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Eiichiro Oda's One Piece debuted in 1997, and since then, it has become one of the best-selling fictional works in history. The classic shonen has helped define the manga and anime landscape for over 25 years, due in large part to the appeal of its beloved protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy.


Monkey D. Luffy, the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, announces his intention to become the next King of the Pirates in One Piece's very first episode. Over 1000 episodes later, he is on the verge of achieving his goal, having defeated many of the Grand Line's strongest fighters. Still, numerous opponents stand between him and the One Piece, and even as an Emperor of the Sea, some of these characters may be too challenging to overcome by himself.

The One Piece manga has officially moved into its final saga, signaling the long-awaited conclusion of the best-selling series in the medium's history. Monkey D. Luffy is stronger than ever, but even with this in mind, there are still several characters that could challenge him before his coronation as King of the Pirates.

Characters Luffy Can't Beat Yet


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The current Fleet Admiral of the Marines, Sakazuki (formerly known as Akainu), is arguably the World Government's staunchest follower of Absolute Justice. He shows no mercy to the World Government's enemies, and as seen during the Summit War of Marineford, his Logia-type Devil Fruit, the Magma-Magma Fruit, is as offensively potent as any in One Piece. Two years have passed since then, so the Fleet Admiral is almost certainly even stronger by the events of the Wano Country Arc.

Since Sakazuki killed Monkey D. Luffy's brother, Portgas D. Ace, it's obvious that the Straw Hat Pirate has a bone to pick with the Marine. However, Sakazuki's offensive firepower is strong enough to even deal mortal wounds to Whitebeard, so Luffy will need to master everything that he learned during the Raid on Onigashima before getting revenge for the death of Ace.

The Five Elders

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Until recently, the Five Elders—the five highest-ranking Celestial Dragons—were viewed as political figures, rather than military assets. Recent One Piece arcs have brought this belief into question, and as a war between the World Government and their subjects looms on the horizon, these five characters seem increasingly likely to play a major role in One Piece's final saga.


If Monkey D. Luffy finds himself in combat against the Five Elders, even his current strength might not be enough to topple them. They have access to the world's best technology and most powerful Devil Fruits, so it's safe to assume they're all storing a couple of aces up their sleeves.


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Shanks, the captain of the Red Hair Pirates, is one of the Four Emperors of the Sea and arguably the strongest pirate in One Piece since the death of the legendary Gol D. Roger. His power is demonstrated in brief clashes with Whitebeard, Sakazuki, and Kaido, but thanks to recent information in the series' manga, anime, and recent theatrical release, One Piece Film: Red, it's more obvious than ever than Shanks stands atop the pirate hierarchy.

As of right now, it's not clear if Monkey D. Luffy will ever clash with Shanks in one-on-one combat. However, the Straw Hat Pirates' recent activity as an Emperor seems to have motivated Shanks to continue his pursuit of the One Piece, setting them on a collision course that will require Luffy to push himself to his utmost limits.


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Officially, the World Government's Empty Throne represents the idea that no single ruler should decide the world's fate. Unfortunately, this couldn't be farther from the truth, as the Empty Throne is occupied by a mysterious, all-powerful monarch known as Imu.

Even though there is very little information regarding Imu, their status suggests that they are one of the most powerful individuals in the entire world. With this and the numerous tools at their disposal, Monkey D. Luffy will need to be at his strongest if he hopes to unseat the World Government's oppressive rule.


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The main antagonist of One Piece is Marshall D. Teach, often known as Blackbeard. He is the captain of the Blackbeard Pirates and the only character in the series that possesses the powers of two Devil Fruits at the same time. Not only that, but the Dark-Dark Fruit and the Tremor-Tremor Fruit are both arguably the strongest of their respective classes.


The full extent of Blackbeard's abilities is unknown, but he poses a threat to every Emperor of the Sea he has ever faced. His conflicts with Shanks and Whitebeard either killed or scarred them, so it stands to reason that he would test Luffy to the utmost. When they do finally meet, it will undoubtedly be one of One Piece's final confrontations.

Characters Luffy Will Never Beat

Monkey D. Dragon

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Monkey D. Dragon serves as the leader of the Revolutionary Army, an international group that directly opposes the corrupted World Government. He's been referred to as "the Most Wanted Man in the World," meaning that his bounty is probably the highest in the history of One Piece.

Although nothing is known about Dragon, it's reasonable to conclude that he and Luffy get along well. When Dragon learns of his son's exploits, he shows appreciation and pride, and because they share a similar adversary (the World Government), it's more likely that they'll join forces rather than square off in warfare.

Silvers Rayleigh

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Silvers Rayleigh is the former right hand of Gol D. Roger, King of the Pirates. He may appear laid back at first glance, but it should not obscure his immense power. The retired pirate is still a master of all three types of Haki, and he can still go toe-to-toe with a Marine Admiral, as seen during the Sabaody Archipelago Arc.

Rayleigh teaches Monkey D. Luffy the principles of Haki during One Piece's two-year time gap. They spend more time together than any of Luffy's crewmates, making him the protagonist's closest ally and mentor. As a result, he'll almost certainly never face up against the Straw Hat Pirate.


Dracule Mihawk

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Dracule Mihawk is known as World's Strongest Swordsman, having achieved the same goal that Roronoa Zoro has pursued for the entirety of One Piece. A former rival to Shanks, Mihawk would almost certainly be an Emperor of the Sea if he traveled the Grand Line with his own crew.


A battle between Monkey D. Luffy and Dracule Mihawk would be very entertaining, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards for either party. Luffy's right-hand man, Roronoa Zoro, is destined to defeat Mihawk in combat. A fight against Luffy would only undercut Zoro and Mihawk's eventual face-off.

Monkey D. Garp

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Monkey D. Garp may only hold the rank of Vice Admiral, but in his prime, he was as strong as any individual in the Marines. As one of Gol D. Roger's only rivals, Garp represents the peak of the World Government's military power, and were it not for him, Rocks D. Xebec might still be ruling the Grand Line.

Although his position in the Marines might suggest otherwise, Garp does not let his obligations as a naval officer come in between him and his closest loved ones. There's virtually no chance that he would seriously attack Luffy; even if he did, neither side could bring themselves to truly injure the other.

Joy Boy

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As arguably the most mysterious character in One Piece, the story of Joy Boy is intrinsically related to whatever treasure can be found at Laugh Tale. He was a major character during the Void Century and is directly tied to several Poneglyphs featured throughout the series.

Joy Boy is thought to have died many centuries ago, therefore he is unlikely to have met Monkey D. Luffy or any of his contemporaries. Even if he were still living, his participation in One Piece appears to have been overwhelmingly good, therefore he would almost probably be an ally to the heroes.