One Piece: Void Century explained

Anamika Das
The Iron Giant

The Void Century is one of the biggest mysteries in One Piece. It is said to be the key to knowing the location of the titular grand treasure and the truth of the world.

One Piece is set in a realm ruled by the World Government. They control everything, including the public’s knowledge of the true history, and the Void Century is what they want to hide from people the most.

The Void Century was first alluded to in the Alabasta Arc by Nico Robin. It was the first time the Poneglyphs were introduced in the story. However, the time period wasn’t officially addressed until the Enies Lobby Arc when Robin’s past was revealed in the story.

Being the centerpiece of the world’s truth, the Void Century is one of the most important storylines in the series. As the ending of One Piece draws closer with the manga now in its Final Saga, more information on the taboo period is coming to light. So, it’s high time to discuss what the Void Century is and its impact on the story.

What is the Void Century?

Shadria City in Void Century

The Void Century is the century-long period between 900 and 800 years before the current storyline in One Piece. This period’s name comes from the lack of any record of this time in history.

However, the world was changed during the Void Century. The importance of these events is so huge that the World Government hides it with utmost strictness. Any research into this time period will lead to a death sentence and can even cause the destruction of a whole island.

While the World Government removed all records of this time period from history, some still remain despite their best efforts. The history of the Void Century is written in an ancient script on huge stone blocks known as the Poneglyphs. 

The Poneglyphs are scattered throughout the Grand Line, staying out of the World Government’s reach for hundreds of years. There are very few people who can actually read the ancient script found on the Poneglyphs, given that the ancient culture is long-dead and erased from history.

The archaeologists of Ohara could read them, though, and were researching the Void Century. This led to the World Government destroying the entire island and every one of its citizens, except Robin, with the Buster Call. Thankfully, Dr. Vegapunk managed to save some of their research and eventually found out a part of the Void Century’s history.

Given the small number of people who can read the Poneglyphs and the strict gatekeeping of the World Government, very few One Piece characters know the truth. Gol D. Roger and his crew learned the truth of the world when they reached Laugh Tale, later telling Whitebeard about it.

Other than them, Kozuki Toki also knew its history as she was born during that period. Vegapunk later came to know about it from the notes of Ohara’s archaeologists, and thanks to his worldwide broadcast, and now, the world knows about the Void Century too.

What happened during the Void Century?

In his posthumous broadcast, Vegapunk revealed what really happened during the Void Century to the world. He talked about the Ancient Kingdom that existed before that time. 

The kingdom was far more technologically advanced than the world of today, so much so that even a genius like Vegapunk couldn’t replicate their scientific advancements. An example of these achievements is the great Iron Giant robot that is found on Egghead Island.

During the Void Century, the geography of the world was different from the present, too. Instead of countless islands isolated from each other by the sea, there used to be great continents. The great city of Shandora also seemed to be a part of this world.

During the Void Century, a horrible war took place. It is known as the Great War and it changed the fate of the world. Twenty nations joined their forces to wage a war against the Ancient Kingdom. The war ended with the twenty nations winning and the removal of the Ancient Kingdom from history.

The end of the Great War marked the end of the Void Century. After that, the world changed forever, with the First Twenty Kings joining their nations to form the World Government and declaring themselves as the gods of the world.

Following the defeat of the Ancient Kingdom, the world sank 200 meters into the sea, destroying many civilizations in the process. Vegapunk theorized that the submerge wasn’t caused by any natural calamity, instead it was man-made, created by using Ancient Weapons.

Thanks to that, the truth of the world is now sunken under the sea and never to be found again. 

What is the Great War?

Imu and the straw hat

The Great War caused the destruction of the Ancient Kingdom and changed the fate of the world forever. It was a war between the Ancient Kingdom and the First Twenty Nations, one of which was Alabasta, led by their queen Nefertari D. Lili.

The Great War seems to have lasted 100 years, as that’s the duration of the Void Century. Though much information on it is yet to be revealed, the Great War was fought between the First Twenty Kings and the D Family, leading to the family becoming known as the “enemy of gods”.

During the war, one figure stood out and became the bane of the existence for the First Twenty Nations: Joyboy. A mysterious figure in history, Joyboy was a citizen of the Ancient Kingdom and a central figure in the Great War.

Most things about the Great War and the Void Century are still unknown. What is known from Vegapunk’s message is that both the Great War and the Void Century ended with the Ancient Kingdom’s defeat and the world sinking into the sea.

However, it can be assumed that Wano acted as an ally to the Ancient Kingdom during the Great War as they isolated themselves from the world following the end of the world.

As Vegapunk learned from the few Ponegylphs he’d read, the Great War was waged as a clash of two philosophies: “good” and “evil”. The details of this are still unknown as the scientist didn’t get to research it in depth. 

The journey of Joyboy

Luffy's silhouette in Gear 5

One of the most mysterious characters in One Piece, Joyboy is the key to both the Void Century and the One Piece. He rose to prominence during the Great War and was the most feared figure for the First Twenty Nations.

Though there is very little information about Joyboy, it’s known that he was a Devil Fruit user and held the power of the Mythical Zoan, Hito Hito no Mi; Model: Nika, something he shares with Luffy.

Joyboy was also the first pirate in history, having set sail for the seas before anyone else. Thanks to this, he traveled to many places and left his mark. One of the most prominent examples is his visit to Fish-Man Island.

At an unknown point in the Void Century, Joyboy traveled to Fish-Man Island and met the Mermaid Princess of that time. Like Shirahoshi, the Mermaid Princess of the past possessed the power of Poseidon, one of the three Ancient Weapons.

Joyboy made a deal with her to use Poseidon’s power and take the great ship, Noah. However, for some unknown reason, he failed to keep the deal. So, he wrote his apology on a Poneglyph and promised to return one day to keep his deal. Awaiting Joyboy’s return, the citizens of the Fish-Men Island still protect Noah.

Another character who has been eagerly waiting for Joyboy’s return is Zunesha. It’s unknown whether where they met or how they knew each other, only that the great elephant still keeps his promise to Joyboy, walking the seas for hundreds of years and waiting for Joyboy to return.

Void Century’s connection to the present

Luffy in Gear 5

History repeats itself and that’s exactly what’s about to happen in One Piece. In that respect, the Void Century is intimately connected to the present. Not only do the consequences of that time period still live on but it’s also about to be replicated in the current time.

After 800 years, Joyboy is back, this time in the form of Monkey D. Luffy. The connection between Joyboy and Luffy and the suggestion of a reincarnation, have been hinted at many times throughout the story, most noticeably when Luffy finally achieves his Gear 5, unleashing the true power of his Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika.

In One Piece Chapter 1115, a silhouette of Joyboy is shown for the first time. In the panel, his silhouette looks exactly like Luffy’s Gear 5, solidifying their similar roles in history.

As Vegapunk prophesied, the world-altering Great War is coming again. Like last time, the world will once again sink into the sea. The World Government will try once again to have the sole authority over the world and won’t hesitate to destroy everything for it, just like when they destroyed the entire Lulusia Kingdom in a blink of an eye as per the order from Imu.

The D Family also still lives on as there are plenty of characters bearing “D” in their names scattered throughout the seas. Now that Joyboy has finally come back, the Final War is very near, with “good” and “evil” clashing against each other once again.

This is everything known about the Void Century in One Piece so far. As the series slowly and steadily progresses towards its conclusion, more information about this mysterious period of time will come to light.

For more on One Piece, check out how Trafalgar Law became a woman, who has the highest bounty in One Piece, every definitive death in One Piece, and the best upcoming fights in Egghead arc. You might also like our take on One Piece’s latest twist.

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