Luffy’s Fighting Style and its Evolution
Luffy’s fighting style is also really interesting. Luffy contrary to what one would seem isn’t always the strongest guy around. And I’d argue for most of the start of the series he wasn’t even the strongest member of the crew physically. I’d say both Sanji and Zoro could probably outlift him for most if not all of pre-timeskip.
But his devil fruit quite literally allowed Luffy to output devastating damage and have extreme mobility by multiplying his power output with the methods I just mentioned. It also gives an excuse to give him near infinite stamina which only seems to lower when he starts taking hits.
His fighting style had a cost however, have you noticed how grounded Luffy was when hitting? Or how uncontrolled is his mobility when moving, often taking hits while his attacks come back, or his enemy moving too much and Luffy failing to connect and even getting grabbed sometimes, or even Luffy yeeting himself somewhere often with unpredictable consequences.
And we see him get better at it. In a really subtle way.
We start seeing Luffy use more the Gatling Gun which in reality is only multiple pistols in where he does a whip motion for more than one hit per punch and he doesn’t strech his arm nearly as much at the start to not leave himself open, overwhelming his opponents with volume and speed instead of one strong shot. Luffy is quite literaly one of the few protagonists who can do a barrage of punches and it makes sense in real fighting why he does that.
We start seeing Luffy dodge and counter more attacks, let me explain, Luffy starts a pistol when he sees or expects the enemy is going to attack, he quite literally does slips boxing style and then punches the enemy, there is a surprising amount of these ones when you start looking for them especially as the series progresses or the variation where both get hit, which is still really effective because a pistol from Luffy ia almost always going to be more powerful for obvious reasons. Also since he cannot block and he is always quite literally inmune to his own blunt force if someone punched at him, it actualy makes sense for Luffy to punch their punch, as it would do much more damage to his enemy than to Luffy.
Luffy also starts doing follow ups to his attacks, like gatling guns before his enemies get back up from a pistol for example.
And Luffy becomes really adept at it. There comes a point where Luffy isn’t even challenged by most enemies anymore, and he’s fighting against either enemies with really complicated or overpowered abilities. But the series places Luffy above them either way. Luffy feels like a big shot… Bellamy getting destroyed. The Skypiea arc. The weird foxy arc. Luffy beats a freaking “GOD” pretty much, one who could predict all of Luffy’s movements and was seemingly almost invincible. Yes he had a lot of luck but it puts Luffy in a really godlike status. Then a weird pirate tries to battle him just to fail miserably even with an ability so overpowered that it just makes a point about how good is Luffy.
Just to then smash him with Aokiji and CP9. With this Oda can do two things. First show us that Luffy is nowhere near strong enough yet and also he adds another layer of complexity to Luffy’s power to now directly tell us how much Luffy has improved.