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Fanfic / The Butcher Bird

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Most SIs get powers, or start off weak, or any of a multitude of ideas...but all, or at least most, remain human. Most One Piece SIs meet up with the Straw Hats, join their crew, and have some very entertaining adventures. This poor bastard gets neither. Follow Yoshimura Kaneki through the South Blue and beyond, as he joins a crew that, for better or for worse, is destined for infamy...
The opening on Archive Of Our Own

"How the hell am I the moral compass here?
The protagonist
"I am Grigori Vinci, Captain and surgeon of the Nightmare Pirates, and I am currently out of fornications to give."
The guy who bosses around the protagonist.

The Butcher Bird is a One Piece Self-Insert fanfic starring the eponymous Butcher Bird, Yoshimura Kaneki (not his real name), who, a few years before canon, finds himself on an unknown island, his body changed into that of a flesh-eating ghoul. In short order, he finds himself joining a pirate crew...but, unlike many One Piece fics, not that of the Straw Hats. The crew, called the Nightmare Pirates, and their journey is the focus of the story, rather than the canon of One Piece. Kaneki himself shares Protagonist duty with his captain, Grigori 'Alley Doc' Vinci.


This fic is mostly notable for its large number of OCs and its dedication to being an Original Flavour expansion of the One Piece world, starting off in the South Blue and working through the Grand Line with very few appearances from the majority of canon characters.

It can be read on Spacebattles, Archive of Our Own, or

The Butcher Bird contains examples of:

  • Absurd Cutting Power: Herman, naturally, being the swordsman of the crew and this being a One Piece fic.
  • Armor Is Useless: Both averted and Justified. Armor saves the life of at least one character from shrapnel, but in a world where people can cut through steel there's a limit to exactly how useful it can be.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The Nightmare pirates seem to be becoming one of these during the Pirate City Arc. The Black Flag arc has them form one of these, the Wild Hunt, with nearly every pirate crew on the island for the sole purpose of hunting down and killing Kid.
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  • Badass Crew: The Nightmare Pirates, obviously. As the fic goes on they grow closer to a Badass Army than a crew, simply through weight of numbers.
  • Badass Gay: Vinci, per Word of God. Also Six.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: C wears a three-piece suit and can kill a man from blocks away by using his powers to approximate a railgun. The Fae also qualify.
  • Battle Aura: Played with. Kaneki's kakuja form appears to be doing this... but it's actually a mist of highly corrosive C-cells.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Out of four female characters who make repeat appearances, three get injured on-screen and a fourth is explicitly described as being scarred from a lifetime of piracy.
  • The Berserker: Herman is one of these if he's pushed hard enough. It's actually part of his moniker - Berserker Hound.
  • Beyond the Impossible: C, by merely existing, breaks one of the cardinal rules of One Piece: nobody can possess the same Devil Fruit at the same time. Downplayed Trope, in that he's a clone grown from Eustass Kid's severed arm, with that same arm being the one containing the power.
  • Berserk Button: Do not upset one of Kaneki's people. Kaneki takes it poorly. Also, don't play God in front of Vinci.
  • BFS: Herman's preferred weapon of choice.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Every Mad Scientist in One Piece has a Hat. This is Vinci's.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Kaneki, what with his ghoul abilities.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Downplayed Trope. While One Piece isn't exactly E-rated, between the cannibalism, outright warfare, insane ghouls, and other sources of bloody devastation, this fic qualifies.
  • Blood Knight: One of Kaneki's opponents during the Siege Arc is this. It gets him killed.
  • Bullet Time: Lauren uses a serum that gives her this ability during the Spice Archipelago Saga. It comes with its own drawbacks - namely difficulty breathing and exhaustion once it wears off, but it still allows her to finish off her opponents.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Again, a One Piece fic, so this abounds.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Has two characters that qualify, C and Six. The former is a ghoul clone of Eustass Kid, accidentally created by Vinci and raised by the Nightmare Pirates, while the latter is a rescued cabin boy from the Necromonger Pirates. Neither have anything even approaching a normal thought process.
