[warning: post has some manga spoilers for the anime-only crowd]
At its heart, One Piece is the heartwarming tale of a behatted young protagonist overcoming adversity through beating the shit out of things. So far, Luffy has overcome longstanding human problems including racism, civil war, religious conflict, and a zombie army through punching someone or something very hard and/or repeatedly.
In this thread, I would like to celebrate some of the finer punches (and a few kicks) in the Luffy corpus. However, I had difficulty deciding how to make my initial choices as well as how to rank them, so I have devised an ironclad system of ranking that I have dubbed the Bellamy Scale. In brief, the system proceeds from the fundamental logical assumption that the Bellamy Punch was a punch than which nothing greater can be conceived, thereby making it the culmination of narrative and aesthetic Luffy-Violence in the series. I mean, just look at it:
It's majestic, and thus a perfect 10.0 on the Bellamy Scale.
So, with this flawless standard in place, here are ten more of the best punches in the series. Rankings, of course, are completely objective and in no way subject to debate.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 2.5
Type: Red Hawk
When this chapter first came out, this moment had a chance to be an all-time classic. The Fishman Island arc had stretched out too long, the Hody/Luffy fight had been drawn out and confusing, no one really gave that much of a damn any more…
And then Luffy punched a hole through Hody. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Unfortunately, the fight still took a few chapters to resolve, and for all the poignancy of naming an attack after your dead adoptive brother, well…
Paying tribute to someone by mimicking the attack that killed them is quite odd, to say the least.
Plus the anime discussion on whether his arm actually should catch fire or not lasted for several years.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 3.0
Type: Haki-Infused Bitchslap
Hey, remember when Logia-Types were a big deal? Good times…good times.
Anyways, I chose this panel over the fight-concluding Grizzly Magnum purely for the fact that I was annoyed with Oda for splitting it over two chapters. Hey, it's my thread. I can do what I want.
Also, I love the fact that the little explosion bubble makes it look like Luffy punched him right in the throat.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 3.5
So, is Storm the most needlessly complex attack in One Piece? It's certainly the least efficient. I mean, with the spinning, I'd reckon Luffy's expanding his area of effect about 300% beyond what he actually needs. Shame.
Anyways, never much liked the conclusion of the Crocodile fight, since by that point Luffy had been stabbed in the gut in the desert, dehydrated, turned into Water Luffy, used his own blood as a weapon, and been poisoned. Just felt like we could have cut one or two of those and had the same effect.
On the other hand, Crocodile was the only villain Luffy ever punched to the point of replicating Nineteenth Century Romantic Czech Music, so he had that going for him.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 5.0
Let me go ahead and answer the first objection: yes, this is technically a kick, but really, what is a kick but a punch with your foot?
In terms of narrative, there are few greater sequences than the fight with Arlong, especially when Luffy gets serious at the end. On the other hand, none of the individual moments of the fight are quite that amazing. With this final attack, for example, you have the epicness of Luffy destroying Arlong Park immediately preceded by Arlong…well...what the hell was he doing? Did…did he just hover in the air and spin around an axis?
You're a shark, man. Just bite him. No theatrics necessary.
Lord of the Coast
Bellamy Scale Rating: 6.0
It only took five hundred episodes for the anime to get around to this, but when they did, it was pretty nifty.
It's difficult to go back and read One Piece and remember what it was like the first time through, so it was difficult for me to realize how much anime-only viewers missed by the changed running order of the first few episodes. The brilliance of this scene wasn't so much that it was some act of vengeance or anything like that, it was that it was the first time where Oda actually said, "hey, that whole Rubber Man thing that seems inherently ridiculous? Yeah, I'm going to make it pretty damned awesome."
Will admit, with the post-TS Gear Second/haki stuff, I miss the old windups of a good Gomu Gomu no Pistol.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 6.5
Hehehe, the scanlation just says "PUNCH!"
I'd say this would be a controversial selection, but that implies that a.)anyone is reading this post, and b.)anyone cares.
We all have our moments that get us hooked into a manga or anime. I was close by the end of the Shanks flashback. I'd enjoyed Zoro's introduction and the ShuShu sequence. But this is where I decided I would very much like to see what else Luffy would be doing. Haven't regretted the choice yet.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 7.5
This punch was so intense that it began and concluded a flashback. In terms of motivations and backstory, Wapol was not one of the best One Piece villains. In terms of sheer punchability, hard to top him.
Half-point docked for the anime deciding not to animate this and just swapping in a generic Pistol attack.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 8.5
Still can't watch this sequence without feeling bad.
I'd actually been spoiled long in advance that Luffy and Usopp would fight. I had no idea it would be so damned brutal. And that post-fight sequence with the crew.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 9.5
Type: Golden Rifle
I really, really don't like Skypiea. I think it's dull, tedious, full of irrelevant characters and ideas, and generally just one of the worst arcs in the series.
But damned if I still don't think this was one of Oda's most brilliant moments. In brief, with one punch, Luffy knocks out an over-confident character with the power of a god, ends a threat to an entire island, and rings a bell that has been at the heart of the entire arc with the primary goal of fulfilling the dreams of a character met a hundred chapters before. I don't know many writers who can tie that many threads together in one instant.
Bellamy Scale Rating: 10.0
Type: Who cares?
Eh, you knew it was coming.
St. Charloss? What is he, the Saint of Getting His Face Punched?