Ray: Alright, the combatants are set. Let’s settle this debate once and for all.
Steel: It’s time for a DEATH BATTLE!!!
All was calm as a massive galleon cruised across the ocean's surface, its lion-head bowsprit and straw-hat wearing Jolly Roger noticeable anywhere. From its deck, one could hear merry music from a fiddle, and the members of the crew either singing or dancing along to it.
Joining them in the festivities was the captain of this ship known to all as "Thousand Sunny". That captain was none other than the famed Straw-Hat Luffy.
The song came to an end and the skeletal fiddler took a bow, his art complete. If he had a proper face, he would have smiled at the cheers.
“WOW!” Luffy said with a broad smile, “Play it again!”
Yet as the crew celebrated, a simple-looking steamboat was coming across their path up ahead. At first, the crew paid no mind to it. That all changed because, just when the skeleton was about to draw his bow across the strings of his instrument, another tune cut across him, catching the immediate attention of the ship's captain.
The song in the distance sounded a little something like this...I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
Popeye the Sailor Man
I'm strong to the finich,
‘cause I eats me spinach
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
I'm one tough Gazookus, which hates all Palookas.
Wot ain't on the up and square.
I biffs 'em and buffs 'em and always out roughs 'em
but none of 'em gets nowhere.
If anyone dares-es to risk me fist,
It's "Boff" an' it's "Wham" un'erstan'?
So keep "Good Be-hav-or", That's your one life saver
With Popeye the Sailor Man.
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
Popeye the Sailor Man.
I'm strong to the finich,
‘cause I eats me spinach.
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!
Luffy growled in frustration. Not only did he not like the music (for reasons beyond even the most brilliant mind in the world), but it had cut off a perfectly good song from Brook.
“HEY!” Luffy shouted, hoping the owner of the boat would hear him, “You’re interrupting our music!”
On receiving no response, Luffy was prepared to put an end to it personally. One of his crew, a gorgeous redheaded woman, seemed to sense this.
“Oh no,” Nami said, shaking her head furiously, “Don’t even think about it. Just leave the ship alone, it’s not even attacking or bothering us!”
Too late. Luffy had pulled back a fist and sent it rocketing at the ship, creating a massive hole in its side. It slowed and then slowly began to sink.
On the sinking ship’s deck, the man singing the song was not amused. His surprisingly-twisted face twisted even more as he looked around for what had caused his vessel damage. Popeye squinted and then spotted it: a massive galleon, the only one around for miles.
“Why those no good, stinkin’ pirates! I needs to teach ‘em a lesson they won’ts forget!” Popeye growled, then dove into the sea and swam towards the ship.
Back on the Thousand Sunny, Luffy nodded with satisfaction. “Good. I hated those guys.”
“Wha?! You didn’t even know them!” Nami snapped, trying not to scream at her captain. Sometimes what went through his mind was beyond any of his crew.
Something tapped him on the shoulder and Luffy turned around…only to have a fist nail him in the chin. The resulting impact sent him careening into the air and he sailed in a massive arc to land with a “thud” and a dust cloud on an island off in the distance.
“Don’t get yer hopes up, kid, ‘cuz I ain’t through with ya!” Popeye added, then dove back into the sea and swam after him.
Nami was shocked at what she had seen. She had been through some crazy stuff, but this was new even to her.
Luffy pulled himself out of the sandy shore of the island and looked around. “Where am I? And what just happened? Last thing I remember is this fist coming into my face…”
Luffy turned to see Popeye storming towards him, stopping a few yards away, his fists clenched. Not quite sure what to make of this guy, Luffy tilted his head to the side curiously.
“Who are you?” the Straw-Hat captain asked.
“I’m Popeye the Sailor man.” Popeye answered, tooting his pipe like a whistle twice, then asked, “Who are you?”
“My name is Luffy, and I’m gonna be the King of the Pirates.” Luffy answered with a smile.
