Home Entertainment The Strongest ‘One Piece’ Villain Is Not the One You’re Thinking

The Strongest ‘One Piece’ Villain Is Not the One You’re Thinking

The Big Picture

  • Enel, known as “God,” is one of the most powerful villains in One Piece due to his Rumble-Rumble Fruit powers, lightning abilities, and omnipotent Mantra.
  • Luffy defeated Enel through his ingenuity and unique abilities, such as his rubber body insulating him from Enel’s lightning powers.
  • Enel’s story doesn’t end with his defeat; he reappears in cover stories as a space pirate with an army of robots, setting him up for a possible return in the main storyline.


Let’s be honest, the obvious answer to this question would be Luffy’s latest anime nemesis Kaido, who literally has the distinction of being preceded with the epithet “Strongest Creature” — but if there’s one other epithet that’ll outclass that, it’s that of “God,” belonging to Enel of Skypiea. Though Enel’s threat to the world may have appeared relatively early on in the manga, fans know that it doesn’t have anything to do with how strong he is, but how much Luffy was particularly well-suited in his skill set to defeat him. With Netflix’s live-action One Piece making waves as both one of the most expensive series ever made and one of the few anime adaptations that has actually translated well into the live action format, it’s time to take a look at what kind of villains the series should be offering us, presuming it continues.

If all goes well and we get a Season 2 of One Piece — and more — it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing Enel until at least Season 4, assuming that Season 2 follows Loguetown and the initial adventures across the Grand Line, building up to Season 3 which would follow the Alabasta Arc. That might be a long time to wait, but in the meantime, there are 1,000 plus episodes of the anime to be watching right now, where all of this has already happened. Currently, Kaido may have pushed Luffy to the point that he was forced to bring out Gear 5 (transforming him into a literal god himself), but there’s a very clear reason that Luffy never had to unleash that kind of power on Enel without cheapening the fact that his fruit, the Rumble-Rumble Fruit, was declared by Nico Robin as one of the few in the world that was truly “invincible” (and believe me, there are many to choose from).


Who Is Enel in ‘One Piece’ and What Makes Him So Powerful?

Image via Toei Animation

To understand the significance of Nico Robin’s words when describing Enel’s fruit, it’s worth noting that during Skypiea, she boasted a 79 million Beri bounty, the second highest among the Straw Hats at the time. As a result, it’s safe to say that she knew her stuff even then. The Rumble-Rumble Fruit is a Logia (the strongest type of fruit that allows the user to transform into a given element) that transforms Enel into a Lightning Human, meaning that his entire body is composed of crackling white-hot electricity. The uses of this ability are practically infinite, and enough to land him a spot among any of the strongest Marvel heroes out there, but aside from electrical discharges that peak at 200,000,000 volts, he is able to move imperceptibly fast, travel through thunderclouds and other electrical conductors, reshape metals, and create diabolical constructs such as birds, beasts, and dragons, sending them after his foes at lightning speed.

Enel’s final form features him transforming into a Raijin-esque Thunder God, completely composed of electricity, while his most powerful attack, Deathpiea, (realized in tandem with his thundercloud technology) is capable of wiping the entire country of Skypiea (an island in the sky, in case that wasn’t clear enough) from existence. You would think that a character so energetically powerful would physically be on the weaker side, but no such luck. Enel is virtually inexhaustible. Even after Wyper (an ally of the Straw Hat Pirates on Skypiea) managed to land an attack on him via Seastone (the only substance able to bypass Devil Fruit abilities, no matter how powerful they are) Enel, having entered cardiac arrest, was able to passively resuscitate himself through jumpstarting his own heart. To repeat: this man is so powerful that even after having died, his powers allowed him to defibrillate and therefore resurrect himself, coming back with the most devilish grin on his face.

