Ever since King appeared in One Piece, fans have been debating who was the stronger between him and Katakuri. Being the most powerful individuals in their respective crews right after their captains, both King and Katakuri are extremely powerful fighters.
A hypothetical fight between those two second-in-commands would be extremely tough, regardless of the winner.
Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1069 and reflects the opinions of the writer.
King and Katakuri are two of the strongest Yonko Commanders in One Piece
They share the same status, but with some differences
In One Piece, a remarkable difference in power separates the average Commander from the most powerful ones, those who rank as the second-in-command of a Yonko. King is the number two for Beasts Pirates captain Kaido, while Katakuri is the number two for Big Mom Pirates captain Charlotte Linlin.
However, there are several differences between King's status and Katakuri's. King fills both the offices of number two and the right-hand man for Kaido, being his strongest and most loyal subordinate. Conversely, Katakuri is Big Mom's number two, but not her right-hand man.
While the position of "number two" is based on strength, the right-hand man role not only involves power, but mutual loyalty and trust as well. The right-hand man is usually the number two, i.e. the strongest after the leader, as well as his closest subordinate, who supports him in battle and gives him insightful advice.
The color spread of One Piece chapter 1031 depicted the line-up of "number two," the second strongest individuals from the major groups of outlaws. King and Katakuri were obviously featured in this spread, along with Rayleigh, Zoro, Benn Beckman, Marco, and other prominent members of the category.
Both King and Katakuri have a special status that sets them apart from their comrades, the All Stars and, respectively, the Sweet Commanders. However, King relates to Kaido differently from how Katakuri relates to Big Mom.
Kaido personally recruited King as his second-in-command after being impressed by his strength. King was originally named Alber by Kaido, who named him that as a sign of praise for his strength.
The One Piece manga emphasized King as Kaido's most trusted and prominent subordinate. When he understood he was about to be defeated by Zoro, he thought about his captain. Similarly, when the Emperor was on the verge of losing against Luffy, he remembered his right-hand man.
When Kaido headed to Marineford, he brought no crewmember with him, except for King, the only one that he chose to assist him. This is another piece of evidence of Kaido's great trust in King's capabilities.
Katakuri's portrayal with Big Mom seems noticeably different from that of King with Kaido. While Katakuri has been shown to be fiercely loyal to Big Mom, trying to help her and support her ambitions, she doesn't appear to reciprocate, despite being his mother.
Despite his loyalty and devotion to her, Big Mom sees Katakuri as nothing more than a lowly child. She doesn't tolerate him trying to assist her. Moreover, when she was about to lose against Trafalgar Law and Eustass Kid, she didn't think of Katakuri.
The connection between Katakuri and Big Mom is ambiguous. At one point, Katakuri questioned Luffy about him becoming strong enough to defeat Big Mom, and wished him the best of luck in that quest.
Further parallels between King and Katakuri in One Piece
With the ranks of the three All-Stars clearly being based on poker cards, the "king" card inherently holds more value than the "queen" and the "jack" cards. Thus, King is implied to be a far stronger individual than his fellow All-Stars.
Moreover, the hierarchy of Beasts Pirates is based on power. Lower-ranked subordinates can challenge the higher-ranked ones to steal their position. Despite this, no one managed to take King's rank. This means that, within the Beasts Pirates, no one even compares to him in strength.
Similarly, Katakuri has great hype among the Big Mom Pirates. His siblings feel enormous admiration for both his immense strength, as well as his kind carefulness towards them. They hail Katakuri as an exceptionally powerful fighter who never lost a single battle.
King and Katakuri share several other similarities in One Piece. They wear the same manner of dark black edgy spiked leather clothes and have tattoos on their bodies. Both are also characterized by their calm and stoic personalities.
Unsurprisingly, Katakuri and King ended up fighting Luffy and Zoro, the two most powerful Strawhat Pirates and the only two members of the crew who possess the rare trait of Conqueror's Haki.
Interestingly enough, both Katakuri and King hide a secret regarding their faces that, before their fights with Luffy and Zoro, no one ever managed to discover. King hides his appearance as a Lunarian, while Katakuri hides his pelican eel-like mouth, which he was bullied for as a child.
When his cooks accidentally saw his mouth, Katakuri completely lost his mind and used brutal force against them with murderous intent. Similarly, when his underlings fortuitously noticed his true appearance, King ruthlessly killed them.
King's feats compared to Katakuri's
Being the second strongest members of an Emperor crew just below the captains, Katakuri and King are among the strongest Commander-level fighters in One Piece. Each one has different points where he is stronger than the other, but it kinda balances out.
Their status, feats, and abilities make King and Katakuri two mighty individuals of comparable strength. However, King appears to be slightly stronger than Katakuri. If the two were to clash, Kaido's right-hand man would likely be the winner of the fight, but the battle will be extremely complex.
Katakuri fought Luffy, who had already defeated Commander-level fighters such as Doflamingo and Cracker in the previous One Piece chapters. Despite Luffy using his Gear 4 transformation, Katakuri completely outclassed him.
After witnessing Luffy's unwavering tenacity, Katakuri started to acknowledge the former as a worthy opponent. Subsequently, Luffy was able to upgrade his Observation Haki to a level that matched Katakuri's. After trading powerful blows, the fight between the two ended in a sort of mutual knockout.
At the beginning of the following arc, Luffy, who obtained a level of strength comparable to Katakuri's, was brutally wrecked by Kaido. During the battle between Supernovas and Emperors which took place on Onigashima's Rooftop, Zoro performed on a far higher level than Luffy previously did.
While Luffy failed to damage Kaido and fell defeated after a single strike from him, Zoro's attacks were strong enough to cut through Kaido's skin, wounding him several times. Big Mom even screamed in fear when Zoro was about to unleash one of his slashes.
