One Piece: Luffy vs Shanks fight is coming to break the Internet

Will Luffy ever fight against Shanks (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Luffy is now a Yonko like Shanks (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Monkey D. Luffy is One Piece's main character. With his easygoing behavior as well as his relentless resolve, it's impossible not to root for him. Aiming to become the Pirate King, Luffy set sail to find the One Piece, the legendary treasure left by Gol D. Roger.

The person who inspired Luffy to become a pirate and embark upon this adventure is Shanks, one of the Four Emperors. Despite him being a true icon of the series, not much is known about Shanks, who is still shrouded in a mysterious yet charming aura.

Following his victory over Kaido, Luffy was declared one of the Four Emperors. Meanwhile, Shanks manifested to Benn Beckman, his right-hand man, his intent to partake in the rush to the One Piece. As such, the chances of Luffy and Shanks fighting each other may have risen significantly.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to chapter 1073 and reflects the writer's personal views.

Will Luffy vs Shanks become a reality in One Piece?

The special connection between Luffy and Shanks

Shanks is the person who inspired Luffy (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Shanks is the person who inspired Luffy (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

A former apprentice in the Roger Pirates, Shanks created his own crew, and eventually became an incredibly mighty pirate. He is one of the Four Emperors, as well as one of the very few characters who can fight on equal grounds with Dracule Mihawk, the World's Strongest Swordsman.

Several years before the start of One Piece's narration, Luffy, who at the time was a child, met Shanks and his crew, the Red Hair Pirates. Immediately impressed with them, Luffy decided to follow in Shanks' footsteps and become a pirate.

As narrated in One Piece's prologue, Shanks protected Luffy at the cost of sacrificing his arm and entrusted him with the straw hat he received from Roger. The item instantly became Luffy's most prized possession. It even inspired him to name his crew the Strawhat Pirates.

To this day, Luffy idolizes Shanks, respecting him as his role model and childhood hero. The straw hat he received from Shanks, after promising that he'd return it only after becoming a great pirate, is the embodiment of their connection.

Several years after the occurrence, Shanks pridefully declared that he has bet his arm on a new era. This strongly emphasized his immense trust in Luffy. Admittedly, he is the man that Luffy wants to resemble and eventually surpass.

Luffy openly claimed his aim to surpass Shanks someday since the day the latter left him with the precious straw hat. During the Punk Hazard Arc, Luffy stated that he aims to defeat every Emperor, fully knowing that this includes Shanks.

However, when he formed the alliance between Strawhat Pirates and Heart Pirates, Luffy was only willing to do so as long as the target of their joint effort was not Shanks. In fact, he declared that he wanted to save him for last, likely out of respect and admiration.

Like Shanks, Benn and the other Red Hair Pirates are very fond of Luffy. Throughout the series, they showed delight and satisfaction at seeing Luffy's achievements celebrated in the newspapers.

When Luffy was awarded his first bounty, Shanks and his crew happily partied with Mihawk to celebrate the achievement. Recently, after getting to know that Luffy has become one of the Four Emperors, Shanks couldn't help but smile.

From their jovial demeanor to their stone-willed determination, Shanks and Luffy are very similar. Both are among the very few individuals born with the rare Conqueror's Haki. Being true Haki masters and exceedingly mighty individuals, they managed to upgrade this power to its highest stage.

Since the events narrated in One Piece's prologue, Shanks and Luffy are yet to meet directly. An encounter was close to happening at the end of Wano Arc, but it ultimately didn't happen. Feeling each other's presence, however, both expressed mutual respect and affection.

On that issue, Shanks protected Luffy and the others, who were still resting from the previous battle, from Admiral Ryokugyu. After Shanks released his Conqueror's Haki, Ryokugyu, feeling himself outmatched, decided to give up his on intent and leave Wano.

Strawhat Pirates and Red Hair Pirates

Shanks' crew and Luffy's crew are very similar (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Shanks' crew and Luffy's crew are very similar (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Nowadays, Luffy is an incredibly powerful pirate. After achieving outstanding abilities such as the Advanced Conqueror's Haki and the Awakening of the Nika-Nika Fruit, he has become an individual who can be compared to even Shanks.

Their crews are also very alike, with both being parallels to Roger's. All three of these crews are relatively low in numbers. Instead, they rely on a few powerful members. Their captains are linked through the straw hat, and all have a close connection with their right-hand man.

The Red Hair Pirates are the first pirate crew to appear in the series, and one of the most infamous and powerful to have ever been featured in Oda's manga. The captain is "Red Hair" Shanks, who is the group's chief, with overall authority over the crew.

Just below Shanks, ranks his right-hand man, Benn Beckman. He is the most powerful among the three senior officers, the other two being Yasopp and Lucky Roux. The rest of the crew is composed of renowned outlaws with high bounties themselves.

The Strawhat Pirates are rookies on the rise. A very dynamic force, they fought against Marines, Warlords, and other pirates, greatly disrupting the balance of the Three Great Powers. All of these deeds eventually led to Luffy, the crew's captain, being recognized as one of the Four Emperors.

The Strawhats' second-in-command is Zoro, who is Luffy's right-hand man. Below him stand two strong fighters: Sanji, the remaining member of the crew's Monster Trio, and Jinbe, the former Warlord. The remaining members are all remarkable individuals with Devil Fruit powers or special abilities.

Admittedly, a fight between Luffy's crew and Shanks' would be thrilling. Given the very similar structures of the Strawhats and Red Hair Pirates, the matchups would all be interesting battles in their own right.

