One Piece: Ivankov & Crocodile's Mysterious History, Theories Explained

May 05, 2023
Unflappable One Piece Sir Crocodile has one flaw, and Ivankov is well aware of it. What do they have in common, and why is Oda hiding it?
One Piece: Ivankov & Crocodile's Mysterious History, Theories Explained

Sir Crocodile from One Piece is one of the most unflappable and vicious villains in anime and manga. The calm and composed leader of Baroque Works isn't easily fazed, with only Monkey D. Luffy's ridiculous antics appearing to get under his skin. Crocodile, on the other hand, remains a relatively stoic figure in One Piece's chaotic environment.

That's why fans have paid special attention to the one time a non-Luffy character managed to enrage the former Shichibukai. Crocodile expresses a wish to join Luffy's prison escapee alliance during the Impel Down arc. When the Straw Hat captain appears hesitant, Revolutionary Commander Ivankov intervenes, stating that he knows Crocodile's "weakness" and that if Crocodile tries anything, he can "fix him." With a painful grimace, the hook-handed felon reacts.

What Is Crocodile's Secret Past?

While the implication that Crocodile and Ivankov have a history was enough to get One Piece fans' imaginations running wild, the exchange could have meant any number of things. It wasn't until 2019, with the release of Volume 5 of the Vivre Card Databook, that the connection was made explicit. Crocodile's character page states that he has a "weakness" from his past he would rather keep secret, and that he owes Ivankov for something the Revolutionary Commander gave him.

It's obvious Eiichiro Oda has a big reveal planned for these two characters. By far the most popular and prevalent theory is that Crocodile was assigned female at birth, and Ivankov used the powers of his Horm-Horm Fruit to change Crocodile's sex. Ivankov's hormone powers make for one of the character's most iconic tenets, and if Ivankov holds any leverage over Crocodile, it would make a lot of sense that it would pertain to his abilities.

Is One Piece's Crocodile Female?

The foundation of this argument isn't just Ivankov's involvement; Oda has also gone to great lengths to conceal specifics about Crocodile's appearance as a child. To begin, his depiction of the Seven Warlords of the Sea as children includes a highly androgynous Crocodile. It's striking how different little Crocodile looks from his square-jawed, tough adult persona, especially considering Oda's customary technique to portraying characters' adolescent versions is to compress their features down to child-size.

Furthermore, "Chapter 0," a promotional chapter that ties into the events of One Piece Film: Strong World, depicts the execution of Gol D. Roger 24 years before the events of the main series. Many familiar faces from the present appear, including Crocodile, who is the only character whose face is obscured and is only shown from behind. Given that his Shichibukai counterparts received youthful redesigns for the occasion, Oda's omission of Crocodile appears to be an intentional move on his part -- as if there's a need to disguise what the 22-year old Crocodile looks like.

This hypothesis is expanded upon when another theory is considered: that One Piece's Shichibukai are modeled by the wicked Seven Heroes from the classic SquareSoft JRPG Romancing SaGa 2.According to a blog article on The One Piece Underworld, the seven One Piece characters share many similarities with the game's villains. Lord Wagnas, the game's analogue of Crocodile, seeks an ancient weapon to subdue the game's Eastern Kingdom, similar to Crocodile's goal to wield Pluton to conquer Alabasta.

Gender Variation Isn't a New Idea for One Piece

One distinguishing aspect of Wagnas that Crocodile lacks is that the former is intersex, with male-presenting Wagnas also possessing female sexual features. Given the obvious parallels between the Shichibukai and the Seven Heroes, it's a key character detail of Wagnas' that Oda has yet to replicate in his own work. While transgender and intersex are not the same thing, if Crocodile is revealed to be a trans man, as theorists believe, gender variance will be another trait the two characters share.

If this fan hypothesis is correct, it would not be the first time that One Piece has featured a notable trans character, with the Wano arc in particular providing fan favorites like O-Kiku and Yamato. Given the importance of Crocodile and Ivankov in the tale, it's quite likely that both characters will appear again at some time – and that fans will uncover the secret in the process. If Crocodile turns out to be trans, let's hope One Piece continues to treat the matter with the care and tact that the Wano arc established.

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