Fandom: One Piece
Word count: 5,594 (not including headers and quotes - 6,635 with them)
Pairing: Nami x Princess Nefatari Vivi
Spoilers: Spoilers for the following arcs: Arlong, Laboon, Whisky Peak, Little Garden, Drum Island, Alabasta
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece nor do I make any profit through writing this piece.
Notes: Please note that this manifesto can be rather image heavy during certain points, (seeing as I splattered them all over the place), and I'm afraid image size isn't always consistant. If I've made any mistakes in this essay which you wish to point out then please do and I'll get around to fixing them as soon as I can. Some information and images were taken from One Piece wikia, One Piece.de, Devils Fruit Gallery, NamixVivi photobucket and One Manga
Part 1: The Canon Facts
(a) What is One Piece?
One Piece is a currently on-going manga series created and drawn by Eiichiro Oda, set in an alternate and very different world to ours, which readers will very quickly come to realise. Chapters are posted in the highly popular Shounen Jump magazine. The manga has also been adapted into an anime series, which has also proved to be highly popular with fans.
The series itself follows 17 year-old Monkey D. Luffy as he sets sail in search of the legendary pirate treasure known as One Piece, for the person who finds it may rightfully claim the title of Pirate King. Along the way he assembles a crew who assume various roles such as navigator, sharpshooter and doctor. It is interesting to note that all the other members of the Straw Hat pirate crew have their own personal goals as well, and following Luffy will help them accomplish their dreams. Some of those crew members are permanent whilst others only sail temporarily. But all are considered nakama.
Nakama, I should point out, generally translates to friend or comrade. In One Piece it is given a much more powerful meaning. All members of the Straw Hat crew, permanent or temporary, develop such a close bond with each other they can easily be considered family.
(b) Who are the characters?
One Piece is a series with a very extensive cast. But I shan't talk about them all otherwise we'd be here for goodness knows how long. The characters this manifesto focuses on are Nami, Princess Nefatari Vivi and the relationship between them which melts my heart into a pile of squishy goo each and every time.
i) Nami Biography
(10 year old Nami)
Settle yourselves in. This is a long one, even when I try to keep it short.
Nami's actual origins are unknown. She was found by a female marine named Bellemere in a town which had been destroyed by pirates. After a fierce battle, Bellemere was about to give up and die when she heard a baby crying. That baby was Nami, who was being carried around by another little girl named Nojiko. Bellemere took them back to her hometown of Cocoyashi Village in the middle of a violent storm and tearfully begged the doctor of the island to save the two children. After they recovered, Bellemere decided to adopt both Nami and Nojiko as her own children.
They lived with little money, with most of their income coming from the small tangerine farm Bellemere kept, but mostly happily. Until the day Arlong, a feared merman pirate, came to the island and demanded huge amounts of money in exchange for people's lives; 100,000 beli for adults and 50,000 beli for children, (beli is the currency in the One Piece world). Bellemere only had 100,000 beli. Because there was no written record of Bellemere officially adopting Nami and Nojiko, they were told to hide by Genzo, the village's sheriff and major. But it pained Bellemere too much to deny her family and so she made a deal with Arlong. Her life in exchange for theirs.
Nami and Nojiko broke their cover, and a very tearful Nami apologised to Bellemere, for just before Arlong had come the two had argued about Nami wishing she had been adopted by a rich family. Arlong then shot Bellemere in front of her two children and most of the village. The first map we see Nami draw as a child earlier in the flashback episodes is discovered in Bellemere's pocket. Realising her potential, Arlong orders her kidnap and a violent attack upon the watching villagers. Nojiko tries to stop them taking her sister but the trauma of that, Bellemere's murder and watching her friends being beaten to near death becomes too much for the poor child and she is unable to do anything. Neither is Genzo, even as Nami screams for him to stop because she doesn't want anybody to get hurt anymore.
Nami is forced to draw maps for Arlong for eight years afterwards, kept in a high room and unable to return to her village. She is marked with Arlong's tattoo near the shoulder of her left arm. At some point soon after her kidnap she makes a deal with Arlong to buy her village back for 100,000,000 beli. So as well as drawing maps she also takes huge risks by deciding to steal that money from other pirates. During this time, she encounters Luffy and becomes the second to join his crew after Zoro, although she didn't consider it official at this point. Long before her encounter with Luffy, her village found out about the deal and acted coldly towards Nami in the hope that if she ever wanted to quit because it became too much then she wouldn't feel too tied down.
