A piece‘S Lord of the sea are a group of extremely powerful pirates that the Straw Hats encounter on the Grand Line, but a hidden clue hints at their true purpose. This isn’t the only time mangaka Eiichiro Oda has hidden key elements of a character in a subtle clue. However, rarely does he categorize an entire group of characters with one small detail, which is impressive even for him.
Before the timeskip, the Lords were some of One Piece’s strongest villains. In fact, Dracule Mihawk, the world’s deadliest swordsman, was the Straw Hats’ first exposure to the level of power they would encounter later in their journey. Another warlord, Crocodile, would later become the Straw Hats’ first main antagonist after East Blue. Another Lord Gecko Moria would play a similar role in the Thriller Bark arc, even if he was less impressive than Crocodile, being surpassed by another Lord Bartholomew Kuma in that same arc. The other Lords will first serve as protagonists in the Marineford arc and its lead-in, with Lords Donquixote Doflamingo and Boa Hancock working for the marines during the Summit War and Lord Jinbe rebelling against to the Government to help Luffy. Although each of these characters takes on different roles in the story, they all share a quality that suggests a common intelligence.
The lords in One Piece are all named after animals
All of the lords except Jinbe are named after an animal. These animals sometimes match their personalities and abilities, such as Mihawk having hawk eyes and Doflamingo dressing like a flamingo, but they don’t usually correlate with anything specific. That’s fine, as this naming reflects their status as pawns of the World Government, as mere animals in the eyes of that organization. This may be the reason why Jinbe did not follow this naming scheme, as he did not follow the orders of the World Government. This also tracks the number of named Marine admirals, which solidifies their position as a tool of the Navy.
Interestingly, while these animal names demonstrate the Lords’ submission to the World Government, it also suggests that they are not perfect tools. None of the animals for which the Lords are named can actually be tamed, meaning that the World Government’s control over the Lords is imperfect. Indeed, many Lords act in defiance of the Government, most notably Crocodile and Doflamingo. But unlike Jinbe, who blatantly despised the Government’s rule, Crocodile and Doflamingo both secretly rebelled, causing them to keep their animal nicknames. And the other Lords eventually turned against the World Government after the Shichibukai were disbanded and replaced by the even stronger Seraphim of One Piece.
With the Lords no longer an issue, only their names serve to remind the audience that all the Shichibukai were ostensibly once on the same side. But even though the meaning of their names is less important now, it still shows how intentional some of Oda’s names can be. This lesson can then be applied to the names of a number A pieceof more recent characters to create further theories about those characters’ roles in the manga’s final story.