That anyone could hate this adorable cutie floors me, so let me break it down for you.
- Character: Tashigi
- Fandom: One Piece
- Reason for Being Hated: Weak, can’t win a single fight, annoying, people ship her with Zoro just because she looks like Kuina. (Note from submitter: I don’t like how haters give reasons that actually have reasons canon in the series.)
Weak: Weak like hell! The very first scene we meet Tashigi in, she’s being taken on by a bunch of pirates smack-talking Smoker for putting their boss in prison. Not only does she fight all four of them at once, much to the surrounding crowd’s awe, but she does it in one blow. Even if you only read the manga, it’s two guys twice her size, and therefore twice her supposed “pure physical strength” and still; she takes them out in one single blow. For all that she has weak knees (as referenced by Smoker), she works out daily, running around all over the ship and town to get stronger and build up her endurance. She starts out as a Sgt. Major, and bosses around even Lieutenant Commanders (higher ranked) because she’s Smoker’s second in command. For all that Smoker is full of a LOT of bark, it’s pretty damn obvious how much respect he has for her inner strength. Not only did she ask to go along with Smoker against orders mind you, in the Grand Line, the most dangerous place in the world, all in pursuit of justice, but Smoker left her in charge of his own men more than once so that he could go play cowboy! For that matter, Smoker himself said that none of the rest of his men had a tenth of her strength, and once anyone had half, “It’s all just so easy.” This is because, despite having extremely fragile idealism, despite repeatedly falling down, Tashigi always gets backs up!
And getting back up is a HUGE theme in One Piece. Even Luffy rarely defeats anyone the first time he fights them, instead his biggest strength isn’t invincibility, it’s that he never gives up, no matter what. Zeff recognized it as a strength, and even Whitebeard himself, the strongest man in the world acknowledged that strength.
And speaking of Whitebeard, have you already forgotten Marineford? Because Tashigi sure hasn’t. She fought alongside Smoker, and the other marines and admirals, against the strongest pirates in the whole damn world. Not only did she survive, but she successfully fended off pirate allies of Whitebeard’s. Those are some EXTREMELY powerful men and women we’re talking about here. And what’s more, the only reason she got distracted was because of her extreme focus on famous swords. She didn’t run away even once, (unlike other marines as we saw) nor did she collapse from Luffy’s emperor’s haki! Instead towards the end of the fight, she had to keep Smoker on track to remind him to get back on course, and keep him out of trouble given his broken jitte. Furthermore, at the very end of the battle, not only was she still standing strong when so many other marines were breaking and falling apart around her, but even while Coby and Smoker were beginning to get overwhelmed with the haki from the sorrow and bloodlust on BOTH sides; Tashigi stayed strong. AND we KNOW she had that skill because she was able to resist Luffy, and two years later she uses that haki and winds up summoning Sanji.
Speaking of haki; so far Tashigi is the first non-Kuja warrior female to be shown using and having it! You’re seriously going to tell me that’s a sign of her WEAKNESS? Give me a break; what the fuck does that say about the whole entire world then? Does that make Chopper weak? Or Crocodile? Or Nico Robin?
Aside from which, Tashigi’s third biggest strength (second to her tenacity and bravery respectively) is her heart, and compassion to people. This helps her offset Smoker’s huge flaw in his extremely gruff exterior. Just as Smoker comes off incredibly intimidating, but has a heart of gold, Tashigi comes off like a moeblob clutz, but has the heart of a lion. Smoker’s own men adore him, but they goof around with him and he still has to treat them like underlings. Tashigi they consider one of them and have shown themselves completely willing to sacrifice themselves to save her! This is another thing she has in common with Luffy, something MIHAWK, the strongest swordsman in the WORLD said was the scariest part about Luffy. They’re both able to make allies in unlikely places. Tashigi accidentally made an ally of Sanji who protected her and her men, and even Zoro was willing to rise to her defense. And Nami was willing to entrust the children to her. The children whose parents went to Tashigi, not Smoker, not the other thugs of G-5, but Tashigi. Because they knew they could trust her because of her heart.
Can’t Win a Single Fight: I’ve already listed a few fights she DID win, starting with her VERY FIRST APPEARANCE, but she also won swordfights in Alabasta against pirates, in Alabasta’s revolution while trying to help keep stability without taking sides that could worsen the situation and would be the exact opposite of what Vivi wanted, against Baroque Works with Smoker, against YET MORE PIRATES to help her rank up to Ensign, then all the way to Captain! And remember, she’s spent the last two years in the New World, the very thing that CRUSHED most of the Supernova rookies, and usually kills millions of pirates a year. Literally the hardest place in the world to survive. It even took off half of Smoker’s face at some point! So yeah, SHE WINS A LOT OF FIGHTS.
