This theory is based on pure speculation that Im-sama has captured Vivi and King Cobra for yet unknown purposes. But I might know how it’s gonna play out in the future. Because I believe that Im is keeping Vivi in his chamber, and forcing her to entertain him to keep her father alive.
We all know how much Oda loves to influence his story with various myths and legends, and even folklore. The most famous influences include the tale of Momotaro and Journey to the West. But I may have found another crucial influence, and that’s the famous collection of middle eastern folk tales One Thousand and One Nights.
At first, I was iffy on that idea myself. An all powerful king imprisons a princess. Yeah, that sounds like the frame story for the folk tales, big deal. But the more I started digging into it, the more connections I started finding.
To start, when written in katakana, Im’s name is composed of the two radicals comprising the character 仏, which means “Buddha”. And the king that imprisons Scheherazade in the original tale is Shahrayar, the ruler of India. And his name, when translated from Persian, literally means ‘lord, sovereign, king’, the highest authority in the world. That still might be quite a superficial connection, but let’s keep going.
I’d like to focus on the stories themselves. Specifically, I’d like to focus on one of the most famous stories from this collection of folk tales about a sailor. I am of course talking about Sindbad the sailor (Maybe Sin D. Bad?) because that’s when my mind was positively blown.
Overall, Sindbad has had 7 voyages. And each voyage (or most of them) line up really well with the One Piece arcs that follow Vivi’s first encounter with the Straw Hats.
First voyage of Sindbad
He sets ashore on what appears to be an island, but this island proves to be a gigantic sleeping whale on which trees have taken root ever since the world was young. Awakened by a fire kindled by the sailors, the whale dives into the depths, the ship departs without Sinbad, and Sinbad is saved by the chance of a passing wooden trough sent by the grace of Allah.
He is washed ashore on a densely wooded island. While exploring the deserted island he comes across one of the king’s grooms. When Sinbad helps save the King’s mare from being drowned by a sea horse (not a seahorse as we know it, but a supernatural horse that lives underwater), the groom brings Sinbad to the king. The king befriends Sinbad and so he rises in the king’s favour and becomes a trusted courtier.
Now that sounds all too similar to Reverse Mountain. Star Hats meet Laboon and Vivi for the first time there, and that’s where they start their quest to bring Vivi safely to Alabasta. A lot of detail such as Crocodile and Baroque Works doesn’t feature in the First Voyage of Sindbad, but Luffy does befriend the king in the end and is greatly rewarded for his troubles.
Second voyage of Sindbad
Accidentally abandoned by his shipmates again, he finds himself stranded in an island which contains roc eggs (Rocs are giant birds). He attaches himself to a roc and is transported to a valley of giant snakes which can swallow elephants; these serve as the rocs’ natural prey. The floor of the valley is carpeted with diamonds, and merchants harvest these by throwing huge chunks of meat into the valley: the birds carry the meat back to their nests, and the men drive the birds away and collect the diamonds stuck to the meat.
The arc that follows Alabasta is Skypiea, and once again, it lines up quite perfectly. Giant bird that brings you to a valley of diamonds? Sounds a lot like the South Bird and the City of Gold. Giant snakes that can swallow elephants? That’s Nola! Hell, the reason Zoro ends up at the final battle is because a South Bird thinks he has food and carries him off.
Third voyage of Sindbad
By ill chance he and his companions are cast up on an island where they are captured by, “a huge creature in the likeness of a man, black of colour, …with eyes like coals of fire and large canine teeth like boar’s tusks and a vast big gape like the mouth of a well. Moreover, he had long loose lips like camel’s, hanging down upon his breast, and ears like two Jarms falling over his shoulder-blades, and the nails of his hands were like the claws of a lion.
Sinbad hatches a plan to blind the beast with the two red-hot iron spits with which the monster has been kebabing and roasting the ship’s company. He and the remaining men escape on a raft they constructed the day before. However, the Giant’s mate hits most of the escaping men with rocks and they are killed. After further adventures (including a gigantic python from which Sinbad escapes using his quick wits), he returns to Baghdad, wealthier than ever.
Honestly, this is where I kinda started losing the thread. To me it seems like this is still about Skypiea? It’s still talking about giant snakes and the beast with its ears hanging down his shoulders could be Enel. Not as good of a connection as the other two.
Fourth voyage of Sindbad
A party of itinerant pepper-gatherers transports him to their own island, where their king befriends him and gives him a beautiful and wealthy wife. Too late Sinbad learns of a peculiar custom of the land: on the death of one marriage partner, the other is buried alive with his or her spouse, both in their finest clothes and most costly jewels.
Sinbad’s wife falls ill and dies soon after, leaving Sinbad trapped in an underground cavern, a communal tomb, with a jug of water and seven pieces of bread. Just as these meagre supplies are almost exhausted, another couple—the husband dead, the wife alive—are dropped into the cavern. Sinbad bludgeons the wife to death and takes her rations.
This is one nasty story and I am not surprised Oda skipped over it. The only connection to Water 7 arc here is that Sindbad is buried with water and 7 pieces of bread. I also speculate that Vivi skipped over this tale because she doesn’t like Robin joining the crew.