  • Combat Tentacles: Kaneki's favored form of combat, due to his rinkaku.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: C's Hat.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: This is basically Six's Hat. Nothing the Nightmare Pirates do can compare to the horrors the Necromonger Pirates committed on him and on others.
  • Deadly Doctor: Vinci, very much so.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Herman insists he isn't a swordsman: he's just someone who cuts down the crew's enemies.
  • Dragon Hoard: An allegorical version. Six refers to the other members of the Nightmare Pirates by titles that reflect their personalities and roles in the crew. He calls Kaneki Dragon, and thinks of those Kaneki cares about as this trope. C also thinks that Kaneki has taught this sort of viewpoint to the rest of the crew with regards to their allies.
  • Drop the Hammer: Jack's favored weapon of choice.
  • Dying Smirk: Grigori Rasputi dies with a huge Slasher Smile after poisoning both himself and Vice Admiral Komei in a gambit to keep the other man from stopping his grandson.
  • Empty Eyes: Six has these.
  • Enemy Scan: Vinci gains the ability to do this during his fight with Edwin Roberts. Since Roberts is a Logia, it tells him to hit the floor of the mine they're fighting in, dumping the rock-based man into a Lava Pit.
  • Enemy Within: Kaneki develops one that seems to be formed from his repressed natural instincts, ie, eating people and seeing them as prey. It takes the form of a large black dragon and is a smug bastard. He threatens it with Vinci as a means to get it to cooperate.
  • Eye Scream: Vinci receives this at the hands of Kid. He got better. Herman gets one during the fight with the Necromonger Pirates, and the same happens to him.
  • Feather Flechettes: Kaneki's ukaku is capable of these.
  • Five-Man Band: The Nightmare officers can be seen as forming one of these.
    • The Leader: Vinci, obviously. Very much an Evil Genius, and leads the Nightmares.
    • The Lancer: Kaneki. As first mate and unofficial moral compass (to his surprise, what with the cannibalism and all) he acts as a counterweight to Vinci's more erratic personality.
    • The Smart Guy: Lauren, the armorer. Physically one of the weakest officers, but she's an excellent gunsmith and capable fighter.
    • The Big Guy: Herman, the blacksmith and swordsman. Very much The Brute of the crew.
    • The Chick: Jack, a Rare Male Example who serves as the Only Sane Man of the crew.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Lampshaded by Kaneki and Vinci after taking down the Captain of the Necromonger Pirates, who is the most batshit insane and straight-up evil of the opponents the Nightmares had faced at the time.
'' “Can we just appreciate the fact that one of the most twisted and horrific people we’ve fought was named Keith? Do evil people have really normal names or something?”
“Yes. Beware anyone named Kevin." ''
  • Genius Bruiser: Vinci is scientifically brilliant, and also capable of beating people into the ground with relative ease. Jack is also this to a lesser extent, as while his primary talents are in the area of managing and supplying the crew, he's more than capable of getting his hammer and wrecking face as he sees fit.
  • Glasgow Grin: Vinci receives this at the hands of the same person as the Eye Scream example above.
  • Grin of Audacity: Overlaps with Slasher Smile below, in that most of the named Nightmares wear this expression at one time or another. Especially Vinci.
  • Healing Factor: Kaneki's main power. It has let him shrug off evisceration, poisoning, impalement, massive blunt force trauma, et cetera, with the biggest limitation being that it takes energy and food to heal - and for him, food means people. C has it as well, since he's also a ghoul, and while using the Oni compound so do the Oni.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Claire makes one at the end of the Pirate City Arc, using the last of her strength to save her remaining crew members with what is heavily implied to be an Awakened Devil Fruit ability.
  • Hired Guns: The Nightmares spend an arc as this alongside (and fighting against) numerous other pirate crews and mercenaries.
  • Horror Hunger: The main character's biggest problem, being turned into a ghoul.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: This is a One Piece fanfic. 95% of the named characters who use a sword fit this trope.
  • Knuckle Cracking: Kaneki is especially fond of this.
  • Laughing Mad: Vinci has an episode of this after the Hunt abandons the pretensions of being an alliance and all the captains (save Law, who nopes out) swear fealty to him.
