Merfolk (魚人) are one of two humanoid species that inhabit and rule the seas. In terms of leadership, King Neptune is the king of Fishman Island. Fisher Tiger, Jinbe, and Arlong were said to have the highest respect amongst their people. This group consists of about 33 Fishmen.
The fishmen's subspecies have many variations, just like merfolk, being many types of fishes. So far, all known fishmen fish-halfs are based on real-life fish species and not on any of Oda's made up species. Also, their size may vary greatly, with Wadatsumi being a fishman the size surpassing that of an average Giants. Unlike merfolk, fishmen eat meat, including fish, although whether this is a dietary advantage or just custom is unknown.
Johnny reveals that fishmen are physically ten times as strong as normal humans from birth and this difference is magnified underwater, where a human's power is cut in half, while fishmen not only are completely unhindered, but are even strengthened. As a whole, Jinbe notes his own weakness. As well as being powerful they can still talk under water and cannot drown. However, breathing air into their gills makes them suffer like a normal fish would. While they can use their gills to breathe in water, they have to switch back to their lungs to breathe in air. However, a fishman who has eaten a Devil Fruit loses its ability to swim, and seemingly their ability to breathe underwater. Vander Decken, a fishman who has eaten a Devil Fruit, has to coat himself with a bubble underwater.
Many of the fishmen have adorned include the Sun Pirates' "mark of the sun", the Arlong Pirates' jolly roger, a tattoo of unknown significance, and the New Fishman Pirates' jolly roger of a beheaded human crossed out with the "mark of the sun" surrounding it. Kaneshiro, Pisaro, Take, Shioyaki, Namur, and Tom also had other tattoos on their bodies.
Translation and Dub Issues
The kanji for fishmen (魚人) is the reverse of the name for mermen (人魚). They are often incorrectly referred to by fans, and the English dub made by 4Kids, as mermen for that reason. As a result, mermaids were thought by some to be the female of the species while fishmen were the male, although this is not the case.
Known Fishmen and Their Species
- Arlong: Sawshark
- Chew: Smelt-whiting
- Hatchan, Octopako, Karma: Octopus
- Kuroobi: Ray
- Kaneshiro: Goldfish
- Pisaro: Ocean Sunfish
- Take: Carp
- Shioyaki: Salmon
- Macro: Pelican Eel
- Gyaro: Pop-eyed Goldfish
- Tansui: Arowana
- Big Pan: Loach
- Capote: Billfish
- Tom: Cowfish
- Jinbe: Whale shark
- Hammond: Daggertooth Pike Conger
- Kasagoba: Marbled Rockfish
- Hody Jones: Great White Shark
- Dosun: Hammerhead Shark
- Zeo: Japanese Wobbegong Shark
- Daruma: Cookie-cutter Shark
- Ikaros Much: Giant squid
- Vander Decken IX: Japanese Bullhead Shark
- Wadatsumi: Giant Tiger Blowfish
- Fisher Tiger: Sea Bream
- Willy (Film): Orca
- Jube (Filler): Squid
- Nuru (Filler): Anglerfish
- Namur: Unknown
- Early on, Luffy drew what he though a mermaid looked like. The first drawing was just a fish with four legs. The second was a fish standing up on two legs, looking more like a fishman than a mermaid. When Sanji wondered if Nami was really a mermaid, Luffy added hair to his second sketch and wrote Nami's name. Ironically, someone who looked like his drawing of "mermaid" Nami actually appeared in Chapter 626. However, it is unknown if she was a fishwoman or mermaid since only the head and arms were seen.
- Originally Oda planned on introducing fishmen as far back as Chapter 3. However, due to his editor he held it back, ending up introducing the concept during the Arlong Park Arc instead.
- So far, Vander Decken IX is the first and only fishman known to possess a Devil Fruit ability. He is also the only fishman who cannot swim (due to the Devil Fruit).
- There was originally going to be a starfish fishman named "Hitodenashi", a member of the Arlong Pirates and Hatchan was originally going to be a squid fishman named "Maple Reed".