Let’s start off by mentioning that there are already 3 methods by which people are able to foresee the future.
1- Future Sight
Through the means of Observation Haki one is able to see into the future. We have encountered this ability within Luffy, Katakuri and possible Aokiji(when Whitebeard stabbed him). Luffy and Katakuri are able to see a few seconds into the future and no limitation is given. You can alter the future by acting in a way that is different than the way you perceived it to begin with. This is crucial in understanding how powerful this ability is. Its literally a future altering ability.
2- Madame Shirley
This one is pretty wild and very peculiar to say the least. Madame Shirley has a 100% success rate in foretelling the future and it will happen no matter what. The Fishmen are calling this fortune-telling even “prophecies” and trust her completely. Also Madame Shirley’s “prophecies” made her stop doing them because it is “better” to not know the future. She is almost certainly not a devil fruit user(she is a Fishmen after all and its not mentioned) and this ability is therefore probably some kind of haki.
3- Basil Hawkins
Hawkins mentions that today is not the day he will die. That implies he knows what will happen in the future and even possibly when he will die.
He holds up cards with his straws(he has the straw straw fruit after all) and each card corresponds to the “attributes” he brings up and can determine with a touch the probability of the respective thing he inquires about. The “attributes” that we get to learn are probability of defeat, success, evasion and lastly death. It turns out his chance of dying this day is 0% and that explains why he stated at the beginning that its not the day that he will die. This is likely not his straw straw devil fruit but some form of haki as well. This might come as point of contention but do you think this card deck is generated by his devil fruit? Are the cards made of straw? We already have seen that he can use his ability even without the cards.
Is he using them just for show? Did he read the cards prior to coming even though he didn’t meet them yet? Probably not and I don’t think this is a plot hole by Oda. We keep in mind that Hawkins is able to foresee the future without using the cards and its probably mostly a mental thing. Maybe the card ritual calms him and just makes it easier for him to foresee the future.
We also pick up that Hawkins is able to see one month into the future with this ability.
· Hawkins isn’t directly predicting what is going to happen next but can figure out his chances of success when it comes to a certain subject(for example survival).
· Madame Shirley’s fortune telling works with a 100% accuracy and that is the reason why she doesn’t want to know the future.
· Future Sight(Observation Haki) enables you to see into the future for a few seconds(possibly more, but no character yet confirmed it) and you alter the future by acting in a different way then seen. This is important because it is the greatest difference between all of them. Hawkins can figure out his odds but he can’t see directly into the future. He doesn’t alter the future but just inquires about the odds. Madame Shirley can directly see the future but can’t change it. Future sight haki enables you to not only see the future but alter it. Thats the entire point of it.
· All the different abilities seem to stem from haki because they all can’t be traced back to a specific devil fruit. Haki occurs naturally in all creatures and Madame Shirley being a Fishmen and the rest being humans leads me to believe that it is form of haki. I wouldn’t guess too much here how it exactly fits because the name in the end doesn’t matter. It just matters what its effect is and how it functions. The most important thing is that we know that of the three “ways” future sight is haki and is the most crucial ability because our main character is using it.
· Hawkins & Madame Shirley can see for at least one month into the future but through observation haki you can see only for a few moments into the future or does it?
Was this just a joke by Katakuri? Did he saw the future of the pirate king in that moment as Luffy seems to see from day 1? Did Luffy always posses this ability to foresee the future and that is what made him want convinced him to become pirate king? A self fulfilling prophecy one could say. Lets remember, Luffy doesn’t say he “wants to become the pirate king”, he says he “I am gonna be the pirate king“. That’s a tell tale that nothing in the series might seem what it is. We know Luffy has the ability to foresee the future and his dream might have stemmed from this ability to know what will happen. That would even explain the entire personality of Luffy and why he has no doubts. Its a feeling within him that he will become pirate king, his total conviction might be a cause of this willpower. I suggest that Luffy is similar to Roger in that sense. Lets remember this deliberate scene.
Roger immediately tells us that he believes in “fate” and that he is convinced that he will turn the world upside down. That reminds us of Luffy who is convinced he will be the man to become pirate king and we all know that Luffy is Roger’s successor and they both have almost identical traits. Lets not ignore that Rayleigh is a non-believer and doesn’t take Roger seriously at all. Rayleigh doesn’t possess the ability to foresee the future but later on he eludes that he changed his mind.