  • Mad Scientist: Vinci. Highlights include self-augmentation, devising a Super Serum to let his Mooks become stronger quicker, the occasional vivisection of the enemies of his crew, and most recently using his own augmentations as a basis for turning his crewmates into proper Transhumans.
  • Magical Eye: Herman acquires one after getting a replacement eye for the one he lost fighting the Death Knight in the Slaughterhouse Arc. Due to the fact that the replacement was just an ordinary eye, Vinci theorizes the magic is due to the eye socket being haunted thanks to Herman carrying around Amakatta, a cursed blade that eats the soul of and then possesses the body of wielders it doesn't like. The eye grants perfect, 360-degree vision and can see through Herman's own skull.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Vinci has demonstrated this trait, on occasion. The most egregious coming when he puts Kaneki through a Die or Fly scenario in order to force him to accept his worst qualities and awaken his full kakuja. Notably, he often gets called out for this or has it backfire on him.
  • Mauve Shirt: Some of the Nightmare crew get proper names and characterization, while still being very obvious side characters. Also popular are groups like the Oni.
  • Mega Crossover: The Crossed Roads Arc (first in the Devil's Deeds Saga) introduces the Nightmares to the Rainbow Mists from the One Piece filler of the same name, and makes the place an interdimensional nexus of sorts, bringing in numerous examples of the Nightmare Pirates - and several versions of Kaneki, all SIs of different franchises.. Notably, it's temporary.
  • Mental World: Kaneki has one that he has learned to access through meditation. His Enemy Within has taken to squatting there.
  • Mook Horror Show: Whoo boy. The first ''From the Decks of the World'' is largely focused on various minor characters from previous arcs, as well as showing the aftereffects of some of the Nightmares' more infamous adventures. And then the last segment is from the point of view of a Marine who sees his entire armada slaughtered by a massive...thing that shares a lot of characteristics with the Dragon from Tokyo Ghoul.
    • To a lesser extent, applies to basically any Red Shirt that faces the Nightmares. Especially Lauren. Or C.
  • Motive Rant: Kaneki finally gets one in Chapter 93.
    Smoker (regarding Kaneki's plans for revenge against those who deposed his mentor): “Then who? The population of the kingdom, for not overthrowing the Councillors in turn? The Marines in their entirety? Royals who didn’t come to the old king’s aid? Who would you kill next, and when would it stop? Would you keep going like a mad dog, always finding new justifications? Or would you finally see sense and stand trial for your crimes? When would it end?”
    Kaneki: “It would end, when this world became just." (Monster voice starts kicking in) Year after year, decade after decade, century after century we’ve seen you humans piss away the inheritance and wisdom of your ancestors, slowly sliding closer to war and self-made oblivion with every step, blind to reality. Your rulers are delusional children, spoiled so much they think themselves gods on earth, and I am tired of seeing the generations pass with so little to show for it. Eight centuries they’ve kept the world yoked, and it has reached the point where there is nothing worth salvaging from the decrepit corpse of their ideals.(starts advancing, displaying More Teeth than the Osmond Family and making the temperature noticeably spike) “I would see a just world replace this one of slaughter and corruption, see a system I can look upon without wanting to rend it to shreds, and if that day ever comes I will surrender myself to an impartial jury of my peers and go to whatever fate they decide gladly. And if I cannot change the world for the better...if even the removal of the cancer that you dare call leadership fails before the short-sightedness and idiocy of humankind, then I will gather what I deem precious to me close...and I will let that unjust world burn.”
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Butcher Bird, Vodun, Revenant, Berserker Hound, Flayer, and the canonical example of Massacre Soldier. All except for the last two are officers of the Nightmare crew.
    • Then there's the name of the organization founded to take revenge on Eustass Kid: The Wild Hunt.
  • Neck Snap: Vinci gives one to a Kid Pirate Mook who was unfortunate enough to piss him off.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There's Jack 'The Drought', Kaido's right-hand man and billion-berry bounty...and then there's Rubeus 'Thundering Hammer' Jack, bosun of the Nightmare Pirates. In a manner of speaking, there's also Kaneki, who picked his name after forgetting whatever it was originally solely because it 'felt right', and thus ended up sharing a name with two characters from Tokyo Ghoul - the main character Ken Kaneki, and the One-Eyed-Owl's father, Yoshimura.
