Why Must All Mothers Die?


  • One Piece has a recurring theme of mothers dying in flashbacks, which has become a running joke in the fandom.
  • The death of Ginny in Chapter 1098 follows this trend, as she falls victim to the Sapphire Scale Disease.
  • Eiichiro Oda revealed in an interview that the absence of mothers in the story is a narrative device to push characters into independence and adventure.

Warning: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Chapter 1098, now available to read on Manga+.

The One Piece narrative is known for its well-written characters, with one of the strong points of the series being the attention mangaka Eiichiro Oda dedicates to constructing backstories and motivations for his cast.

Oda’s frequent use of flashbacks allows for great complexity and detail in the construction of his world, but fans have noticed that ever since the beginning of the story, many of these flashbacks have featured a recurring theme. Starting with the death of Usopp’s mother all the way back in Syrup Village, all good mothers from flashbacks die, and in an SBS interview Oda reveals why.


One Piece: Why Didn’t Dragon Rescue Ginny?

Dragon left Ginny to die in Marijoa – here’s why.

Ginny’s Death In One Piece Chapter 1098

Ginny death kuma bonney

One Piece Chapter 1098 sees the continuation of the Kuma flashback. Having joined the Freedom Fighters after the events that took place in chapter 1097, Ginny is seen enjoying her time with the Revolutionary Army, however, this comes to a sudden end when she is eventually captured and enslaved by the World Government. After two years of slavery in Mariejois, she is unexpectedly released when she contracts the mysterious and uncurable Sapphire Scale Disease, but at that point there was nothing left to do. Upon her release she uses a Den Den Mushi to explain the situation to Kuma, and though he instantly uses his Nikyu Nikyu fruit powers to rush to her, he is too late and finds her dead with a baby Bonney lying by her side. Bonney is later revealed to suffer from the same illness and as of the information in the latest chapter, she was fated to die at 10.

When One Piece chapter 1098 revealed that Ginny succumbed to this disease, fans were sad but not at all surprised at the news. Though how she would die was uncertain, the community was expecting her death due to what has been dubbed as “the One Piece mother special”. Oda’s tendency to kill off mothers in flashbacks has become a bit of a joke in the fandom, and though the humor is good-spirited, it is undeniable that whenever a mother figure is presented in a flashback, one can reasonably assume this person will soon die.

Oda Reveals Why So Many Moms Die in One Piece

SBS moms die one piece

Ginny’s is only the latest in a long sequence of tragic deaths as already in the East Blue, it was clear that there was no room for mothers in the One Piece story. These deaths often saw the emotional depth of the loss serve as motivation to the characters moving forward, and a case can be made that it was a necessary narrative device to provide a good in-universe explanation for who these characters grew up to be. Nonetheless, while this is certainly true, in an SBS interview Oda revealed that his reasoning was actually much simpler. When a fan asked him why One Piece leaves no mothers alive, Oda explained how this was merely a necessity for narrative practicality.

From a narrative standpoint, the absence of mother figures in One Piece serves a practical purpose, as it exposes characters to the hardships of the world and compels them to grow and adapt. Removing potentially protective and nurturing figures is a tried-and-true method of thrusting characters into adventures, and as explained in his answer, Oda needs to be free to write young characters who are independent enough to take off to fulfill their dreams.

MORE: One Piece: Ginny’s Fate, Explained