Comparing anime characters is always fun. They are quirky, they are usually overpowered and they simply have that mesmerizing energy that makes you love them. We are, of course, talking about action- and fighting-based anime series, as you’ll probably not be able to do a proper comparison of characters like Totoro or Porco Rosso. This is why we have decided to dive into the wonderfully weird world of One Piece, comparing the strengths of Monkey D. Luffy, the show’s protagonist, and Zoro, his friend and ally. Let us see!
Zoro’s and Luffy’s only canon fight ended up being interrupted, without a clear winner. The two were quite evenly matched, and although it is quite tough to objectively scale and evaluate their powers as they are two completely different characters, we think that Luffy, with all his experience and powers, would ultimately defeat Zoro in a fight.
Our comparison is going to be divided into three sections. The first is going to bring an overview of the two characters, after which we are going to compare their powers, including their signature weapons. Finally, we’re going to bring you a detailed analysis of the two characters to determine which one would win in a direct clash.
Zoro and his powers
Roronoa Zoro is a character from One Piece. He is a swordsman whose ambition is to become the best swordsman in the world, by venturing on the mainline in search of One Piece in the company of his captain and the crew. He is a renowned swordsman who fights with three swords, and is part of the Straw Hat crew led by Monkey D. Luffy, the main protagonist of the series.
Zoro makes his first appearance in the third chapter of the manga titled, originally published in the Japanese magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump on August 18, 1997. He appears as a captured criminal awaiting execution at the hands of the Navy.
Before the narrative introduction of the story, Zoro loses his childhood friend Kuina and thus becomes stronger to honor his promise. For years, he hunts pirates in an attempt to steal their money for food along with Johnny and Yosaku.
When Luffy offers Zoro the opportunity to join his crew, he refuses. However, after being saved from execution, Zoro joins Luffy. When he finds out that the world’s best swordsman is Dracule Mihawk, Zoro thinks only of one thing – to beat him someday. However, he will be defeated by the latter.
After fighting with Daz Bones in Alabasta, Zoro’s bounty is estimated at 60 million Berrys, but the latter rises to 120 million after fighting against the World Government. The crew is later separated by Bartholomew Kuma. Zoro meets Mihawk again and trains with him for two years.
Zoro is a serious and cold-looking character. He has a sometimes thoughtful but excessive temperament. The creator of the series, Eiichiro Oda compares him to a shark or a demon. Yet his reactions are often comical or exaggerated.
During sea crossings, we see him either training or taking a nap or sleeping, which in the latter case often means he is awakened quite brutally. Like Nami, he has great resistance to alcohol and we never see him drunk. He has no sense of direction and has an adversarial and competitive relationship with Sanji, the ship’s cook, with whom he constantly argues, including and especially in the midst of battle. However, as fighters, they regularly demonstrate mutual respect.
His relationship with Nami is also not very good as he does not appreciate her greed and she has moreover managed to trap him in Wiskey Peak. However, with Nico Robin, they are the least malleable members of the crew.
When fighting, Zoro always remains serious and focused on winning. His way of approaching the fights therefore strongly contrasts with that of Luffy or Usopp; he fought with Luffy but the winner has still not been decided. His attitude is somewhat reminiscent of the bushidō of the Japanese samurai and Vivi gave him the nickname “Mister the bushido” from their first meeting. Some of his attacks also refer to samurai techniques.
As soon as Zoro feels that the fight is getting serious, he takes his bandana off his arm to put it around his head like pirates. This shows the respect that Zoro has for his strongest opponents, but also, when he wears it this often indicates that he will have to kill his opponent. When Zoro wears his bandana during a fight it is because he wants this fight to represent an element of his progress towards his goal: to become the strongest swordsman (or swashbuckler) in the world (thus beating Mihawk Hawk Eye).
Monkey D. Luffy and his powers
Monkey D. Luffy, often referred to as the Straw Hat Luffy, is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the Japanese One Piece franchise created by Eiichirō Oda. He is presented as a boy with an elastic body, a faculty he developed after eating a Devil Fruit.
He is the founder and captain of the Straw Hat crew. His lifelong dream is to become the Pirate King by finding the legendary treasure, the One Piece, left behind by the late Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. According to him, the pirate king is the freest man in the world.
After his actions on Totto Land and against Emperor Big Mom, he is currently considered by the world press as the 5th Emperor. He is the son of the leader of the Revolutionary Army, Monkey D. Dragon, as well as the paternal grandson of Navy hero, Monkey D. Garp. He is also the adoptive brother of the former captain of the 2nd Fleet of Whitebeard’s crew, the late Portgas D. Ace, and the Chief of Staff of the Revolutionary Army, Sabo.
Luffy is known worldwide in the One Piece universe as a troublemaker, such as when he challenges the Grand Corsairs, the Navy, and the Four Emperors, and when he commits actions deemed threatening by the World Government. In addition, in the majority of these fights, he emerged victorious.
He has also gained a reputation for being “reckless” and in some cases “mad”, such as during the incident at Enies Lobby, during his attack on a celestial dragon on the Sabaody archipelago (also known as the incident at Enies Lobby), the Impel Down and his participation in the Battle of Marine Ford. He is therefore infamous for being the only known pirate who not only deliberately attacked the three most important government facilities, but also managed to escape alive by taking on incredibly powerful opponents there.
The fact that he knowingly struck a celestial dragon and the scope of his inheritance earned Luffy the label of a dangerous future element by the World Government and Chief Admiral Sakazuki. After the events of Totto Land, Luffy’s actions further enhanced his reputation.
