Cosplay

One Piece cosplayer reels fans in with amazing Jinbe fish-man look

by Theo Salaun
Michelle_Maka, Instagram / Funimation

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Jinbe or “Knight of the Sea” is the tenth member of Luffy’s Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece, and Michelle Maka, an anime content creator, has embodied him in a 10/10 cosplay.

Jinbe is a whale shark fish-man whose ultimate goal in life is to obtain peaceful coexistence between humans and his kind—making Maka’s cosplay choice not only aesthetically stunning, but socially topical as well.

As an absurd character design, Jinbe has blue skin, red tattoos, and creme-colored, cloudlike eyebrows. He wears ornate Japanese kimonos, has two-toned black and webbed hands. Maka got it all right, even down to his infamous Buraikan (or Vagabond Drill) ability.

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Jinbe's infamous Vagabond Drill ability.

Wrapped in the trademark orange kimono, accented with black and white symbols, Maka’s cosplay is a flawless take on Jinbe. She is missing his enormous heft and tusk-like teeth, but those can be forgiven since the rest of the ensemble is so immaculate.

Most impressively, given how cleanly covered in blue she is, Maka noted on Twitter that this was actually her first time doing body paint. 

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Further, the look is sharp and detailed, with a red lightning strike through her eye—portraying Jinbe’s scar. But she somehow managed to edit in the fish-man’s water-based Karate technique: the Vagabond Drill, which was popularly used in battles against infamous antagonists, Wadatsumi, and the Yonko Big Mom.

In the spirit of true fan service, Maka also dropped the Whole Cake Island Arc Jinbe look: the same physical attributes, but with a beautiful yellow kimono accented by Jolly Roger pirate insignia while complemented by a red cape and green obi.

Like many of One Piece’s characters, recreating Jinbe in the real world is a tall task. A fictitious, fantastical character with eclectic design, Maka makes do with human constraints and fulfils his character perfectly, with a steely gaze and attention to detail that makes his large size and fangs entirely unnecessary. 

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There are no sideburns or goatee, either, but that’s hardly noticeable when the rest of her getup feels so true to life. Purple lipstick in lieu of the fish-man’s sharp teeth is a personal choice, but it fits cleanly and evokes a certain amphibiousness that is so critical to making this an unforced reimagination of a difficult-to-replicate character.   

Maka’s Jinbe cosplay is as good a reminder as any that you don’t need to recreate the minutiae of a character to embody them, you can put your own spin on a look as long as you lock in some core details.