You wouldn’t be faulted to assume that Enel’s extensive repertoire of pain ends there, but you would be wrong. There’s one more ability that sets Enel apart from any character we had met up to this point in the series, and that’s his Mantra. Though Mantra is currently known as Haki (specifically Color of Observation Haki), as the power system hadn’t been introduced yet, the Skypieans and Enel’s subordinates gave it a different name. This ability grants him a sixth sense that allows him to briefly see the future through his mind’s eye, making it easier for him to dodge an opponent’s intended attacks. Used in tandem with his Devil Fruit, Enel is able to read electromagnetic waves in the air and listen into conversations taking place across all of Skypiea. This renders him practically omniscient within his domain, lending further credit to the idea that his epithet “God” is far from hyperbolic.

RELATED: How the ‘One Piece Live Action Series Balanced CGI and Practical Effects

How Did Luffy Defeat Such a Powerful Enemy So Early On?

Luffy looking down at a defeated Enel in One Piece
Image via Toei Animation

Through the use of his power, Enel had already destroyed the Sky Island of Birka, where he was originally born, and cut off his own wings in order to disassociate himself from his people. His reasoning: human beings were not meant to live in the sky and for that reason, as “God,” he must eliminate those who do. You can see how this is a problem for the future King of the Pirates, whose ultimate ethos is that anyone should have the freedom to live however they want, no matter who it pisses off. Enel enslaved all of Skypiea in order to construct the Ark Maxim, a flying boat that would take him to Fairy Vearth (which would later come to be revealed as the Moon). Genocide and slavery are common themes in the world of One Piece, a franchise that’s unafraid to go dark when the subject requires it. Fortunately for Skypiea, Luffy and his crew would never let that happen.

It’s not for his immense ability at this point that Luffy defeated Enel. In fact, he hadn’t even unlocked Gears 2 and 3 yet. Rather, it’s a cross between the Straw Hat’s tenacity and blind luck that got him through this one. Logia users are considered the most powerful for the simple reason that they’re intangible, unable to be attacked without Color of Arms Haki, which Luffy had yet to unlock as well. This isn’t the first time Luffy faced a Logia user though, having just come from Alabasta where he went toe-to-toe with Crocodile in what’s arguably the best fight in the series. Luffy was able to bypass Crocodile’s Sand-Sand body through his cunning, realizing that coating his attacks in water and later on his own blood proved the only method of rendering the Warlord tangible.

Similarly, against Enel, all it took was one attack for Luffy to realize that he’s entirely immune to his lightning powers as rubber (of which the entirety of Luffy’s body is composed) is an insulator of electricity. It’s one of those rare instances where Luffy didn’t win because he made himself physically stronger in the moment, but rather because he was uniquely qualified to dethrone this specific god, and probably the only one in the entire One Piece world who ever would be.

Enel May Have Disappeared, but There Are Signs That He’ll Be Back

Enel in One Piece, attacking Straw Hat Pirates
Image via Toei Animation

That the Skypiea Arc changed the series forever is an understatement, as it foreshadowed the Sun God Nika which would be responsible for one of the greatest twists in the entire series pertaining to the hidden power of Luffy’s Devil Fruit. However, since he’s disappeared for Fairy Vearth after being defeated, fans have been asking for more Enel ever since — and because Oda always delivers, Enel got an extended arc in the form of cover stories (another layer of storytelling Oda incorporates through the covers of every issue). Apparently, Enel did in fact reach the Moon, and upon defeating some Space Pirates discovered an ancient, hidden city beneath the lunar surface where he used his electricity to revive a sleeping army of automata. Enel’s now got territory in outer space and an entire robotic militia at his disposal. Whether he’ll be seen again in the main storyline is unknown, but he’s been set up with everything he needs to come back guns blazing when he does.

Enel’s status as one of the strongest characters in the series and the fact that he appeared so early on showcases the caliber of strength that the Grand Line exclusively deals with. It doesn’t matter that Luffy was that much weaker at the start of his adventure as much as it matters that he found a unique way to confront every antagonist he ever came across. Beyond that, Luffy never let some big guns scare him, whether they came in the form of size or a Devil Fruit. While that mindset has seen him get knocked on his ass many more times than just once, it’s the fact that Luffy throws everything he has at his enemies for the sake of his freedom-loving ideology that makes him the hero pirate that he is.

 

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