Bounties as we all know indicate how dangerous a character is deemed by the World Government at a fundamental level. It however can be mistaken to reflect strength of a character. While bounty can reflect strength in a rather vague and ambiguous way, I think the key-point is it showcases that a character is a threat to the World Government, but even more than that as is my aim with this write up, it more than anything else summaries a lot of crimes to the World Government’s knowledge have been committed by character of focus.
A Measure of Strength?
Each time we get a new bounty, there’s a penchant towards concluding that x-character must be absurdly strong. Eventually, we see what this character has to showcase and we end up somewhat disappointed due to expectations having fallen short of what is expected or the total opposite. What I’m trying to get across with this is when we look at bounty as referential to strength, we will read it completely wrong. What a bounty first and foremost tells us is x-character is dangerous & has committed a number of crimes.
What the value doesn’t tell (no matter how low or high) is the specifics, therefore, bounties are in essence vague values until a a context is given, and by context, one is referring to history or a list of accomplishments or crimes. Without context, bounties are easily misunderstood.
The Importance of Why?
Take Boa Hancock and Robin, Hancock has a bounty of 80 million while Robin has 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 reality is the bounty doesn’t tell us anything regarding character strength, it only tells us this character committed a crime that warranted that value. What should also be looked at is how many crimes were needed to attribute that value?
The Most Important Factors that Determine Bounty
While it’s important to understand bounty in context, there are 2 factors that push bounty more than anything else, and that is number of crimes it took to gain x-bounty and the seriousness of crime. Every time Luffy for example has had his bounty raised, it has always been after a crime that was recognised by the World Government:
-Luffy initially gained a bounty of 30m after his crimes in East blue.
-He then gained a bounty of 100m after his crimes at Alabasta.
-He gained an increased bounty to 300m after crimes at Enies Lobby & Thriller Bark.
-Another increase to 400m after his crimes from Sabaody to Marineford.
-And to date, 500m after his crimes at Dressrosa.
It took Luffy multiple crimes to garner the bounty he currently has. Contrast Luffy’s recognised crimes to Boa Hancock’s only 1 recognised crime? It showcases how there’s a strong correlation towards the number of crimes and the total value bounty assigned as opposed to strength; one still needs to take account the enormity of the crime as that also majorly influences value.
Dragon and Whitebeard’s Bounty – The Relevance of Activity
Whitebeard who is deemed the strongest man isn’t deemed the most wanted man in the world, Dragon (who isn’t the strongest man in the world) is recognised as the most wanted man; if one reads bounty as a measure of power, this is a contradiction.
However, when one understands bounty as relating more to number of crimes, nature of the crimes and the magnitude, it becomes rather understandable why bounty values can be misleading if one approaches it as a explicit indicator of strength. Whitebeard became somewhat inactive after Roger died which is why one stated how he’s not been in the news as of late while someone like Dragon is a constant antagonist against the World Government and likely makes the news more often; this is majorly hinted as he was the focus of the last Reverie.
It makes it clear that crimes and their significance are the main accelerators of bounty while strength, motivations and many other factors (while they do play a role) are not so much the driving forces of bounty.
Minor Factors that Affect Bounty
While the number of crimes and nature of crimes is the main driver of bounty, secondary factors can marginally boost them; Eustass 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 his activity that would still be the primary factor that drives bounty.
The Nature of Crimes and Trend of Bounty
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 crime for both Robin and Hancock to gain 79m+ bounties, the nature of the crimes were different.
Someone like Robin would be far more likely to be inclined to have committed the crimes 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 crime 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 crimes to know their inherent nature. 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 give such a value. At the very best, it can indicate that a Pirate is hard-boiled, seasoned, and experienced, but it wouldn’t indicate how strong one is, albeit, in a binary fashion such as concluding x-character is weak or strong without relativity.
Take how Urouge with a bounty of 108m was able to accomplish what Kidd who has a bounty of 470m couldn’t.
The point being made is that bounties shouldn’t and can’t be generalised until we know more about the character’s activities and nature of their activities. Bounty will be determined by various factors, but simply put, it won’t give a measure of strength, but a measure of how active character must have been.
A bounty is just a summary of the level of threat a character posses at a superficial level, 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 crimes committed, the nature of it and the seriousness of the crime. This is why trying to solely determine strength via bounty will always fall short and give the impression that there’s something wrong the reality is, it never really represented strength at all.
*Theory by Hannibal Psyche