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