“Pirate,huh?Guessitmakessensewhyhesunkmyboat…” Popeye muttered (without even moving his lips at that), then returned to his normal voice, “Well, for wreckin’ my boat, I gotta hurt ya, kid.”
“You wanna fight?” Luffy asked, then put up a fist and smiled again, “Well, bring it on! I don’t plan on dying today!”
“Bring it on, ya little squirt! It’s time for me to roughs ya up!” Popeye said, hunching forward ready for battle.
The time had come for a showdown for the world’s most powerful pirate and the most powerful sailor: a battle to determine the King of the Seas.FIGHT!
“Gum-Gum…” Luffy pulled back a fist, then threw it at Popeye on an elongated arm, “Pistol!”
The fist flew forward like a bullet and Popeye only just managed to sidestep it. As Luffy retracted his arm, Popeye actually followed it, pulled back a fist of his own and slammed it into Luffy’s visage.
Luffy’s neck stretched backward, taking his head with it and snapped back into place…only to meet Popeye’s fist yet again, resulting in the same event again, and again, and again in a comedic fashion.
Luffy had had enough and, the next time his head stretched back on his neck, he saw a nearby palm tree, opened his mouth, and latched his teeth into its bark. After a moment of tension, in which Popeye wondered just why Luffy’s head wasn’t coming back for a good “biffin’ and boffin’” as he put it, Luffy’s body shot backward so fast that it seemed to teleport.
Luffy let the recoil of his body returning wear off, then launched his rubbery fist at Popeye again. Popeye evaded yet again, but this was not Luffy’s intention. He actually opened his hand to latch onto a boulder behind Popeye, pulled himself back a bit, then let go.
“Gum-Gum…” Luffy said, extending his free arm, “SICKLE!” Popeye’s eyes widened as Luffy’s arm slammed into his neck at high speed, sending Popeye into the rock behind him.
Popeye hit the rock with enough force to leave an imprint of himself, yet the groan he emitted as he peeled off it gave an indication that he survived. Luffy was not going to let up, though, and latched onto Popeye, his rubbery arms and legs wrapping around the cockeyed sailor’s limbs.
“Gum-Gum…” Luffy said, pulling back his head, stretching his elastic neck to gain momentum, “BELL!”
Moments before Luffy’s head rocketed back, Popeye had an idea. He pulled back his own head (not as far as Luffy’s, though) and the two craniums collided. The vibrations form the impact coursed through both of their bodies and, while Luffy didn’t complain in the slightest, all Popeye did was grumble at the pain…and showed no sign of injury.
“Okay, ya little runt, how’s about I heat things up?” Popeye said, then turned his corncob pipe upside down, took a deep breath, then blew into the pipe.
Rather than emit a huge cloud of smoke, the corncob pipe emitted a small flame akin to a welding torch. The flame jetted out, striking Luffy right on the shirt. The part that was struck quickly burst into flame and Luffy, with a yelp, sprang off and began trying to put it out.
Popeye shook himself loose, then charged Luffy and sprang into the unlikeliest place one would imagine: right under Luffy’s shirt…where he seemed to disappear. Luffy stared, wide-eyed, at what the sailor accomplished and searched under his article of clothing wildly for his opponent, yet he was nowhere to be seen.
Luffy turned to his right, feeling someone tap him on the shoulder…and was met with a fist to his face from a familiar, anchor-tattooed arm. Mentioned arm then retreated back to where it came from: just under the right part of his collar. Luffy grabbed at it, but only found empty space. Yet, as he pulled back after grabbing thin air, the same muscular arm popped out from under his sleeve and pinched his nose, as though honking a bike horn.
After a split-second of surprise, Luffy quickly got the idea and grabbed the arm. “A-ha! I gotcha!” he exclaimed in triumph.
“Oh, no ya don’t.” Popeye replied from inside Luffy’s shirt, “I’ve got YOU.”
Luffy raised a brow, then attempted to pull the legendary sailor out of his shirt. One could imagine his shock, though, when he stopped for a second and an even stronger force pulled his arm further down his shirt. Luffy gritted his teeth and pulled with all his might, yet couldn’t dislodge Popeye.
