi are defeated, he would want to stay in Wano to be with his people, just like Vivi. I even took that stance at first too, but more recent narrative developments have served to change my mind.

For one, when that reveal first occurred, we had not yet learned of a crucial factor: Momo's sister, Hiyori. Knowing that someone of the Kozuki line who is also a full grown adult is available to act as shogun regent until Momo comes of age makes me much more comfortable with the idea of him gallivanting across the sea. Vivi's father was growing old and had lost the faith of the people; Alabasta needed her. Wano thought it had lost everything, but in reality it has both Momo and Hiyori. Does it really need both? Even if it does, I imagine that Momo setting sail wouldn't be too hard for them to swallow. After all...

It's what his father did.

Kozuki Oden accompanied Gold Roger to Laugh Tale and learned the truth of the world. In Roger's case, he needed Oden for his ability to read the Poneglyphs, while Momo lacks such a skill, but the fact remains that the Kozuki Clan created the Poneglyphs, and are therefore intrinsically related to One Piece. Would it not be appropriate, perhaps even vital, that a Kozuki be present when the man awaited by Joy Boy arrives at Laugh Tale?

But if Momo will be present at Laugh Tale, then why wouldn't he be Straw Hat 11-14? Ignoring the fact that he can technically be seen as having joined before Jinbe, which would make his number 10 if he were an officially numbered member, there are two more pressing reasons.

For one, his membership is definitively temporary. Just like the plan was always that Vivi would leave the crew to stay in Alabasta, Momo is going to one day leave the sea life to rule Wano. He has a commitment to the crew, but everyone knows it has a time limit.

The second is because of how Luffy views their relationship. In his mind, they are most certainly friends, but Luffy does not think of himself as Momo's captain. Rather, the two of them are in an alliance as equal members.


Sure, Momo would be beholden to Luffy's leadership when on board the Sunny, but that wouldn't really change the basis of their relationship. It would be more like having the leader of an allied crew on board consistently, like Law in Dressrosa, and would give Luffy access to a crew of samurai for large scale battles like the long anticipated war with Blackbeard, the Marines or both.

Though we've found the puzzle piece that allows the Straw Hat 13 and -M+F Patterns to fit together, we're still not quite done yet. Now that we have three females joining in the New World, we are now missing two character archetypes predicted by more recent interpretations of the MFMM Pattern (such as the one presented by @Nessos here, though I believe there are other examples): the leader of troublemakers and the gentleman pervert. In their current incarnation, the patterns established by Usopp/Franky and Sanji/Brook are inherently contradictory to those proposed here, but that is only if we assume that the remaining recruits must strictly adhere to these patterns.

If new recruits are allowed to subvert said patterns, then it is actually fairly easy to see how our potential new recruits may fit. Let's say for example that Pudding joins as 11, then she is the villainous female, and thus plays that one straight. This leaves us with Carrot and Monet to fill the role of the leader of troublemakers and the gentleman pervert. Carrot is not the leader of a group of troublemakers, but is instead viewed as the sole troublemaker in a group of honorable warriors. Not that she is dishonorable, just that she is the one that goes her own way the most often, causing trouble for the others. If we assume that the leader aspect is not wholly necessary and simply look at the troublemaker that stands out, we're left with Carrot. This works especially well if we consider Usopp the troublemaker of all of Syrup Village and Franky as the troublemaker of Tom's Workers, rather than considering the people that follow them. Carrot also works especially well due to other points brought up by beck. First, the 3rd recruit will be somehow related to an associate of the former owners of the Straw Hat. Usopp's father works with Shanks, Tom built Roger's ship, and Pedro was inspired by Roger. Second, the 3rd recruit has a fight with Luffy, wherein Usopp fought Luffy over the Merry, Franky over the destruction of Franky House, and Carrot over...a carrot.

Monet's a little trickier, since she is certainly not a "gentleman", but it may be worth noting that she was once a maid to the Riku family of Dressrosa, so it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to see her having the manners and etiquette to match.


She also may not be much of a pervert, but she does however seem to be quite the flirt, as evidenced by her interactions with Law...


...and easily the most receptive of perverse behavior of all of the girl's we've met so far, flattered and embarrassed at Sanji's usual brand of harassment rather than vitriolic (Nami), patronizing (Robin), oblivious (any given Mink) or in danger of cardiac arrest (Pudding).


Also, it's a bit subtle, but Monet has been shown to have a bit of a motherly side to her.


Sure, we're led to believe that she cared for the children to manipulate them, but I believe that much like Nami's thievery was for the sake of her village and Robin's life as an assassin was to preserve the knowledge of Ohara, Monet's lies to the children were to make them comfortable in the time they had left. Protecting Caesar's research was necessary for Dofalmingo's plans, sure, but I think she reconciled her duty and her conscience by doing what she could to keep the children happy. Mocha even still believed in her after learning the truth about Caesar's candy.


And of course, when Sanji and the Marines interrupted her battle with Zoro, Monet accused them of being after her children.


She even referred to herself as their parent earlier. I think there's more to Monet's story that will elaborate on her views on family, and her motherly tendencies will be reflected in her character from that point forward. Therefore, to compliment Sanji and Brook's gentleman pervert personas, Monet could be characterized as either a motherly flirt or flirtatious maid. There are a number of other small parallels to the fourth recruit that Monet is missing, such as being introduced while carrying something that produces steam (Sanji had soup, Brook had tea), but most of those can probably be relegated to the arc where she reappears. For example, her reappearance can take place aboard some kind of floating vessel (like Sanji on Baratie and Brook on the Rumbar Pirates' ghost ship), where she can either be holding something steamy or be so hot herself that she comedically produces steam. We already know that her Logia snow body can be reduced to steam in direct contact with heat, so it's not hard to see that happening.


