The pirate world of Oda’s One Piece has, recently, been shaken when a big change happened within one of the major groups in the franchise – Yonko, also known as the Four Emperors. Namely, Kaidou and Big Mom have been members of the Yonko for years until they both fell in the recent chapters, allowing two now pirates to replace them. In this article, we are going to reveal whether Luffy is one of the two pirates to replace Kaidou and Big Mom, and whether he is strong enough to be a Yonko in the first place.
After his victory over Kaidou, Luffy freed up a spot among the Yonko, and soon succeeded Kaidou as one of them. Big Mom also disappeared after this battle and was replaced by Buggy the Clown. This means that the current Yonko are Shanks, Blackbeard, Buggy the Clown, and the series’ protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy.
In the rest of this article, we are going to tell you what happened with the Yonko and how Luffy managed to replace Kaidou as one of them. Also, you’re going to find out about Luffy’s current powers and abilities, which is going to answer the question of whether he’s powerful enough to be a Yonko or not. Spoilers ahead!
Is Monkey D. Luffy a Yonko?
We don’t want to give you unnecessary details on the Four Emperors you already know; we’re just going to restate that, at the beginning of the Wano Country arc, the Four Emperors were made up by Shanks, Blackbeard, Kaidou, and Big Mom. At the end of the arc, these names are going to change.
In Wano Country, Luffy sees the harmful consequences of the dual governance between Kaido and the Shogun Kurozumi Orochi on this country. Kaido shows up shortly after Jack’s introduction as a giant Eastern-type dragon, blessed with destructive breath. The Emperor is drunk and offers Shutenmaru to join his crew.
After using his breath to violently destroy the ruins of Oden Castle where the Straw Hat Pirates and their allies were staying, Luffy retaliates and attempts to defeat the beast that takes every hit from him, forcing him back into human shape. But even with the power of Gear 4, he failed to cause any damage to the Emperor who neutralized him with a violent blow of his club. Nevertheless, Kaido recognizes Luffy’s power and determination and wishes to break his spirit in hopes that he will join his crew, so he makes the decision to imprison the Straw Hat.
As she had announced by telephone conversation, Big Mom arrives in Wano Country. Kaido, furious, orders his men to prevent the Empress and her crew from disembarking, but without success. Finally, it took until the last moment to see King intervene and push them back with a powerful blow, knocking the boat off the top of the waterfall and propelling Big Mom to the bottom of the ocean in the process.
The Empress wakes up in a state of amnesia on a beach in Kuri. She is picked up by Chopper, Tama, Kiku, and Momonosuke, then taken to the village of Okobore where Tsuru and the rest of the inhabitants take care of her and offer her the little food they have: a simple red bean soup. Unfortunately, that’s not enough for her.
Taking advantage of her hunger, Chopper and his friends lead her to Udon, the prison where Monkey D. Luffy is locked up, telling her that soup is there. However, they had no idea that this lie was actually true and that in Udon there really was red bean soup, that of Queen. Queen tries to protect her food but even with amnesia, it only takes Big Mom two hits to beat Kaido’s ally.
Then, Big Mom discovers with horror that Luffy ate all the red bean soup last night. Disappointed at not being able to bring it back to the village and share it with all the townspeople in thanks for their generosity, she attacks the Straw Hat Pirate and Hyogoro. In her pursuit, Big Mom ransacks the prison of Udon and then ends up taking a violent blow on the head following a subterfuge by Queen.
That’s when she regains her memory and when she was about to attack a paralyzed Queen, she falls asleep. Kaidou’s men take advantage of this and they administer several powerful tranquilizers to her then bind her with several chains of Sea Granite and take her to Onigashima, the hideout of Kaido and his crew.
Kaido and Big Mom then begin a fight to the death that shakes the whole Island, then decide to temporarily make peace and combine their crews to take over the world before continuing to fight each other.