Luffy’s straining halted when, suddenly, he lost his grip on Popeye’s wrist like he was holding a greased eel and, comically, fell flat out on his back from the change of force. Popeye hopped out, then prepared to sock it to Luffy from above only to see his rubbery adversary roll backward and stretch both his arms behind him.
At the peak of their back-stretch, both of Luffy’s hands sprang forward and slammed into Popeye’s midsection. The sailor bent forward, the wind getting blasted from his lungs, then rocketed backward into the lightly-wooded area further inland.
Popeye landed, noggin-first, into the trunk of a palm tree then fell to the ground like a plank of wood being dropped. He picked himself up, then jumped slightly as a pair of hands grabbed a pair of trees not far from him.
Popeye wound up a punch just as the arms retracted, slinging Luffy at Popeye like a bullet. Before Luffy came too close, a fist planted itself firmly into his chin. Luffy flew up in an arc before falling back to the ground, his still-elongated arms comically falling onto him in a rubbery heap.
Luffy freed himself of the tangled mess of his arms, then pulled back his right leg like he was ready to kick a soccer ball. “Gum-Gum STAMP!” When Luffy threw his leg forward, everything from the calf down extended forward like a spear, Luffy’s sandal-clad foot nailing Popeye right in the chest.
Popeye’s back slammed into a rock and, when he looked down, he saw a very distinctive footprint in his chest. After mumbling something about how expensive it would be to get removed, he jumped into the air and came back down, spinning in a reverse-pirouette to drill into the ground below him.
Luffy stared, wide-eyed in wonder, at what Popeye had just accomplished. “WOW! What kind of fruit did he eat?” he asked in astonishment.
Luffy felt something coming, then hopped out of the way just as Popeye burst from the ground beneath him. Popeye’s fist hit air as he sprang out, leaving him open.
“Gum-Gum SHOTGUN!” Luffy said, throwing out a fist, then twanging it. It looked like multiple fists had struck from just one arm.
Popeye merely reached out and seized Luffy around the wrist, halting the twanging. “You’re a slick one, rubber-boy, but let’s have us a little fun now.” With that said, Popeye raised Luffy’s arm, then brought it sharply back down like a whip, sending a wave right down the length of the arm.
The resulting force flipped Luffy on his back with a yelp in surprise. The next moment, he was tugged right at Popeye, who proceeded to twirl Luffy around like a lasso (even going to the liberty of performing a few tricks worthy of wild-west cowboys) and tossing him away.
Luffy landed, cat-footed, on his feet and made the conclusion that, in his current condition, he wasn’t going to win. He closed his eyes in focus, then snapped them open as steam began to flow from his legs. In the blink of an eye, he was right in front of Popeye and before the mighty sailor could comprehend it.
“Gum-Gum Jet Stamp!”
Popeye rocketed backward, his eyes not even catching just what had happened. All he knew was that he felt like he had been hit full in the chest by a charging train. As he tumbled to a halt, he only had time to get up before he caught sight of something.
His corncob pipe almost fell out of his mouth as a giant fist, comparable in size to a massive tree trunk, raised itself high into the air. “Gum-Gum GIANT PISTOL!”
Popeye yelped in surprise, then ran as fast as he could to the side just as the giant fist flew at him. The fist smashed through the ground like it was cheap glass, then retracted. Popeye took quick advantage of his opponent’s need to retract and, as the giant arm deflated and retracted back to its owner, Popeye held on tightly, hitching a ride to his rubbery opponent.
Popeye hopped off the appendage as soon as Luffy was in sight, then threw a flurry of punches at Luffy. Much to his frustration, Luffy sidestepped each attack as if he knew it was coming.
Luffy decided to put an end to Popeye’s assault and shouted, “Gum-Gum BALLOON!” With that, Luffy’s entire torso inflated into a giant, flesh-colored ball. The minute Popeye’s fist made contact with it, it bounced off. The recoil sent Popeye stumbling backward, and Luffy seized his chance.
