When Law back in Punk Hazard gave Luffy the goal of beating Kaido, shocked as I was, I don’t think I understood the scope of what he was talking about. The sheer height of the mountain that was to be climbed, the weight of those words; none of it hit me fully at the time. In fact, I don’t think it hit me until now. And I’m not even talking about the ripples that it would cause globally, from a sociopolitical or economic standpoint. I’m not talking about “the winds of change” or “the new era” or any of that shit. I’m just talking about the simple (but nowhere near easy) act of defeating Kaido in battle.
Every time Luffy revealed a new technique or transformation, every time Luffy learned something new like future sight, I thought that was Luffy getting one step closer to beating Kaido. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. It was just Luffy reaching the starting line. I was stunned. All of his growth from Sabaody to Wano was literally a pre-requisite and now you had to actually train to beat Kaido.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, let’s look at the first fight they had in Wano. Kaido as a drunk, goofy-looking dragon descends from the skies and fires a blast breath at the ruins of Oden castle where Luffy’s crew and the Scabbards were, destroying everything in its wake and turning the top of the mountain into a crater. Luffy, who had at the time left from there with Law in order to duel Kaido, was thrown into emotional disarray from fearing that the worst had happened to his friends to the rage that he felt towards Kaido because of what he did. Note that this rendered him unable to use future sight as he couldn’t maintain a calm state of mind.
Then these events happened in succession:
- Luffy knocks Kaido around with a bunch of Gear 3 attacks Kaido, without even the slightest hint of damage taken, sobers up and turns into his humanoid form.
- Luffy rushes at him in Gear 4: Boundman Kaido blitzes Luffy with a Thunder Bagua which Luffy couldn’t dodge because he didn’t have future sight.
- The attack instantly knocks him out and sends him flying.
Now let’s substitute Luffy with a random marine fodder. How much damage would he/she have dealt to Kaido? 0 (same as Luffy unless you count sobering him up as damage, which is an insignificant difference). How many attacks would it have taken Kaido to beat him/her? 1 (same as Luffy) or maybe zero because of Conqueror’s Haki(which adds to my point). Do you see how insane that is?
Future sight doesn’t give Luffy a comfortable leeway to dodge Kaido’s attacks. It gives Luffy the minimum leeway required to dodge Kaido’s attacks, EVEN THEN he would get tagged by the Kaido’s attacks if he wasn’t focused enough. LMAO. Advanced Armament doesn’t give Luffy the power to deal damage to Kaido, it gives Luffy enough power to allow Kaido to feel his punches or kicks. LMAO.
It was not until this man learned Conqueror’s Coating in Chapter 1010 that he could actually deal damage to Kaido, that he could STAND ON THE SAME RING as Kaido by himself. WTAF. And he got knocked out by Kaido 2 TIMES in the process (Act 1, Rag-Naraku). Now that Luffy has finally reached the starting line, let’s see how he fares against Kaido. In the bits that we see them fight, they were clashing on seemingly equal terms, having fun laughing and landing a few blows on each other, and then BAM. Luffy’s falling from Onigashima and we don’t know how or why. All we get is Kaido saying that Luffy got a bit too big for his boots and “Gomu Gomu no ….. what was what again?”
A lot of people interpreted this as Luffy trying out a new attack, but to me, it felt like Kaido was outright denying the same techniques we’ve seen help Luffy defeat his foes throughout his journey which was, in a way, the denial of the story of One Piece itself. That stunned me. Luffy was only halfway up the mountain after reaching its base back in 1010, and this was the THIRD time Luffy got knocked out in the process.
Now for a change in perspective, let’s look at Kaido’s side of things. From the moment he got rushed by the 9 Scabbards yelling “SUNACCHI!” till the moment he left Luffy falling from Onigashima. This man was constantly fighting:
- VS 9 scabbards with Big Mom (Though they were all only trying to deal damage to him)
- VS the Supernova rooftop gang with Big Mom again
All this while carrying a giant-ass island with his flame clouds.
THEN after knocking Luffy out for the third time, he had to deal with Yamato until he came back with big Momonosuke. After Momonosuke punches Kaido, he leaves with Yamato. Luffy is back again to fight Kaido one on one and we can assume that his Conqueror’s Haki has gotten stronger since then and that he’s properly rested up and has a filled stomach. At this point, the significant attacks Kaido has tanked that I can recall that have not come from Luffy are the Scabbards’ Togen Totsuka, Zoro’s Dead Man’s Game, and a couple of Law’s and Yamato’s attacks and (maybe) Kid’s and Killer’s attacks. Not only is this man’s defense stat so damn high, but he also has insane endurance.