Luffy. He has taken down opponents that are the size of buildings, stopped a coup (or two) completely in its tracks, and has declared war on the World Government. This guy is insane. His unusual feats are credited from his indomitable will and his strong, durable body. Many foes have fallen to him based on these two strengths alone. But would it surprise you if I said that wasn’t his greatest power? That there’s an even bigger power that lies within Luffy that he himself does not fully realize?
This was first brought to my attention when the events of the Summit War were brought to their peak when Luffy was rescuing Ace. As Luffy was running to save Ace, Mihawk was about to kill Luffy when he was stopped by 5th Division Commander of the Whitebeard Pirates Vista. Upon which, Mihawk remarked this little gem.
Luffy has an extraordinary gift to recruit allies and make friends despite his rudeness and inability to listen to people’s backstories. This gift has manifested in various forms throughout One Piece such as
-Recruiting crewmembers who originally find him annoying but are won over by his charm in less than a day
-Making friends with sailors and high ranking officers of the navy
-Stopping a large, stubborn whale from killing itself
-Temporarily recruiting Princess Vivi despite her initial goal to kill Luffy and his crew
-Swaying towns and islands from hating the Straw Hats to adoring them
-Melting Boa Hancock’s cold heart and becoming the first guy she fell in love with
-Allowing the Franky Family and the Galley-La Company to join the Straw Hats in rescuing Robin and Franky despite the three groups mistrust towards each other
These are all small to moderate examples but the last one needs further mentioning as it was a mere taste of the events to come for the Summit War. The fact that Luffy didn’t have any issue fighting alongside the Franky Family, despite them beating the crap out of Ussop, speaks volumes of his character.
Of course, the best example comes directly from the Summit War itself. Luffy was able to bust out of the super prison Impel Down along with a whole bunch of powerful enemies-turned-allies pirates. Buggy, Mr. 3, Mr. 2 Bon Clay, Mr. 1, and Crocodile; ALL of these guys helped Luffy break free of the jail and try to save Ace from the World Government. The thought at the time that Luffy would even think of allying with Crocodile is amazing.
Then, Luffy and co. arrived at Marineford which had the largest gathering of sailors, captains, vice-admirals, and admirals yet. Not only did he have them at his back but Whitebeard was also charmed by Luffy’s ferocity to the point that he commanded his entire crew to help and protect Luffy to ensure that Ace’s lineage will live on.
At this point, I want to stop and stress the fact that Luffy would not be able to achieve all the feats he had done if it weren’t for his friends. Despite his will and strength, he would not have been able to escape Impel Down or get anywhere near Ace in Marineford if it wasn’t for his ability to form allies.
Even now, with the manga currently on the Dressrosa Arc, this ability is once again shown in full strength as Luffy helped the coliseum-gladiators-turned-toys into allies. They have been tremendous help to Luffy and his crew in fighting Doflamingo’s powerful family. Again, it’s thanks to them that Luffy was able to get as far as he is now.
But what does all this mean in the long run?
It’s hard to say at this point as Oda, author of One Piece, is very unpredictable when it comes to One Piece’s plot. However, if I were to (punk) hazard a guess I would say that somehow, this is going to play into Luffy’s continual rise towards Pirate King. We first saw inklings of this back at Fishmen Island where Luffy swore to protect the island and we will probably see it again here. Luffy needs an army is order to protect his islands and his friends. The Dressrosa Arc has given him the ability to do so as he has made friends and allies with not only powerful fighters, but captains, admirals, and even kings and princes of other kingdoms. They’ll provide Luffy the army needed to take on the Navy, the World Government, and the Four Pirate Warlords.
Now whether or not Luffy will act on those resources is hard to say. He might do it if one of his crew members or someone wiser than him, like Jinbei, suggests it to him but I think he would want to keep his life simple and just keep on adventuring with his nakama. Still though, wherever he goes, Luffy will continue to make friends and allies in the most unlikely places and they will help him through times of trouble when he is not able to do it by himself.