“Gum-Gum JET GATLING!” Luffy leaned forward and his arms were suddenly a blur that began to pummel Popeye, who could only put up his arms to shield himself…if only a little bit.
“I can’t stands no more!” Popeye managed to get out before the punches broke past his defense and sent him flying backward.
Popeye skidded to a halt and now knew that, if there ever was a situation for his trump card, that situation was “NOW”. “Alright, you got a few circus acts. Guess what? I gots a few, too.” Popeye said, ready to meet this challenge with one of his own.
Popeye reached into his abnormally-deep pants pocket and pulled out a large tin can labeled “Spinach”. He gave the can a good squeeze until it burst open at the top, its green contents flying into the air. It came back down right into Popeye’s gaping mouth.
After munching down on the spinach for a brief moment, Popeye swallowed and the effects of eating his greens were instantaneous. His whole body flowed with a new energy and he flexed his muscle, forcing a bicep up to preposterous levels.
As for the metaphorical image you see in that muscle every time Popeye eats spinach? It was Goku firing off a Kamehameha.
Anyhoo, Popeye saw a pair of hands had reached just behind him and seize two trees behind him and had a good idea as to what was coming. He braced himself, his whole body composition morphing to resemble a Popeye statue made entirely of brick.
“Gum-Gum Jet Rocket!”
Luffy collided with Popeye at sonic-speeds, intent on finishing him off here and now with a powerful headbutt. One could imagine his surprise when, rather than send Popeye into agony and/or death, he ricocheted off with a bell-like “dong”. Popeye seemed completely unscathed while Luffy lay on his back, clutching his now-aching skull.
It was truly odd to him. Most of Popeye’s previous blows hadn’t even hurt him at all, yet he just now withstood one of Luffy’s stronger attacks AND did something that managed to hurt him.
Luffy roared back to his feet and unleashed another “Gum-Gum Jet Gatling” on Popeye, hoping to pummel him again. Popeye’s response was to wind up both of his fists and actually MIRROR him. The sailor man’s fists were now also blurs and met Luffy fist-for-fist.
Luffy, now really starting to get ticked that this guy was matching him, pulled back his fists and called off the attack. He then twisted his right arm like a corkscrew and shouted “Gum-Gum JET RIFLE!”
The Jet Rifle flew at Popeye…who merely reached up and caught his fist without wavering. The energy behind the arm’s now-spiraling form was suddenly released, resulting in Luffy spinning around like a propeller before sailing off to his right when Popeye let go.
Luffy landed on his feet, then forced as much air into his arms as he could. “Gum-Gum GIANT GATLING!”
Popeye put both of his thumbs in his mouth, took a deep breath, then actually mirrored Luffy again. In seconds, both his anchor-tattooed arms were the same size as Luffy’s. Again, Popeye had the Strawhat Captain matched move-for-move.
Then Popeye opened one of his hands and caught Luffy’s own by the wrist. With a “flick”, Luffy was catapulted high into the air before slamming back down on the ground. Next thing he knew, he was jerked towards Popeye and before he could put up any adequate defense, Popeye’s other gigantic fist slammed into him.
The resulting impact sent Luffy tumbling across the ground, skidding to a halt on a sandy beach. If his Gears wouldn’t work, then he’d have to use his ultimate techniques. It was time for using some Armament Haki.
Luffy stretched back an arm, the area from his fist down to his forearm turning the color of a cannonball, then shouted “Gum-Gum BULLET!”
Both of Popeye’s eyes widened as a pitch-black fist slammed into his visage, sending him rocketing into the air. Yet, as Popeye flew above the treetops, he was readying a counterattack. He twirled his pipe around until it faced his feet, took a deep breath, then exhaled out his smoking utensil as hard as he could.