Why would Luffy and Shanks become enemies?

Even a simple Haki clash between Luffy and Shanks would give rise to massive hype (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Even a simple Haki clash between Luffy and Shanks would give rise to massive hype (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Shanks is easygoing, but he also seems to be a clever individual with his own agenda. While there's not enough conclusive evidence to label Shanks as a wicked person, his true goals and motivations are yet to be revealed.

Considering his actions, Shanks doesn't seem to be an evil individual. Then again, there is something shady about him. He is on mutually respectful terms with the Five Elders and former Marine Fleet Admiral Sengoku. Something like this is very uncommon for an outlaw.

One Piece fans were shocked at the sight of Shanks meeting with the Five Elders in their very home, the sacred soil of Mary Geoise, with the intent of telling them about a certain pirate.

These weird circumstances have given rise to several speculations. Many fans have recently started claiming that Shanks is a Celestial Dragon. While such an occurrence would be shocking, it would explain how he can relate to the World Government.

Countless other theories assume that Shanks is some sort of gatekeeper who ensures the balance of the world in the Five Elders' employment, or that he is the person who Gol D. Roger personally entrusted to guard the One Piece treasure.

Throughout the series, Shanks has always maintained a neutral position, seeking balance and a diplomatic resolution of conflicts. However, he recently declared to Benn Beckman that he intends to compete for the One Piece.

As a result, the theory that postulated Shanks as the treasure's guardian seems to have been debunked. Moreover, given their participation in the competition, Shanks and the Red Hair Pirates will have to take on everyone who seeks the same path, possibly including Luffy and his crew.

Thus, while Shanks has always enjoyed Luffy's increasing success, they could collide now. Admittedly, this would not necessarily make the Red Hair Pirates some kind of villains.

A weird yet intriguing set-up for a battle between Red Hair Pirates and Strawhats could be a Davy Back Fight, a traditional pirate game meant to challenge and eventually conscript members of opposing crews.

This would allow One Piece author Eiichiro Oda to stage a heated fight between Shanks, Luffy and their mates while still keeping the battle on a friendly level. Admittedly, no crews would be more suitable for a Davy Back Fight than those two.

Will a potential battle involve Roronoa Zoro and Benn Beckman too?

Zoro and Benn Beckman are, respectively, Luffy and Shanks' strongest and most devoted subordinates (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Zoro and Benn Beckman are, respectively, Luffy and Shanks' strongest and most devoted subordinates (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Should a fight between Shanks and Luffy ever arise, their right-hand men, Benn Beckman and Zoro respectively, would certainly be the first in the line of duty to back up their captains during the confrontation.

Interestingly enough, Zoro and Benn have a similar portrayal. Both are depicted as close in strength to their captains, as well as extremely loyal to them, with a connection highly resembling the one between Roger and Rayleigh.

Within the Strawhat Pirates, Zoro and Luffy make the best duo. Zoro is the only crewmate whose strength is, at least to a certain extent, comparable to the captain. The same goes for Benn and Shanks in their crew.

Both Zoro and Benn share the same stoic behavior. Regarding their fighting capabilities, they are characterized by their immense attacking power and an overwhelming Haki.

While both are Armament Haki masters, Zoro also possesses the all-powerful Advanced Conqueror's Haki, a game changing ability that, according to Kaido, marks the difference between the strong and the very strongest. To this day, it remains unconfirmed if Benn can use this power.

While Shanks and Luffy are old acquaintances, Zoro and Benn have never met. However, they have been portrayed together in the color spread of One Piece chapter 1031, which features the second strongest individuals from the most prominent crews and groups in the series.

After beating King, Kaido's right-hand man, it would be great to see Zoro clashing with another second-in-command of a Yonko crew. Undoubtedly, a fight between him and Benn would be tremendous.

Final thoughts

After knowing that Luffy became a Yonko, Shanks seemed sincerely happy (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
After knowing that Luffy became a Yonko, Shanks seemed sincerely happy (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Shanks is one of the strongest characters in the One Piece series, and the role model who inspired Luffy to start his own adventure. However, Luffy has grown so much that he can compete with his idol now. This is not to say that he is already as strong as Shanks, who likely is still on a higher level.

However, the difference in power is not immeasurable, given that Luffy is a Yonko now. Similarly, Zoro and the other Strawhat Pirates are more than a match for Benn and the Red Hair Pirates. As such, a clash between Luffy, Shanks, and their respective crews would give rise to an amazing fight.

Regarding the concrete possibility for this to happen, there are several different viable options. Given the fact that both Red Hair Pirates and Strawhats are contenders for the One Piece, this may lead them to collide.

The friendly terms between Luffy and Shanks, who lack any hatred, should guarantee a fair fight. As such, an eventual battle between them and their crews shouldn't be the clash that One Piece author Eiichiro Oda teased in the most recent Jump Festa.

Oda added that such a battle could possibly result in the death of some characters. This ominous foreshadowing doesn't seem suitable for a fight between Red Hair Pirates and Strawhat Pirates. Given the connection between Shanks and Luffy, there's no hatred between the two crews.

Conversely, this would apply very well to a clash between Red Hair Pirates and Blackbeard Pirates. Teach is Shanks' sworn enemy, and a confrontation between them and their respective crews seems bound to happen sooner or later.

Deeming Teach the greatest threat to the One Piece world, Shanks advised Whitebeard. During the Paramount War, he challenged Teach to a fight, but the latter renounced him, knowing he wasn't ready to face him at the time. Undoubtedly, this fateful clash has only been postponed.