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Why Luffy is a Great Shounen Lead

Last week, I wrote a little bit about why I love One Piece so much as a series. There's another, very large reason, that I find this show to be successful, but it seemed to be a little too big to fit into that article. Instead, I feel this should be a piece all of it's own; a one piece, if you will.


Luffy may seem like your typical shounen lead at first glance; he's loud, excitable and almost constantly smiling. Thinking about characters like Goku, Naruto or Asta, I can't help but to see this as a "type" for shounen male leads. If your show has room for humor, it probably has a main character like this. But, unlike these other characters, there's a few things I notice that makes Luffy stand out from all the others.

For starters, Luffy is not on a road to become the Pirate King by himself. Right from the start of the series, we see him scouting for people he thinks will benefit both him and the crew as a whole. Sure, he wants to be the Pirate King, but he want's to get there with people who have their own unique dreams too. He wants the best navigator, the best chef, the best doctor and fighters to be by his side every step of the way. Even non-conventional pirate dreams, like Robin's dream of being a historian, don't seem to be a waste for his crew. Luffy feels kinship towards his friends and wants to see them succeed because, in a way, it's a success they all share.

Alongside his loyalty to his crew mates, Luffy has a couple minor details that make him different from other leads. For example, he doesn't take on any love interests and hardly anything gets him flustered. The stereotypes that tend to sexualize characters just goes out the window because Luffy literally couldn't care less about trivial things like that. Not only does this stop there from being inappropriate behavior on the future Pirate King's part, but it makes for some refreshing humor that we don't often see in other anime series.

A big difference between One Piece and other series is that there will always be a power cap. There are characters we were introduced to at the beginning of the series that are still equally as strong in these current episodes. This will always apply to Luffy because he knows that he's not strong enough to beat some of theses people; at least, not yet. I've seen plenty of other shounen leads feel like they can take on the world and fight till the death no matter what, but Luffy isn't always like that. With a few exceptions, he's always conscious about his actions during a battle and how that will effect his crew. He doesn't stick around for fights he knows he's not going to win. I think this lesson was really reinforced when the Time Skip happened and Luffy thought that he and his crew were most certainly going to die. You can see in the later arcs that this really stuck with him; of course, it didn't change his can-do attitude and willingness to jump into battles.

Lastly, Luffy never gives up. I know this is a pretty generic thing we see in all shounen characters, but it's the one thing that makes them so inspiring. When you see these kinds of characters being beaten into the ground but still willing to get up and fight, there's something about it that makes you feel better about tomorrow. I love every scene where Luffy really gets to show off his strength and pushes himself to his absolute limits. It's just one of the many reasons I love Luffy.

I'm sure everyone has different reasons for loving this captain, so tell us why you personally love Luffy in our comments section!

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