I’ve noticed that we have two completely separate perceptions of the “Admirals” and “Yonko” level characters over the two eras that we have witnessed.
I think everyone is in agreement that the previous generation of Admiral-level Marines, Garp and Sengoku, were equal to the Yonko/Greatest Pirates of their era such as Whitebeard, Roger, and Shiki.
But now it seems like the general perception is that the current generation of top Marines (Akainu, Aokiji, Kizaru, Fujitora, etc) are all weaker than the Great Pirates/Yonkou of this era. So exactly what happened here? And why did the perception change like that?
I personally think it’s because 3 of the 4 original Yonko were introduced to us as inhuman beings even by One Piece standards. Big Mom was able to one-shot a giant at the age of 5!
Kaido can jump off an island in the sky and survive.
Whitebeard is the strongest man in the world and has the ability to destroy the world.
Even the newcomer, Teach has an abnormal body and ridiculous durability.
Shanks is the only “normal” one among them. I doubt he was able to kill giants at the age of five either. But it doesn’t matter because he stands equally among these monsters and therefore we consider him an equal to the rest of them.
I think this is why in the community in general the Admirals are viewed as weaker, because they weren’t portrayed as absolute abnormal monsters like the Yonko. Aokiji, Akainu, and Kizaru all seem like normal people who enlisted in the Marines and made it to the pinnacle of their organization. Rather than being born monsters, they were created due to their own hard work and talent. So similar to Shanks, they are all “normal” and we see that in certain scenes, like when Aokiji took a hit from Jozu and started to bleed.
In my opinion, this doesn’t make the Admirals any less dangerous and they are definitely not weaker in any sense. In the end, we still saw Akainu take on the world’s strongest man in his full anger and survive.
I know many make the argument that Whitebeard was sick and old but this was right after Ace had died. He was at his full rage when he attacked Akainu and while he destroyed Marineford’s foundations he couldn’t do anything to Akainu himself. Aokiji is just as insane considering he managed to fight Akainu for 10 days straight! And then we have Kizaru the madman, who showed absolutely no fear in wanting to go confront two Yonko.