One Piece’s unflappable Sir Crocodile has one weakness, and Ivankov knows what it is. What do they have in common, and why is Oda keeping it a secret?
One Piece’s Sir Crocodile is one of the most unflappable, ruthless villains in all of anime and manga. The cool and collected leader of Baroque Works isn’t easily flustered, with only the absurd antics of Monkey D. Luffy seeming to get a rise out of him. Otherwise, Crocodile remains a mostly stoic figure in One Piece’s world of chaos.
Which is why fans have taken so much notice of the only moment where a non-Luffy character manages to provoke the former Shichibukai. During the Impel Down arc, Crocodile expresses a desire to join Luffy’s alliance of prison escapees. When the Straw Hat captain seems reluctant, it’s Revolutionary Commander Ivankov who chips in, stating he can keep Crocodile under control as he knows his “weakness”, and if Crocodile tries anything, he can “fix him,” which the hook-handed felon reacts to with a pained expression.
What Is Crocodile’s Secret Past In One Piece?
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 basis of this theory doesn’t just revolve around Ivankov’s involvement — Oda has also taken pains to obfuscate details of Crocodile’s appearance as a youth. For starters, his drawing of the Seven Warlords of the Sea as children features a very androgynous-looking Crocodile. It’s noteworthy just how different young Crocodile looks compared to his square-jawed, rugged adult self — especially given that Oda’s usual approach to drawing characters’ adolescent variants is to shrink their features down to child-size.
Additionally, “Chapter 0,” a promotional chapter that ties into the events of One Piece Film: Strong World, depicts Gol D. Roger’s execution, 24 years before the events of the main series. Many familiar faces from the present are featured, including Crocodile, who is the only character to have his face obscured, being shown exclusively from the back. Given his Shichibukai compatriots received younger redesigns for the occasion, omitting Crocodile seems a deliberate choice on Oda’s part — as if there’s a reason to hide what the 22-year old Crocodile looks like.
This theory is further expounded when taking another theory into consideration — that One Piece’s Shichibukai are based on the villainous Seven Heroes from the classic SquareSoft JRPG, Romancing SaGa 2. As put forth by a blog post on The One Piece Underworld, the seven One Piece characters have a lot in common with the game’s villains. Crocodile’s equivalent is Lord Wagnas, who seeks an ancient weapon to subjugate the game’s Eastern Kingdom — similar to Crocodile’s desire to use Pluton and conquer Alabasta.
Gender Variance Isn’t a New Concept for One Piece
One key feature of Wagnas that Crocodile doesn’t share is the fact that the former is intersex, with the male-presenting Wagnas also possessing female sexual characteristics. Given the clear similarities between the rest of the Shichibukai and the Seven Heroes, it’s a key character detail of Wagnas’ that Oda has yet to parallel in his own work. While being transgender and intersex are not directly equivalent, if Crocodile is revealed to be a trans man as theorists posit, then gender variance would be yet another trait the two characters share.
If this fan theory holds true, then it wouldn’t be the first time One Piece has featured a prominent trans character, with the Wano arc in particular giving fan favorites such as O-Kiku and Yamato. Given Crocodile and Ivankov’s respective importance in the story, it’s highly likely both characters will show up again at some point — and that fans will learn what the secret is in the process. If Crocodile does turn out to be trans, here’s hoping One Piece keeps up its streak of handling the subject with the respect and tact that the Wano arc has.1,000