In honor of the manga's 1,000th chapter, One Piece
and Shueisha organized a massive event: the first global character popularity poll for the series. Fans had from the start of January until the end of February to vote once a day for their favorite character amongst the hundreds that have graced the pages of Eiichiro Oda's shonen saga. The mid-term rankings were posted sometime in March but now we have the final results, and one long-eared rabbit in the Top 10 has caught our attention.
Sitting at eighth place is none other than Carrot, a semi-recent character to One Piece
and trusted ally to the Straw Hat Pirates. When the interim rankings were tallied, Carrot was at 17th place, but the mink tribe girl has hopped a whopping nine places since then
. It's definitely a sign that Carrot has quite the fanbase backing her. In fact, this could be taken as a sign that the fandom is looking at her as Straw Hat Pirate material
When you reexamine Carrot's place among the crew, she's really a Straw Hat in everything but name now. Carrot has been tagging along with the crew since Whole Cake Island, stowing away on the Thousand Sunny right before the Sanji Retrieval Team departed from Zou. Since then, she's formed a close bond with the crew, even referring to Chopper with the nickname, "Choniki." When Jimbei reunites with the crew at Wano in Chapter #977, Carrot joins in the happy reunion by hugging the whale shark Fishman despite not even knowing the crew for very long.
Still, to become a Straw Hat Pirate, you need a dream and a role to fulfill. Luffy's the Captain and his dream is to become King of the Pirates, Nami is the navigator and her dream is to make a map of the entire world... you get the idea. In Carrot's case, it's a little less clearly defined.
Her animalistic instincts and proficiencies could
make her an excellent scout; those rabbit
ears aren't just for show, after all. Carrot grew up in a jungle nation, too, and an experienced hunter to gather food might be what the crew needs given Luffy's bottomless appetite and Sanji's cooking skills. But when it comes to Carrot's dream, she has nothing specific in mind beyond wanting to see the outside world. As one of the Mink Musketeers, she trained under Pedro and dreamed of one day exploring beyond Zou. It works as a motive for now, but will most likely need to be expanded upon in the future if Carrot does end up being an official Straw Hat.
Carrot's certainly had her moments in the spotlight that prove herself as a worthy Nakama, though. When Nami and Co. were pursued by Charlotte Daifuku while trying to escape Whole Cake Island, Carrot stepped up to protect the Thousand Sunny. With the full moon overhead, she was able to release her Sulong form and using the new surge of power, she attacked each of the ships that made up Daifuku's fleet. Her actions would prove to be indispensable in the gang's escape from the waters of Whole Cake Island.
She hasn't been given much
to do in Onigashima as of yet, though the Wano arc
is far from over in the One Piece
manga. Despite losing to Perospero it's unlikely this is the last we will see of Carrot during the Onigashima Raid, especially since a full moon still hovers over the floating fortress.
It's still early to speculate on new Straw Hats since Jimbei has only just joined the crew officially, but Carrot still stands as one of the most likely candidates. It's clear she's grown on the fandom -- eighth place is nothing to scoff at -- but only Oda can decide what the future holds for Carrot.