Usually, a shōnenseries’ plot is mainly composed of action-packed adventures—but sometimes there’s also a little bit of romance on the side. Many stories include two characters ending up together, ranging from Naruto and Hinata of the Naruto series to Edward and Winry of Fullmetal Alchemist.
On the other hand, a good number of fans love shipping characters, based on their history and dynamics. So for some of them, there’s always going to be the hope that their favorites eventually end up together.
One Piece isn’t excluded from all the romance and shipping. There are bits and pieces of romance shown throughout the story. Plus, a simple search on the web can show you a few characters that many people ship together, along with a lot of fanarts.
Let’s take our main character, Luffy, for example—his interactions and dynamic with numerous characters give the shippers a lot of content to work with. However, one of the most popular ships is Luffy and Nami, or Luffy and Hancock. So who does he really end up with?
Looking at all the events that happened up until the current arc, it’s not hard to believe that some people think that Luffy is going to end up with one of these characters. Nami was one of the earliest Straw Hats members, and these two definitely have a special bond. However, it doesn’t necessarily cross a romantic line.
In 2004, Oda said in Volume 34 of the manga’s SBS (a question and answer section where fans can submit questions and Oda will answer them) that romance will not be a priority, especially for the Straw Hat crew. He did say that the crew is in love though—with adventure.
Then there’s Boa Hancock, who is absolutely head-over-heels for Luffy. Although, we’ve seen throughout the series that Luffy doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. It’s possible that Hancock’s feelings for Luffy are simply an addition to the comedic aspect, and not really to push a romantic agenda between the two in the series.
Of course, this isn’t going to stop fans from shipping him with various characters though. They’re free to do as they please (as long as these ships aren’t problematic), and it doesn’t really matter to them if their ship isn’t canon.
At this rate, I don’t think Luffy’s going to end up with anyone. As much as adding a hint of romance in shōnen series is occasionally adorable, this doesn’t seem to be necessary with Luffy’s character. Romantic relationships wouldn’t concern him. After all, Luffy just wants to be Pirate King—and that means he wants to be the freest person in the world.
Related: Will One Piece Ever End?