Even if you haven’t watched One Piece, you might be familiar with one of its popular female characters who steal the limelight whenever she appears on screen – Nico Robin. Robin joins the Straw Hat crew at a later point, she is still one of the most beloved characters among the ‘Straw Hat Pirates’.
If we are taking a look at her from when she is introduced in the anime to how she is in the current arc, we can say with absolute certainty that she has undergone major changes both in appearance and character. Robin is first introduced, she has relatively dark brown skin. However, after the 2-year timeskip in the story, Robin reappears with much paler, nearly white skin. This dramatic change in skin tone for the character has puzzled and intrigued fans.
So, why did they make Robin white after the time skip? Let’s put on our thinking caps and try to get to the bottom of it.
What Happened With Robin in 2Y Time Skip?
There is a significant change seen in all the Straw Hats after the time skip which happens for around 2 years where they train to become stronger and better versions of themselves. Because of this time skip, questions have been raised about Robin’s appearance, especially her skin tone.
While Robin had a darker complexion from the time she was introduced in the Arabasta arc till the Marineford arc, she seems to have acquired a fairer complexion and more of a white skin tone when they all meet up in Sabaody.
While some people argue that the change in complexion is due to her time in Arabasta where she might’ve gotten a tan; that argument is quite baseless because, in Robin’s flashbacks of her childhood, we see that she has had a dark complexion from then.
Another thing to note is the fact that Vivi has been a resident of Arabasta far longer than Robin and she never got a tan throughout the series.
Lots of people assume that Robin is Indian. However, in one of the Q&A sections of the manga, Oda Sensei listed the nationalities of all the Straw Hats in a hypothetical situation (If they were to belong to our world) and he mentioned that Robin’s nationality would’ve been Russian in our world.
So, this fact can perhaps, help support the notion that Oda never intended Robin to have a darker skin tone in the first place.
This lines perfectly with another consistent theory of her change in skin complexion that says that Robins’s darker skin color was an error made by Toei animation.
To be more precise, Robin’s skin tone in the manga has always been white be it pre or post-time skip. This argument can be attested to the fact that Oda always gives a consistent and same skin tone to all his characters.
Why was Nico Robin redesigned and become white after the time skip?
According to fan speculations, they believe that Oda never confirmed Robin’s skin tone with the animators hence, leading them to be confused about the skin tone. Further, since it must’ve been too late to make any changes to the character, they decided to do it after the time skip which was an ideal situation.
Even though the fans have been arguing about the exact reason for this change, none of them seem particularly disappointed about Robin’s change in appearance.
While some want Robin with the supposed ‘tan’ to be back others don’t want Robin to undergo changes anymore. And personally, as an ardent fan of both Robin and One Piece, I believe in the latter.
All in all, this change can be seen as harmless.
If we look at it from a positive outlook, we could say that Robin’s change in appearance shows that she is healing from her difficult past and at the same time getting even stronger thanks to her crewmates.