One Piece has shown remarkable staying power since its debut. With two decades of movies, manga, and anime releases under its belt, the ongoing chronicles of the Straw Hat Pirates has proven as resilient as their captain. It’s impossible to keep Monkey D. Luffy down for long thanks to the twin abilities of his Gum-Gum Devil Fruit and being a shonen protagonist. Boasting similar longevity is the jester-themed pirate, Buggy the Clown.
Buggy is initially characterized by three things: His signature look, his ego, and his ability. The first two qualities mark him for karmic comeuppance in the world of One Piece, as his schemes only ever succeed long enough to hilariously backfire. The third is Buggy’s Chop-Chop Devil Fruit power, which is how he weathers whatever unforeseen consequences are heading his way. Here’s a rundown of the most salient facts about the Clown Prince of the Sea before fate rips the rug out from beneath him yet again.
10 Longest recurring Devil Fruit user that isn’t allied with the Straw Hat crew
Buggy and Luffy’s initial encounter in the East Blue hamlet of Orange Town ended with a decisive victory for the would-be Pirate King, but sending Buggy flying hasn’t put him out of the picture.
As the Straw Hats progress deeper into the Grand Line, the jester-faced pirate has been on his own parallel adventure. From Orange Town to Loguetown, Impel Down to Marineford; it’s always a surprise where Buggy's path will intersect with the crew next.
9 Buggy is an ex-member of the Pirate King's crew
In the lore of One Piece, it’s hard to exaggerate the mythical quality of Gol D. Roger. Nearly everyone who’s a pirate in One Piece was inspired by the world’s most notorious pirate and the challenge he left behind.
So to have been alive when he was -- let alone sailing alongside Roger’s -- confers some of that legendary status. When Luffy first goes toe-to-toe with Buggy, the clown recognizes the signature headgear of the Straw Hat captain as belonging to an ex-shipmate aboard Roger’s ship...
8 Shanks is the reason Buggy is a Devil Fruit user
While Roger’s legend inspired many to take up a life of piracy, Luffy has a much more personal connection to the legend. His mentor, Shanks, also sailed with Gold Roger himself. Buggy, Shanks’ former crewmate, holds nothing but contempt for the one-armed redhead. They argued constantly, and Buggy was always trying to show up Shanks. This backfired when Buggy was hoarding a Devil Fruit.
Buggy's plan was to sell the fruit for a fortune, but his plans disappeared into his stomach when Shanks accidentally startled Buggy. The clown swallowed the fruit in his haste to hide it, losing his talent for swimming. Despite clearly enjoying his Devil Fruit power, Buggy has never forgiven Shanks for this loss.
7 Buggy has an accidental knack for making allies
The point may have been driven home by the previous items on this list, but what makes it remarkable is how it keeps happening. He’s even crossed paths with Luffy’s brother, Ace! Previous foes of the Strawhats, like the pirate Alvida and the ex-Crocodile flunkie Mr. 3, have been enduring members of Buggy’s crew.
They know the clown for who he is and choose to stand with him, unlike the gullible cult of personality Buggy’s rank-and-file followers have built around their Captain. If Buggy can (reluctantly) work alongside previous rivals like Shanks and his protege, what potential heights can he reach?
6 Buggy was a Shichibukai
Translated as the “Seven Warriors of the Sea,” the Shichibukai were pirates that were granted amnesty by the World Government. These powerful freebooters turned privateers counted such heavy hitters as Hawk-Eyes Mihawk and the villainous Crocodile among their ranks. The Shichibukai’s intended purpose was to support World Government Marines as a counterbalance to the rising powers of the Four Emperors of the Sea (otherwise known as the Yonko).
In the wake of the Marineford war, however, the ranks of the Shichibukai had thinned considerably. After either meeting defeat at the hands of Luffy (Crocodile, Gekko Moria, Donquixote Doflamingo), joining his cause (Jinbei, Trafalgar Law), or going rogue; a recruitment drive was needed. Not even Buggy himself believed that he was getting a seat among one of the great powers of the sea, but one thing is certain: He’ll milk the position for all it’s worth.
5 The tassels on Buggy’s hat are his hair
The One Piece manga has a long-running column where series creator Eiichiro Oda answers fan questions. Sometime after Buggy was introduced, Oda was asked what the twin blue tufts on either side of the pirate clown’s hat were about. The answer? Buggy purposely ties his hair into twin ponytails, then feeds them through holes in the hat.
Buggy’s hat is essentially a single, large, pirate-themed scrunchie. Laugh at your own peril — the single ponytail he wears while hatless in Impel Down certainly show he’s got the locks to do it. Furthermore, since comments about his nose drive him to kill, who knows what mocking his hair will provoke!
4 Buggy’s original design was way different
The most immediately noticeable thing about Buggy is the anchor of his signature look: The nose. His red schnoz has been prominent even in flashbacks when Buggy hadn’t fully committed to the clown persona. Interestingly enough, One Piece creator, Eiichiro Oda didn’t nail down Buggy’s character on the first try.
In early drafts of the manga, Buggy was depicted as a “Boogie.” Allegedly, Oda saw the name was in use and decided to go in a different direction. He also changed “Boogie’s” more realistic-looking ‘horror-movie clown’ style, settling on Buggy as we now know him.
3 Buggy’s Devil Fruit has some critical weaknesses
Buggy’s Bara-Bara / Chop-Chop ability is from the Paramecia-class of Devil Fruits. This means that it affects the user’s body in some way. For Buggy, he can separate his body parts and control them independently from one another. This essentially makes him impervious to bladed and edged weapons. He can easily dodge small arms gunfire as well.
All this comes with two crucial caveats: His feet must stay grounded, and all parts of his body under control must be in a visual range. While Buggy can guide his parts back once he can see them, these two weaknesses were a large contributor to his initial downfall. While Luffy distracted him by tickling his feet, Nami was able to round up Buggy’s arms and legs. A ‘chibi’ Buggy was all that was left of the pirate, who ended up having to go on a search in order to reclaim his full body once more.
2 Buggy was the first villain to ever get close to killing Luffy
Monkey D. Luffy has been shot and stabbed, beaten and bludgeoned. Regardless, his rubber body has bounced back from incalculable physical trauma. This makes it all the more surprising that his adventure was nearly ended by Buggy and a cutlass.
When the clown and the rubber pirate crossed paths for Round 2, Buggy managed to capture Luffy at the same execution platform where Gol D. Roger reached his end. The platform was mysteriously struck by lightning, saving Luffy and frying his would-be executioner.
1 What's Next For Buggy?
It’s difficult to speculate on what might be next for Buggy. As mentioned before, the Shichibukai haven’t had the most stable of positions since Luffy turned up. In the manga, which is a couple of months ahead of the anime, Buggy has once again re-emerged as a key player in the Zou Arc. The clown is not going anywhere.
Could the two characters become even more closely linked during their travels? Hopefully, Eiichiro Oda won’t keep us waiting another two decades to find out.