Maybe he now in his old age finally realizes what Roger saw and meant with his cryptic talk. I will not go into much more detail about Roger because I consider another theory about his entire journey and how it eludes to him knowing what will happen next constantly. Frankly, all his appearances hint to him having a grasp of what is to come(Ed war, creating the great pirate age through his execution, first Rayleigh meeting, even when he wrote on the poneglyph in Skypia. It was like he knew he would someday come to the end of the grand line and find Raftel, I don’t think its certain that he conquered the Grand Line and then went back to write this on the poneglyph, again I don’t assume this is a plot hole. Telling Pedro its not his time yet and his age will come. The mink prophecy itself shows that there was a person who could foresee the future in their tribe(which means these prophecies are probably haki) and it eludes to people from the past already having this ability and people are actually influenced by it to this day. Roger saying “I will not die, partner”.). Its like he knows exactly what his actions will cause and what the result of any encounter will be. Call it just “being a badass” or “this is just a story and unlikely things have to happen to make it interesting” but there are hints that there is more to it.
If you talk about fate like the characters do its not about conviction alone. We know certain people can see the future and that is what I would call fate. But through haki fate can be changed and it isn’t set in stone.
THE OTHER GUYS:
Though I will mostly ignore the opening arc of One Piece because I don’t believe Oda intended at all to Shanks have this ability but later on went to the source material and gave him a fitting ability once he was sure. I expect Oda being certain on what Shanks ability is when the famous meeting with Whitebeard occurred and prior to the clash it was just a thought in his mind that he didn’t decided on yet.
- Shanks never asks questions but when he is hungover he asks Mihawk a question implying he is not in a state to foresee the future and therefore doesn’t know Mihawk’s purpose of meeting him (Pre-Whitebeard clash, but the idea probably existed already in Oda’s mind)
- Shanks was chill and extremely confident before the war against Shiki like he knew they wouldn’t die and succeed even though the odds seemed impossible(Oda’s narration)
- He met with Whitebeard and wasn’t concerned about Ace dying. He was concerned about him fighting Blackbeard like he would know that Ace’s defeat will cause the fall of Whitebeard and Blackbeard’s rise. Shanks even eludes that power isn’t enough to beat Blackbeard. It seems like he wasn’t there to discuss but to convince Whitebeard to stop Ace in order to prevent his Whitebeard’s death.
- During the Whitebeard meeting Shanks said that he “bet” his arm on the new age and smiled. He was happy about losing his arm and his smile eludes to more. Why? Because even a bet can be safe. There is such a thing as a safe bet, like when you know the outcome of the bet. That would be funny to him, wouldn’t it?
- Shanks stops Kaido. First how did he know that Kaido would come? Shanks doesn’t seem like the guy who has an intelligence network. Did he stop Kaido because that would have made the situation even worse then it already was? Did he just save the world just by the way when he prevented Kaido from coming and making things worse?
- Shanks stops the war in Marineford and saves Coby. He pretty much gives away that he can predict the future here lol. He talks about betting again and tells Coby basically that he did a similar act to him. Coby changed the fate of the world with his actions and Shanks was aware that it was a great change without even having any bases for it. Its the first thing he realizes and is speaking out loud.
- Also what was the most confusing thing for me during this arc, especially while watching the anime is why did Shanks not stop the admirals when they went for Luffy? This is either a gaping plot hole or he was aware that Luffy would survive anyways. This is not a small point by any means and might be a dead giveaway as well.
- He appeared to stop Blackbeard, not the world government itself. Its like he knew Blackbeard would appear, kill Whitebeard and take his power. Nobody expected Blackbeard to betray the WG and enter Impel Down to obtain the probably strongest pirate crew in the world. Shanks just appeared to stop Blackbeard in the exact right time and stop his power high. Blackbeard wanted to take down the world government and threw the world into even more chaos.
- During Blackbeard’s and Shanks’ clash Shanks gave up his ambition of becoming a pirate king(read up on the theory above if you doubt this. I am certain it can convince you. Its clear that Roger intended Shanks to succeed him and gave him his hat for that purpose. Shanks returned the gesture to Luffy because he knows that he has something that can make this goal happen that he doesn’t have). He decided to find the person who will become pirate king(and someone who is able to defeat Blackbeard) instead and therefore he was traveling the world to find a successor. That is why he gave his arm because that lesson is what made Luffy the man he is. Luffy became someone who is willing to sacrifice himself for his comrade.
