Luffy in Gear 5 form from One Piece

Revisiting ‘One Piece’s Long, Super-Hyped Road That Ended in Kaido’s Defeat

At a whopping 197 episodes, One Piece‘s Wano arc was longer than most anime series. If you watched the saga unfold in real-time, you spent four and a half years witnessing the slow buildup to Monkey D. Luffy’s battle with Kaido, one of the Four Emperors and captain of the Beast Pirates.

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That buildup was largely worth it—we got a very acute sense of the ways Kaido allowed the civilians of Wano to be starved and cruelly experimented upon, and how turning the isolated island into a base for manufacturing weapons polluted the land. All of that time spent with the struggles of the residents of Wano made it that much sweeter when Luffy finally delivered the finishing blow to Kaido, which restored Momonosuke as the rightful shogun. But when was Kaido finally defeated?

The long road to victory

For the vast majority of the Raid On Onigashima, somebody is battling Kaido—but it’s not always Luffy. It took multiple groups of people multiple tries to finally bring Kaido down. After all, he is known as the “strongest creature alive” in the world of One Piece.

First, eight of Oden’s former retainers, known in whole as the Akazaya Nine, attacked him together. And yes, only eight of the “Nine” because one of them, Kanjuro, turned out to be a traitor. Once Kaido defeated them, the leading lights of the Worst Generation—Luffy, Roronoa Zoro, Trafalgar Law, Eustass Kid, and Killer—finally made it to the rooftop to battle Kaido and his ally and fellow Emperor, Big Mom, simultaneously. Eventually, the members of that fight were scattered to various corners of the castle, leaving just Luffy and Kaido on the rooftop.

But it wasn’t even straightforward from there. Kaido actually defeats Luffy shortly thereafter, sending him plummeting back into the sea, where he was saved by Law’s crew. Yamato—Kaido’s son who hates Kaido very much because he’s unsurprisingly a godawful father—had to take on Kaido himself, stalling for time until Luffy could come back.

Even when Luffy triumphantly returns, Kaido eventually defeats him again. However, this second defeat is the one that triggers Luffy’s Devil Fruit awakening, leading to Luffy discovering Gear 5. Finally, with the help of Gear 5’s cartoon logic antics, Luffy is able to handily kick Kaido’s ass.

So it was a long road involving fourteen different people that led to Luffy finally punching Kaido into a hole in the earth. Even though I had read the manga and knew it was coming, Luffy’s moment of triumph after is so stunning and glorious, I cried.

The actual final blow happens in episode 1076, “The World That Luffy Wants!” But Kaido definitively lands in his magma chamber (ostensibly) grave in the following episode, “The Curtain Falls! The Winner, Straw Hat Luffy!”

(featured image: Toei Animation)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.