Monkey D. Luffy should be competing with Eustass Kid or Trafalgar, but it turns out to be more lopsided than it was supposed to be.
Spoilers for One Piece Chapter 1076, “Old Friends”, by Eiichiro Oda, Stephen Paul, and Vanessa Satone. Viz Media
One Piece juxtaposes Monkey D. Luffy Eustass Kid or Trafalgar Law to each other, they are considered equals. They perform similarly, no matter if they are competing to see who can carry the most stones, go longest without being hit by fireballs, or destroy the biggest ship first. They all got the same bounty out of Wano. While none of these feats correspond directly to strength, it is how the narrative establishes that all three are meant to be considered equally equal.
It is hard to imagine Eiichiro Oda imagining these three as being identical. They have played different roles in their respective stories, despite being presented as equals many times. Their roles in One Piece’soverarching narrative have made what appears to be a balanced relationship between them seem less than intended.
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What are the strengths of Luffy and Kid compared to one another?
At first glance, it seemed like there was uncertainty about which of these three men had a distinct advantage. Luffy could damage Kaido by using his superior mastery at Haki. Kid and Law, however, were able to tamper with Big Mom’s big mom thanks to their Devil Fruit Awakenings. They used very different techniques, which led to some confusion about how they would perform against one another.
Luffy’s newest power-up Gear Five put him at least one level above his competition. With his superior Haki control and Devil Fruit Awakening, he was able to give himself a clear advantage over Kid and Law. Kid and Law need to continue training with their Haki to match Luffy.
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A lot can be said about Luffy’s ability to defeat Kaido all by himself. Luffy was the only one capable of delivering a decisive blow, regardless of how many others helped to take down the King among the Beasts. Kid and Law were forced to work together to defeat Big Mom via the ring out. The win against Big Mom is still impressive regardless of the extenuating circumstances.
These three Emperors are very different and it is why many people doubt Kid and Law’s ability to defeat Shanks, Blackbeard, and Blackbeard. They can expect to put up a fight but ultimately lose. This is still how Luffy would perform against these Emperors. This kind of means that he’s still comparable in some ways to Kid and Law.
What are the Other Things Law and Kid Need to Do Better?
Law is perhaps the closest to Luffy’s ideal rival. Due to his participation in Dressrosa Arcs as well as Punk Hazard, he has gained a significant fan base. He was also a central character of two One Piece films. The kid’s role in One Piece’s narrative is minor. The kid’s weakness is due to Luffy’s strength as well as Law’s popularity.
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It’s difficult to say that Kid or Law has crews comparable to Luffy’s. One-on-one matches between the Straw Hat Pirates and top-ranking pirate crews are possible. However, it is hard to say the opposite for most of the Kid Pirates. Even if Kid and Law have as much strength as Luffy, this won’t be enough if they don’t have strong shipmates.
All this could change when Luffy and Kid meet up again. It might even be different if Kid’s and Laws’ fights with Shanks & Blackbeard are shown. Kid and Law need to focus on Haki’s improvement and Kid’s participation in the narrative. They will be fine. These rivals could be seen as more plausible competitors in the race for One Piece.