However, news of their alliance also leads Marco and Izo of the Whitebeard Pirates to accompany Nekomamushi to Wano Country to aid the Ninja-Pirate-Mink-Samurai Alliance, with Marco preventing the Big Mom Pirates from entering Wano by knocking them down the waterfall again on their second attempt to enter the country preventing them from joining Big Mom at Onigashima.
During the Raid in Onigashima, the two Emperors Big Mom and Kaidou are defeated by the Alliance of Ninjas-Pirates-Minks-Samurai and new Emperors are recognized in the world, Monkey D. Luffy, and Buggy the Clown.
How strong is Luffy now?
Recently, Luffy was able to activate Gear 5, becoming extremely powerful thanks to the divine properties of his Devil Fruit. The awakening of the Gomu Gomu no Mi, real name Hito Hito no Mi: Nika model, gives the user’s rubbery body greater strength and freedom, limited only by the user’s imagination. For this reason, it is said that the consumer becomes the “incarnation of freedom”, being able to bring joy to the people around him and that makes him “the most ridiculous power in the world”.
The most notable physical characteristic of the awakened form is Luffy’s complete discoloration (turning entirely white), the conversion of his hair and eyebrows to a lighter shade and a flaming form, as well as granting effects similar to those of cartoons, not only for the consumer, but also for their opponent, an example being googly eye effects.
Also, while in this state, the user displays a remarkable degree of euphoria and confidence, and Luffy’s heartbeat takes on a musical rhythm that has been described by Zunesha as the drums of release. In keeping with the mythical nature of this new form, Luffy’s already rubbery body gains strength, freedom, and durability that surpass his previous forms, to the point that he is now even cartoonishly malleable.
Kaidou compares it to “something out of a comic book”. An example of this is when Luffy took a direct hit from one of Kaidou’s bolo breaths, from which he barely got hurt, leaving his body charred (somewhat comically) and recovering quickly to get back into the fight against Kaidou. Another example is when he reactivated Gear 5 and took a hit to the head from Kaidou’s Hassaikai, only for his head to deform and engulf the weapon and its spikes, or when Kaidou tried to smash him into the ground and his body was simply crushed in its place, only to return to its original form.
Gear 5 allows him to use both Gear 3’s limb inflation and Gear 4’s muscle inflation but without physically pumping air into his body, as well as giving him the ability to elasticize and stretch the ground around him. When Luffy first used it against Kaidou, he was able to grow his arm to an enormous size so that he could grab Kaidou’s transformed body and drag him out of the skull dome.
With his enlarged limbs, Luffy could handle Kaidou despite his enormous size, swinging him from side to side. Luffy’s rubbery nature can spread to the environment around him, as seen when Luffy lifted a section of the ceiling and used it to repel Kaidou’s Boro Breath back at him. Interestingly, the altered ground, while elastic, was not burned or melted by the boron breath, although the attack was searing enough to destroy a castle.
Said alteration of the elastic properties can even be applied to living beings, seeing how Luffy was able to stretch the inside of Kaidou’s body and even his eyes. The biggest application of this form thus far appears to be a combination of the user’s cartoonishly malleable rubber body and the awakening effect on organic matter, as the combination of the power allows the user an unorthodox method of attack, apparently allowing them to stretch “through” whatever or whoever.
One example of this is when Luffy seemingly stretches his arms out through Kaidou’s eyes in an attempt to escape from his body, and another example is when Luffy spins his arms around like a helicopter and then punches Kaidou in the face, with the punch seemingly going through Kaidou’s head before knocking him to the ground, successfully getting past Kaidou’s extraordinary defenses in the process.
Before said blow, Kaidou notices that Luffy is using Busoshoku and Haoshoku Haki at the same time. The full range of this ability, as well as the duration of its use, is currently unknown. This, coupled with Luffy’s own transformation state, has been noted by Kaidou as highly unusual, due to it featuring elements of the Paramecia and Zoan-type fruit awakenings.