After leaving Luffy, Nami is betrayed by Arlong when he exploits a loophole in the deal and sends a corrupt marine to steal the money she has collected through the years, (which, at that point, totalled at 93,000,000 beli). The villagers decided that enough is enough and resolved to fight Arlong, despite Nami's desperate pleas for them to reconsider. Emotionally drained, Nami finds herself unable to do anything and, in frustration, violently stabs Arlong's tattoo off her arm. At this point Luffy finds her, stops her and reminds Nami that he still considers her nakama by placing his straw hat, his most precious possession, upon her head.
Arlong is defeated by Luffy and Nami joins his crew as an official member. The recovered money is given to the village and Nami replaces the old tattoo with a new one which shows a tangerine and a pinwheel as homage to her past. Nami memorably leaves the village by stealing everybody's wallets. She is also given some of the trees from Bellemere's tangerine farm, now owned by Nojiko, which she treasures and cares for on the ship.
Despite the tragedy, Bellemere, Nojiko and Nami are defining proof that you do not have to be blood relatives to be a close and loving family.
Nami is highly intelligent and is undoubtedly the smartest member of the crew until Robin joins, (and even then she's very close behind). She is certainly a navigator of the highest class, which is demonstrated when she is able to predict and steer Going Merry away from a large cyclone which, according to Vivi, are nearly impossible to predict on the Grand Line, (and Vivi would be the person to know as she lives there and indeed provides much of the background information on the Grand Line when the crew need it).
She carries a strong and confident personality, but Nami does become stressed by the antics of the rest of the crew and easily loses her temper with them sometimes. But, considering how hyperactive and whacky Luffy and Usopp in particular can become, I personally don't blame her.
Unlike many other members of the crew, she is physically weak in battle. However, she is able to combine her intelligence and highly advanced knowledge on how the weather works to prove her worth by using the Clima Tact; a weapon developed by the crew's sharpshooter, Usopp, which has the ability to manipulate and control the atmosphere around it.
She still carries her love for money but has proved that her nakama come first.
Nami also holds a love for fashion and her outfits change a lot through the series, especially after the Arlong arc. At the start of the series she is mostly seen in the same outfit which included sleeves, to hide her tattoo, and brown boots. As the Arlong arc began, she started wearing tops with shoulder straps, as the tattoo was no longer a secret, and open-toed sandals. She is seen wearing a lot of short skirts, which I think goes well with her confident personality.
(18 year old Nami)
ii) Vivi Biography
(5 year old Vivi)
Vivi is the crowned princess of the desert kingdom Alabasta on the Grand Line. Despite the loss of her mother due to unknown circumstances, she has a very pleasant and sweet personality. As a child, she was happy to completely forget her status as princess and play with the other children in Alubarna, (where the palace is built). She does recognise when to act the part of royalty, which is shown in a flashback during the Drum Island arc. Wapol knocks down the young princess Vivi after becoming enraged by her father, Nefertari Cobra, in an earlier meeting. Despite being hurt and upset, Vivi apologises for being clumsy and, according to Dolton, may have even stopped a war with her actions during such an uncertain time.
When she was fourteen, Vivi discovered that an organisation named Baroque Works was planning to capture Alabasta by stirring a civil war and distrust in the king. She leaves the palace and joins the organisation. During her time there, she manages to achieve the high rank of Frontier agent, under the name Miss Wednesday, and seems to get very involved in the role to keep herself hidden. At Whisky Peak she was very willing to hold a knife to a sleeping Luffy's throat and threaten to kill him.
After her identity is discovered, Vivi is taken in by the Straw Hat pirates, who agree to help her return to Alabasta. By this point, Vivi has identified the leader of Baroque Works as Sir Crocodile, one of the Shichibukai, and learned that he planned to start a great war in Alabasta by blaming the king for the severe drought the country was suffering.
As she did during childhood, Vivi casts aside her princess status and doesn't demand any special treatment in any way from the Straw Hats. She shares many experiences with them and grows very close to them all. She uses her battle skills to assist them as much as she can but has a tendency to allow her heart to rule her head too much sometimes. She can become rather tearful and has broken down and cried on more than one occasion. But, for a character who is carrying the burden of her entire country on her shoulders, I can understand why. To be fair, she was trying to stop a war all by herself.
But Vivi has strong opinions on leadership and country, which she sticks to.
Even arcs later from when we last left Vivi, she still sometimes features on chapter covers, showing that she is still important nakama.
(16 year old Vivi)
Part 2: The Relationship and Subtext
Nami and Vivi interact throughout four story arcs in a row and there are moments between them during each one. I'll go through each part in turn, after taking a brief look at how their personalities slot together rather nicely.
This essay mostly follows the animated series. However, I have also included chapter numbers and quotes from the manga as well. The One Piece anime series follows the manga very closely (except for the filler episodes, of course). As there is some interaction between Nami and Vivi during some of those filler episodes, I decided to focus more on the anime.
