Ya-yo, ya-yo! Welcome once again to another installment of our regularly scheduled Hump Day Husbandos celebrations! If you didn’t pick up on the One Piece reference there (it was pretty subtle – Ed.), today I will be gushing over one of the greatest shounen protagonists of all time, Monkey D. Luffy!
I truly believe that although Luffy comes from an era of shounen that was heavily inspired by the likes of Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, he really stands out from the crowd with his general likeability, strong sense of self, and motivations.
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Who is Monkey D. Luffy?
Also known as Straw Hat Luffy, he is the main protagonist of the ever-popular and humongous One Piece anime and manga series written by Eiichiro Oda. Based in a world where pirates roam the seas, one man by the name of Gol D. Roger gave birth to an era of pirates by claiming to the world that his treasure was buried on an island somewhere in the world’s most fearsome ocean, the Grand Line.
Luffy grew up on a small island in East Blue, the ocean known as being the weakest — or at least the one with the fewest threats. It’s here that his story begins, and his ambitions to become Pirate King are born after a fateful encounter with an already prolific pirate by the name of Red-Haired Shanks. Shanks set a fire in Luffy’s heart after saving him from a sea monster and giving him what would become his most prized possession: his straw hat.
After eating a Gum-Gum Fruit, Luffy gained Devil Fruit powers that made his body become like rubber. Luffy proceeds to grow and train, slowly becoming more in tune with his new body and powers, and eventually, he sets off in search of adventure and a crew to follow him.
Why We Love Monkey D. Luffy
While Luffy comes from an era of shounen where a lot of protagonists were inspired by Dragon Ball’s Goku, Luffy distinguishes himself in many ways — ways that make him much more likeable, motivational, and much more compelling. One Piece tackles some pretty serious topics, and the way in which Luffy responds to them only makes fans love him more and more.
Straight off the bat, one of the most standout things about Luffy is how far he goes for those he cares about. I know, the idea of a character who will do anything for their friends is a shounen trope we’ve seen hundreds of times before. However, the way it is portrayed in One Piece is incredibly effective.
Climbing a mountain during a blizzard while carrying passed-out friends? Declaring war on the world government? Punching a noble perceived to be “untouchable”? These are just a few of the things Luffy has done to back up what he says about protecting those he considers friends.
Something I personally love about the character which can sometimes go a little bit under the radar is how he recognizes his own weaknesses, but knows and has complete faith in his crew to back him up. He can’t cook, he isn’t smart enough to be a doctor, he can’t navigate through the world’s ocean, but he can protect his crew. And that crew helps to compensate for his weaknesses.
Why You Will Love Monkey D. Luffy
Something you will appreciate about Luffy, especially if you’ve come from other shounen anime or manga, is that Luffy isn’t some special case with a secret power-up waiting in the wings for when the time is right. Devil Fruit powers are fairly common in the world of One Piece, Haki is a power most people can attain and the name D. belongs to more than just him.
Luffy has had his ass beaten on numerous occasions, but it’s his ability to train and creatively think of uses for his powers that allow him to overcome the obstacles in his path.
He isn’t the type of main character that makes huge speeches about how he’s a hero who’s come to stop the big bad once and for all so that he can bring peace to the world. Hell no! Luffy is a matter-of-fact character who talks straight, and is motivated in his goal of simply living the life he wants to live. It’s his free spirit and willingness to put everything on the line that makes him the god-tier character we know him to be.
Catch up on One Piece over on Crunchyroll.
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