One Piece has one of the most eclectic rogues galleries in anime. Arlong was a fishman that wanted to take vengeance against the human race. Gecko Moriah was a giant, shadow-controlling pirate that wanted to create a zombie army. Donquixote Doflamingo was a forsaken noble who wanted to corrupt both peasants and nobility alike.
Any one of these dark figures could be the lead baddie within any series, but they’re all outmatched by the two competing faces of One Piece‘s dark side. Fleet Admiral Akainu is the oppressive symbol of order and prejudice. Blackbeard is the conspiring marauder who seeks to conquer the whole sea. This list will be looking at both of these men, as it investigates who is Monkey D. Luffy’s greatest enemy.
10 Akainu: Killed Ace
One of the easiest jeers against Akainu is the fact that he ended all hope in the One Piece world. After trials and tribulations through the depths of a hellish prison to the bloodshed of an entire battlefield, there was a small glimmer when it looked like Luffy had actually saved Ace.
That is until Akainu appeared, verbally attacked the very thing that Ace treasured most, and provoked him for one last battle. In front of Luffy’s very own eyes, Akainu managed to destroy Ace in more ways than one. At this point, fans are just waiting for the tidal wave to come.
9 Blackbeard: Captured Ace And Attacked Shanks
While Akainu may have killed Ace, Blackbeard has a much more extensive history with Luffy’s loved ones. He was originally just another member of Ace’s ship in Whitebeard’s 2nd Division. After Blackbeard killed Thatch for the Darkness Darkness Fruit and fled the group, Ace took it upon himself to hunt him down.
Unfortunately, Blackbeard was able to easily overwhelm him when the final battle actually came up. Even more unfortunate, this wasn’t Blackbeard’s first strike against Luffy’s friends. Long ago, some incident led to Teach striking at Shanks and creating the Red Hair’s iconic scar, creating a life long rivalry between the two. To keep the man from hurting more of his family, Luffy is definitely getting a piece of Teach.
8 Akainu: Thematic Opposite
The mark of a good villain is there capacity to challenge the main character’s values, and Akainu is one of the best examples of this in One Piece. Monkey D. Luffy represents everything fun, spirited, and free, aspiring to be the most free person in the entire world. In contrast, Akainu represents the oppressive order that seeks to clip the wings trying to escape his cage.
For those who seek freedom outside of the World Government’s permission, Akainu will shoot first and ask questions never. He is everything that Luffy has come to hate since childhood and is the Straw Hat’s thematic opposite.
7 Blackbeard: Conceptual Opposite
While Akainu may challenge Luffy morally and thematically, Blackbeard opposes his Straw Hat rival at a more personal level. Much like how the Flash has the Reverse Flash, Blackbeard is the Reverse Luffy. He is an ambitious dreamer like Luffy who aspires to become pirate king but approaches the venture with much more evil intent.
Where Luffy tries to make friends and help people, Blackbeard is backstabbing and causing as much harm as possible among society. He is everything that Luffy despises in the pirate life and is his conceptual opposite.
6 Akainu: Prejudiced
One of the most defining aspects about Luffy is his propensity to accept all races, countries, and creeds with the same friendly face at face value. He is an accepting person who’s more intrigued by the diversity of the outside world than wary. The same can’t be said for Akainu.
If anyone were to step outside his preconceived notions of normal and abnormal, right and wrong, Akainu will respond with lethal prejudice, even against a fellow Marine. He is the very walls and chains of society that Luffy just can’t wait to break.
5 Blackbeard: Traitor
Luffy’s entire pirate philosophy is centered around friendship. To him, his crew mates are not just worker bees but personal friends and family members that he takes deep consideration for and makes sure to foster deep loyalty with. Blackbeard, on the other hand, seeks to only inspire his crew members with power and the ability to not rot in prison.
Loyalty doesn’t mean much to a man who was incredibly willing to backstab a guy that he’d been working with for literally most of his entire life. He doesn’t know anything personal about his picks from Impel Down besides the fact that they’re strong. As fans must know at this point, Luffy absolutely hates anyone who doesn’t respect their own crew mates.
4 Akainu: Burning Fury
A good enemy must also be a great test for the main character, and Akainu represents a major stepping stone in Luffy’s rise to power. One of Luffy’s top powers after the timeskip is directly made in honor of his late brother Ace who wasn’t able to beat Akainu with his own power.
Even though Ace had the Flame Flame Fruit, he was easily overpowered by Akainu’s Magma Magma Powers which lie on a higher rung on the Devil Fruit scale. Luffy fighting Akainu would not only represent a major challenge for his strength but the final hurdle of Ace’s journey in life.
3 Blackbeard: Power
While there’s strong thematic importance within Akainu’s strength, Blackbeard represents the ultimate threat within the entirety of the One Piece world. With the mysterious ability to hold multiple Devil Fruit abilities, Blackbeard is seemingly the only person with multiple Devil Fruits.
These devilish treats are already pretty cumbersome individually; but when they’re stockpiled together, they could spell real trouble for the confused victim just trying to process what’s going on. With other strengths and skills that are yet to be known, Blackbeard may be Luffy’s greatest threat.
2 Akainu: Top Marine
What really sells Akainu as one of Luffy’s greatest enemies is the fact that he just comes off as the final boss of the Marines. In the pirating world, there really is no greater enemy than the actual sea cops that are trying to anchor down any jolly roger that they sea.
Akainu currently sits on the highest mantle of the Marines and barks orders at his soldiers while simultaneously taking them from the Celestial Dragons. Unless the Marines reveal a Super Marine or something, Akainu will be the grandest test against Luffy’s crusade to fight everything that the World Government represents.
1 Blackbeard: Pirate King Rival
While being the anti-pirate is a strong aesthetic for a leading villain in One Piece, being a rival pirate makes for a strong and possibly even more flexible narrative of its own. Luffy’s journey to find the One Piece and become the King of the Pirates doesn’t really mean anything if there isn’t other people also trying to get the crown. If there are no other pirates, then what is their King?
Blackbeard is the most explicit challenge to Luffy’s throne and seems like the only other person making large enough strides to actually reach Laugh Tale if not, at least, have enough resources to overtake it.
One Piece has two epitomal enemies for Luffy to face: Akainu and Blackbeard. But which will be the true villains for him to face?