Wow, it’s over.. Monkey D. Luffy vs Charlotte Katakuri is imho the best fight of One Piece and with it’s conclusion, finally I can share my thoughts on it.
This was the first time Luffy fought for his own motivations and not for the sake of others, to save or help someone. As Rayleigh said, the flower of Haki only blooms on extreme situations and battles.
Luffy wanted to surpass Katakuri, a mountain of a challenge, for himself to become stronger, so he chose to not run away when he could and come back to fight. Wanting to see a glimpse of the future.
The fight was really interesting and extremely well made because Luffy and Katakuri could relate to another one on a personal level. Their powers were similar, basically a mirror match, but their personalities were so much different. Luffy being the wild free spirit he is, always doing what he wants, and Katakuri being bounded to titles and legends of himself, the man who never laid down, and who had to hide himself just to enjoy the pleasure of eating some delicious donuts.. But they are, at essence, both true fighters, warriors, looking for a fight that will make they give their all and surpass themselves..
The key here was Kenbunshoku Haki. Oda used this concept really, really well to develop Luffy not only just in terms of ability but also maturity. When training, Luffy was able to sense people’s emotions very easily, it’s the first thing he evolved when training. Rayleigh said “there’s people in this world strong enough to see the future, how will you fight them?” to which Luffy responds “it depends on what type of person they are”.. Interested in their personalities. Even Ray-san the fucking Dark King never thought of doing that.
This ties very well with the essence of Luffy’s character. His empathetic nature. Luffy understands and accept people, truly care for his friends and understands their pain, that’s why he fights for those he considers kindly so hard. And that’s also why I love him as a Main Character. Kenbunshoku Haki just evolves his natural empathetic personality into an ability.
That’s why he’s able to evolve his haki to the point of seeing the future in JUST this fight. Because he subconsciously (in the beginning) could relate to Katakuri through his haki, and as the fight went on, he started to adapt to Katakuri’s movements because he kind of understood him personally, in the way he moved, felt, acted, spoke.. Luffy was able to master this aspect of Observation Haki BECAUSE Katakuri was his opponent. The interesting thing will be seeing how Luffy will use this aspect of haki on the future, with different kinds of characters. Maybe he’ll even make jokes in the future..
Katakuri also developed a lot in this fight. And Oda, being the master of narrative as always, made it happen only through their fists, emotions and actions, with only 1 or 2 panels of flashback..
By wanting to fight Luffy at his absolute best and have a full out brawl, Katakuri was also able to transcend feelings of insecurity and attachment to expectations of people. He also wants a fight worth fighting, and by being the legendary BEAST that he is, I find this aspect of Katakuri very interesting.. That’s why he stabs himself and gets mad at Flambe, revealing his face without any shame. Personally I think Luffy wouldn’t win if it wasn’t for this, but anyways, it was really well made as to being something Katakuri felt really strong about, his convictions and feelings.
Now, to the fight…
I can see how many people got frustrated with Luffy winning, I was also thinking Katakuri would win. But the closure was made in a way I see Luffy’s victory very clearly.
His King Cobra was faster than Diced Mochi, so he hit Katakuri faster, and Diced Mochi didn’t do much damage, or as many damage it should do, and King Cobra was on point. King Cobra, his strongest attack on Snakeman form (as King Kong Gun is on Boundman). You can see it in their eyes, Kata took much more damage, Luffy’s eyes are as alive as ever.
Of course, the ground breaks and Luffy still gets wrecked, but it wasn’t strong enough because Luffy hit him first.
The thing is, apart from the haki, Luffy showed god tier tenacity in this fight. Pure durability. He was always this way, but it also showed some evolution even in this aspect (look how he ended up after Lucci, couldn’t even move, now he got back up after a few minutes). The whole fight was like this. There were 3 or 4 really killing blows, but it was most Luffy dodging his attacks and trying to read him.
Katakuri, on the other way, just isn’t that tough, even while being super strong. He states clearly when Luffy dodges his attacks how it’s “frustrating, because normally no one never dodges”. He always finishes his fights fast and easily, being the monster he is(that’s a common theme on Big Mom crew, looking at Cracker who didn’t like pain)
So it got down to Luffy being beaten to a pulp, getting up and doing damage with G4, in which he proceeded to destroy.
So yeah, to me, it was clearly Luffy’s victory. Katakuri’s last words were just perfection. “You’re seeing pretty far into the future”, after Luffy just declares he’ll be the godamn Pirate King. Katakuri, the mochi man himself, acknowledging Luffy as the guy who can be the Pirate King. Wow. Just wow.
Katakuri falling on his back in front of Luffy, with what I perceived as a satisfied grim on his face. A fight well fought. Luffy then proceeding to cover his mouth. Oh my god man. The respect.
R E S P E C T
So, for me, this really was the best fight of One Piece. It topped them all. Katakuri is one of my favorite characters ever and Luffy evolved as a character while also getting stronger.
*Theory by Javiocoruja