We only see her lose on screen because 1) Zoro wants to be the strongest swordsman in the world, and that isn’t Tashigi’s dream, moreover, she underestimated him. Keep in mind, Zoro only GOT his two swords to replace the ones broken by Mihawk thanks to Tashigi’s help! If it wasn’t for her, Zoro wouldn’t have had the sword he had to bury with Brook’s help, nor the Sandai Kietsu: one of the most legendary swords ever. There’s a big deal made about how Zoro helped carry on that swordseller’s dream in taking Yubashiri as far as it could go, but everyone seems to forget that without Tashigi, he wouldn’t even have gotten that far.
2) The next fight we saw her lose was to Nico Robin, after fighting an entire god damn war, that completely decimated half of the people there, a bunch of Baroque Works, and even some of the more hardcore warriors of the world. Again, this is a testament to Robin’s strength, not Tashigi’s weakness. Tashigi and Smoker fight non-lethally as much as they can, and while that might be a disadvantage, it’s something Luffy does too, and as we’ve seen that is NOT to his detriment. Indeed, later on when Robin was caught in the cage with Smoker and Tashigi, Robin even did her best to cheer them all up. Because of Tashigi’s non-lethal fighting style, she was automatically at a hindrance because Robin only had to do what she did, and completely grab and twist her arms so that the sword couldn’t fight. Furthermore, Nico Robin was NOT as worn down by that point, and on a completely meta note, this was an important scene for a myriad of reasons. First and foremost, someone had to tell Luffy where to go, and this was the only way Tashigi’s justice would allow since she was unable to save the king herself. And not only did she tell Luffy where to go, but when they found the Straw Hats asleep in the street later, she ordered her men NOT to arrest them. That’s actually a huge sign of her strength, not weakness! Like Smoker, like Luffy, she held respect for a foe based on their courage and actions, not labels. And her “weakness” in losing to Robin and inability to rescue Cobra, prompted Tashigi to get stronger so that she wouldn’t be hurt by her own tears anymore. ** A note on that later.
Indeed, she didn’t lose at Marineford, even though pretty much EVERYONE lost something there. Luffy lost Ace, and possibly shaved decades off his life from all the hormones and poisons, Buggy lost his anonymity and any chance of the world underestimating him ever again (even though it saved him in prison), the Whitebeard allies lost Little Oars Jr, Ace lost his life (but not his freedom or dream), Coby lost his innocence (in that the haki hearing busted through his fragile idealism of justice and thanks to Akainu he learned that Morgan was by no means, the only bad apple) the Whitebeards themselves lost the Moby Dick, their friends, their allies, Ace, and their captain and father. Jinbei lost his shichibukai status and a good chunk of his shoulder, Smoker lost his jitte, and the marines collectively lost Sengoku and pressured Garp to step down, not to mention the near civil war that happened afterwards. In fact, thanks to Tashigi’s previous encounter with heartbreak, it made her even more resilient in Marineford so she literally had less to lose. Instead she already knew the heartbreak and tragedies of war, especially when both sides considered themselves “right,” and justice was only what you could choose to do. So when it came down to the wire, she chose to protect her men and fellow marines instead. Like Coby, this too helped shape the future of the marines in a better direction, IN SPITE OF Akainu.
3) While she did lose to Law, so did Smoker. Moreover, reckless taking on foes much stronger than themselves isn’t just something Tashigi shares with Luffy and Ace, but also with Zoro! Just as Zoro took on Mihawk even before he could feel the distance between them, Tashigi took on Law for her sense of justice. Also, I believe, because Smoker mentioned to her that whether Crocodile was a legal pirate or not, a shichibukai is still a pirate and not to be trusted, thus, Tashigi may have seen history repeating itself as it did with Alabasta, and in an attempt to make sure she could choose her fight this time, she charged straight-forward rather than do as Smoker preferred; and collect more information first. Under many circumstances this could be considered a strength. Luffy never bothers to get more information, and Zoro only seems to pick up half of his through osmosis and in protecting the crew. However, again, Tashigi’s loss speaks NOT as a testament to her own weakness, but to Law’s strength. He ALSO beat Smoker, and then went on to take on Vergo with Smoker, kidnap Caesar, and aims to take on Doflamingo or even Kaidou. No one in their right mind would call Law weak, so why is the fact that he defeated Tashigi a bad mark on her rather than one in his favor?
