The 42 Greatest Anime Moments of Monkey D. Luffy


May 5 is the birthday of One Piece's main character Monkey D. Luffy, and over the past couple of decades of his existence, he's given us some moments that will stay in our minds forever.And so I've decided to chronicle 42 of his best ones, antics that will hopefully remind you how much you love the free-spirited, determined, ridiculous Birthday Best Boy.One note, though-while this list does contain some of those sweet, sweet fight scenes, I've already written a list that ranked his 20 greatest knockouts against bad guys.So, in order to not repeat that list entirely, I've tried to mix it up a little bit.

1. Luffy Wakes Up From A Great Nap

Luffy Wakes From a Nap

I can't think of a better anime debut for Monkey D. Luffy than "wakes up in the barrel that he miraculously survived a whirlpool in and immediately knocks out some pirates by accident." It's everything fun about the dude rolled into one.

2. Luffy Gets Coby To Hit Him

Coby Hits Luffy

One thing that doesn't get mentioned enough about Luffy is his haphazard, yet skillful ingenuity.He knows that Koby will never get to join the Marines if he's associated with pirates, so Luffy, his one brain cell working overtime, gets Koby to punch him in order to prove that they're not friends because would friends brawl on the floor of a restaurant?

3. Luffy Gets The Straw Hat

Luffy Gets the Straw Hat

A moment from the first chapter of the manga that was delayed until Episode 4 of the anime, Luffy getting the straw hat from Shanks is iconic.It sets in motion his entire journey and creates a symbol that represents freedom, adventure, and destiny.

4. Luffy Gives Nami The Straw Hat

Nami Gets the Straw Hat

Luffy giving Nami his straw hat is more than just a simple, comforting gesture.It's Luffy telling Nami that if she wants, she'll be a Straw Hat now and for the rest of her life.Nami may have problems, but she'll never have to deal with them alone ever again.

5. Luffy Gets His First Bounty

Luffy's First Bounty

By gaining a bounty when he takes down Arlong, Luffy is introduced to the wider world of pirating, the World Government, and eventually the Grand Line. Though Buggy's reveal that he knew Shanks and Mihawk's appearance hinted at a wider world, this is Luffy's first real step into it.

6. Luffy Smiles At Death

Luffy Smiles at Death

Luffy obviously doesn't want to die. But as he smiles at the crowd and his crew while Buggy brings a sword down onto his neck, he grins.Because he didn't die in vain. He never became Pirate King and he never found the One Piece, but he did live his life exactly the way that he wanted to. And that's more important than any title or treasure.I'm glad he didn't die, though. They never would've found the Grand Line if Zoro had ascended to the role of Captain. They'd probably still be arguing in the Loguetown harbor.

7. Luffy Holds Up Hiriluk's Flag

Luffy with Hiriluk's Flag

Wapol wanted to destroy Hiriluk's flag and thus eliminate his legacy. But Luffy — smoking due to being recently shot by a cannon and holding up the flag — proved that's not something you can just do. As long as someone is there to fight for it, a flag is forever.

8. Luffy Disagrees With Vivi

Luffy Disagrees with Vivi

Vivi, frustrated, enraged, and embarrassed about the treatment of her country, was more than ready to sacrifice herself for it … and only herself. But Luffy wasn't hearing it.If she was going down, they were all going down. It wasn't just Vivi's fight anymore.The Straw Hats had reached Ride or Die status.

9. Luffy Beats Crocodile

Crocodile in One Piece

I did a list of Luffy's best knockouts so I'm not gonna list every major punch here.However, the ones that are especially meaningful deserve recognition.And this one, where, after two defeats, Luffy battered Crocodile up through the streets of Alubarna , is inarguably one of the most memorable.It's a triumph that's a long time coming, equal parts brutal and satisfying.

