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Is Luffy based on Sun Wukong?

Is Luffy based on Sun Wukong

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Today is a good day to explore the sea of theories that One Piece has brought us in these more than 20 years and more than 1000 chapters, if there is something Oda is a master of is to give subtle data and, some, not so much.

On this occasion, we will explore one of the theories that have been around for quite some time in the fandom, is Luffy based on Sun Wukong?

Sure, Luffy’s last name and his behavior can give us certain clues about this, but we’ll have to explore these options to find out how true it is, plus our captain shares similarities with a character that is indeed based on the Chinese tale: Son Goku.

I’ve been following One Piece since 2008 and this has been one of the most concurrent theories, so it’s time to get ready and get on board!

Source Material

The character Sun Wukong is the protagonist of a classic Chinese story called ‘Journey to the West’, this monkey becomes the Monkey King of a clan but soon realizes there is something he can’t escape: death. So he decides to leave his village in search of a way to become immortal.

As he embarks on this adventure, he meets a Buddhist/Taoist named Bodhi, who teaches him human customs, how to speak, as well as various magic tricks such as cloning himself, jumping 54,000 km without problems, and also learning to transform himself into inanimate objects.

If you are wondering if Sun Wukong managed to find immortality, the answer is yes, although Chinese physical immortality is more about being truly hard to kill, moreover, spiritually he achieved it as well.

Dragon Ball Influence

One of the classic and best-known characters of the anime is the legendary Son Goku, the Saiyan is based on the monkey from the Chinese legend and has been confirmed by Akira Toriyama himself.

Several similarities shared by both are the similarity of names, both have a growing staff, they turn into giant monkeys, and they manage to fight in that form and be destructive, Goku has a monkey tail, and he even had a flying cloud, being a clear influence of walking on clouds, as does Sun Wukong. 

Is Luffy based on Sun Wukong? The similarities 

Luffy and Goku emerged in a good time of the Shonen Jump, although Dragon Ball was published before and managed to be an inspiration for many other works, so both characters share several similarities, if we go for the clearest, they can be:

– Their names share a relationship with the monkey, being ‘Monkey’ Luffy’s last name, and Son Goku the full name of the protagonist of Dragon Ball.

– Their shared passion for food and great appetite.

– His fondness for fighting.

– Great charisma and positivity.

– Pure heart.

– Innocence.

Both share similar powers, being the Gear Second based on the Kaio-ken, powers that increase with the heartbeat and become more powerful by pumping more blood through his body.

We talk more about both on them in our article : Is Luffy based on Goku ?

Still, it would have to be thoroughly explored what the two share that comes directly from Sun Wukong.

Certainly, Sun Wukong was not as patient and carefree, he felt a great emptiness about his mortality and got into trouble knowing he would, quite contrary to Luffy and Goku who often do so innocently.

Sun Wukong also tends to deceive his enemies, and Luffy is too pure to even think about deceiving anyone, in fact, he tends to be very sincere most of the time and doesn’t know how to lie (just like Goku).

However, if we take into account the lore of One Piece and the key moments of ‘Journey to the West’, Sun Wukong created problems in heaven and hell, and Luffy shares this similarity if we refer to Impel Down as hell (plus he continues to create problems in the pirate world), and has also created problems in heaven, if we refer to the navy, the World Government, and especially the relationship that Luffy has with the Tenryuubyto.

Goku somehow gained immortality, being the strongest character in Dragon Ball, besides being revived multiple times during its history and having the hermit seeds to heal every time his health is at risk, however, we have not seen this immortality in Luffy his transformations and fights are usually quite dangerous and could lead him to death.

Recently, we have learned that the theory of the connection between the God Nika and Luffy is more true than ever, with the transformation of Gear 5 it could be said that he reached a certain rank of divinity, besides being directly related to the God Nika by the type of akuma no mi he possesses, and wanting to be the King of the Pirates, as Sun Wukong is the King of the Apes.

Theories about Nami being Sun Wukong

A curious theory is that some in the fandom comment that Luffy cannot be a direct reference to Sun Wukong because Nami is, because of her ability to multiply (fata morgana), growing staff (clima tact), climatic control, has a magic cloud (Zeus), tends to steal whenever she can, cheats if necessary, visited a dragon’s castle (Ryugu castle), and traveled with a dragon prince (Momonosuke).


Now, let’s summarize our keypoints to answer the question : Is Luffy based on Sun Wukong? Luffy may not be entirely based on Sun Wukong’s story, but he certainly takes influences from Goku, who does have more things in common with Sun Wukong, besides the Saiyan became the role model for the following shonen protagonists, being the charismatic and innocent personality one of the most used in these stories.

Even so, we would have to say that, officially, Oda has never confirmed that Luffy or elements of One Piece are based on the story of ‘Journey to the West’, what he has said is that he has taken great influence from Dragon Ball.

So indirectly, whether we like it or not, Luffy shares characteristics of Sun Wukong. Do you think there are more similarities between the two characters?

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God D. Steees

I'm a One Piece fan. My passion for adventures on the high seas is as solid as a ship's anchor and I love writing about my favorite manga more than anything. So hoist the Jolly Roger and sail away with me!

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