Akainu is already a terrifying villain, but one detail about his name perfectly shows why he is One Piece‘s scariest enemy. These sorts of subtle details are why mangaka Eiichiro Oda has built up such a great reputation over his 25 years of writing One Piece. It also provides fans with yet another reason to fear and despise Akainu, not that they needed more.

Akainu is the current head of the Marines, but before the time skip he was an Admiral at Marineford. The Marines in general are split between different philosophies, with some members viewing their main role as protecting the weak from criminals and others viewing their role as enforcing the power of the World Government in the name of absolute justice. Akainu is the most devoted member of this latter camp, which has led them to commit various atrocities during his time in the Navy. The most devastating was one of One Piece‘s saddest moments, the brutal murder of Ace, which made him one of the series’ most hated villains. His absolute devotion makes him utterly terrifying, which is a fact that is subtly confirmed by his name.

Akainu’s name means “Red Dog” in Japanese. Both halves of this name are significant. The red part represents the blood on his hands from participating in various Naval atrocities like the Buster Call on Ohara from Robin’s heartbreaking backstory and the murder of Ace. The dog part on the other hand represents his extreme loyalty to the World Government and their idea of justice. As the ultimate Government dog, he can’t be reasoned with or convinced to change sides like Aokiji was. This makes him more of a force of nature than a person with actual motivations like Blackbeard or potentially even Im. This dehumanizes him in an absolutely terrifying way.

Despite all the terrible things they have done, audiences assume that most villains like Blackbeard have limits to how far they will go to accomplish their dreams. However, given Akainu is at the service of something bigger than himself, he likely does not have these limits. This counterintuitively makes him one of One Piece‘s most unpredictable antagonists, as while he is bound by certain ironclad principles, there is no telling how far he will go in the pursuit of Absolute Justice. This makes him much scarier than more seemingly unhinged or sadistic villains, which is part of what makes him a great character.

Akainu is almost certainly going to play a large role in One Piece‘s final saga, especially as the Straw Hats begin to come into more direct contact with the upper echelons of the World Government. This will be a welcome return of one of the series’ most hated villains, that will lend an extra degree of tension to the final conflict. The subtle implications of Akainu‘s name enhances this uneasy fear and is sure to make One Piece‘s ultimate battles even better.

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