- After Luffy’s victory in Whole Cake Island Shanks looks at the news and states “the day we will meet will be soon”. Hell, he even knew that he shouldn’t have met Luffy prior because that might have altered fate in Luffy not becoming pirate king. Shanks wants to meet Luffy once he is really the person he knew Luffy would become. He even explicitly said that Luffy wouldn’t want this meeting yet. How in the hell would he know that if he didn’t have seen him for 10+ years?
- Shanks met with the Gorosei to talk “about a certain pirate” like he would know what this certain pirate is going to do and seems to attempt to alter the future again.
Now we come to the greatest SOB of the entire series(and we love him for it). The complete antithesis to Luffy which is shown in the very first appearance of Blackbeard.
Once you understand that Blackbeard ruined the dream of Shanks wanting to become pirate king and Shanks then went on his journey to find a successor who can defeat Blackbeard this opening scene makes perfect sense. They are the opposites of each other but have the same dream. Blackbeard is the highest rising pirate in the One Piece world and did the impossible. He killed Whitebeard, took his power, gathered the strongest crew on the planet(yes, I went there lol) and within 2 years he became a Yonko and he is far from done. Pirate king is next, baby. All worked out perfectly for him but lets not forget how he came to this point. Lets go through Blackbeard’s time line and figure out why Shanks gave his ambition up.
- Shanks clashed with Blackbeard and gave him the only scar that is bothering him to this day. One could argue that everything Shanks does including giving Luffy his straw hat is for the reason to stop Blackbeard of becoming pirate king and Luffy getting the title instead. According to Oda the Blackbeard pirates were planned to appear from the beginning and where always intended to eventually show up. They are clearly the main opposition to Luffy in his struggle of becoming the pirate king. Blackbeard is the villain when it comes to obtaining the One Piece and the title of pirate king. So why did Shanks gave up his ambition? Well, Blackbeard had nothing outstanding at this point. No devil fruit we are aware of or even any haki to speak off but Shanks could not only not defeat Blackbeard, he also obtained his most significant scar. How did Blackbeard do this? Shanks is an elite warrior and gifted like no other. He might be even considered the strongest person in the One Piece world and only a handful of people can contest him to that description. He already eluded that you can’t defeat Blackbeard with power alone. It hints that he has some kind of connection to fate in the same way Shanks does. Maybe a similar form of haki that enables him to foresee the future and possibly even alter it. Like imposing your will on the future, something very elusive and hinted on over and over again. I know how crazy that sounds but when I am finished with all of Blackbeard’s “achievements” you might be wondering as well. I don’t put my finger on something exact but I guess he possess a will that is unbreakable a kin to Luffy’s that enables him to overcome impossible obstacles. Even if you just assume that Shank’s ability is similar to Hawkins and he simply guessed the odds and didn’t see him ever beating Blackbeard and his rate of success is always 0% that might have been enough to break Shank’s dream. He encountered something that day that goes beyond simple power and fate seems like a good reason why you can’t do something. If it is bound not to happen would you try? That is a very rare ability which we have seen in Luffy endless times.
- Blackbeard went on Whitebeard’s ship pretending to be a nobody in the “hope” that one day the fruit he is after will appear on the ship. Now, this is utterly insane. Its like me chilling at a coffee place and expecting Beyonce to appear just because that place has good coffee. Its like he knew that if he went on the Whitebeard ship fate would strike and he will get a chance to get the devil fruit which will make him pirate king.
- On Jaya we get the first hint that Luffy surpasses Blackbeard’s power when it comes to fate. He was the only person ever to escape Blackbeard’s plan to capture him. The knock-up stream saved them from Blackbeard who would have ended the Straw hats journey right then and there. As a side note the Blackbeard pirates are cruising on a raft which is probably the most dangerous way of travelling we have seen on the Grand Line. Its like risk doesn’t mean as much when you know that you can’t die…hmmmmmm.
- When Ace found Blackbeard’s crew they are completely chill even though Ace is there to kill them. Ace is not just a guy, he is a one of a kind prodigy. Not only the son of the pirate king but a genius fighter like Luffy with arguably more talent and a superior devil fruit. Ace could fight Aokiji like he was his equal and can escape from admirals. Ace was close to the top 10, if not in the top 10 strongest people in the entire One Piece world. Van Auge speaks “this is one of fate’s crossroads AGAIN“. Implying they are not only not worried about what is going to happen but were expecting fate to strike. This happened before and is literally called “fate” by Van Auge. And even though Ace shows unbelievable and equal (look at the final panel of the clash) strength Blackbeard is victorious. It implies even though you are as strong as Blackbeard you will not win.
