One of Luffy’s Oldest Rivals is Back in the One Piece Manga

One Piece manga cover art showcasing the new Four Emperors.

The One Piece manga has stepped into the Final Saga. | via Viz Manga

by | Dec 10, 2022

Remember the time when Gear 2 was the best Luffy had, and we were rooting for the light-hearted, future Pirate King to beat the hell out of the Cipher Pol 9. Well, it would not be a surprise if your memories of the event are a bit hazy. It took place more than a 1,000 chapter ago, after all. Well, worry not, Luffy’s old nemesis is back in action, but the stakes are much higher this time around.

If you have not yet guessed who we’re referring to, it’s Rob Lucci, the wielder of the powers of a Leopard. A very muscular leopard trained to be an assassin. Lucci was the main antagonist during the “Water Saga” arc of One Piece. The man held Nico Robin captive and went on to have multiple epic face-offs against Luffy, with the latter coming out on top in the end.

While Luffy might have been able to save Robin from the clutches of the World Government, Rob Lucci’s story was far from over. Since his original appearance, Eiichiro Oda has given us several glances at the previous leader of CP9, and it seems like the time for the two to finally fight again is here.

Who is Rob Lucci?

One Piece manga has been teasing a battle with Rob Lucci for some time.

It’s the Pigeon Guy! | via Toei Animation

Rob Lucci is one of the deadliest weapons of the World Government in the One Piece universe. Trained to be an assassin since the age of 6, Lucci has grown up honing his skills in the Rokushiki style of fighting, with the aim to be “stronger than justice” (sends across chills, doesn’t it?).

As Cipher Pol 9’s strongest member, Lucci has had his name known across the seas. At the age of 13, he killed 500 soldiers as well as a pirate crew all by himself. Well, seems like Rob Lucci deserves his own short prequel. 

The man was even acknowledged by the former member of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, Bartholomew Kuma, the man who in the past single-handedly decimated the (considerably weaker) Straw Hat crew.

After being handed presumably his first defeat ever at the hands of Luffy at Eneis Lobby, Lucci was dismissed from the CP9 by his then commander Spandam. 

Within the two-year time skip, however, the Straw Hats weren’t the only ones who underwent significant growth. Rob Lucci not only managed to rejoin the government but climb in ranks to become of the CP0 –  the strongest intelligence organization bearing the name “Cipher Pol,” and answering directly to the world nobles.

One Piece Manga Teases another Lucci vs. Luffy War

Lucci and Cipher Pol 0 have been on the tail of Luffy’s Straw Hat crew for some time now, with the primary aim of capturing Nico Robin. His first major appearance post-time skip was in the “Punk Hazard” arc, informing the world about the pirate alliance between Luffy and Trafalgar Law’s Heart Pirates. The man later made appearances across numerous arcs as well as movies, but his appearance in the “Egghead” arc might be of the greatest consequence.

As Lucci and his team continue to move past Wano towards Egghead island, they come across Vegapunk, or one of his satellites to be exact. It is revealed that CP0 has been given the mission by the World Government – the elimination of professor Vegapunk and his six “counterparts.” At the end of chapter 1068, Lucci finally catches up to the genius scientist, only to realize that Monkey D. Luffy also happens to be present there.

We first witnessed Luffy’s Gear 5 and his powers of the “Sun God” during his final bout with Kaido. However, many of our questions about his newfound powers and the secrets of Luffy’s unique Devil Fruit remained unanswered.

It seems like Luffy has already grasped control of his new powers, a rare occurrence in anime. The leaks for the next chapter show Straw Hat jumping right into Gear 5 to take on Lucci.

While Lucci has undergone considerable growth, Oda has not overlooked Lucci, as the man will showcase a new “awakened Zoan form,” which is presumably the reason behind his quick rise through the ranks. Vegapunk has already asked Luffy to help him escape Egghead Island in the previous chapter, which means that the entire Straw Hat crew will be taking on the CP0.

With the first step into the “Final Saga” of One Piece, we expected nothing less but an epic battle between past enemies. Lucci has been on the sidelines for quite some time now, but it seems like Oda is ready to bring the man into action. Be prepared to witness new powerups, and possibly new additions to the Straw Hat crew.