(a) The Ying to My Yang
It's rather clear that these two characters have some parts of their personality which differ. Nami has a hot temper and can become angered easily, while Vivi is much more passive and patient. This is even reflected in their hair colour, with Nami being a red-head and Vivi's being blue, (just a little note, this was not a point made to stereotype red-heads. It is merely linking personalities to their commonly associated colours). But, personally, I think this difference helps bring them even closer together. Vivi's calm nature can help to pacify Nami when she becomes annoyed and stressed by the other members of their crew. Nami's level-headed personality can help motivate Vivi when she starts to feel the weight of what she is fighting for and drag her out of her shell when she tries to withdraw into it.
The two also have some great connection points. Before Vivi, Nami was the only female member of the Straw Hat crew. So I imagine there may have been a degree of relief in that respect, despite gender not appearing to be an issue amongst the Straw Hat pirates (unless you're Sanji, and that isn't presented in a bad way). Being a fellow female, Nami is the only member of the crew who gets to gently but firmly hit and pinch Vivi when she looks like she's starting to cave in. As well as for the comical purposes element, the Straw Hat pirates as a whole appear to communicate well with each other through playful fighting, physical or otherwise. Nami occasionally giving Vivi the odd gentle whack is really a way of saying "it's okay, we're still here, remember". While sailing with the Straw Hats, Vivi shared a cabin with Nami.
Both have a background where they carried a heavy burden on their shoulders for quite some time at a young age. And both felt they had to do it alone, until they suddenly realised they have precious nakama who are willing to risk their lives with them. Before they met Vivi, Nami had become the most recent Straw Hat to become liberated from her demons. I think this helped in her connection with Vivi because for the first time in years she finally felt free. That must be a joyous feeling and I think a large reason for Nami becoming a large figure of support for Vivi was because she recognised the pain of burden and wanted to help liberate her from that too.
(b) Whisky Peak
The first encounter the two characters have is in episode 62, (chapter 103), when Vivi was still under her Miss Wednesday persona and the two sides clashed as both her partner, (Mr. 9), and herself were intent on capturing Laboon the whale for food. Despite the opposing sides, the Straw Hat pirates agreed to take Mr. 9 and Miss Wednesday back to Whisky Peak seeing as the island was nearby and was in the direction the Log Pose was pointing towards. On the way, in episode 64, (chapter 106), they are caught in violent weather and Vivi begins her use of explaining to both the Straw Hats and the viewers how things work on the Grand Line. We also see during this moment that Nami does not discriminate in throwing around those who cause her annoyance and forces the pair to help them get through the storm. If they don't, none of them will get to where they wish to be.
When they near Whisky Peak, Mr. 9 and Miss Wednesday jump overboard and swim the rest of the way. Nami and Vivi do not meet again until episode 67, (chapter 113) where Miss Wednesday is revealed as Princess Vivi from the kingdom of Alabasta. Through an injured Igaram, (the man who went with Vivi to assist her), Nami learns of this revelation and that Vivi must return to her homeland as soon as possible. The first connection Nami makes is along the lines of princess = rich = money = yay.
And so the relationship that starts between Nami and Vivi, once the Miss Wednesday persona has been dropped, is one of business. Nami tries to strike a deal with Vivi, offering her escort back to Alabasta in return for one billion beli. Vivi is reluctant to accept this offer due to the problems Alabasta is facing meaning it isn't financially stable. Nami also becomes reluctant when more about Baroque Works and Crocodile is revealed, especially when his bounty of 162,000,000 beli comes to light, (which is three times that of Arlong's). Nami tries to back out of it, but finds her face has already become known. It is decided through Igaram's plan that Vivi will escape while he acts as a decoy.
This plan goes horrendously wrong and it is here we see the start of Nami and Vivi's relationship as more than enemies or business. As Igaram appears to have been killed in a violent explosion, Vivi, naturally, starts to tear up. Nami grabs her, pulls her into a tight hug and proceeds to reassure her as Zoro and Luffy gather up the crew and prepare to flee the island.
(c) Little Garden
After successfully escaping Whisky Peak, it is clear that the girls have quickly grown very comfortable within each others company. In episode 69, before the second part of the Coby and Helmeppo side story starts, we see Nami reading a newspaper where she comes across an article which focuses upon the growing violence in Alabasta. When Vivi asks what she's reading, Nami lies about it being nothing and hides it to keep her from any emotional hurt. We see that Nami keeps trying to keep Vivi relaxed, such as when she explains to her how their particular crew works when their carefree actions begin to frustrate her in episode 70, (chapter 115).
The pair are separated when they arrive at Little Garden, where Vivi opts to go exploring with Luffy in an attempt to relax and have fun. Nami, feeling very unsure about the island, chooses to stay on the ship with Usopp, (at least at first until they are taken by Brogy to share his lunch with him).