Zoro was even able to block the two Emperor's combined attack. Despite suffering severe damage in the occurrence, he also clashed with Kaido in 1v1, inflicting the latter with a wound that left him a scar.
Despite the swordsman having displayed such impressive strength, King was able to give him remarkable trouble. Zoro was unable to damage King and lost most of their clashes. Admittedly, Zoro was nerfed during that fight.
The Minks' medicine healed the damage his body suffered in the fight against Kaido and Big Mom, but didn't replenish his Haki. With Zoro's sword, Enma, suddenly working against him, the swordsman was clearly hindered.
A testament to King's strength, to win against him, Zoro needed to upgrade his Haki at the highest level, obtaining the Advanced Conqueror's Haki. This ability was emphasized as a power that only a few selected individuals among the most powerful One Piece characters can use.
After unleashing his Haki, Zoro annihilated King, overpowering whatever the latter tried. Even King's final move, a giant dragon of magma-like flames, was obliterated. He was unable to do anything in front of Zoro's overwhelming power and was defeated, with his sword broken and one of his wings torn off.
From the comparison of their respective battles in One Piece, it seems that King is a fighter on a higher level than Katakuri. However, given their similar status and diversified abilities, a battle between them would be amazing.
King's abilities and powers compared to Katakuri's
Katakuri's Armament Haki was absolutely impressive, being able to clash with Luffy's own Haki and even overpower it during their battle. However, King's feats are also outstanding, His Armament Haki-coated sword was able to clash with Zoro's swords without breaking, until the very end of the fight.
King's long-range fire attacks, as well as his flawless mobility with high-speed flight, would allow him to counter Katakuri's Devil Fruit Awakening attacks. If needed, he can block any attack using his incredibly tough pteranodon wings.
King has a clear advantage in raw attacking power and physical strength. But Katakuri, relying on his Advanced Observation Haki combined with his Mochi-Mochi Fruit, can manipulate his body to be swift and versatile.
This "Future Sight" ability would help Katakuri dodge most of King's attacks and land blows on him. However, Katakuri will not be able to inflict severe damage on King, whose pteranodon wings allowed him to completely block the same attacks that were strong enough to cut through Kaido's dragon scales.
Moreover, using his Lunarian powers, King obtains such resilience that he can come undamaged from attacks even stronger than those who wounded Kaido's body. Hence, Katakuri's attacks would never significantly hurt King as long as the latter is on guard, or simply has his flame active.
Katakuri's smartness and Observation Haki could enable him to understand how King's Lunarian powers work, and possibly give him the advantage needed to land a powerful blow on the latter. However, this doesn't seem to be enough to let Katakuri win the battle.
Switching his flame on and off, King can trade some of his durability for a boost in quickness. Given that Katakuri's only chance to hurt the Lunarian is to hit him when he is flame-less, King's enhanced raw speed would make things harder.
Even in his flame-less state, King was able to endure two blows from Zoro, who was using his Advanced Conqueror's Haki. Although those were far from being Zoro's best techniques, the attacks are still far more powerful than any move Katakuri can perform.
Thus, even if Katakuri managed to understand King's powers and landed some blows on him, he wouldn't be able to hit him hard enough to put him down. On the other hand, King's Lunarian powers would be the key to winning the complex battle.
Using his most powerful Lunarian flames, which are stronger than typical fire and more akin to magma, King can unleash devastating attacks that cover massive range. Thus, even if he sees them coming, Katakuri wouldn't be able to dodge them, not even by morphing his body around.
King's strongest attack, the Fire Dragon Emperor, created a gigantic flaming monster of a size comparable to Onigashima's giant skull, which dwarfed mountains. Not even Katakuri could dodge an attack of such range, and he definitely would not survive the consequences.
Katakuri would have to clash with King attacking him head-on, opposing his own strongest technique, Buzz Cut Mochi, which combines his Devil Fruit with Armament Haki to create a fast and devastating strike. However, Buzz Cut Mochi is only as strong as Luffy's Snakeman Cobra.
While very powerful in its own right, this attack pales in comparison to the techniques King displayed the ability to come unscathed from. Combining magma-like flames with Armament Haki, King's Fire Dragon Emperor would overpower Katakuri's technique.
Their status as the second-in-command to an Emperor establishes both King and Katakuri as two of the most powerful One Piece pirates. However, they aren't second-in-commands such as Benn, Rayleigh, and Zoro, who are portrayed as very close in strength to their respective captains.
Instead, Katakuri acts like a son towards his mother and King behaves as an underling in relation to his boss. It should be noted that King's captain, Kaido, is clearly stronger than Big Mom, who is Katakuri's mother and leader.
With King being the number two of a stronger captain than that of Katakuri, it's feasible for him to be at least a bit stronger than the latter. A testament to this, King has been portrayed as stronger than an incarnation of Zoro who, in turn, had noticeably superior power than the version of Luffy who drew with Katakuri.
In any case, a battle between King and Katakuri would be very prolonged and draining. King has the advantage in raw strength and durability, while Katakuri's Advanced Observation Haki allows him to fight with greater efficiency.
To counter Katakuri's Future Sight, comparable Observation Haki or much greater raw speed is needed. King possesses the required speed. However, to reach such quickness, he has to lower his otherwise unparalleled durability.
If King doesn't boost himself, he won't have the speed necessary to tag Katakuri, who can dodge via Future Sight. Likewise, Katakuri would not have attacking power high enough to significantly injure King. Hence, the battle may become a stand-off.
However, Haki can't be maintained forever. Sooner or later, Katakuri will get tired, while King's durability will remain the same. Factoring in his superior toughness, Kaido's right-hand man should be able to edge over Big Mom's strongest son.
Poll : King and Katakuri are two characters of similar status, but who do you think is stronger?