In the light of the recent chapter, many criticisms have arisen, one notably along the lines of “This is Naruto all over again”. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but my issue with this one is that it is just straight up wrong.
People that say this, either do not actually understand what went wrong with Naruto or did not pay enough of attention to One Piece, Luffy specifically, or even both.
– What did Naruto get wrong?
In short, the reveal about Naruto being the reincarnation of an ancient entity, contradicted what had been established since the beginning, about Naruto being the underdog, that overcame the odds through his willpower and works.
The baseline of the issue being the reveal somewhat shattered the previous years of storytelling.
– Did the same thing happen to One Piece? No.
Literally from chapter 1, Luffy was set up to be a child of destiny. Shanks, a Yonko, recognized his potential when he was a little kid, and gave him his hat to spur Luffy’s ambition onward. Luffy’s bounties were always very high relative to his skill level and location on the seas. I wonder if that has anything to do with his special devil fruit that was previously under close protection by the World Government. The first chapter literally says “Luffy’s great voyage of destiny has begun!!!”
We knew from day one that Luffy was special. We knew from day one that this was a story of destiny to become the Pirate King (and possibly more?). We knew that Luffy’s creativity with his rubber body allowed him to do things that, frankly, didn’t make a ton of sense if he was purely made of rubber. There is no way anyone can convince me that this is just an “ass pull” or that Luffy just needed another power up to beat Kaido, so Oda slapped this on.
”They’re supposedly only limited by their imagination” and “The most ridiculous power in the world”
A headcanon, somewhat widespread within the community, was that Luffy made the most out of a shitty devil fruit. This has basically just been confirmed. The reveal about the name of the fruit, did not change the ability of the fruit. I feel like people are really bugged by the appellation ‘’God’’, feeling like Luffy did not earn his progress, but it was rather due to his “God fruit”.
Now let’s look at the actual abilities of his devil fruit. It just grants his user the properties of rubber. That is all. It was the case since the beginning, and it is still very much the case. The fact that, the name of the fruit changed, did not change his abilities. As it was confirmed by the Gorosei, everything Luffy has accomplished was, and is still, the result of Luffy’s own wit and creativity.
– Gear 2nd: This technique involves Luffy speeding up the blood flow in all or selected body parts, in order to provide them with more oxygen and nutrients. This makes him much faster and more powerful.
– Gear 3rd: Luffy corks his mouth with his thumb, bites into his thumb joint (making a small opening) and blows very hard into it, which inflates his arm. He is then able to transfer the air through his entire body, requiring the torso to act as an interface for his various limbs.
– Gear 4th: Luffy coats his arm in Busoshoku Haki before biting into his forearm. Similar to how he activates Gear Third, he blows an incredible amount of air into his body, but this time he inflates his muscular structure before distributing the air throughout his body, with emphasis on his upper half.
These are some of the notorious examples of Luffy’s creativity, and the reveal, does not invalidate, nor undermines them in any way.
– The most ridiculous power in the world.
This sentence was not meant as “The most broken power in the world”, nor “The most destructive power in the world”, but really the silliest power in the world, as indicated by the cartoonish fighting style that followed it. This is not the Gura Gura no Mi, nor the Magu Magu no Mi.
Luffy has always been a goofy character, that fights in a goofy way, and it is firmly tied to the creativity that he has displayed thorough the whole series. Here are just few examples:
Not only this development does not contradict what we have been shown for two decades, but it, in fact, emphasise it. You may not like it, that’s a thing, but it perfectly encapsulates Luffy as a character, and it was the most natural progression his Awakening could follow.