  • Only Sane Man: Jack is the bosun of the crew, and thus the man who runs most of the day-to-day operations of the Nightmares, ensuring everyone is supplied properly and that ship's law is enforced. This is in sharp contrast to most of his crew, large numbers of whom are only in it for the fights and the loot (or, in the Captain's case, the knowledge).
  • Perpetual Smiler: Vinci is almost always smiling - when he stops, that's usually because somebody has ticked him off enough to seriously annoy him, and a Curb-Stomp Battle isn't far away.
  • Pirate: Naturally, this being a One Piece fic.
  • Playing with Syringes: What Captain Vinci does, pretty much constantly. Unusually, it seems to be largely working, with little to no side-effects.
  • Psycho Serum: When faced with the prospect of dealing with an army of cultists and needing a boost, Vinci whips up one of these, the Oni compound. We get a brief blurb from the point of view of those dosed with it.
''It was a roaring engine of destruction, a jittering beast barely kept going on dregs of regeneration as the most potent combat cocktail in existence thrummed in its bloodstream and lungs. Its sword was long gone, lost in a shattered collection of bone and blood and flesh, and it fought with bare hands. Name forgotten, soul forgotten, injuries and tiredness and mortality forgotten. Only orders in its skull, golden-eyed words from golden-eyed man.
Hunt! Kill! Maim!
Five more around it, spilling their own blood and others, scent right while all others were wrong-wrong-wrong, a sixth even stronger behind and the rest all traces and symbols and shouting.
It flipped over a spear-thrust, and its backhand tore the jaw from an opponent as it grabbed another man’s neck and squeezed.
Hunt! Kill! Hate!
A kick shattered another man’s sternum as it dropped the twitching body and dove forwards, shaking fingers taking up a wood-axe and tearing into bone and brain.
And then it and its brothers were through the crowd, facing armored heroes in tin and steel, all glints in dull sunlight. It snarled in hate and its brothers howled with it as they ran, crashing into the line of shields.
“Judgement," came shouting from twenty throats.
It flew back, trailing blood and bone, breath rasping through fractured bone and cracked mask, and it landed on its feet with a snarl. Arm broken, fingers missing, ignored.
It launched forwards again, under the shields, quick as thought, and buried its hands in soft-crumpling steel and crushed the life from their throats. They dropped, and its brothers rushed into the gap, wary of the crushing shields, quick as vipers as they turned the formation into a slaughterhouse.
  • Razor Wings: Kaneki's ukaku can function as these.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: Was originally this for This Bites!, and it shows in some early chapters, most importantly the incident with the 13th Royal Flotilla, which led to Vinci losing his parents. However, the author eventually discarded this idea.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kaneki, very much so, due to being a ghoul. Also applies to C for the same reasons.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: During the Spice Archipelago Saga, most of the captains fighting alongside the Nightmares are killed in a day or two. The Nightmare response is to have a collective Let's Get Dangerous! moment and proceed to tear down all of the enemy pirate crews and their accompanying army of rebel militia in a single day. At the end of it, literal thousands are dead, the Archipelago has a new volcano, and every major player in the conflict with the exception of the Nightmares and a single surviving officer from one of those allied crews is dead. Another one looks ready to start at the end of the Pirate City arc when Vinci learns that Kid attacked the Gear Pirates and crucified the lot of them (sending Vinci a Finger in the Mail to let him know where to find them), with Clare sacrificing her life by using her Devil Fruit to save her crew. Vinci is naturally pissed and decides to go after Kid with at least 20 other crews who have a bone to pick with him.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Vinci has a tendency to use this when stressed.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
  • Sinister Scythe: Vinci wields one from the Crucix Arc up until the end of the Spice Archipelago Saga, where it gets broken. He replaces it after the Slaughterhouse Arc. In both cases, it's notable that it's a proper war scythe rather than the more traditional version, with the blade parallel to the shaft (and thus more practical than most examples of this trope).
  • Slasher Smile: Most of the named Nightmare crew members wear one at one time or another. Hell, most characters in general.
  • Start of Darkness: The second Decks of the World gives one for Akainu, of all people.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Averted from the very beginning. This story has very little to do with the journey of the Straw Hats.