10. Luffy Lets Himself Get Beat Up And Meets Blackbeard

Luffy Meets Blackbeard

Mirroring Shanks' restraint when he let himself get harassed by the Mountain Bandits, here we see Luffy decide not to fight Bellamy and instead he listens to Bellamy's foolish proclamations about why dreams suck and why you shouldn't have them and why Mylo Xyloto is the best Coldplay album, probably.However, even if he didn't need the pick-me-up, Blackbeard meets him outside to reaffirm that dreams never die.It would be a super nice remark … if anyone but Blackbeard was saying it.

11. Luffy Is Immune To Enel

Enel in One Piece

Until this point, Enel is borderline unstoppable, able to strike down anyone in his path and — with the help of his "mantra" barely takes any damage in the process.And it's made him pretty cocky. But to see Enel's face distort in cartoonish disbelief when he realizes that Luffy is a Rubber Type Pokemon and that he's impervious to Electric Types is so joyously satisfying.

12. Luffy Decides To Get Rid Of The Going Merry

Luffy Says Goodbye to the Going Merry

With the Going Merry slowly becoming unusable and actually becoming a handicap to the crew, Luffy figures that it's time to find a new ship.It's a sad moment, but you can't help but see Luffy's side.A good pirate crew needs a good. And pirate ship.And if the Going Merry suddenly sinks, Luffy is dead. Like very, very dead.

13. Luffy Faces Usopp

Luffy Faces Usopp

Usopp relates to the Going Merry, fearing that its "weakness" and "inadequacy" represents his own. And so when Luffy decides to get rid of the ship, Usopp lashes out, causing Luffy to have to "put down" Usopp. It's a difficult decision, but it shows that Luffy isn't all laughs and "I'm gonna be King of the Pirates!" declarations.

14. Luffy Does Not Recognize Sogeking

Luffy in One Piece

And then, after the most heartfelt showdown in the series, Luffy doesn't even recognize Usopp's Sogeking disguise, despite the fact that he has most of Usopp's traits, most of Usopp's weapons, and showed up only a little while after Usopp left. Oh , Luffy. Never stop being you.

15. Luffy Goes Second Gear

Luffy in One Piece

Power-ups are pretty common in anime.But Luffy saying that he needs to take his skills up another level so that he won't lose his friends still feels pretty special.And then the music kicks in and Luffy beats Blueno to a pulp and it's one of the most hype scenes in the entire series.

16. Luffy Declares War On The World

Luffy Declares War

He'll always have a target on his back, he'll never be able to rest easy again, and the World Government will pursue him as long as he draws breath.Luffy knows this, but when the time comes to save Robin from CP9 in Enies Lobby, he doesn't hesitate to take on the whole world.It's just what friends do.

17. Luffy Refuses To Fall

Lucci and Luffy

When Luffy and Lucci fight, it isn't a quick contest. They go to absolute war on one another.And when Lucci thinks he's won, having left Luffy spitting up blood on the floor, we see that … no. Luffy will Not leave his feet. He has too much pride, too much grit, and too much determination. Defeat is not an option here. He will stop fighting to retrieve Robin when he's dead.

18. Luffy Is Reunited With Garp

Garp in One Piece

For a long time, Luffy's actual flesh and blood family was a mystery. Shanks is kind of a cool uncle and Ace is someone that Luffy considers his brother, but where did Luffy, ya know, come from? As it turns out, his grandpa is the cannonball-throwing Marine Vice Admiral Garp, who is not only just as goofy as Luffy, but also really, really, really strong for being 76.What's his secret? Low carbs? Eiichiro Oda, please let me know.

19. Luffy Punches The Celestial Dragon

Charlos in One Piece

Luffy can't stand bullies or anyone that relishes the misery of others.So when a Celestial Dragon shoots Hatchan in the auctioneering house, Luffy walks right up to him and turns his face into a catcher's mitt.