4) Tashigi lost to Vergo, but again, he was not only a Vice Admiral who’d spent decades in the New World, but apparently terrorized the hell out of Law as a kid, half-defeated Law, half-defeated Smoker, and was more or less, Doflamingo’s right hand. And Doflamingo is the kingpin of the Underworld, on the absolutely strongest shichibukai out there, and was on the level with Atomos, Jozu, and Little Oars Jr. in Marineford. Let’s NOT underestimate Vergo, okay? There’s a reason he broke Sanji’s leg and ran for it too, you know. And as for Tashigi’s reliance on Sanji being weak? Allow me to vehemently disagree. Throughout all of One Piece, Luffy and the others are constantly relying on other people for help. As Luffy himself said, he can’t cook, he can’t sail, he can’t use swords, he can’t lie, and he’s not a doctor, or a musician. If anything, the biggest downfall of people in One Piece is when they don’t rely on friends. Women in One Piece are very strong, but they’re also fiercely independent, used to fighting for themselves. While the Amazons didn’t ask for Luffy for help, they were paralyzed, he gave it anyway. But Bellemere certainly refused to ask help, and even when she needed it most, she played it off as jokes for her pride. Nami had the hardest time in the world asking for help, and so did Robin! It brought them both to tears. Tashigi’s only other nakama who wasn’t already being cut down by someone they adored and respected (Vergo is a dick) was Smoker. She didn’t call for Sanji, she called for Smoker, and got Sanji anyway because he was closer and his haki is more sensitive on perception than the rest of his crew. Which leads me to my ** note from earlier.
Tashigi once promised Smoker she would get stronger so that her tears didn’t hurt her anymore. A captain has almost no damn chance of beating a vice admiral, even two years later, Coby could not possibly take on Garp. Moreover, Smoker entrusted his men to her again, so it was her job to call him. The fact that she DID get Sanji’s help, while partially a testament to the Straw Hat’s brand of courage and their own sense of right and wrong, is still proof that she kept her promise. In Alabasta, she was crushed by the fact that she hadn’t been able to choose her own justice. She was ashamed, and all she wanted to do was hide. She felt responsible, even though Smoker wasn’t able to do much better than that, since all he could think to do was to get proof of Crocodile’s misdeeds to force the World Government’s hand on removing his protected status. This time, she was strong enough to swallow her pride, MORE THAN ONCE, and ask for help when she needed it most. And NOT for herself, but for the sake of her crew, and the children, and justice. She was able to do that, even when Smoker HIMSELF wasn’t strong enough to, because his pride is his own weakness. It’s a strength when Nami and Robin do it, it’s a strength when Tashigi does as well.
5) On the other hand, she did half-backtrack on pride when it came to fighting Monet. Rather than fight side by side with Zoro, or tagteam up on Monet, like Smoker and Law were forced to do to handle Vergo, Tashigi mistakenly assumed that Zoro was unwilling to cut down a woman, since he hadn’t killed her in Loguetown. Thanks to her loss against Law, she assumed that all the swordsmen were running rampant with misogyny, and presumed wrongly about the pirate. -> While she DID lose against Monet initially, the fact that Zoro still bothered to save her is still PARTIALLY to Tashigi’s own credit. He does her some of his progress on the Grand Line from helping pick out the swords, and rash arrogance is flat out something Zoro shares. As to Tashigi losing against Monet making her weak; no more so than Nami, who has MULTIPLE attacks that should have been able to MELT a snow woman, or Robin and Chopper who couldn’t handle the snow and bites, and again, are we really going to call Nami, Robin, and Chopper weak too? They all have their own strengths, and Zoro told them to get going. Tashigi only stayed because she was THAT stubborn. Rather like Ace. Or Smoker. Or Luffy. And half of the time, their stubbornness is a strength. Furthermore, seeing as she couldn’t walk afterwards, she did reluctantly accept Zoro’s help in being carried around. AND, her determination to protect Zoro from his own (nonexistent) faults is part of what let the Straw Hats trust Tashigi in handling the kids.
