One Piece is a Shonen series chock full of memorable characters and the lasting words that go with them. Gold Rogers last speech still echoes to this day. Whitebeard's dying words created a new pirate era. Brook's singing brought new fame to the Straw Hats, Nico Robin's plea for life gave everyone tears, and Usopp's heartfelt apology to Luffy pulled at the heartstrings. However, if there was ever a character known more about their bark and not their bite, it's "Red-Haired" Shanks.
While he is of Emperor status and of incredible perceived strength, Shanks has never actually fought in the series and has instead made his impact with words, stopping entire wars and meeting council with some of the world's top leaders with nothing in his hands but a lot on his mind. Celebrating every breadth that the youngest Emperor makes, this list will run down 10 awesome quotes from the man who inspired Luffy's journey.
10 "I'll leave this hat with you. It's dear to me. Take good care of it! Come bring it back to me someday, once you've become a great pirate!"
Most would say that it was Gold Roger's final words in Loguetown that sparked the story for One Piece. However, to be specific, the adventure that fans know and love wouldn't have started if it weren't for Shanks and his parting words to Luffy.
Not only does he bestow a great gift on Luffy's head (one that turns out to be a bigger deal than expected), but he gives Luffy one of the more interesting goals in the series, as the two literally won't meet until Luffy can return Shanks' hat.
9 "Good job, you young Navy soldier. The courageous moments that you created by risking your life just now have changed the future of the world tremendously, for better or worse..."
Congratulating a young Coby, as he tries to stop Akainu, Shanks swoops in to save him, acknowledging how important of an effort it was for a Marine to acknowledge the senseless violence of the war.
Shanks throughout the series has been a man of minimal conflict, as he's met with the likes of the Five Elder Stars and Whitebeard to just try and convince them to choose a less violent path. Shanks, more than anyone, is one to appreciate how pacifism can shift the world, especially for the war that he tried to stop in the first place.
8 "I've come to end this war!"
Shanks' bold claim to the vengeful pirates and blood thirsty Marines was short yet poignant, as he made his intentions clear. Staring everyone down with his sword drawn, Shanks let everyone know that he was intent with stopping the Paramount War in more ways than one.
Just the sheer attitude and context of it is enough to give one chills, as this statement alone not only challenges an army but both of them, which is saying a lot for Shank's relatively smaller crew.
7 "If you keep on fighting...both sides will suffer more pointless casualties. If anyone still wants to fight...then come! We will be your opponents!"
Despite the previous entry, this is the more direct challenge to fight literally everyone, Marine and Whitebeard Pirate alike. It also brings attention to the point Shanks wanted to make all along: endless fighting is pointless.
Here, the quote becomes less of a challenge and more of a direct call to foolishness ("If anyone STILL wants to fight..."). It also helps that the ones backing up the claim are some of the strongest pirates around. In both cases, no one, not even the Admirals, stepped forward.
6 "By experiencing both, victory and defeat, running away and shedding tears, a man will become a man. It's okay to cry, but you have to move on."
At the end of the Paramount War, as Shanks enters the scene, and Luffy is hurriedly taken out of the battleground, Shanks gives his young legacy some parting words, all without looking at him. Adding on to his themes of pacifism and valuing life, Shanks lets Luffy and the viewer know that what's important isn't victory but living to move forward.
Even when it comes to defeat or even running away, all are viable options if one is willing to grow from their experiences, an idea that ties back to one of his earlier altercations to be addressed later on this list.
5 "I bet this arm on a new era."
One of the biggest and most direct statements to be made regarding Luffy being the symbol for the next generation of pirates, this quote here shows great intentionality and purpose within Shanks' earlier actions. It didn't matter that he lost his arm or put himself in harms way.
He managed to protect something even more valuable, a life that can bring about consequences, change, and experiences of their own, creating an era that Shanks himself may not be strong enough to bring but that he can bet that protected life will.
4 "You can pour drinks on me. You can throw food at me. You can even spit on me. I'll just laugh that stuff off. But...good reason or not...nobody hurts a friend of mine!"
A lot of the quotes here have touched on Shanks' sense of preservation and life but not enough of his humility. A lot of protagonists, especially during the 90's, were young and arrogant upstarts who showed attitude before they would ever show action.
Shanks' quote here helped stir Luffy from such a reputation. Shanks' willingness to keep his sword down during just a relatively harmless moment wasn't humiliating but humbling, a true testament to Shanks' perception and sense of values. Of course, it's when what he values is truly targeted does one get the latter half of this quote.
3 "We're pirates! We don't play by the rules!"
Within the same exchange as the above, Shanks' closing line to the mountain bandits trying to hurt Luffy is the grand statement to define pirates for the series from here on out. They're not strength heavy warriors like in Dragon Ball or law abiding ninjas such as in Naruto.
They're cheats, rule breakers, truly free beings who venture out to the sea to live on their own rules. Anything is possible, and anything is game as victory is not restricted by a central code but by what a pirate can do with their bare hands.
2 "Pistols aren't for threats. They're for actions! Are you willing to risk your life?"
Of course, leading this entire exchange was a claim to rival his war quote. With a gun to his head, Shanks not only dares the gunman to shoot him but gives the guy an entire lesson as to how guns and actions work (not that the guy would end up using it afterwards, though).
Shanks is a man who truly knows the power of words, as he obviously knows the weight of actions. In this case, if one bases their actions on something like a threat, then it would obviously be defeated by an actual action, such as how this scene inevitably ends.
1 "Your honor isn't worth your life."
Now comes the summation of all of Shanks' philosophies. Promises and threats can lead to something. War and violence can mean something. But nothing can say as much as another life, not even the vague gesture or symbol of honor.
One Piece is all about the different philosophies and senses of honor that different rulers and pirates stake their lives on but with Shanks comes a counterpoint: a capacity to live and change. It's weird to think that Shanks is even a wanted man in the first place as everything about him, especially this quote, screams that he's fighting to save everybody.