If you really want to stretch it though, you could count the smoke in the sky of Punk Hazard from her initial introduction.


beck used that same logic to justify Smoker as a possibility, so why can't I use it for Monet? There's also the fact that she's from a pirate (or pirate-like in Sanji's case) crew, which among the male recruits was a unique trait to the final recruit of each sea.

The final point of contention here is that the third member to join, the troublemaker, has always been associated with the introduction of a new vessel; Usopp's friend Kaya gifted them with the Going Merry, and Franky himself built the Thousand Sunny. As it stands, there's no indication that any of these girls will be related to a new ship, but it's difficult to say if that even matters since Oda definitely isn't going to replace the Sunny, as that would ruin Franky's dream. The common consensus is that the new ship will be Pluton, and it'll more be added to the Straw Hat arsenal or fleet rather than become their new vessel, but again, no one we've met so far other than Franky or Robin really has anything to do with Pluton. This could however be resolved in a number of ways depending on what order the girls are recruited, and we'd still be able to resolve the other base parallels.

If Carrot is first, she's the villainous female because she originally thought the Straw Hats were enemies and attacked them; if she's second, she's the troublemaker and the Minks will somehow be involved in reviving Pluton or the attainment of some other vessel; if she's third, she's a Musketeer (a chivalrous group) with a deviant personality (going rogue as opposed to being a literal pervert) who was introduced at a location that roams the sea rather than being a stationary island (Zou being atop Zunesha).

If Pudding is first, she's the villainous female for her deception and attempted murder of Sanji; if she's second, she can be viewed as the leader of her own little group within the Big Mom Pirates with Nitro and Rabiyan while also being a troublemaker by outright betraying Big Mom in the end of Whole Cake Island, and her Third Eye may be involved in Pluton's revival; if she's third, she's the normally demure maiden with a twisted side and a somewhat perverse mind as she gets nosebleeds from Sanji's slightest glance in her direction.

If Monet is first, she's the villainous female for being involved in child experimentation; if she's second, she had high standing among the Punk Hazard centaurs, was a member of the Donquixote Pirates, and may still have a more fitting example in her backstory, and may somehow be involved with Pluton or another vessel of some kind (which I may talk about here at some point, but if you're dying to know now, here's my original theory and its follow-up); if she's third, she's the flirtatious yet motherly maid who hails from a separate pirate crew while still having room to meet the other more granular parallels when reintroduced to the plot.

In my opinion, the best order is Pudding, Carrot, Monet, but it ultimately doesn't really matter what order they're in, since one can pretty easily mold them to fit each of the patterns in some way or another, and I'm sure if that's Oda's intention, he's going to find a way to do it himself. What matters is that despite all of the seemingly contradictory patterns, a change in perspective can integrate all of them into one cohesive explanation for everything.

So let's review: in East Blue, Luffy started the Straw Hat Pirates and met three other men and a woman; a bound man who is considered a monster (Zoro the Pirate Hunter on the cross), an antagonistic, short-haired woman who tricked him after being introduced from an elevated platform (Nami of the Arlong Pirates on the roof, who sold him out to Buggy), a man known to be a troublemaker in his hometown who helped him get a ship (Usopp the liar and friend of Kaya), and a perverted gentleman of a pirate-like crew (Sanji, the lady lover of Baratie). In Paradise, Luffy met three men in total and two women; a deposed royal who later left the crew (Vivi, crown princess of Alabasta), a bound man who is considered a monster (Chopper the Abominable Snowman hitched to Kureha's sleigh), an antagonistic, short-haired woman who tricked him after being introduced from an elevated platform (Robin of Baroque Works on Going Merry's guard rail, who led Luffy down a path into a trap), a man known to be a troublemaker in his hometown who helped him get a ship (Franky the dismantler and shipwright), and a perverted gentleman (Brook, the lonely, panty-obsessed old man of the Rumbar Pirates). And finally, in the New World Luffy met two men and three women; a deposed royal who will later leave the crew (Momonosuke of Wano), a bound man who is considered a monster (Jinbe the Fishman Shichibukai detained in Impel Down), an antagonistic woman who tricked him (Pudding of the Big Mom Pirates who led him into an ambush for Big Mom), a short-haired woman who is considered a troublemaker in her hometown (Carrot, the Musketeer that wants to go out to sea) and may somehow prove to be related to a ship, and a flirtatious yet motherly former maid introduced from an elevated platform (Monet of the Donquixote Pirates on her perch). Fifteen members total, five from each sea, two of whom duty-bound to leave for the sake of their people. Each receives a number, but those two in particular are numbered as honorary members rather than proper crewmates (Vivi as 5.5, Momo as 9.5), leaving thirteen properly numbered Straw Hats. Within each sea, the gender balance of recruits sees one fewer male than the previous, but one more female. All patterns, the Straw Hat 13, -M+F, the major tenets of the original MFMM and its more modern reinterpretations, are able to be kept intact and work in harmony with each other.

And with that, we have all of the puzzle pieces we need. Though others may not agree, and some may see other characters who fit the patterns just as well or better from their perspective, I am proud to say that if nothing else, my ideal outcome is still wholly possible and supported by the patterns observed not only by myself, but by others as well. Even if it isn't to be and the final crew looks a bit different, I can at least hold out hope knowing that all three of my girls have a fighting chance to become Straw Hats.

Now the only question is when those three would join...

Until next time.

-Tokiro Oumaga

...

Actually, come to think of it, Gaimon coming back as 3.5 wouldn't actually invalidate this theory, it'd just mean that Luffy still doesn't count toward the pattern. Huh. Kinda want that to happen now.
 
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