Fifth voyage of Sindbad
Soon at sea once more, while passing a desert island Sinbad’s crew spots a gigantic egg that Sinbad recognizes as belonging to a roc. Out of curiosity the ship’s passengers disembark to view the egg, only to end up breaking it and having the chick inside as a meal. Sinbad immediately recognizes the folly of their behavior and orders all back aboard ship.
However, the infuriated parent rocs soon catch up with the vessel and destroy it by dropping giant boulders they have carried in their talons. Shipwrecked yet again, Sinbad is enslaved by the Old Man of the Sea, who rides on his shoulders with his legs twisted round Sinbad’s neck and will not let go, riding him both day and night until Sinbad would welcome death.
Eventually, Sinbad makes wine and tricks the Old Man into drinking some. Sinbad kills him after he has fallen off, and then he escapes.
It started lining up pretty well once more. Naturally, this is Thriller Bark. Straw Hats find a suspicious barrel and crack it open, only to find out it’s a trap. Luffy or rather Luffy’s shadow is enslaved by Moria. Moria is then tricked into consuming a thousand shadows, which makes him release all of them.
Sixth voyage of Sindbad
Sinbad is shipwrecked yet again, this time quite violently as his ship is dashed to pieces on tall cliffs. There is no food to be had anywhere, and Sinbad’s companions die of starvation until only he is left. He builds a raft and discovers a river running out of a cavern beneath the cliffs. The stream proves to be filled with precious stones and becomes apparent that the island’s streams flow with ambergris.
He falls asleep as he journeys through the darkness and awakens in the city of the king of Serendib (Ceylon, Sri Lanka), “diamonds are in its rivers and pearls are in its valleys”.
The king marvels at what Sinbad tells him of the great Haroun al-Rashid, and asks that he take a present back to Baghdad on his behalf, a cup carved from a single ruby, with other gifts including a bed made from the skin of the serpent that swallowed the elephant (“and whoso sitteth upon it never sickeneth”), and “a hundred thousand miskals of Sindh lign-aloesa”, and a slave-girl “like a shining moon”. And so Sinbad returns to Baghdad, where the Caliph wonders greatly at the reports Sinbad gives of the land of Ceylon.
Now this is, without a doubt, a quick summary of Sabaody and Amazon Lily. Instead if his crew starving to death one by one they are simply sent away one by one. Instead of floating down a stream and falling asleep Luffy flies for 3 days and wakes up at Amazon Lily. Instead of befriending the king and being sent away with a slave girl, it’s a queen who once was a slave and agrees to take Luffy to Impel Down.
Final voyage of Sindbad
Cast up on a desolate shore, he constructs a raft and floats down a nearby river to a great city. Here the chief of the merchants weds Sinbad to his daughter, names him his heir, and conveniently dies. The inhabitants of this city are transformed once a month into birds, and Sinbad has one of the bird-people carry him to the uppermost reaches of the sky, where he hears the angels glorifying God, “whereat I wondered and exclaimed, ‘Praised be God! Extolled be the perfection of God!'” But no sooner are the words out than there comes fire from heaven which all but consumes the bird-men.
The bird-people are angry with Sinbad and set him down on a mountain-top, where he meets two youths who are the servants of God and who give him a golden staff; returning to the city, Sinbad learns from his wife that the bird-men are devils, although she and her father are not of their number. And so, at his wife’s suggestion, Sinbad sells all his possessions and returns with her to Baghdad, where at last he resolves to live quietly in the enjoyment of his wealth, and to seek no more adventures.
This final voyage I believe to be the foreshadowing of what’s to come. The great city being Mariejois, and the merchant being King Cobra, who in his final moments entrusts Luffy with saving Vivi from Im-sama. Now I don’t know about bird people, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there is a cult at Mariejois that personally serves the Celestial Dragons or Im-sama specifically. And naturally, they are punished regardless, because Celestial Dragons are not good people.
It also reminds me a lot of Enel and his cruelty towards Skypieans. Of course, Luffy isn’t gonna just give up like Sindbad and settle down, but perhaps that is what the previous Joyboy did in his time, and Luffy is gonna change how that story goes. Perhaps, before Vivi manages to finish this story, Luffy breaks down the door and saves her, and she gets to experience the ending herself.
A bit of Math
I’d like to thank Library of Ohara for providing this accurate account of how many days within the universe have passed since the start of the story. Specifically I am interested in how many days have passed since Straw Hats met Vivi. And we can do that quite easily thanks again to the calculations of Library of Ohara.
Reverse Mountain to Skypiea – 20-22 days
Water 7 – 15 days
Thriller Bark – 5-7 days
Paramount War – 24-26 days
Timeskip – 2 years
Fishman Island – 2 days
Dressrosa and Zou – 20 days
Whole Cake Island – 7 days
Wano – 2 weeks to a month
Now let’s take away that number of days from 1001, because Oda loves to play with numbers and we are left with something like 140-160 days. So I am making a prediction that Luffy is gonna save Vivi in 150 days within the universe. Alternatively, if we take the number of the chapter in which Vivi first appeared, which is 104, and the latest chapter, which is 1048. Then take away 104 from 1048, which leaves us with 944. Now if we take away 944 from 1001 we are left with 57. So Luffy will save Vivi in 57 chapters.
Theory by alma3884052 (https://www.reddit.com/user/alma3884052)