  • Story Arc: Naturally, being a One Piece fic.
    • First off is the South Blue Saga, consisting of thirty chapters and five arcs- Founder's (1-6), Murky Island (7-11), Armory (12-15), Crucix (16-24), and Hangman's Town (25-30).
    • The second arc is the Spice Archipelago Saga, consisting of thirty-five chapters and six arcs- Twin Capes (31-35), Turtle Bay (36-41), Muster (42-45), Gala (46-50), Skirmish (51-57) and finally Siege (58-65).
    • A third saga, Devil's Deeds, is complete. The arcs are Crossed Roads (66-70), Slaughterhouse (71-75), Pirate City (76-83), and Black Flag (84-89).
    • The fourth saga, named Warlord, is in progress, with the first arc, Hippocratic, beginning with Chapter 90 and continuing until Chapter 96.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Vinci acquires these after implanting himself with the King's Heart. After developing a degree of Voluntary Shapeshifting, he figures out how to return them to normal, saying they were offputting.
  • Superpowered Mooks: Vinci develops varying versions of these during the Pirate City Arc. Their effectiveness in combat is yet to be fully demonstrated.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Vinci, as stated above. Kaneki as well, when he gets his Game Face on.
  • Theme Song: Most of the major characters and almost all the important fights get one, the author having left them accessible here.
  • The Power of Hate: Vinci can apparently kill Transponder Snails through force of will alone, causing one possessed by the being responsible for Kaneki's arrival in the One Piece world to burst into flames. He later demonstrates this on a Devil Fruit.
  • Training from Hell: Kaneki seems to delight in putting the crew through this, taking advantage of the low-tier Healing Factor granted by Vinci's concoctions to abuse just how much the human body can take. It's actually quite effective.
  • Tranquil Fury: Vinci. While prone to Unstoppable Rage, he's at his most terrifying when calm.
  • Transhuman: Vinci is arguably this - arguably, because in the World of Badass that is One Piece his augmentations really don't take him beyond the demonstrated limits of human capability in that world.
  • True Companions: The Nightmare pirates, full stop.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Six is utterly untrained in fighting, but has a decent degree of brute strength and a very good understanding of his Devil Fruit, as well as a complete lack of self-preservation, which makes him an odd combination of this trope and Weak, but Skilled. When told to hit Kaneki as hard as he can, he uses a Charged Attack that literally pimp-slaps the ghoul into a mountain, while breaking every bone in his hand.
    • Applies to Herman as well. The Berserker Hound prefers overwhelming the enemy with brute strength and speed rather than technique. Even his Shear technique is based more on rejecting his inability to destroy his enemy than the swordsmanship techniques used by canon characters.
  • Victory Through Intimidation: Kaneki manages to pull one of these on his own Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Villain Protagonist: Arguably. The main protagonist eats people, and the rest of his crew isn't much better. Very much a case of Black and Gray Morality, though, as most of the people the Nightmares fight are often worse.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Akainu, as per canon, appears to be one of these.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Applies to Kaneki after he gets stabbed through the brain and develops his kakuja from the need to survive. His weakened state is enough to fight Jabra on equal footing, and before that he was emitting vaporized C-cells that were capable of dissolving stone. All that power comes at the price of being absolutely fucking insane and attacking whoever's closest, allies included.
  • Wham Episode: The third Decks of the World. Grigori Rasputi achieves a Mutual Kill on Vice Admiral Komei to protect Vinci, the Marines cancel the Pacifista project because they suddenly have a pressing need to replace their entire small arms collection thanks to Lauren selling the designs for automatic weaponry to an arms dealer, the Vinsmokes have taken an interest in Kaneki and are sending a small army to capture him...a lot happened.
  • Wham Shot: During chapter 87, Killer's mask is broken. We don't see what is underneath, but based on everyone's reaction it looks like he's a ghoul. Confirmed in Chapter 88.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Diceros Keita gives one to Vinci after Vinci's Manipulative Bastard tendencies result in his plan to liberate his kingdom being put at risk.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Seems to happen a lot, mostly to Graded swords.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Six has dark blue hair. Charny Dui, a member of the Oni, has the same hair color.

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