One Piece, Waves, Surfing, and the Green Room
During chapter 881 the Straw Hat Pirates manage to escape from being destroyed by Big Mom due to the quick actions of Jinbie, who steered the ship into the Green Room. Now this led me to the question just what the heck is the green room?
The Green Room
The term itself can refer to a number of different rooms. The most common Green Room reference is to the waiting room that actors use to rest, before, during, and after a performance. The room earned the name the Green Room because in the Shakespearian era the room was filled with plants, hence the term green.
Another room that is also called the Green Room is the execution chamber at the San Quentin State Prison in California. (Sorry, no picture for this one guys)
While I have never heard it called the Green Room, in Irish folklore the afterlife is referred to as the Fidler’s Green. Over time it changed to the afterlife of sailors who had spent over 50 years at sea, a fitting reference for a manga centered on piracy and life at sea.
However, Eiichiro Oda was actually referring to a surfing term. In surfing the Green Room is the transient space that is created as a wave collapses in on itself.
A wave is a disturbance in space that also transfers energy from point A to point B. There are several different types of waves: sinusoidal, plane, standing, mechanical, electromagnetic, quantum, gravity, and gravitational waves. Despite this, all waves share some basic characteristics diagrammed below.
Wavelength- the length of the wave or the distance between crests
Amplitude- the height of the wave
Frequency- how often the wave repeats in a given time period
In the case of the Green Room and the ocean wave that forms it we will need to take a closer look at mechanical waves. Mechanical waves are waves that travel through a physical substance like air, or in this case, water. There are three types of mechanical waves: transverse, longitudinal, and surface. When it comes to surfing, it is the surface waves that matter. Surface waves are waves that travel at the meeting of two different media. In the case of ocean waves it’s the interaction between water and air.
There are a number of a different forces that drive ocean waves including salt concentration, temperature, geological forces, and wind. The waves needed for surfing are generated by the wind. Generally speaking large uninterrupted stretches of water and consistent wind are needed to generate waves. Most rowers know this since we like to row on secluded stretches of water where the wind cannot generate large waves or any waves at all.
This little outcropping into the Navesink river in New Jersey created two nicely secluded coves that were perfect for rowing depending on the direction of the wind. I could go on more with the physics of surfing waves, but the wave that almost sinks the Going Merry was not created by wind.
Tsunami is Japanese for tidal wave, which is a large wave created by undersea earthquakes and/or other geologic actions like landslides. These waves can be anywhere from 10ft to 100ft in height. Given the size of the wave Big Mom is riding on, a Tsunami certainly makes sense. The manga itself even states this.
The question is how did Big Mom create a Tsunami? The answer is that she did and she didn’t. Big Mom has underlings that can create candy and other substances. She uses this ability to chase the Straw Hat pirates across the ocean.
The answer is the giant mass of candy or whatever it is that she is standing on. Big Mom has been shown to have tremendous strength able to level whole islands, and she most likely used that strength to create the tsunami. If she used that strength to break off part of the mass she was standing on and sent it crashing to the bottom of the ocean, it could create a massive wave.
While a landslide tsunami is rare, it is not an uncommon occurrence. It has happened in the past, the last one happening in Greenland back in June 2017.
The Green Room
Now that we know the type of wave the Jinbie led the Straw Hats through, and how it was created, we can finally talk about the Green Room. In the case of a very large wave it will eventually break or collapse in on itself.
The reason this happens is that the wave becomes so large that different parts of the wave begin to travel at different speeds. The crest of the wave (the top) begins traveling faster than the trough (the bottom of the wave). As the difference between the top and bottom of the wave increases, the top essentially falls over the bottom, creating the breaker. As this happens there will be a temporary space that is created until the wave falls apart, and the bigger the wave, the bigger the space.
It is at this point that I would love to be able to tell you how big the wave that Big Mom caused, or the size of the green room the Go Merry travels through, but sadly I cannot, I am not a surfer, physicist, or oceanographer. I can however tell you that the color of the green room is determined by the reflection and absorption of sunlight by the water as it travels through the green room.