One Piece is one of the longest-running anime series, having recently reached its 1,000th episode and still going. That big story has given us many great characters, including pirates, marines, and side characters who've gotten caught up in the main conflicts.
Of the many great One Piece anime characters, there are the captains who lead their own pirate crews to the great treasure left behind by Gol D. Roger—and most of those captains intersect with Luffy's adventures as the Straw Hat Pirates stick their noses anywhere and everywhere.
From powerfully badass characters to ones who may be weaker but more charismatic and widely loved, here are our picks for the best captains in One Piece and why they're so awesome.
9. Calico Yorki of the Rumbar Pirates
Not much is known about Captain Yorki of the Rumbar Pirates—the former pirate group of Brook—but one thing is for certain: he's a man who loves music. Their ship is always filled with music, to the point that it even caught the attention of an island whale they named Laboon.
After contracting an incurable disease during one of his adventures, Yorki decided to sacrifice his position by boarding another ship (along with other infected members) to avoid coming into contact with his uninfected crew, leaving Brook as the new captain upon his death.
8. Clown Buggy of the Buggy Pirates
He may not be a "D." but Clown Buggy's charisma earns him a spot on this list of best One Piece captains. Sure, he isn't that strong and his Devil Fruit ability isn't that useful, but he still gathered enough troops to become one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea.
With tons of Impel Down criminals under his command—who follow and praise him as their god—the Marines have a hard time facing him and his crew, even when Admirals are sent to do the job. It's just great to see him running away from danger along with his whole crew.
7. Capone Bege of the Fire Tank Pirates
A captain, a father, and a castle—that's Capone Bege of the Fire Tank Pirates. We see him care for his crew so much that he carries them inside his body and never lets anyone get left behind.
Aside from being a captain and one of the Supernovas, he's also a good husband to his wife Chiffon and a loving father to their son.
6. Trafalgar Law of the Love Pirates
Trafalgar Law, the Surgeon of Death, is the captain of the Love Pirates (who are now allied with the Straw Hat Pirates). He's a badass captain who uses the deadly Devil Fruit ability called "Ope Ope no Mi."
Aside from being a capable fighter, he's also a caring captain who sacrificed himself for his imprisoned crew members in the Land of Wano. With this moment, an intriguing revelation came to light for audiences and led to a new story that spiced up the arc.
5. Portgas D. Ace of the Spade Pirates
Portgas D. Ace (famously known as Fire Fist Ace) was the commander of the 2nd Division of the Whitebeard Pirates. But before he became a son of Whitebeard, he was once captain of his own crew: the Spade Pirates.
Ace was a brave leader of his crew as he led them to the Red Hair Pirates' lair—led by Shanks (one of the Emperors of the Sea)—just to thank him, and even fight the Son of the Sea, Jinbei.
During his fight with Whitebeard, he let his crew escape and decided to buy them time by fighting Whitebeard alone.
4. Whitebeard of the Whitebeard Pirates
If Big Mom was the mother of her own fleet, Edward "Whitebeard" Newgate stands as the father of his formidable crew, with notable members like Marco the Phoenix and Fire Fist Ace.
During the Marineford War, he literally drew a line between the Marines and his crew, commanding his "sons" to escape the sea as his final order. We saw him snap out of anger when he saw what Akainu did to Ace, and that's one of the best rage moments in the series.
3. Shanks of the Red Hair Pirates
Red-Haired Shanks is the captain of the Red Hair Pirates, who Luffy admired and was influenced by to become a pirate. We saw how he handled the situation in the bar (where a bandit mocked them), where he remained calm and composed instead of showing his true ability.
He lost his arm when saving Luffy from a sea king, and when asked by Whitebeard, he simply stated that he left his arm for the next generation. He even stopped the Marineford War and its senseless deaths, respectfully asking for the bodies of Whitebeard and Ace.
2. Monkey D. Luffy of the Straw Hat Pirates
Though a clumsy one, the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates won't leave any member behind in trouble, which we've seen multiple times throughout the entire series.
Monkey D. Luffy treats his crew as his nakama ("closer than family") and cares for them, even to the point of saving one who was on the brink of execution. Although he sometimes brings trouble to the crew, everyone respects his position and enjoys the adventures with him.
1. Gol D. Roger of the Roger Pirates
Gol D. Roger tops this list, not simply because he was the Pirate King—he was truly a good captain to his crew and they enjoyed their adventures with him, all the way to the end of the New World in Grand Line.
After years of journeying the seas, he gave himself up (only himself, not his crew) to the Marines to be executed. But before his death, he started a new era and stirred a lot of pirates to action, as if he were the captain of all those who sail the seas looking for his treasure.