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Jimbei’s he joined Crewmember One Piece Film RED.

Uta, One Piece’s Jimbei has lived many lives and gone by many names. He’s been a soldier of the Ryūgū Kingdom, a member and captain of the Sun Pirates, and one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea. Nowadays, he prefers to be seen as the proud helmsman of the Straw Hat Pirates.

However, despite joining the series’ main crew, Jimbei took a long time to actually become a member of the main cast. Where most of the future Straw Hats joined Monkey D Luffy by the end of the saga in which they were introduced, Jimbei needed several sagas before he was ready to go with him. Even when he finally did join, it’s hard to say exactly when he could be acknowledged as a true member of the main cast. For a better idea of when and how Jimbei became a bona fide Straw Hat in this regard, here’s a general overview of the time he’s time spent with Luffy and his friends.

Jimbei first met Luffy during his time in Impel Down. At the time, the Straw Hat Captain was looking for Ace, who was sharing a cell with Jimbei until not too long ago. Before leaving to save Ace, Jimbei insisted on joining Luffy.

It’s important to distinguish this as the start of Jimbei’s friendship with Luffy but doesn’t say anything about his potential to become a Straw Hat. In fact, this team-up had more to do with saving Ace than anything. He originally told Ace that he had no obligation to help his little broher despite his request.

This, of course, changed after Ace’s death, after which he likely viewed their conversation in a much different life. After this, he was ready to give up his life for the boy. But he still wasn’t ready to join his crew.

Another chance for Jimbei to join the Straw Hats came up when the Straw Hats arrived on Fish-Man Island. After they saved the kingdom and Jimbei donated blood to Luffy, the Straw Hat Captain happily declared that he wanted the First Son of the Sea on his crew. This was the first time Jimbei’s candidacy as a Straw Hat could truly be considered.

Unfortunately for Jimbei, he wasn’t ready to accept the initial offer to join the Straw Hats. He had a lot of unfinished business to attend to, including cutting ties with the Big Mom Pirates and ensuring the Sun Pirates and Fish-Man Island were in safe hands. He promised that if Luffy still wanted him after all of this, he’d be happy to join his crew.

While entrusting Fish-Man Island and the Sun Pirates to the right people was relatively simple, severing his alliance with Big Mom was another story. The Emperor threatened to kill him and his crewmates if he tried to leave. Rather than risk the lives of others, Jimbei decided not to leave Big Mom right away.

However, even if Jimbei wasn’t quite ready to leave Big Mom, he was integral to the Sanji Retrieval Team’s success on Whole Cake Island. He broke Luffy and Nami out of prison, helped save Brook from Big Mom, and mediated a meeting between the Straw Hat and Fire Tank Pirates. He and the Sun Pirates also helped the Straw Hats escape from Big Mom’s territory. If it weren’t for Jimbei, neither the Sanji Retrieval Team nor Sanji would have made it out of Big Mom’s territory alive.

Jimbei’s official departure from Big Mom’s crew could definitely be seen as a point where he became a Straw Hat. In addition to helping Luffy and co. escape from Whole Cake Island, he also became much bolder in stating his intent to be on the crew. He even got to show off some of his skills for his upcoming role as the crew’s helmsman. It’s almost as if he was already a member of the crew.

However, Jimbei’s exploits on Whole Cake Island were more about leaving Big Mom’s crew than joining Luffy’s. In fact, the whole reason he stayed behind at the end of the arc was to make sure the Sun Pirates escaped Big Mom’s territory, too. For him, the safety of his old crew outweighed the future endeavors of his new crew.

With that said, Luffy did tell him that he was obligated to meet up with the crew in Wano. It was his duty as a Straw Hat to get himself out of Big Mom’s territory along with everyone else. To Luffy, at least, Jimbei was officially a member of his crew by this point. An ideal entry point for Jimbei into the main cast would be in Wano. When he reunited with the Straw Hats for the raid on Onigashima, it was his first time being on their crew and participating in one of their major battles. On top of that, he was interacting more with the crew and really getting to know them; he even posed with them in their big group shot at the official start of the raid. This will also likely be the first time he follows the Straw Hats to their next destination aboard the Thousand Sunny. With this arc, he actually started to feel like a Straw Hat.

This small-but-important change in the crew’s dynamic is probably why Jimbei started being treated differently out-of-universe, too. Not only did he start being regularly featured in the color pages, but he was also in all the material featuring the Straw Hats as a whole crew. He’s even with them in the latest movie, One Piece Film: Red. Onigashima is the point where Jimbei can officially be called a Straw Hat in every sense of the word.