They meet again in episode 74, (chapter 121), during the conflict against Mr. 3, Miss Goldenweek, Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine, where they find themselves imprisoned, along with Zoro, in an elaborate wax trap. After being freed from their wax restraints with a fire caused by Usopp in episode 76, (chapter 126), the pair easily slip into good teamwork in order to save their nakama from the wrath of Miss Valentine.
(d) Drum Island
Personally, I think this particular arc wonderfully shows how attached Vivi has become to Nami and how much they've begun to care for each other. This is the arc where the crew acquire a doctor and for that issue to become important somebody needs to fall ill. That somebody was Nami. During the conflict on Little Garden, her shirt had burnt away, (while Vivi's remained unharmed save for a few singed patches - but that's a fan service issue and is a discussion for another time). While her skin was exposed, she was bitten by an insect but thought nothing of it, as did everyone else. It turns out that insect's bite was dangerous to humans and can kill its victim within a matter of days.
Vivi is beside Nami as she begins to feel the fever in episode 78, (chapter 129), but doesn't notice right away as she is busy watching the ever-boisterous pair of Luffy and Usopp, then keeping an eye on the Eternal Pose at Nami's request. Nami tries to shake off her ill feeling, settling again into the role of being the one to reassure Vivi, then tries to get up to go and lie down in her cabin. As she tries to get to her feet she collapses. Vivi, still beside her, is the first to see this and alerts the crew. A little while after this point, Nami tells Vivi where the articles concerning Alabasta are, which we saw at the beginning of the Little Garden arc, (although in the manga this is the point where we first hear about this, in chapter 130), and that she hid them with the intention of protection.
Nami continues to deny that her condition is serious so that they may reach Alabasta quickly - talk about putting your life on the line. Vivi then says the following which shows her understanding on how the Straw Hats work, (and how frontal Nami is within her thoughts):
Vivi: "I realise this is a lot to ask after being allowed to rise on your ship, but right now my country is falling to a terrible fate. Therefore, I want us to hurry forward! I cannot afford the slightest delay! I need this ship to continue on to Alabasta at its maximum speed!"
Nami: "Don't worry. We promised you, didn't we?"
Vivi: Well then, let's go find an island with a doctor! We must get Nami-san cured as quickly as possible, and then head to Alabasta! That's this ship's 'maximum speed' isn't it?" (translation by Kaizoku Fansubs)
("Maybe it's not right to say this since you are kind enough to bring me back to my country. But my country is now in great danger and I want to get back there as soon as possible. I can't waste even one second. So, from now on, I would like to ask everyone to head to Alabasta with the fastest speed. ... So, let's start finding a doctor and cure Nami-san as soon as possible, then head to Alabasta. When Nami-san is cured, we can go with the fastest speed, right?" - Vivi, chapter 130 scanlation by Mangascreener.)
Nami denying her condition during that moment turned out to be rather useful at the time. Otherwise the crew would have been in very big trouble had Nami not come out on deck and guided them away from the cyclone. As her actions are realised, she collapses again against Vivi.
Until they reach Drum Island, Vivi remains by Nami's side for most of the time. When they reach the island in episode 79, (chapter 132), and are given a hostile greeting, she goes as far as to throw herself in front of a bullet to stop the fighting so that Nami may receive the help she needs. This is marvellous dedication.
Like the previous arc, the pair are them split until after Wapol is defeated. Once things settle, we see that Vivi has gone straight back to Nami's side and remains concerned about her health, despite the danger of the disease being gone and Doctor Kureha discharging her in her own special way.
This arc was certainly the climax of Vivi's time with the Straw Hats seeing as the initial goal had been to return her back to her homeland. By now the crew have all grown used to and very fond of Vivi, so make it clear that the intend to remain with her until Crocodile is defeated and peace comes again to the country.
There are some filler episodes during this arc where the crew have to leave their ship and cross the desert to reach Rainbase, where Crocodile is said to be. During these episodes Nami and Vivi are constantly seen at each others side, which was greatly assisted with the appearance of Eyelashes, (the name given by Nami), the camel, who only lets females ride him.
During episode 102, Luffy, Zoro and Chopper become split from the group. As they travel on and wait to be reunited, Vivi asks how they can all have so much faith in each other. Nami's reply is:
Nami: "Well, I'm not sure, but maybe it's because everyone does what they can do best with their ability. He said something back on the island I come from;"
Luffy (flashback to Arlong arc): "Of course I don't know a damn thing about swords, you dumbass! I don't know how to navigate, either! I can't cook! I can't even lie! I know that I need others to help me if I want to keep on living!"