- Now we come to the most absurd plan in the entire series that in the end magically turned out just fine, 0.00000000000001% odds one might say. What is this gem you might ask? It’s Blackbeard’s plan to gather his crucial crew members by breaking them out of Impel Down. Now why is this so insane? Well, remember how Magellan destroyed the entire Blackbeard crew and they where on the verge of death and Shyriu just walked by and gave them the antidote? Let me get this straight, Blackbeard goes into a place where he has 0% chance of beating Magellan(who he most likely knows everything about including his devil fruit) but comes at a time where Luffy makes the first prison revolt since Shiki and then gets absolutely destroyed. Then the guy(Shyriu) who should be his enemy just switches sides and saves him? Shyriu helps him to go to the lowest level and furthermore escape Magellan who they couldn’t beat prior? What kind of plan is that? Its almost like he knew that he wouldn’t die and his plan would come to fruition in some kind of way. The plan can not work UNLESS Blackbeard knows that these things will happen. I am guessing he didn’t know that Shyriu himself would save them but something a kin to the way Hawkins sees the mark on death. He knows that on a specific day his plans will work out or that he can’t die. Blackbeard isn’t a dummy by any means and this plan would have never been conceived by him. All this work and setup just to get absolutely murdered by a guy who he knows the ability of? No way.
- First, nice timing on that opening on Whitebeard were he is so weakened that he is unable to kill Blackbeard. Secondly and one of the biggest giveaways, how in the hell would he know that he could survive a 2nd devil fruit? We know of nobody who could ever eat two devil fruits and achieve this possibility. Normally your body gets ripped apart once you eat two devil fruits. Just think about it, even if you have read in a book that there is a method to eat two devil fruits would you risk it just because its written in a book? Who cares what is written in a book when its impossible? Its like reading in a book that humans can naturally fly and you assume in the real world that you can do it and jump of the garage? No, you think the book is rubbish and is telling lies but Blackbeard somehow knew he could survive two devil fruits and do the impossible? This hints he has a connection to fate that goes beyond anything that can be rationalized.
- He doesn’t fight Shanks in Marineford and this is very important. Blackbeard is aware that Shanks is there to stop him but knows that he can’t win right now even though he just obtained the strongest devil fruit on the planet and was able to hurt him even before obtaining his yami yami no mi. Blackbeard doesn’t want to fight Shanks yet but knows at a later time that he will win. The time of their battle isn’t ready yet, another instance where he eludes that he knows what fate has in store for him.
- Blackbeard is 100% aware that the war of becoming the next pirate king has already started. The throne war began and even though Kaido & Big Mom are oblivious to Luffy’s danger he isn’t. He knows exactly what kind of threat Luffy is and that he is impressed by him the most. Blackbeard knows that Luffy is his real obstacle that he has to overcome.
3- Monkey D. Dragon
This is just a small nugget that I have been theorizing for years now and finally I think I have a grasp of the most wanted man’s first appearance.
Why was Dragon in Logue Town? The answer was always to me that he was there to save Luffy but how did he know? I always figured this was coincidence or Dragon was just on his way to pick up Luffy and he happened to start his journey already. That would explain what he was talking about when he said “A pirate. Thats fine, too…”. He was there to pick up his son in the East Blue and he learned that he was a pirate(he got his first poster) and said that is also “good”. But now I don’t think believe its coincidence, he knew he had to be there to save his son from Smoker.
Do you actually believe that the most wanted man just goes back to the East Blue and saves his own son who he never met before from Smoker who nobody else on this island could have dealt with? Is this even remotely believable? His entire appearance can be explained by him knowing that if he wouldn’t come to Logue Town and stop Smoker Luffy’s journey on the Grand Line would have never began. Dragon had to change that in order to make his son potentially a world uniter. Is that the reason why Dragon left Luffy to Garp? Wouldn’t Luffy become a revolutionary if he would have grown up with Dragon? Did Dragon see a different path for Luffy that is better to the world if he gave him away? Questionable to say the least.
*Theory by Donal D. Trump