He's already the "brave warrior of the sea" that he set out to be
Each member of the Straw Hat crew has a different dream. Luffy wants to be King of the Pirates. Zoro wants to be the world's greatest swordsman. Nami wants to make a map of the entire world. Sanji wants to find the All Blue. And Usopp wants to be a brave warrior of the sea. Of course, there are other members, but I think it's important to stop there and compare. Those first few crew members want a specific title or to accomplish a specific thing. But Usopp? Usopp simply wants to be brave.
Now, the reasoning for this is pretty simple: Usopp is afraid of a lot of things in the One Piece universe. Most things, actually. He gets nervous about new islands, often feels weak in comparison to new foes, and when a challenge arises his first instinct is usually to find a way around it rather than to tackle it head-on. So of course just being a "brave warrior" would be a big deal. Considering his history, it's just as much of a leap as being Pirate King.
That said, I think he's already accomplished that goal. Usopp is already a brave warrior of the sea, whether he recognizes it or not.
I often see complaints about Usopp's character, saying that if he was truly making growth in his personal arc, he'd be way more confident by now. He'd have shed most of his fearful tendencies and would've developed into more of a hero. But not only do I think that this is kind of a dull interpretation, but I also think it misunderstands what bravery is. Because in my opinion, bravery isn't 100 percent courage in all situations. Bravery is showing courage even in the face of fear. Or at least it means a whole lot more that way.
Usopp, from his introduction going forward, is the closest thing One Piece fans have to a consistent audience surrogate. He's by far the most relatable person on the crew as he lacks Devil Fruit powers and is usually forced to rely on his own ingenuity and trained skills to survive when there's trouble. When Usopp is stunned or amazed by something huge or magnificent, we often have the same reaction. Usopp is us.
And fear is super relatable. Fear and stress and indecisiveness and worry are remarkably common feelings for average people to have and I've yet to meet a person in my entire life who hasn't experienced at least one of those things at some point. Fear is something that's more than okay to admit, too, especially since bravery is courage in spite of fear, rather than a complete lack of it.
And by that definition, Usopp is full of brave moments, moments that solidify him as a "brave warrior of the sea." Deciding to stop running from the Fishman Pirates and facing down Choo. Deciding to save Luffy from Miss Goldenweek rather than flee from Mr. 5. Refusing to let Luffy's dreams be laughed at and helping Chopper take down Mr. 4 and Miss Merry Christmas. Standing up to his Captain because he still believed in the Going Merry. Burning the World Government flag. Rescuing Robin from Spandam and his men. Taking on Perona as he knew he was the only one who stood a chance. Fighting past his nerves to land the knockout shot on Sugar before she could get to Law and Luffy. Even recently, in order to save Tonoyasu, Usopp rushed forward with his allies, taking down Orochi's men along the way.
None of these moments were examples of absolute fearlessness and they were all surrounded by scenes of Usopp shaking in his boots. But they were brave. And because of that, they were inspiring.
Usopp is anyone that has mustered the courage to fight for what they believe in, all while understanding that their times are tough and their obstacles are huge. Usopp is anyone that has decided to look at what scares them and stare it down, despite a little voice in their head telling them they should probably go in the opposite direction. One Piece is full of moments like these, as the Straw Hat Crew dismantles corrupt organizations, takes down tyrants, and brings justice to people who have lost all hope. And Usopp is at the forefront of this, as a little crew from the East Blue becomes legend.
Usopp should always be scared because Usopp should always be brave.
What is your favorite Usopp moment? Let me know in the comments!
Daniel Dockery is a Senior Staff Writer for Crunchyroll. Follow him on Twitter!
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