Man, it’s kind of amazing to see the journey One Piece has been on and how it’s grown over the years. It’s arguably the biggest Shonen franchise to still be running from the 90s. That is, of course, due to its amazing world-building and engaging characters. Even I, someone who doesn’t particularly follow the fandom regularly, understand the impact it has. But now that we might be nearing the very end, fans have been wondering about Luffy’s current status and whether he qualifies for being a Yonko.
Short answer? No, Monkey D. Luffy is not considered a Yonko officially, but he is still touted as the Fifth Emperor of the sea because of his now rising notoriety. It sounds complicated but hears me out; Yonko isn’t technically a status at all. It’s just a term given the four most powerful and notorious Pirates in the game right now, and they happen to be the original Four Emperors. This includes Edward ‘Whitebeard’ Newgate, ‘Red-Haired’ Shanks, Charlotte ‘Big Mom’ Linlin, and Kaidou ‘Of The Beasts’. Their positions and ranking in that order are fixed and not up for debate.
However, with the fall of Big Mom and Kaido, the events of the Wano City arc and its implications on the Emperor category had thrown everything into chaos and confusion. The vacant positions left by those two, combined with the death of Whitebeard, meant there was a power vacuum within the Pirate world, which is where the new Yonko came to be. These new inductees include Marshall ‘Blackbeard’ D. Teach, Luffy, and, most recently, Buggy The Clown. Yeah, I know.
But hey, how did Luffy get into the most exclusive club on the high seas? And what implications does that have on the plot going forward? I mean, Yonko is pretty disputed in the One Piece lore itself, so that’s where Lore Analysis comes in – where we are going to take deep dive into the mythos of how one Piece works and whether status and ranking truly hold hard and fast, or if we can be a little loose with them. Today, it’s all about the Yonko!
Monkey D. Luffy: What The Protagonist Wants, The Protagonist Gets!
So, Luffy is the main character of the show, right? Like, his journey from a novice to being this legend is what One Piece is all about. This means that, eventually, we are going to see him become bigger and better than anyone else in the entire show. That’s just how the Shonen formula works, after all.
But the way his journey rolls out is the ride we’re actually in for. There is no dispute about how, by the end of it all, Luffy will unironically be the strongest character in the franchise. But how we get there is the actual story itself. In the end, it won’t matter if Luffy one-ups the World Government and gains access to Haki levels unheard of. It won’t be surprising if he ends up dethroning the rumored Pirate King or abolishing the system altogether.
Because it’s a given, it’s always been a given that Luffy will, after some sacrifices and immense hard work, will get exactly what he wants. This has been the case since he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum fruit all those years ago, and it turned out to have secret divine powers. He’s the Chosen One of his story, Yonko or not.
Yonko: Does It Hold Weight Anymore?
But even then, the term Yonko is very important to the story. It’s a goal for Luffy to get to, another milestone on his journey to becoming the best. And by the end of Wano, he’s achieved it. His infamy as the captain of the Straw Hat Pirate crew has reached far and wide.
And it’s because of that reputation that he is now termed as part of the new Yonko. As discussed before, the Yonko was originally made up of four captains. Three of them are now out of commission, leaving Shanks as the oldest and longest-running amongst them all. Thus, the New Yonko Of The New World came to be.
Why Luffy Is (Unofficially) A Yonko
So, why is Luffy considered a Yonko now? Well, for one thing, his Devil Fruit powers have fully awakened to be that of the God Nike. That’s a serious power boost right there.
But it’s also because as time has gone by, Luffy has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with. After the two-year timeskip, Luffy gained enough power that he could take the Yonko head-on. And thanks to Wano, he was able to master his Conqueror’s Haki.
Couple those experiences with his newfound powers, and it isn’t hard to see how he was able to defeat Yonko Kaido, replacing him as an Emperor of the Sea.