I’ve noticed that we’ve had two completely separate perceptions of ‘Admirals’ and ‘Yonko’ level characters during the two periods we’ve seen.
I think everyone would agree that the previous generation of Admiral-level Marines, Garp and Sengoku, were on par with the Yonko/greatest pirates of their era like Whitebeard, Roger and Shiki.
But now the general perception seems to be that the current generation of top Marines (Akino, Aokiji, Kizaru, Fujitora, etc.) is weaker than the great pirates/Yonko of this era. So what exactly happened here? Why did the perception change like this?
Personally, I think it’s because 3 out of 4 original Yonko are presented to us as non-human even by One Piece standards. Big Mom managed to shoot a giant at the age of five!
Kaido can jump from an island in the sky and survive.
Whitebeard is the most powerful man in the world and has the power to destroy the world.
Even a newcomer, the Teach has an unnatural body and ridiculous durability.
Shanks is the only “normal” among them. I doubt he was able to kill giants at the age of five as well. But this does not matter because he stands on an equal footing between these monsters and therefore we consider him equal to the rest of these monsters.
I guess that’s why the Admirals in general are seen as weaker by society, because they weren’t portrayed as completely unnatural monsters like the Yonko. Aokiji, Akainu, and Kizaru all seem like ordinary people who have been enlisted in the Marines and have reached the top of their organization. Rather than spawning monsters, they were created because of their hard work and talent. Very similar to Shanks, they are all “normal” and we see that in certain scenes, like when Aokiji gets hit by Juzu and starts to bleed.
In my opinion, this does not make the Admirals any less dangerous and they are certainly not weaker in any way. In the end, we still see Akainu angry at the strongest man in the world and survive.
I know many would argue that Whitebeard was sick and old but this was right after Ace died. He was in a rage when Akainu attacked and while he destroyed the foundations of Marineford he couldn’t do anything to Akainu himself. Aokiji is equally crazy considering that he managed to fight Akeno for 10 straight days! Then we have the crazy Kizaru, who has never shown any fear in wanting to take on the two Yonko.
*by Important midnight 7