20. Luffy Loses His Crew

Luffy Loses His Crew

Luffy's darkest hour (so far) comes when, in a fight with Kuma, Kizaru and the Pacifistas, his whole crew eventually gets wiped out and spread across the world.All the while, Luffy is powerless to stop it — his Gum Gum skills no match for Kuma's abilities.It's a truly pitiable thing to see Luffy beat his fists on the ground in futility, something entirely unlike any scene in the series before.

21. Luffy Covers Sandersonia

Luffy in One Piece

Back in Little Garden, Luffy agreed it wasn't necessary to actually have a reason for the fight between the giants. They were having an honorable contest between warriors.That was enough. Later when Sandersonia's scars were about to be revealed after a battle, Luffy covered them up.He had no interest in killing them or exposing their secrets.That is not what the battle was for.The contest was simply one that he wanted to win so he'd eventually get back to his crew.

22. Luffy Decides To Save His Brother Before Reuniting With His Crew

One Piece

When Luffy learns that Ace is to be put to death, he must make a choice: Get the gang back together or dive into the depths of Impel Down and try to rescue his brother. He ends up choosing the latter, which shows a great deal of trust and respect for his crewmates. He knows they're strong enough to be OK without him for now.

23. Luffy Embraces Mr. 2

Luffy in One Piece

This is just plain wholesome.Luffy's love for his friends is might be the best thing about him.

24.Luffy Falls From The Sky

Luffy Falls From the Sky

Luffy's story isn't just about his quest to find the One Piece, but the formation of a legend.And when Luffy and the other Impel Down escapees plummet from the sky into the Marineford war, you can practically see that legend being written.

25. Luffy Faces The Admirals

The Admirals

Yes, Luffy's attempts to kick a frozen log at them goes nowhere.And yes, Luffy is almost immediately knocked down by Kizaru when he tries to rush past him. But the guts in that kid! Facing down three of the most powerful men in the One Piece universe and demanding they give Ace back to him.That is moxie, my dudes.

26. Luffy Goes Comatose

Luffy in One Piece

Ace is dead.The mission has failed.A brother is lost.And all Luffy can do is go numb and lifeless.He has no words or actions to explain or react.A chunk of his soul has been ripped away.

27. Luffy Realizes He Still Has His Friends

Luffy in One Piece

Yes, his attempt to save Ace was a bust.But in the most hopeless of times, Jimbei asks him what he still has.And Luffy remembers he still has his friends — friends he has been there for in the past and who will most certainly be there for him later. They are still there.And because they are still there, Luffy's existence has worth.

28. Luffy Gets An Upgrade

Luffy in One Piece

Reuniting with his crew in Sabaody, it doesn't take too long for Luffy to find a way to show off the results of two years of training.He's been doing some grinding, so his skill tree has some new branches.He's unlocked some new abilities, and he's reached his evolved form.When a Pacifista comes at the Monster Trio (Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji,) they beat the bear out of it.

29. Luffy Decides To Make Fish-Man Island His Territory

Luffy, Fish-Man Island

For the most part, Luffy doesn't really care about the dominance sought by other powerful characters. But after he's gotten to know the citizens of Fish-Man Island and he sees the terror caused by Big Mom, he tells her straight-up he's gonna defeat her and take Fish-Man Island under his protection.It's the closest that Luffy has ever gotten to being a character in Goodfellas.

30. Luffy Allies With Law

One Piece

And then, shortly after talking trash to Big Mom, Luffy teams up with Trafalgar Law in a plot to overthrow Kaido, another Emperor of the Sea.It's a real leap forward for Luffy.One day, you're just a kid from East Blue punching everyone that seems mean.The next, you're taking an active role in changing the power structure of the entire world.That's just how it is sometimes, though.As Logic once said, "Who can relate? "

31. Luffy Has Been "Picking Fights All Along"

Luffy Has Been Picking Fights Wrong

Luffy knows he doesn't just tumble from one situation to another.He isn't just a poor guy caught up in the gambits of powerful evil forces.No, Luffy has definitely chosen to live a life where he will interfere with your best- laid plans if he feels inclined to. And if that includes a lot of fighting, well, so be it.

