Trafalgar D. Law finally scored a major hit against Doflamingo with Gamma Knife. Law thought he managed to kill old Doffy with it, but unbeknownst to him, one of the abilities Doflamingo’s String String Fruit allows him to tie back up his internal organs with microfibers. This negates a lot of the damage Law managed to inflict on him, and now, as usual, Doflamingo decides to play around his Law’s already beaten body before he kills him. To show his superiority, Doflamingo attempts to finish him off by stomping on his neck. However, Luffy steps him and holds back Doflamingo’s foot with his own.
Importance to the Narrative
What makes this scene work so well is the quiet fury building up behind Doflamingo. Throughout Dressarosa, Doflamingo has always seemed ahead of the game, constantly outwitting anyone who tried to defy him. Even when the Straw Hats thought they managed to work him into a corner by freeing the toy slaves built up by Sugar and restoring the memories of the nation, Doflamingo simply countered by entrapping Dressarosa in a bird cage and sentencing them all to death. All the while, he kept that big, toothy grin on his face.
However, when Luffy blocks Doflamingo’s foot, there’s no more grin. There’s not even a frown. It’s a blank stare with a single vein in his forehead becoming more pronounced. It’s such a contrast to his normal look, as even when he’s been angry, we’ve always seen his teeth. But when his attempt to kill Law is stopped, there’s no more pretention. Doflamingo is no longer putting on a show for intimidation. For the first time, the king has been fully and utterly denied what he wants. This is the true face of Doflamingo: quiet, burning fury.
But Luffy doesn’t care. To him, this is just another part of the battle, and for him, stopping Doflamingo is just like dealing with any other bully he’s come across. There’s nothing fancy Luffy does to block the attack. No Gum Gum Pistol. No Elephant Gun. He just lifts his foot and leaves it there. He has shown the king that he is nothing special. Luffy stands on par with him.
Impact on the Fandom
Sadly, Luffy’s stomp block is not a moment that has drawn a lot of attention since it happened. A lot of the intensity of this scene comes from the manga and comes partially from the fact it ended the chapter. It was more the last punctuation mark in a paragraph part of the overall clash of Luffy and Doflamingo. The anime, which has been vastly more popular in the West, incorporated it as just a part of the overall battle of Doflamingo and used it as a moment to showcase both Luffy’s and Doflamingo’s Conqueror’s Haki. This is cool, but we feel that the manga version of this scene was tenser without the power showcase.
Perhaps when One Piece distances itself more away from Dressarosa, people will look back and see Luffy’s stomp blocking of Doflamingo as the defining point in their fight. We’re still a little close to the scene, but we wanted to recognize it because it’s an often forgotten fantastic moment in a series that’s known for fantastic moments.