Nami: "I remember those words well. I felt like: 'so this is how this pirate crew is.' You know, one person can only do so much. No matter what you want to do, it's impossible to do it alone. You need to have nakama. But if they don't do all they can for you, it's all meaningless, don't you think? Oh, was that a strange answer?"
(translation by Kaizoku Fansubs)
Vivi's main reply comes in the form of an internal monologue which consists of the following:
Vivi: "It's actually ... a perfect answer. That's right. This might be the shaping of a new country. ... I've seen so many things while we've been travelling together. Perhaps they hold the answer."
(translation by Kaizoku Fansubs)
This warms my heart every time I watch it. It is a wonderful illustration of the meaning of nakama amongst the protagonists and how Nami continues to be a comfort to Vivi during a difficult time.
In that respect, it's also very worth mentioning the aftermath of the fight between Luffy and Vivi in episode 104, (chapter 166). Before the physical fighting between the two breaks out, Nami tries to demand that Luffy should be more sensitive to Vivi's feelings. After finally realising that the Straw Hats want to risk their lives beside her, she starts to become tearful. Nami is the only member of the crew to move forward and comfort her as she cries.
The fights against Baroque works begin in Alubarna soon after this, (where the Straw Hats are once again split), and Nami finds herself in her first serious battle against Miss Doublefinger in episode 117. At first she tries to run away, (fair enough, let's not forget she doesn't have any massive strength or Devil Fruit powers to rely on). Much like Nami is a source of comfort to Vivi, it seems that Vivi is an inspiration for Nami to stand her ground and fight. Just before the battle against Miss Double finger begins, she says:
Nami: "What the hell am I doing? That little sound nearly scared me to death." (thought) I acted to brave in front of Usopp. I'm supposed to be ready! For Vivi's sake, I'll fight.
(translation by Kaizoku Fansubs)
Before the battle begins, we see a flashback which shows the moment where Nami requested an upgraded weapon from Usopp. Her reasons for doing so were because she wanted to fight "for Vivi's sake."
A little bit later, during episode 118, (chapter 193), Nami becomes severely injured as her foot is severed. But, again, Vivi remains a source of inspiration and strength to her:
Nami: "This ... is nothing! This doesn't hurt! It doesn't even itch! Do you even know how much she's been through!? Compared to that ... Giving up one leg, or two legs, or three legs ... IS NOTHING!"
(translation by Kaizoku Fansubs)
("I don't feel a damn thing! Do you know 'that person's' pain? Compared to that one, or two, or three legs mean nothing!" - Nami, chapter 193 scanlation by Null)
After the defeat of the Baroque Works Frontier agents, the next task is locating and somehow stopping the bomb Crocodile has hidden within the city, which will easily wipe it out with one explosion. The pair are again reunited when it is discovered that the bomb is hidden at the top of Alubarna's clock tower in episode 124, (chapter 205). Nami comes up with the idea of launching Vivi up to the top with the help of her Clima Tact and other members of the crew, (in episode 125 - chapter 206). It turned out to be particularly handy that Sanji and Zoro were already at helpful points on the long flight of stairs which lead to the top of the tower seeing as time was severely lacking.
The threat of the bomb is stopped in episode 126, (chapter 209 - thanks to Pell), but the violent fighting which had broken out between the royal army and civilians doesn't. Instead it intensifies and that leads to a part of the series which absolutely kills me whenever I watch it. Vivi has become desperate and is standing on top of the tower, screaming for the fighting to stop. There is a shot displaying how dangerously close she is to the edge, with her toes hanging off. Her voice reaches only the Straw Hats, standing at the base of the clock tower. As Vivi continues to scream, Nami's eyes well up with tears before she starts shouting at her crewmates to stop the fighting. Vivi's screams keep coming and for a moment it seems the sound of it becomes too much for Nami.
(screenshots from French subs)
After the fighting has stopped, Crocodile is defeated and the country is beginning to rebuild itself, the Straw Hats are allowed use of the palace's private bath house in episode 128, (chapter 213). Keeping with tradition, males and females are separated. As Vivi washes Nami's back, I can never help but notice the long look she gets. There's also the added bonus of having the two naked in the water together. I accept and acknowledge that this is not viewed as a sexual thing in Japan. But, all the same, it makes for wonderful subtext and possibilities for those of us with our slash goggles on.
During the same episode, (chapter 214), the Straw Hats secretly leave the palace and ride back to their ship on a group of Spot Billed Ducks. I notice that Nami seems a lot more sad and distant than the rest of them. She puts on a brave face and says it's because she's decided to forget about the money, (causing a comic relief moment), but the shipper in me thinks this is just that. A brave face on things.