32. Luffy Reunites With Sabo

Sabo in One Piece

It's been pretty much non-stop action since the beginning of the Post Time Skip era, and that hasn't really allowed for a ton of emotional moments for Luffy. But when he reunites with Sabo in the coliseum and his scream comes out as a mix of happiness, confusion, and surprise, he finally gets one. Cry it out, buddy. We love ya.

33. Luffy And His Allies Head For Doflamingo

One Piece

From orchestrating a breakout in Impel Down to creating a charge toward Doflamingo with all the allies he met in the tournament to win the Flame-Flame Fruit, Luffy has slowly gone from being the captain of a small crew on a ship with an animal head on the front to being the full-on leader of a Pirate Alliance. Luffy 2020 is what I say.

34. Luffy Goes Fourth Gear

Luffy Goes Fourth Gear

Years after the reveal of Second and Third Gear, we get Fourth Gear, a power-up that even more freakishly transforms Luffy's body.It's not graceful, nor is it particularly beautiful to behold, but it gets the job done.

35. Luffy Beats Doflamingo

Doflamingo in One Piece

Doflamingo-a man that's been a thorn in the side of nearly everyone in the world for about 15 years of anime history-finally gets taken down. And still, it's only a stepping stone to Wano. Somehow, Eiichiro Oda creates these moments that seem like the biggest events in history, and yet, they're only just the beginning.

36. Luffy Refuses To Fight Sanji

Luffy in One Piece

Luffy knows Sanji is conflicted and not really a bad guy.And he's also aware of the fact that he'll be creating an even bigger issue if he fights back against his chef.So he just takes the kicks, hoping Sanji sees there's another way out of this. Sadly, it'll be a few episodes before he realizes that.

37. Luffy Waits For Sanji — And Then Punches — Sanji

Luffy in One Piece

Sanji finding Luffy because his captain's stomach is grumbling super loud is so cartoonish and lovely –because what is Sanji's role if not to feed his captain? Of course, Luffy enjoys Sanji's rain-soaked cookin 'and then he punches Sanji for still being a twerp that won't admit what he really feels.

38. Luffy Clashes With Big Mom

Luffy Clashes With Big Mom

Luffy stood beside Whitebeard, but this is his first real showdown with a Yonko. And it doesn't go very well.Big Mom is easily able to block him, which shows that, while Luffy has come a long way, he's still got a bit farther to go.

39. Luffy Places The Hat On Katakuri

Katakuri in One Piece

Much like the previous covering of Sandersonia's shame, Luffy covers Katakuri's mouth with his hat after their duel.The two combatants fought and earned each other's respect.And so Luffy leaves Katakuri with his pride.

40. Luffy Knows He's Arrived In Wano Due To The Swords

Luffy Arrives in Wano

That giant baboon is using a sword? Obviously this must be Wano, the land of samurai.That's Luffy logic at its most pure.

41. Luffy Promises Tama She Will Not Be Hungry Again

Luffy Makes a Promise

For the most part, heading to Wano seemed like a pretty impersonal act. The only reason he thought about going there in the first place was because Law seemed pretty confident it was a solid idea. But then he meets Tama and learns that she-along with most of the country-is starving. So his journey to take down Kaido gets some personal stakes. He's now shouldering the hopes of an entire group of people.

42. Luffy Is Beaten By Kaido

Kaido in One Piece

OK, so Round 1 didn't go so well.Luffy pummeled Kaido with everything he had and Kaido one-shotted him with a melee weapon attack.Luffy has to rethink his strategy and expand his move-set and maybe, with some luck, Round 2 will be a tad more even.I can't wait to see what Luffy moments we have in store when One Piece returns!

What is your favorite Luffy moment? Do any on this list stand out to you? Let me know in the comments!

Daniel Dockery is a Senior Staff Writer for Crunchyroll. Follow him on Twitter!

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