A jet of flame erupted from the rather small object and, within seconds, Popeye had halted his backward-going momentum and flew forward like a rocket. Luffy shrieked in surprise as Popeye came at him with a barrage of punches to the pirate’s face. Normally, this would be no threat, but the Observation Haki seemed oddly ineffective. This was because of Luffy being completely caught by surprise and the fact that Popeye (and every punch he threw) was, somehow, moving far too fast for that particular form to be effective. Worse still, just like the last time, Popeye was somehow managing to hurt Luffy with pure blunt force alone…without Haki, no less.
Popeye only halted his barrage of punches only to sock Luffy full into the air with a sharp uppercut. While waiting for Luffy to come down, Popeye took his right wrist in his left hand and twisted his whole arm until it resembled a large piece of rope. Then, as Luffy came down, he slammed it into the pirate captain’s midsection, pinning Luffy to a tree. As an added effect, his twisted arm untwisted, spinning Luffy fast enough to buff the bark off the tree…and eventually splinter it under the force.
Luffy hit the ground, but was back on his feet, fuming with rage. “Gum-Gum…” Luffy’s fist grew to giant proportions yet again, only this time it was pitch-black with the Armament Haki, “ELEPHANT PISTOL!” With that exclamation, Luffy threw his fist forward. He'd like to see the anchor-armed sailor top THIS.
Popeye spotted the giant, obsidian hand coming at him like a gigantic cannonball, ready to blow him away, yet did not attempt to move out of the way in the slightest. He wound up a fist, spinning it fast enough that it could have been a propeller. When he was fully wound up, and Luffy’s fist was inches away from splattering him all over the island, Popeye launched his fist forward, making contact with the black surface.
A tremor went down the entire length of the arm and, for a split second, nothing appeared to have happened. Then the black surface of the arm actually cracked like an eggshell. Just a few appeared at first, then it spread and spread quickly until the Armament Haki literally shattered like glass.
The force of the impact jarred Luffy to the point that he fell on his seat. He then charged Popeye, his legs pumping him as fast as he could go. As he ran, he stretched an arm behind him that started out pitch-black, but quickly turned bright gold before being completely engulfed in flames.
Too late. Popeye spotted him, saw his flaming appendage, then took a deep breath and blew as hard as he could. The resulting flow of air was comparable to a hurricane wind…if it was much, MUCH stronger. Not only did the winds slow Luffy to a crawl, they also extinguished the fire on his arm like he was blowing out a birthday candle.
“Yes,birthdaywishesandall.Timetofinishyaoff,squirt.” Popeye grumbled, then socked the oncoming boy in the chin again, sending him up into the air once more.
This time, he made sure this would be the last time.
When Popeye spotted Luffy coming back down, he dug his fingers into the ground and pulled as hard as he could. At first glance, one would think that he was going to pull open a crevice in the ground.
Popeye pulled and pulled when, with a paper-like ripping sound, the very page you are reading this fight on tore right across the page. “Let’s see ya come back from THIS, ‘soon-to-be King of Pirates’.”
Luffy was just coming back down when he spotted oblivion awaiting him where he intended to land. He yelped as he fell down the crevice, then reached up with an elongated arm and just grabbed the edge of the tear.
Popeye spotted him and emitted a disgruntled growl, but then rubbed his hands together as an idea came to him. “Oh, look! Piggies!”
Popeye walked over to Luffy’s fingers, then wedged his thumb under his index finger. “This little piggy went to market…” With a “twang”, he pried the finger loose and Luffy’s eyes widened.
“Gum-Gum Pistol!” Luffy shot his other arm in an attempt to dislodge Popeye or get another grip to help himself up.
“Quit it, ya little whelp!” Popeye said, casually swatting the rubbery limb away, “I’m tryin’ to count piggies! This little piggy stayed home…” He pried Luffy’s middle finger loose.
“Gum-Gum Rocket!” Luffy said, his arm retracting, ready to spring him up and headbutt the cockeyed sailor…only to be met with the same fate as his hand.