Just before it becomes clear that Vivi has chosen to stay in episode 129, (chapter 216), Nami stops Luffy calling out to her. This effectively rescues Vivi from being affiliated with the Straw Hats and arrested by the marines. At the very end of this arc, Nami joins the Straw Hats in their final, silent promise, then joins them in missing her presence during episode 130.
(f) Credits Animation
Vivi does not appear in any opening animation during her time with the crew, (besides a quick flash of her included within a group of Baroque Works members as Miss Wednesday during opening 2 - Believe). However, she does appear in a few closing animations, and there's even some lovely subtext in there too.
Ending 6 (Fish) - This ending shows Chopper settling in with his new nakama and discovering what the wider world holds. Within it there is a shot of Nami and Vivi leaning against each other as they take an afternoon nap with the rest of the crew and both look very relaxed and peaceful. I also noticed that Vivi was also present when Nami places a plaster on Chopper's nose. D'awww, like lesbian moms, was my thought.
Ending 7 (Glory Kimi Ga Iru Kara) - Ending animation featuring Vivi, the burden upon her shoulders and her time with the crew. As the Straw Hats pass her, I always smile upon noticing how Nami winks at Vivi.
Part 3: The Shippers
I got into the One Piece fandom about three years ago from the point of starting this essay and, let me tell you, I'm still having a whale of a time. It's an immensely fun series created by such a unique imagination, and that has generated a terrific fanbase. There are perhaps one or two people you may wish you never came across, but that happens in practically every other fandom out there. I have found the One Piece fandom fun, welcome and rather open-minded about most things. I hope this fandom continues to make myself and others smile.
And now we retreat again to the NamixVivi corner of the One Piece fandom. The reason why I ship them has mostly had its babble above, especially in the 'The Ying to my Yang' section of Part 2. To tell the truth, I started shipping this pairing before Vivi even appeared in the story. I saw this fanart, knew who the character with the blue hair was and, although I can't exactly explain why, I thought they looked so beautiful together. So when the Laboon/Whisky Peak arc started, I watched it enthusiastically and wasn't disappointed. As the moments between Nami and Vivi mounted, I became more and more fond of them as a pairing. Even many arcs, chapters and episodes later, I am still totally in love with this pairing and they still hold the spot of my number one favourite One Piece couple, (fanon, yes, but every One Piece couple is fanon at the moment).
I posted a request at both royalbooty and onepieceyuri asking members what they thought of the NamixVivi pairing and why they shipped it. The idea for this came from zurburt's SasukexHinita essay, which I thought was a great idea and a fun way to get other fans involved in a supportive essay for a ship they like.
Here are the wonderful answers I was given. Thank you very much to everybody who contributed:
salmon_pink - What first drew me towards Nami/Vivi, and what keeps me interested, is the depth to their understanding of each other.
Nami and Vivi have both lived with incredible burdens, carrying the lives of so many others on their shoulders - for Nami it was her home village, for Vivi it's an entire country. They both come from entirely different backgrounds, but carrying such a responsibility links them in an incredibly deep, guttural way, and it's something shared between them that the other Straw Hats can't understand on the same level. For Nami, having so recently opened up about her past and seen Arlong Park destroyed, her devotion to Vivi's cause is unwavering, to the point where she tries to hide a severe illness for fear of slowing their progress to Alabasta. She quite literally lays her life on the line for Vivi, and Vivi in turn delays her mission so they can find a doctor. Huge sacrifices for each other? How can it not call to shippers?
Personally, I think Vivi is the only other character besides Luffy who can connect with Nami on such an emotion level.
They, of course, have their lighter moments, with their first formal introduction, after Vivi's true identity is revealed and she promptly spills a few too many of Crocodile's secrets, being one of my favourites. The Straw Hats do their best communication through bickering, and that's Vivi being accepted, to me. Nami gets to snap at Vivi in a way nobody else does, gets to poke fun at her, and drag her out of her shell when she becomes too pensive. Nami keeps Vivi human, in a way, stops her collapsing in on herself, stops her from becoming nothing but her mission. Nami is strength for Vivi, and through Vivi I think she manages to bury a few demons from her past. They need each other in a very personal way, and the give and take between them is a beautiful balance.
monkfish17 - Well, what can I say about NamixVivi? It's....interesting, I like the way Nami seemed to instantly latch onto Vivi as she is the only other female on the ship. It was rather romantic, while I personally dont list this pairing as one of my favourites I do love reading it.
slaughterchichi - I just think they work so well together because of their similar pasts with their hardships, because they are the only women on the ship and they really understand each other (unlike how they interact with the guys). If Vivi cries, Nami's right there for her and if Nami's sick, Vivi puts aside all of her problems to help her. They just feel right, and with pairings, that's really the most important thing.