Newspapers revealed his fraternal relationship with Sabo, the fleet that unofficially formed under his command, his undercover operation in Big Mom territory where he defeated two of the Sweet Generals, Charlotte Cracker and Charlotte Katakuri, his failed assassination attempt on the Empress, his involuntary destruction of the latter’s castle and alliance with the Germa 66, the Sun Pirates and the Fire Tank crew, before escaping by Totto Land.
Although his actions have been slightly exaggerated by the press, these acts led the World Government to put a bounty on his head totaling 1.5 billion Berrys. Having a bounty of 300 million Berrys before arriving on the Sabaody Archipelago, Luffy is considered to be part of the Terrible Generation.
Comparing the powers of Zoro and Monkey D. Luffy
Our second section will contain a comparison of the two characters’ powers. It won’t be a direct comparison as much as a listing of their powers abilities, which is going to serve as a basis for our analysis in section three of our article. Now, let us begin.
Zoro is one of the strongest “human” (not using Devil Fruits) characters in One Piece and is also the most powerful member of the Straw Hat Pirates along with Luffy (the only fight between the two friends will end after being interrupted by Nami; another fight actually took place in a special issue of the anime, not present in the original manga), Sanji and Jinbe.
Zoro gained strength through willpower and determination, and through hard training for himself. He has the stamina that allows him to survive terrible injuries and great loss of blood. Even disarmed, his physical strength remains well above average.
His main fighting style, santōryū, involves fighting with three sabers at the same time, one in each hand and one between the teeth. As his adventures progress, he acquires a whole range of secret techniques and the name he gives them is often a play on words; for example, Onigiri can be translated either as “Demon Slash” or as “riceball”.
In addition, Zoro’s techniques often have a relationship with animals (rhinoceros, crab, dragon, leopard …), as he is content to place his sabers in such a way that they represent the offensive element of the animal in question (bull: horns; crab: pincers, etc.).
Luffy has shown to have incredible superhuman strength and a good capacity for fights. At first glance, his thin appearance makes him seem weak, but that is very deceptive for the enemy’s eyes. Throughout the series, Luffy has shown a strength far superior to humans, even defeating a sea king with one punch.
This is a result of the intense training that his grandfather Monkey D. Garp subjected him to, which consisted of throwing him far in the middle of dangerous jungles, tying him to some balloons to raise him to great heights, ultimately making him one of the most powerful characters in the series, alongside Zoro and Sanji.
Luffy, despite not being very smart or strategic, he has demonstrated incredible prowess when facing users of Logia-type Devil Fruits
When Luffy was a child, he unknowingly ate a Devil Fruit, which belonged to Shanks’ crew. The fruit was the Gomu Gomu no mi (Gum Gum) and it gave him the elastic properties of gum, but, as a side effect of the fruit, he cannot swim, since the water cancels his energy, paralyzing his body.
In fights, Luffy takes advantage of his elastic properties to stretch one or more of his limbs and make them return by throwing them towards his opponents. This, combined with his outsized strength, makes Luffy a highly powerful character.
Luffy can reach places that no one could reach just by stretching the parts of his body (his arms or his legs or his neck). He can even inflate himself to be able to block enemy attacks (like cannonballs), and is totally immune to bullets and these usually bounce off Luffy’s body and return to the shooter or fly elsewhere. He is also totally immune to physical blows, thanks to the resistance of his rubber body, although this was contradicted on several occasions throughout the series.
If there is something that can affect him, it is sword or knife cuts, since Luffy’s body is totally flexible, which makes him very vulnerable to cuts.
After the Enies Lobby battle, Luffy developed a technique to eat while sleeping. This technique allows him to eat as if he were awake. However, this “technique” itself, does not seem like a technique in reality, as Luffy seemed to be in a sleepwalking state, so that may be more of an act. sleepwalking that a technique was involved.
In addition, during the encounter with Duval, it was observed that Luffy began to develop a kind of “Spiritual Energy” (Haki), just like the one that Shanks and Sylvers Rayleigh displayed. Haki is a kind of spiritual energy that every living being possesses, but that only some are capable of awakening this power, very similar to the common senses of people.
Who would win, Zoro or Monkey D. Luffy?
And now, for the most important and interesting section of our article – the analysis. Here, we are going to use what we have found out about these two characters and analyze how all these facts would (or would not) help them in a fight against each other. These two characters are quite different, but it is their differences that make them so interesting, especially in light of the fact that they are close allies. Let us see who it is.
It is very difficult to objectively compare these two characters, simply because they are very different. Zoro is a regular character who uses his regular strength, his skills, and his level of power is a result of merciless training. Luffy, on the other hand, relies on the superhuman powers he obtained from eating a Devil Fruit, although he has managed to increase his powers throughout the course of the series.
Zoro and Luffy had one canon fight, but it was interrupted when Nami kicked both their asses and told them to stop. The winner was not decided at that point and it was obvious that the two of them were on a very similar level of power. And that much is true – despite their differences, we can state that Zoro and Luffy are on a very similar power level.
What makes the difference here are their different skills. Certainly, Luffy’s weakness – blades – are Zoro’s forte, but Zoro doesn’t have any of the superhuman abilities that Luffy has. Plus, Luffy’s durability is absolutely amazing. The guy has survived almost impossible battles and has defeated opponents far stronger than himself on numerous occasions. His determination to become the best outmatches even Zoro’s wish to become the best swordsman.
It is because of that that we think Luffy would come out as the ultimate winner in this battle, although this really depends on what Oda would write if he were to decide to reveal the stronger fighter among the two.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we have given you all the information you were looking for. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!