I’m usually a very big fan of the bishounen characters in anime, but I have to say, there is something very attractive about characters that got some grit to them. You know what I’m talking about here, right? Like, characters with messy hair, maybe a tattoo or two, and definitely some scarring. The way a character is presented is half their backstory, with each scar and mark telling a different tale. All the best protagonists have some form of it, just look at Luffy!
Now, despite being a pretty happy-go-lucky main lead, the origins of Monkey D. Luffy’s X-shaped scar are surprisingly both brutal and conflicting in nature. I mean, they would be, considering the premise of the series. One theory suggests that Luffy got his chest scar during the Marineford arc at the hands of Akainu, but the other suggests that it might be a leftover remanent from a filler episode that aired in the Ocean’s Dream arc a while back. However, the former is the most likely cause.
I think the main issue here is the fact that during the course of One Piece, we never really got to see how this very distinct scar came to being. Like, we can conclude from the evidence we’ve seen so far that this is how it likely went down, but we can’t pinpoint the exact moment because it was never shown. Like I said, it probably was during the Battle of Marineford, and Luffy had a part of chest literally burnt off due to an attack.
But how can we be sure about this? Well, it’s just a matter of backtracking and seeing which scenario feels the most accurate. It’s easy to discount the other theory as non-canon because of how One Piece works, but you can never be too sure. So, let’s break it down together in Lore Analysis – where we take a closer look at the history of an anime to see what we can decipher. Today, it’s Luffy who got his scars!
Table of contents
Battle Of Marineford Theory: The Canon Timeline
The reason why I’m 100% sure that this was the true reason why Luffy has the gruesome scar is because of how everything went down, the emotional implications of it and the aftermath that just make sense. Because no one can just catch Luffy off guard, unless he’s been through something truly traumatic.
And that’s precisely what this moment during the Paramount war was. I mean, this is the scene where Luffy acknowledges Ace, his big brother figure, dead at the hands of Admiral Sakazuki aka Akainu. This sends Luffy into a state of being near-catatonic, only being saved some certain death through his allies. It’s Jinbei who pulls him out of harm’s way, but not before Akainu uses his magma fist to punch through Jinbei and sear Luffy while he couldn’t dodge.
The only reason those two survived was that Trafalgar Law intervened. And later, during the Timeskip, we saw Luffy’s scar right where Akainu’s punch made contact with him. Safe to say, if it almost left a hole in Jinbei’s chest, it’s not too far off to say that it left at least a mark on Luffy himself.
This follows the timeline as well, considering it happened in the main plot of the series.
Ocean’s Dream Theory: It Was All A (Non-Canonical) Dream!
But what about this Ocean’s Dream scenario? This has been deemed non-canon by most One Piece enthusiasts, but it’s certainly worth discussing regardless.
It’s common knowledge that most One Piece media that isn’t either the manga or the direct anime series, is considered filler and not something that actually takes place in the story’s timeline. The Ocean’s Dream arc loosely follows the premise set by a Playstation game that came out in 2003. The scar actually happens during a fight between Luffy and Zorro, who has been hypnotized.
But the one thing that can not be denied is the fact that this happened before the Marineford arc took place. So, while it isn’t canon in retrospect, it might’ve inspired Eiichiro Oda, the mangaka, for the scar Luffy now sports in the manga.