A bounty is a government-issued reward placed on an individual and awarded to whoever can apprehend or kill that person.
Normally, a bounty is issued by a government official or by the police. The idea is to tempt others into aiding the capture of the criminal so they can be brought to justice quickly. Bounty Hunters make careers trying to find and capture these wanted people. Bounties are issued with a "Dead or Alive" disclaimer, meaning the reward will be paid so long as the threat gets eliminated, but Baroque Works agents state that bounties are usually only paid in full if the criminal is captured alive; up to 30% of the bounty money may be lost by bringing in someone dead, since no public execution can be held.
A bounty reflects both the threat and power of an individual. Engaging in activities deemed criminal by the World Government or associating with groups which engage in them is enough to warrant significant bounties even if the criminal is not powerful themselves. In particular, direct opposition to the World Government, no matter the reason, is treated as a serious offense, and bounties are issued accordingly.
A bounty can be increased for several reasons:
- The threat of a person's observed combat abilities (as stated by Aokiji).
- More experienced bounty hunters volunteering to capture the individual or group).
- Further criminal acts beyond the initial one.
- Inspiring criminal acts when provoked or inciting others to act 'criminally' (for example, Whitebeard destroying Marine ships that followed his fleet for reconnaissance and Dragon leading his organization to conquer nations affiliated with the World Government).
Occasionally, a designated amount on a bounty may increase if the criminal in question has committed crimes of considerable magnitude that goes beyond the crime(s) committed beforehand that earned them their initial bounty, as with the case of Luffy.
Bounties, once issued, are usually only retracted when the criminal is captured, killed, or is known to have otherwise died. A change in lifestyle will not affect the bounty. Wanted posters are usually marked with a large red X to indicate that the criminal was taken care of. The notion that death brings freedom from the bounty was the sole reason for Kuro's plan to escape a pirate's life. A bounty can last for over a hundred years if the criminal is not proven to be dead, like the giants Dorry and Brogy, who can live several centuries. Brook's bounty was placed between 40 and 50 years ago, and is still active, the Marines having discovered that he is the same person as the living person in the photograph.
As bounties are typically assigned numbers printed on paper with the picture of the criminal it was assigned to, bounties can be altered by skilled forgers. According to Bellamy, pirates have been known to make up fake bounties in the past to intimidate other people to their advantage. These scams tend to be quickly quelled though, due to the insubstantial nature of the deception.
The Poster PictureEdit
The Marines give criminals, especially pirates, epithets with the bounty poster that either describes their appearance (such as "Cyborg Franky"), what their powers/abilities are (such as "Black Leg Sanji" or "King of Snipers Sogeking"), or what they do (such as "Cat Burglar Nami" or "Pirate Hunter Zoro"). Sometimes, it is just the most common nickname a person has (Luffy was called "Straw Hat" before his first bounty was issued).
List of BountiesEdit
In the series, many bounties are revealed - either by the author in a reference box, said by a character (like Shakuyaku naming the nine Supernovas not part of the Straw Hat Crew), or a bounty poster being revealed (although the value may not always be fully accurate or fully shown, as with the Red Arrows Pirates). For example, Nico Robin's specific bounty was not made clear until after it was known she had one. When Igaram first mentioned Crocodile's former bounty, he said it was 80,000,000 Berries while it actually is 81,000,000 Berries. Gecko Moria was first introduced by Robin as merely holding a bounty higher than Luffy's.
Most of the current and former Seven Warlords of the Sea members have former bounties, since the first requirement to join the group is being recognized world-wide so one's notoriety scares criminals. Newcomer Blackbeard is an exception, having managed to get in by capturing Portgas D. Ace.
While several prisoners from Impel Down do not hold any specific value, Impel Down orders its prisoners from the bounty on their head. Levels 3 and 5 require bounties of 50,000,000 Berries and 100,000,000 Berries respectively, and the values required for others levels were not revealed. It is unknown if level 1 has a minimal value, although Buggy commented that every prisoner from level 2 that escaped with him holds a bounty higher than his own[ (15,000,000 Berries). Level 6 seems to use special requirements. Strangely, Mr. 2 is an exception to this rule, having been imprisoned in level 3 with a bounty of merely 32,000,000 Berries. As such, the values may be just recommendations, and the effort taken to capture the criminals may factor into where they are placed, but not affect their bounty since the Marines see no need to change it now that they have been arrested.
The Straw Hat Pirates' BountiesEdit
Total Bounty: 1,300,405,110
Team Natsu's BountiesEdit
Total Bounty: 1,055,010,100