“I said ‘cut it out’!” Popeye said, grouchily, socking Luffy back down to dangle from his last two fingers. “THIS little piggy had roast beef…” Luffy was now dangling from his pinky and could only watch in horror as Popeye said the last six words he would ever hear.
“And this little piggy had NONE.”
Popeye dislodged Luffy’s final finger and the captain of the Strawhat Pirates fell off the page into the whiteness of oblivion. His screams died down as he fell…forever.
“Hey, author! Stop bein’ so grim!” Popeye shouted, “And patch this up, will ya?”
At that point, a human hand with a sewing needle and thread went to work. Within a few seconds, it had patched up the page. To make sure it was safe, Popeye set foot on it: sturdy as a rock.
Popeye sighed in relief, then dove into the water. A brief moment later, he had hauled the entire wreckage of his boat out of the water and set to work repairing it.K.O.!!!
Steel: (pause) What the heck did I just see?
Ray: I’m not entirely sure, but at least we have a winner. While Luffy is, without a doubt, one of the strongest people to have ever taken to the sea, Popeye’s savvy, cartoon-level durability, and spinach ultimately triumphed.
Steel: Luffy would not likely make the connection of Popeye’s strength and spinach (even if he DOES sing it in his song) because Popeye saves it as a last resort. Plus, the entire thing played out like a Popeye cartoon.
Ray: Luffy would make short work of Popeye when he was in base form, Gears Second and Third and his Haki would ensure that. However, when Popeye ate his spinach, his strength, speed, durability, and powers exceed that of ANY One Piece character.
Steel: How do those stats hold up? For starters, Popeye was strong enough to move the entire EARTH, which (as “Goku vs. Superman” stated) means he can lift up to 6.6 quintillion tons, exceeding just about ANY of Luffy’s feats of strength. Taking into consideration that Armament Haki can be broken with enough force, this means that Popeye is MORE than strong enough to break through it.
Ray: Popeye also once flew from the moon to Earth in under five seconds. This means that his top speed is at least Mach 13, but it IS likely that he can go faster; fast enough to fight past the effects of Observation Haki. Popeye has also dealt with supernatural entities, like ghosts and genies, so the Devil Fruits would likely mean nothing to him when spinach-fueled.
Steel: And before you bring up the Conqueror’s Haki, Popeye has both a strong will and a power level equal to, or greater than, that of Luffy’s. Crack your own Dragonball Z joke here.
Ray: Now, we can argue about feats of strength, speed, and all that. In the end, it cannot decide what either Luffy or Popeye are capable of. They’re both great heroes known for getting out of dire situations with their fists alone. The difference is their character. Luffy is not, has not, and never will be invincible. He has limits, obvious weaknesses, and his story is partly him overcoming the problems to make himself stronger. Meanwhile, Popeye’s is different. When a situation is dire, he uses something to make him capable of doing whatever needs to be done. In short, Popeye is as strong as he needs to be.
Steel: Going “Goku vs. Superman” again?
Ray: What? Look at it and tell me if it isn’t similar.
Steel: I-(pause) Wow…you’re right.
Ray: So, what happens when you pit a guy known for pushing his limits against a guy who has no real limit as to what he can or can’t do? Well, only Luffy has limits to begin with.
Steel: It was a good fight, but victory was just too much of a stretch even for Luffy. Now let's prepare to clean our inbox of all the nasty e-mails we're, undoubtedly, going to get from the One Piece fans...
Ray: The winner is Popeye.LUFFY…
+More than powerful enough to match Popeye in base form
+Harder to hurt as a whole
+Haki and Gears are formidable
-More exploitable weaknesses
-Even at best, cannot match spinach-fueled Popeye
-Sometimes reliant on crew/friends in dire situations (I stress the term “sometimes”)
+A force to be reckoned with, even in base form
+Just plain hard to kill
+No truly-debilitating weaknesses to be taken advantage of
+Spinach…need I say more?
+Achieves the impossible on a day-to-day basis
+More used to getting himself out of situations