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The 15 Saddest Backstories In One Piece, Ranked

One Piece has plenty of fun moments, but it also delves into some deeply miserable topics. Often, these are in the form of character backstories.

What are some of the saddest One Piece backstories? Let's take Nico Robin, whose island home was destroyed by the World Government to prevent them from learning the secrets of the Poneglyphs. There's also Trafalgar Law, whose town and family were destroyed when the World Government instituted a violent quarantine to contain a disease that wasn't even contagious. Boa Hancock and her sisters endured slavery and torture. 

Because One Piece is such a vast and complex series, we can't include every sad backstory that deserves to be on the list. But all of the tales listed here are absolutely miserable. 

  • Trafalgar Law hails from Flevance, a town that was ravaged by a disease called Amber Lead Syndrome. It would have been bad enough if the disease simply ran its course - he would have lost his sister and would have suffered from the disease himself, likely losing his own life in the process. But things were dramatically worsened by the involvement of the World Government, who started burning down hospitals and shooting people in an attempt to quarantine the residents - a cruel tactic that didn't do anything to contain the disease since Amber Lead Syndrome was not contagious. He managed to escape under a pile of bodies being shipped from the city.

    After that, Law was filled with rage towards the world and wanted to cause as much damage as possible. This attitude led him towards the Donquixote Pirates. With them, he intended to destroy as many people as he could in the three years he had left to live - but his mind and his survival chances were changed by his friendship with Corazon.

    Brutal backstory?
  • Sanji's father, Vinsmoke Judge, is without question one of the worst dads in anime history. Judge wanted his kids to be emotionless powerhouses, so he forced his pregnant wife Sora to undergo surgery that would alter her unborn children's brains. Sora took medication to prevent the surgery's effect, but she was only able to help Sanji, not the other three children.

    As a result, Sanji's brothers were incapable of feeling empathy and constantly tormented Sanji, who was obviously different from them. Judge considered Sanji to be a failure, and treated him with contempt and abuse, literally putting an iron mask on him and locking him in a dungeon. Sanji managed to escape his imprisonment, but he ended up stranded on an island and nearly starving before he finally found somewhere he could belong. 

    Brutal backstory?
  • When Nico Robin first joins the Straw Hats, she does so because Luffy saved her life when she wanted it to end. 

    She likely felt that way because of her miserable backstory. Robin was born on the island of Ohara. Her mother was an archaeologist who left her with abusive relatives when she was two. Not only was she shunned by her family, her peers found her Devil Fruit Powers terrifying. 

    With little love or support in her life, Robin took solace in studying at The Tree of Knowledge. There, she actually met the requirements to become an archaeologist herself. Her days of studying ended abruptly when Marine battleships showed up to destroy Ohara and prevent the archaeologists from understanding the Poneglyph they were studying. With help from a giant named Saul, Nico is able to escape - but Saul is annihilated in the process, and Robin never gets to see her hometown, her mother, or the Tree of Knowledge again. 

    Brutal backstory?
  • Brook was once a member of the Rumbar Pirates, a tight-knit group that thrived on music. But their happy days came to an end when the captain and a few other members contracted an incurable disease. They decided to separate from the group in order to keep the disease from spreading.

    Brook and the rest of the healthy pirates continued on their journey throughout the Grand Line, but they were soon attacked by a group of pirates who ended up poisoning the entire crew. One by one, they passed away, leaving only Brook alive at the end. Finally, Brook succumbed too but was revived thanks to his Soul-Soul Fruit. Unfortunately, he couldn't find his body for about a year, and by the time his soul was able to reinhabit it, his body had withered away into a skeleton. 

    Brutal backstory?