Part 4: Why should I care?
Allow me to start this section by waving my arms around in the air and nervously insisting that I'm not telling you that you should ship this pairing. That's just not cool. I believe that one of the points of fandom is that anybody should be free to ship whatever they like, whether it be canon, fanon, crack, yaoi, yuri, poly or whatever. As long as you don't throw sand in the eyes of those who like to ship something else. Again, not cool.
One Piece is a fairly unique series in that Eiichiro Oda has stated that the only canon romance will be their love of adventure. Which opens up great fanon possibilities.
Whether you ship NamixVivi or not, there is absolutely no denying that the two developed a bond unique to the other members of the Straw Hat crew. They have a deep running friendship which I'm sure will be just as strong should they ever meet again. Oh, the stories that will be shared.
The two develop a bond which brings them close together, like that between sisters. Although some of us like to think of it more as sisters. ;D
Part 5: The recs
The One Piece fandom as a whole produces some wonderful fanworks for characters in general, friendships and the many different pairings which are made possible by an extensive cast. As the NamixVivi pairing involves one of the main protagonists and a very important temporary companion, a fair amount of wonderful fanworks has been produced. And more are certainly welcome.
One Piece wikia - One Piece online encyclopedia. This website is your one-stop shop for most of the information you could ever need.
One Piece Newbie Guide - a One Piece newbie guide. Contains basic information for anybody starting or thinking of starting One Piece. There's also a list of many One Piece LJ communities and websites here.
One Piece manga online - One Piece online manga at www.onemanga.com. This website has kept this series up to date so far.
One Piece anime downloads - Has most of the One Piece anime episodes as well as links to various fansubbers.
Live Journal Communities
royalbooty - made specially for the NamixVivi pairing.
onepieceyuri - caters for all One Piece lesbians, but as NamixVivi is a very popular yuri pairing for this series it gets a large representation here.
one_piece_yuri - another general One Piece yuri community, but with a few things which can't be found at the other comm.
onepieceyuri100 - for One Piece yuri drabbles, again with a large portion of NamixVivi. Seems a little dead at the moment? :( Shall we prod?
opyuriscribble - was a One Piece yuri drawing challenge community. Much like the drabble comm, only for artists. Again, not much activity at the moment.
one_piece - the community for anything and everything One Piece.
onepiece_icons - for One Piece icons. Check out this page for many other One Piece links, such as communities, fanlistings and translators.
grand_line_vine - a One Piece newsletter which, sadly, hasn't been updated in a year, probably due to real life eating the mod. But it's still very worth poking around the memories as there are a couple of NamixVivi entries.
NamixVivi at 10hugs - lulz! Self pimp! Done for the challenge at 10hugs
NamixVivi at 10lilies - Oh, I just can't help but rec salmon_pink within this essay. If you want some wonderful, sensual NamixVivi fics, look no further. Done for the challenge at 10lilies
Finding Nirvana - a series of one shots, all with the NamixVivi pairing. Fics here range from tooth-rotting fluff to heart-wrenching angst. So there's bound to be something here for everyone.
Souls Alight - the NamixVivi C2 community at fanfiction.net. This features mainly older NamixVivi fics, so it may be worth braving the pit itself and making use of the character search engine in the One Piece section.
NamixVivi Photobucket - a NamixVivi Photobucket put together by catsprite, which is great for icon making.
Untitled - this is a particularly wonderful NamixVivi fanart with the girls in their Alabasta dancer outfits. And this pays some better attention to female anatomy, (as we all know how ... different Oda's is).
NamixVivi Club - NamixVivi dA club which, sadly, seems rather dead. There's still a little journal gallery and favourites to poke through if you want. I especially recommend the fanart by Lauguzinthelake, especially as it was one of her pieces which had me shipping them in the first place.
Pavo Cristatsis - NamixVivi fanlisting.
Don't Cry - a NamixVivi doujinshi I shared for International Femmeslash Day. It's got a cute style and a lovely, yet also angsty, story. If the link is dead, do please let me know and I'll reupload it.
Nami X Vivi = Love - a NamixVivi music video. Short but with some fun music.
Thank you for reading.
Character Analysis | Monkey D. Luffy
Cause I kind of love this dork. Also, I actually wrote this before Kaleidoscope of Dreams, but wanted to post it on his birthday.
He’s direct. That’s very first thing we learn about him when he stabs himself in the face. We see that he’s willing to take action to prove his point. We also learn that he doesn’t have (many) reservations about being hurt physically. What’s stabbing yourself in the face, if it shows how strong you are?
