Waifu Wednesday romance dawns upon us once again, and today I will be talking about everybody’s favourite navigator, Nami!
I have been watching and reading Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece for a very long time now, and thus the main cast is very near and dear to my heart — real fans will have picked up on the “romance dawn” reference.
One Piece is absolutely loaded with interesting and unique characters, whether it’s the main Straw Hat crew, the villains of the series or even the side characters we only see for a couple of episodes. It’s easy to talk about the appeal of so many of these characters, but it is long overdue for me to talk about Nami — so let’s begin!
Who is Nami?
Also known as the “Cat Burglar”, Nami is an extremely talented navigator and cartographer whose ability is praised by not only those close to her but by those she sees as enemies. Her talents can be seen during the Arlong arc — we see an entire room filled to the brim with maps that Nami created at a young age.
Nami was dealt a fairly rough hand in life as a large group of Fish-Men pirates invaded her home island. They then enslaved the citizens of this island and, after finding out Nami’s talents for navigation and cartography, forced her to create maps for them. Since a young age, she has been fighting to keep not only herself but the other islanders alive by working for these pirates.
Nami made a deal with Arlong, the captain of the Fish-Men pirates, that if she managed to bring him 100,000,000 Berries — Berries being the currency of One Piece’s setting — he would free the island. This led Nami into a life of thievery and deception in order to make as much money as she could. Until meeting Luffy, she had double-crossed everyone she had ever come across after using them to her advantage.
It’s Luffy’s ability to look past her betrayal, listen to her past, and see the person she has become that allows her to change her ways and understand that friends will be there for her. Luffy’s fight with Arlong and destruction of the room in which she was forced to make maps relieves her of all her past pain — she had finally found a place where she belonged.
Why we love her
Nami is a real rollercoaster of emotions as a viewer; at first, you love her, then after witnessing her betrayal you’re confused and angry at why she would do something like that, then after hearing her story and motivations you just want to give her a hug.
Nami is emotionally and mentally strong; she is, without a doubt, perfectly fine and getting by on her own initially — but during a breakdown after Arlong breaks his promise to free her people, we witness a side of her she most likely hadn’t shown in years.
It’s here where we begin to understand what all of this meant to her, that this character who we only perceived as selfish and greedy was actually carrying all of the burdens for her people. All of this culminates in an incredibly emotional scene where, with tears streaming down her face, she finally asks Luffy to help her.
On top of this, there are many actions made by Luffy that really hammer home the emotions of the viewers, especially preceding the final fight of the Arlong Arc. Namely, the scene in which he places the Straw Hat, his most precious treasure, on Nami’s head and responds to her call to help with “OF COURSE I WILL”.
Since this point, Nami has been one of, if not the, most dedicated members of the Straw Hat crew when it comes to believing in Luffy. Navigation was something she believed was something she was forced to do, but now with her new crew, she loves her life making waves throughout the Grand Line.
Why you’ll love her
While sections of One Piece that center around Nami are indeed emotional, one of the best parts about her character is the fact that she is also hilarious! Similar to Usopp, another member of the crew, she is something of a coward when it comes to the big fights in the series. This usually ends up with her running away but managing to come out on top using her quick thinking to get her out of such dangerous situations.
However, despite being something of a coward, Nami has her own set of principles and rules that give her the strength to go against her natural instinct of running away. Sometimes it could just be money that allows her to stand up, but the big one is her friends — regardless of the danger, she will not let those who accepted her be left behind.
Lastly… goddamn, Oda gave her one hell of a post-time-skip power up when it comes to her proportions. Sorry, my degenerate leaked out there (You’re among friends here – Ed.), but I just had to let fellow cultured folk that it is indeed something I appreciate.
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