These are 5 brawls that prove One Piece isn't all about Luffy
What are your favorite One Piece fights? It's okay if most of them are about Luffy. He's the main character, he typically yells the loudest, and most major stories in the franchise end with him implanting his fists into an enemy's skull. Also, he gets a ton of rad fights. So if you say that the greatest One Piece fight is Luffy vs Lucci, or Luffy vs Arlong, or Luffy vs That Dude That He Literally Choked Out Oh My God That's Brutal, I'm not going to treat you like a snob. "Oh, you like Luffy vs Doflamingo? That's cute, even when the greatest fight in One Piece is obviously the internal struggle between Luffy and Luffy's Inner Id."
That said, I do think that there are a ton of One Piece fights that haven't gotten a fair shake, mainly because they don't involve Luffy. And so, as someone that always roots for the underdog, fights tirelessly for the little man, and is obsessed with the best-selling manga franchise in the history of Japan, I'm gonna run down some underrated One Piece fights that aren't about our boy Monkey D or the other two members of the "Monster Trio," Zoro and Sanji. They might not be famous fights, but they deserve to be on any One Piece combat highlight reel.
Usopp is a cowardly sharpshooter and Chopper is a little reindeer man. Mr. 4 is a rotund dude with a giant baseball bat, Miss Merry Christmas can transform into a mole, and Lassoo is a gun that's also a dog. All of this sounds like One Piece Mad Libs, but, when combined, it makes for one of the most exciting fights in the Alabasta arc.
See, Usopp and Chopper have never been, and never will be the strongest members of the Straw Hat Crew. And often, it seems like their primary purpose on the team is to freak out about tidal waves or large fish. So they won't be the guys that take down major villains. Instead, they tackle the weirder henchmen, and this whole fight is both a grab bag of the quirkiness that often makes One Piece so great, and a surprisingly brutal contest that pushes Chopper and Usopp out of the "AGH! I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" position, and into the roles of warriors.
With Luffy taking on Crocodile and Zoro taking on Mr. 1, I feel like it's really easy to forget Nami's battle with Miss Doublefinger. Nami doesn't get enough one-on-one fights in One Piece, and that's a shame, because she's easily one of the most ingenious members of the crew. And this fight is all about ingenuity, as it tells the story of Nami becoming not only adept at using her new Clima-Tact weapon, but also fighting in general.
And man, some of this fight is hard to watch. Miss Doublefinger's Devil Fruit power allows her to turn parts of her body into spikes. And the number one role of the spike is to impale. I think you see where I'm going with this: Nami is five seconds away from becoming the Grand Line's wittiest shishkabob at all times, and most of the duel seems pretty one-sided. But when Nami faces her fears, learns how to properly control the Clima-Tact and beats Miss Doublefinger in a humiliating fashion, you'll see why Nami is the backbone of the Straw Hats.
No, Robin vs Yama isn't the long slugfest that the rest of these fights are. Instead, it mostly consists of a quick brawl and then Robin SYSTEMATICALLY TEARING YAMA APART. And that's why I put this entry in here, because A) It's awesome, and B) While Robin is super into books and history and probably Criterion Collection Blu Rays, she's also, like, ridiculously powerful when she wants to be. Robin will mess you up, my dude. She is NOT playing around.
The fight between Franky and Senor Pink isn't a very dyanamic contest. Basically, if you're wondering what all of Franky's moves are, or what he's got hiding in every crevice of his cyborg body, maybe watch something else. This fight mostly comes down to Franky punching Senor Pink, and Senor Pink suplexing Franky. If the fight was in a video game, it would just be two kids pressing the X button rapidly.
However, when you consider Senor Pink's tragic backstory and Franky's sense of honor, this endurance contest to withstand their mutual pummelings is kinda neat. And when Franky wins, and tells Senor Pink "If we see each other again someday somewhere, let's have a drink. And tell me...about the woman named Russian," you're both bawling and commending Franky for being such an excellent bro.
I remember when Brook first joined the crew, I didn't know how he'd fit in. In my dumb, "I've been binge watching One Piece for a month and getting barely any sleep" brain, I remember thinking "Brook uses a SWORD? But Zoro uses SWORDS. What a LACK of CREATIVITY! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to write a college student film script about a young, creative white kid that has problems, because THAT has TRULY never been done BEFORE."
Now, I adore Brook, so much so that his fight against Big Mom in the recent Whole Cake Island arc was actually touching. Big Mom is one of the Four Emperors of the Sea. Not even Luffy can put a scratch on her yet. And Brook knows that he doesn't stand a chance, but here he goes, putting his all into a futile struggle.
You tend to forget that Brook will always stand up for himself, until you get to moments like these. And I think that's the most important things about all of the fights on this list. They remind us of character traits that sometimes get lost in the epic story of One Piece, character traits that are not only a joy to revisit, but firmly place the Straw Hat Crew in the Golden Pantheon of Excellent Anime Protagonist Teams.
What about you? What are your favorite non-Monster Trio fights in One Piece?
Daniel Dockery is a writer/editor that uses Twitter for its one true purpose: anime opinions.