Admittedly, Luffy grows out of that way of thinking by the time he fights Krieg in the Baratie Arc. There, he contests that Krieg’s “sneaky weapons and…spiked cape” can’t kill or beat him (GN 8, 21). Physical pain isn’t a problem if it’s part of his objective to be the Pirate King (and if it’s for the sake of helping someone he likes). Whatever happens along the way, he’ll just take it (and enjoy the adventure on the way).
Continuing from there, he has a strong sense of adventure.
And I mean that in the most basic way – he loves seeing new things and he doesn’t have a strong sense of danger. He wants to see the unknown and explore simply for the thrill of it. When Usopp asks Rayleigh (the former First mate of Pirate King) if the one piece exists, Luffy declares, “if Rayleigh tells us anything about it right now I’ll quit being a pirate! I’ll never go on an adventure that isn’t any fun!!!!” (GN 52, 96).
On top of his adventurous itch, I’d say he’s very fluid and flexible. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with his devil fruit (gomu gomu no mi) or if it’s Shanks’ influence, but he seems more happy-go-lucky when he meets Ace (and Sabo) than when he knew Shanks. It’s like he decided being angry and rude didn’t really get him anyway.
At the very least when he was a kid, if he continued being angry at Ace for spitting on him, Luffy probably wouldn’t have been able to friends with him. When Ace asks him why he kept their (Ace and Sabo’s) secret, Luffy outright says “I don’t want to be alone! I hate it more than being hurt!” (GN 59, 200).
And losing those he cares about is really the biggest thing that breaks him. We see it first on Sabaody when he’s unable to stop any of his shipmates from disappearing right before his eyes. He can barely stand it, berating himself for what he sees as his weakness: “What’s wrong with me…?! I couldn’t save any of them!!!!” (GN 53, 24).
We see it again when his attempt to rescue Ace fails (though from no lack of luck and fortitude on Luffy’s end). His brother dies right in front of him and he just sort of goes numb from shock. Not only did he lose Ace, but he lost him when was right there. It’s like Sabaody and Sabo all over but combined. :(
Afterwards, he’s furious at himself and tries to punch the memory away the way he does with all his earlier opponents. But he can’t defeat his own grief and collapses in tears.
Similarly, when he thought Sabo had died, Luffy just starts crying and can’t seem to stop until Ace promises to not die (that obviously doesn’t turn out well, making Ace’s death much worse). Interestingly, Luffy has the same response when he discovers Sabo is alive; he can’t seem to stop crying.
Losing those he cares for is also the one thing he won’t stand for, with the exception of Usopp but that might be because Usopp clearly states his intentions (perhaps?). It upsets him, but he doesn’t resist Usopp’s departure.
In contrast, when Nami and later Robin leave, Luffy’s first instinct is to resist; he refuses to accept their apparent betrayal. And then when it’s revealed why Robin left (to protect the Strawhats), all Luffy demands is that Robin say she wants to live. He doesn’t want to think she really is that willing to throw her life away because I really think it would upset him.
Even in Impel Down when he’s trying to free Ace, he doesn’t want to lose Bentham. He’s a friend of Luffy’s and he doesn’t want to lose him. We see this again with Law on Dressrosa. Not only did Law help him during Marineford by saving his life, but now that they’re in an alliance together that means Luffy can’t lose him either.
In a way, a lot of Luffy’s actions are motivated by making sure he’s strong enough to stay with the ones he loves or feels he has a bond with.
So, being alone is the one thing Luffy can’t stand.
Along with everything I’ve already said, he’s friendly and pretty upbeat, which makes him likable, but coupled with his sense of adventure and his flexibility, can make him seem a bit dense.
And I don’t think he is. I think he just prioritizes what’s important. Worrying about what people think or where he’s going isn’t valuable to him. He’ll get to Raftel eventually and he’s adamant that he’s going to get there with all the people he cares for in tact.
Additionally, he’s steadfast and surprisingly unwavering, which adds to his appeal and likability. It gives the impression that he’ll be there when you need him; he can be relied on and trusted to come through eventually.
Even if it takes him a while, you can be sure he’ll do what he says he will. For example, in the Alabasta Arc, he says he’ll beat Crocodile. It takes him three rounds (and he still ends up poisoned in the last one), but he does defeat Crocodile.
Lastly, I’d say that he likes to gorge on life. Not only does he have a huge appetite, but I think he has a huge appetite for life. He wants to really live life to the fullest. Maybe that’s part of his and Ace’s promise: “We have to live our lives so we don’t have any regrets!” (GN 60, 92).
Either way, the world is a place to enjoy, filled with others to care so as not to be alone, with adventures and food and laughter. Sure it can be difficult and unpleasant, but I think Luffy would say there’s more to be glad for in the world than to regret.
And that’s, to me, a really intoxicating persona to be around. Who wouldn't love to be around him or at least be on his side?