One Piece Theory: Shanks Already Knows Laugh Tale's Location
Warning: contains spoilers for One Piece #1054!
As a member of the Roger Pirates who had a close relationship with Gol D. Rogers himself, Shanks was with the crew just before their final leg to Laugh Tale and the One Piece. Although just a child, it was certainly an experience, and location, that he could not have forgotten.
While it is unclear exactly how Shanks became a member of the Roger Pirates, by the age of 10, Roger had already designated him and Buggy as apprentices. As Buggy recalls in One Piece Chapter 19, they were pirates in training, who helped out on deck and in campaigns but whose main duties were to study and learn. As an apprentice, Shanks developed a close relationship with Roger that grew to the point where Roger even gifted Shanks his coveted straw hat, which Shanks would eventually give Luffy. Shanks was on the Roger crew on every major voyage they completed including their last one to find Laugh Tale. However, as documented in One Piece Chapter 967, just before the crew began their final leg to Laugh Tale, Buggy became deathly sick and Shanks volunteered to stay behind on Zou to care for him. He vowed to one day reach Laugh Tale on his own ship. Shanks and Buggy rejoined the crew, however, on their way back from Laugh Tale, and stayed with Roger until his execution at Loguetown.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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In the 30 years since Roger's execution, Shanks has gone on to become one of the greatest pirates on the Grand Line, rising even to the level of Yonko, or one of the Four Emperors of the Sea. Clearly, he took to heart whatever he learned as a member of the Roger Pirates. Moreover, during his decades on the sea, he must have sailed countless times, and thousands of miles across the waters of the Four Seas. When all this seafaring experience is considered together, there is likely no place on the Grand Line that Shanks has not traveled to, or otherwise knows the location of and how to get it. Put another way, Shanks already knows, or can easily find, the location of Laugh Tale and the One Piece. This is all but suggested in One Piece Chapter 1054 when Shanks says, "let's claim the One Piece". That is, Shanks doesn't say we need to "find" the One Piece like Luffy and others searching for it. Indeed, his statement clearly gives the sense that he knows exactly where it is and has just been waiting for the right time to go and get it.
Again, his history, background, and experience all point to him knowing where Laugh Tale is or having the means to find it without the same difficulty that Roger's journey encountered. First, as a pirate in training, he was one ship voyage away from the location and was confident, even at that point and age, he could find it again. Second, being close to Roger, he probably got a glimpse of the directions in the run-up to the last leg of the voyage. Third, upon his return from Laugh Tale, Roger surely mentioned some details to Shanks of how they got to the island. Finally, his decades on the sea, especially as the chief of a pirate crew, have certainly narrowed down the places he has not visited as possible locations of Laugh Tale, or at the very least locations to focus a search for Laugh Tale on.
Fan favorite Shanks is one of the more interesting characters in the One Piece World that provides a direct link between Luffy and Roger, but who has not been covered much in the manga. His absence is reasonable since the story is really about Luffy's quest for the One Piece and it would not makes sense to give too much attention to a character who already knows where it's located.