The concept of “balance of powers” has been constantly brought up in the story.
“If the balance between these 3 great powers is broken, the world will fall into disarray.” This statement is further emphasized by Fujitora. Fujitora wanted to bring down the Warlord system, but still, understood the need for that system. Which is why, he viewed the SSG as a replacement to that system. You cannot just remove one of the 3 great powers of the world. You need to provide a viable alternative. If not, you upset the balance of powers, and the world will fall into disarray.
How does Shanks fit into all of this ?
Shanks is the person who is actively trying to maintain the balance of powers in this world, to prevent the world from falling into disarray.
Whitebeard and Shanks
Shanks met with Whitebeard to ask him to stop Ace from fighting Blackbeard.
Why would Shanks do this? Why should Shanks do this? Ace is his fellow Emperor’s commander. Him getting taken out would be advantageous for Shanks…. if he was a regular pirate with regular motivations.
Now let’s look at what happened as a result. Ace got beaten, caught and executed, 1000s of pirates died. 1000s of marines died. An Emperor died. Blackbeard got 2 devil fruits, most importantly the balance of powers was broken.
Shanks tried to prevent this breakage, but was unable to, partly because of Ace’s stubbornness, and partly because of Whitebeard’s pride.
Kaido and Shanks
Shanks prevented Kaido from interfering in the Marineford war.
If Kaido had interfered in the war, one of 2 things would have happened (please do not powerscale).
- Kaido and Whitebeard both die, Marines are victorious.
- The Marines are defeated and destroyed.
Either way, the balance of powers would have been broken.
Shanks tried to prevent this breakage, and succeeded.
Shanks and Luffy
Why then, would Shanks put Luffy on the path to becoming Pirate King? Isn’t the Pirate King the one who will cause the biggest war in history? If Shanks wants to preserve the balance of powers, why would he do this? Truth is, Shanks is only preserving the balance of powers for Luffy to break them. I believe this was the task Roger left him with. Finding the person who will become the next Pirate King.
I believe this is how the conversation actually went (in my head) :
Shanks: Is this the end? Are you really going to die, Captain?
Roger: A person only dies when he is forgotten. I learned in the final island that about 20 years from now, someone will come forth and carry my will, as well as the will of the people from 800 years ago. As long as that person lives, I will never truly die. Will you find that person for me, Shanks? No. I know you will.
Shanks: I will. I promise.
So, Shanks came to Foosha Village, and met Luffy and through his interactions with Luffy, felt that maybe this person was the one Roger was waiting for. With that in mind, Shanks’ line to Rayleigh makes way more sense.
Luffy saying the same things as Roger played a huge part in convincing Shanks that he found the one who inherited Roger’s will. But… there is also…
Shanks and the Nika Devil Fruit
12 Years ago, Who’s Who was transporting the Mythical Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika in the East Blue, and the fruit was stolen by Shanks. Knowing Shanks, it is very likely he knew what this fruit was and wanted to keep it away from the World Government, because he knew its importance from Roger. It is also possible he was looking for Ace to give the fruit to him, thinking it was him who inherited Roger’s will.
But once he met Luffy, his opinion on the topic began to change. And I believe Luffy eating that fruit was the last straw that completely sold Shanks on Luffy being the one who inherited Roger’s will. And if I am right in my assumption that Shanks knows about the real nature of the fruit, then it would make even more sense for Shanks to believe in Luffy because… all Zoan fruits have a mind of their own.
Not only did Luffy speak Roger’s words, he was also the chosen by the fruit that would make a person Joyboy. Why would you want to bet against him? Which is why Shanks bet the future on him.
Shanks and the Gorosei
Shanks has some secret connections to the Gorosei. I believe this connection is because their current goals align. Both of them want to maintain the balance of powers. Shanks wants to maintain it, because he wants Luffy to be the one to fuck shit up, while the Government wants to maintain it because power is sweet. So Shanks acts as the middleman between the pirate world and the administrative world.
So let me ask you this. The man who is working so hard to maintain the balance of powers, what happens if he is not there? The pin holding all the pieces in place, what if it falls?
What would happen if Shanks dies?
Chaos. That’s what happens.
The balance of powers would no longer be maintained. The world will be in disarray. When the final chess piece falls nothing stands in the way of the opponent from going for the King. Everyone vies for power.
Shanks’ death will be the true beginning of the final war. The Throne War.
Shanks is all that stands right now between relative peace, and complete chaos.