Annoying: That’s a really subjective personal opinion. What one person finds grating, another may not, but I’ll try to tackle what I assume is considered her “annoying” traits. While Tashigi is quite clumsy, and a bit spacey, this is part of her charm that endears to her G-5, and other people. Even Chopper found it cute in Alabasta! I have very little doubt that for all Smoker and Hina are good friends, Smoker still finds Hina very annoying, but what does that really say? She still has her own personal fanboy army who adore her, much as Tashigi is developing. Furthermore, for Smoker’s men, Tashigi is one of the quieter, and EASILY most sensible, which is why he trusts her the most out of all of them. She’s a fantastic listener, and even when she doesn’t instantly understand what the fuck Smoker is talking about (who does?) she still patiently mulls it over, trusting that it will make sense in time. Unlike many other marines, Tashigi knows to follow her conscience above all else, even when it means helping pirates against even worse foes. She’s one of the most responsible people in all of the marines, and even though she has been willing to look the other way or break laws in order to follow Smoker’s lead, she always protects people first and foremost. Even when she gets distracted with her sword obsession (her dream mind you; just as the Straw Hats and Baroque Works all have dreams of their own) she still prioritizes PEOPLE first! Whether it’s obeying Smoker’s orders and running to his side despite being in the middle of something, or helping out strangers, or even pirates, or even in the middle of battle, she focuses on rescuing people more than swords. If you find her pout annoying, I can’t help you there, I thought it was adorable in an incredibly dorky typical One Piece charming way.
People Ship Her With Zoro / Looks Like Kuina: Oi oi oi. Hey now, this isn’t a Kagome/InuYasha/Kikyo deal here. AS OF YET, we don’t actually know what the fuck the relation between Kuina and Tashigi is (though I’m betting on cousins). They’re the same age, so it’s certainly not a reincarnation deal, but they’re not twins separated at birth because we saw Kuina’s birth. Kuina and Tashigi are both bird names, and certainly they both are katana swordswomen, and they both saw themselves as incapable of being the world’s strongest swordsman on account of their gender. Nevertheless, Tashigi said it herself! Don’t go confusing her for another person! Kuina’s hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, and ambitions were her own! And Tashigi’s are her own! Tashigi has never aimed to be the strongest swordsman in the world, she wants to free all the named swords from evil users, because thanks to her sword obsession and perception haki, she says she hears the hearts of the swords crying out for freedom. Hell, even when Zoro asked Tashigi if this meant she would take his swords from him, she said no way, it’s only the people who use the swords for evil. While she included some bounty hunters in this broad scope, she still helped Zoro get two more named swords, and ever since then has not made a move for any of his swords, except to observe them and fangirl them when he carried her in Punk Hazard. So she looks like Kuina, but that’s a very shallow reason for shipping.
Don’t get me wrong, fandom ships everything. I mean you want to talk about all the ships out there for Zoro? How about, ALL OF THEM. If a character has not even SPOKEN to Zoro yet in canon, he or she still gets shipped with Zoro. Sanji/Zoro is pretty much the most commonly shipped pairing in One Piece’s fandom, and I think people could argue the illegitimacy of that until the cows come home. Mihawk/Zoro isn’t too far behind, Perona/Zoro is up there, Robin/Zoro, Luffy/Zoro, Nami/Zoro, there is even Chopper/Zoro porn out there. Yes, not just fluff, but porn. Tashigi is just the only swordswoman who has come even CLOSE to holding her own against him yet other than Ain who was only in Film Z, so of course people ship them. But if anything, that just speaks to Tashigi’s strength all over again. She almost holds her equal with the would-be strongest swordsman in the world. Wow.
Personally I like the mystery in the Kuina-Tashigi connection. Did Kuina run away from home to get away from her father’s “Girls are weak” mentality? Did Kuina get retrograde amnesia in the fall down the stairs, and shipped to the marine academy? Are they cousins? Do they even HAVE anything in common at all? For all we know Tashigi was raised on Wano Island or something! I just hope (and hold faith) that Oda has something awesome planned for it. But in the meanwhile, I’m not sure Tashigi could do anything to keep people from shipping her with Zoro. If she slapped him across the face, some people would just ship them all the harder. And if she defeated him, wouldn’t she remind him even more of Kuina? Tashigi has weak knees (did Kuina? Was that why she fell????) and she’s pretty blind, but I always found it cute that she stubbornly remembered to shove her glasses back down around Zoro so that she didn’t remind him of someone else. And sometimes that’s a real thing. My ex-bf and current boyfriend looked very similar (they both have glasses) so I made the current boyfriend grow a beard. If anything, his looking like my ex was a turn off! I wouldn’t date him until he looked a little different! So shippers will ship, but don’t ship just for facial similarities, that’s a little shallow, and anyway, even if Tashigi is retrograde amnesia afflicted Kuina, she still wants to be considered her own person with her own identity and separate hopes and dreams. And if Zoro can respect that, fandom can too.