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Final Panel of Chapter 989: the meaning behind the positioning of the Straw Hats!

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I find it interesting that Oda positioned Jinbe to the right-hand side of Luffy in this magnificent final panel of Chapter 989.

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Previously, Oda would place Zoro in that position since he is Luffy’s right-hand man. For example, in this famous Enies Lobby panel or this long-anticipated group panel from Fishman arc, Zoro is to the right of Luffy.

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I have always taken that to symbolise his relationship with Luffy. Generally, I would disregard minor details like that but since these “big” panels are clearly very impactful and a lot of planning and thought have been put into them, I wonder if Oda is trying to say something about an updated ranking dynamics within the Straw Hats now that Jinbe is officially in the picture.

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I find it difficult to believe Oda would “demote” Zoro from his position as right-hand man. It is such an important aspect of the Straw Hats and the series. Maybe this panel is just a one-off thing to showcase Jinbe and his first big-fight-arc moment with the Straw Hat Pirates.

So analyzing the final panel of Chapter 989, we see:

  • Luffy and Jinbe are the Bosses in the middle;
  • Zoro and Sanji are the mainfighters on left and right;
  • Nami and Usopp are the glasscanons behind the mainfighters;
  • Franky and Chopper are the tanks in the back;
  • Brook and Robin are the specialists (infiltrating and spying) hidden in the center.

*by Celestial_Tribunal/Nessos

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