Why there’s no “Yonko 1st Commander Level” in One Piece
Matching crews and drawing parallels became the norme in our community and people became very toxic about how certain Yonko Commanders aren’t living up to their names like King and expecting more comparing him to the likes of Katakuri or Marco.
I want to show that there’s no “Yonko First Commander (YC1) level”; it’s simplistic view that got built inside the community and it stuck but if you look deep in the story Oda has never portrayed Yonko 1st Commanders as a faction nor has he ever grouped people like Beckman, Marco, Katakuri, King, Shiryu, Sabo, Zoro etc together as equals or at same level.
I would go as far as say that some of these are leagues above others in the “YC1 level” that people use regularly.
Let’s start by the variant Crew structures and dynamics that Oda presented in the series by using the 8 strongest crews we know of. I divided them into 2 groups:
1- Very Small Compact Group with really strong top individuals like Roger Pirates, Rocks Pirates, Red Haired Pirates and StrawHat Pirates.
Each of these crew share almost the same dynamic of having very few crew members but to compensate for that have extremely strong individuals at the helm and the difference between the Captain and his Vice-Captain is almost non-existant and is portrayed by Oda in numerous occassions as duos/partners Luffy/Zoro, Shanks/Beckman, Roger/Rayleigh (we still don’t know much about Rocks Pirates but I’m assuming the same dynamic).
2- Large Organization from top to bottom that has much less emphasis on its top combatant and there’s a clear distinct gap between the Captain and his top subordinates and these crews would be Whitebeard Pirates, Blackbeard Pirates, Big Mom Pirates and Beasts Pirates.
These crews have obviously a few differences in their specific structures but all share a very close general idea but. In all these crews the Captain clearly distances himself from the rest of the crew.
Whitebeard calls Marco and the rest of his commanders as his sons, Big Mom looks down on her children and doesn’t consider Katakuri an equal to her, Blackbeard doesn’t care about crewmates and only power hungry and Kaido is clearly the guy that has most distance with his crewmates as with the general ideology of his crew being a Meritocracy.
With this being said we have 2 very different visions that Oda presents us in the story and the terms of “YC1” “YC2” “YC3” etc were never mentioned in the manga at all but just fan made and concluded off either strength or bounty and I think it’s far from the truth to say someone like Beckman who’s more close to the Emperors themselves should be compared to King or Katakuri.
For Shanks’ crew for example to make any sense as a Yonko of the sea, they need to bridge the military gap and have quality over quantity thus making Benn Beckman, Lucky Roo and Yassopp all superior to every single other First-Mate of other Yonko crews (King/Katakuri/Shiryu?).
This was put most clearly by Oda in chapter 957: when he presented each Emperor bounty he made sure to mention what made each Emperors the powerhouse they are right now and for Shanks it was his crewmates that got most of the hype like I wouldn’t be surprised if Beckman, Roo or Yasopp had higher bounty than Yonko Blackbeard himself.
*by Rocks D. Buggy