How different would it be if Naruto and Luffy swapped places?

Easter Eggs in Naruto and One Piece

One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach are the Big Three shounen that reigned in the Manga Industry. While under the same category, each had its twist and unique protagonist. While Luffy and Naruto are two extremes, Ichigo has the perfect balance of personality. Each shounen is centered around its protagonist. But what would happen if

  • One protagonist is removed, and another is placed.
  • More specifically, if One extreme is placed onto another extreme?

This is too good of a possibility to not consider. What would happen if Luffy and Naruto swapped places?

Naruto Franchise

Naruto [Gaiden + Shippuden] covers the tale of Uzumaki Naruto’s journey to become Hokage. In his quest to become Hokage, he must prove himself to the village, uplift the fear his people have of him due to the Nine-Tailed Fox within, and save his best friend, Uchiha Sasuke.

Naruto coming back to Konoha after 2 Years
Naruto arriving in Konoha | Image Courtesy of Pierrot

Naruto is a very kind and understanding protagonist. He is an orphan who grew up alone while being shunned by the entire village. His stubbornness is a double-edged sword, which can be seen as persevering and sometimes annoying. He is determined to accomplish his goals no matter how hard he has to work for it. He is the classic Shounen protagonist who wants to save others and become a Hero.

Throughout Naruto’s journey, he has withstood countless criticisms against his friend and his way of living. But he never faltered. He continued on his path and showed everyone that he was not wrong. He met his friends and foes with the same compassion and always believed in himself.

Naruto using Talk no Jutsu against Obito
Naruto convincing Obito | Image Courtesy of Pierrot

Naruto’s famous [Talk-no-jutsu] is a testament to his strength and conviction of befriending and saving whoever he can. It is another metaphor to show that villains, in the end, are just broken heroes. They are those who failed to accomplish their dreams. Beyond their curses and hate, lies their love and affection that was never reciprocated.

The series develops multiple characters. All these other characters, however, are centered around Naruto. Any character who is introduced will end up supporting Naruto or, at the very least, contribute something to his development in the story. Characters do not get their individual development, any development received is directly or indirectly related to Naruto. The story is also limited to the mono-theme of “Cycle of Hatred” and restricts itself from exploring other themes.

One Piece Franchise

One Piece covers the tale of Monkey D. Luffy’s journey to become the Pirate King. In his quest to become the Pirate King, he must defeat Navy and fellow Pirates to win the race to Laugh Tale. In his journey, he gathers countless companions to sail the Grand Line.

Monkey D. Luffy
Monkey D. Luffy | Image Courtesy of Toei Animation

Luffy is a naive and kind protagonist. He is innocent in many aspects, but it should not be mistaken for his maturity. He was raised by the Hero of the Navy, Monkey D. Garp, who is his Grandfather, along with the son of the Pirate King, Ace, whom he considers his sworn brother. He was raised alongside the Prince of the Goa kingdom, Sabo, who became the Chief of Staff in the Revolutionary Army under his father, Monkey D. Dragon.

Luffy is selfish and does what he wishes to. This, however, should not be taken as insincerity towards the people around him. He is compassionate and will not hesitate to help his friends. Yet that is all. He does not go out of the way to save everyone. He does not wish to be a Hero. 

Nothing Happened
Nothing Happened | Image Courtesy of Toei Animation

The series develops a plethora of characters. Considering the crew, they have their aspirations and dreams. Yet they want Luffy to become the Pirate King before fulfilling their dreams. Each member would sacrifice themselves to safeguard Luffy and his dreams. If we consider characters other than the crew, not many would care about Luffy. Instead, many would rather have Luffy out of the game for their benefit.

Characters besides the Srawhats and their allies are very individualistic. Their development does not affect the Strawhats even remotely. Any development in the One Piece Universe affects the entire world of One Piece. The world and its characters are not centered around the protagonist.

The series explores different themes, each at varying levels. It has racism, political oppression, slavery, generational atrocities, discrimination, etc. All these varied themes provide vibrance to the story of One Piece

What if Luffy and Naruto swapped places?

Now that we have a gist of each franchise, how would each protagonist fare in the respective universe of the other?

Luffy in Naruto Universe

Luffy would have been a menace here. Already aloof, he would not care about how the villagers saw him. He would have been as amazing a friend as Naruto was to others. He would have been equally dumb. But this is as far as they would come in similarities.

  • Luffy would have supported Sasuke in his revenge.
  • Luffy would choose to be an Akatsuki to be free.
  • Luffy would have destroyed the nations if any of his friends were hurt.
  • Luffy would beat the person before listening to their story.
  • Luffy would have preferred to be of the Akimichi Clan instead of the Uzumaki Clan.
  • Luffy would not care about his parents.
  • Luffy would have been far more reckless.

When it comes to Luffy as a Jinchuuriki, there are many possibilities:

  • Luffy would befriend Kurama and synchronize their respective powers.
  • Luffy would beat Kurama and take his powers for his own.
  • Luffy would have tried to find a way to get Kurama out of his body.
  • Luffy would have suppressed and ignored Kurama’s presence.

Naruto in One Piece Universe

Naruto would have been a softie compared to all the other characters. He would have willingly helped the nations. He would have been as amazing a brother as Luffy was. He would have been equally strong. But again, this is as far as they would come in similarities.

  • Naruto would have listened to Garp and become a Navy soldier.
  • Naruto would have been the successor to Garp.
  • Naruto would have aspired to become a Grand Fleet Admiral but would have remained a Sword member once he learned the truth behind the Navy.
  • Naruto would have been against the Shichibukai System.
  • Naruto and Smoker would have been great friends.
  • Naruto would have more similarities with Coby.

When it comes to Naruto as a Pirate, there are very few possibilities:

  • No matter how strong, Naruto would not have made it to the New World because of his personality.
  • If he made it to the New World, he would not be able to survive.

The Result

Their entire universes would have received a massive reset due to the swap. Luffy would have been what Sasuke was towards the end of Naruto Shippuden, and Naruto would have shared the fate of Brook’s previous pirate crew. The nations in the Naruto franchise would have been destroyed in their entirety, and Kaguya would have had an easier time executing her plan. The kingdoms in the One Piece franchise would have continued to suffer and all the Strawhats would have suffered their terrible fate.

Nonetheless, this is only a possibility that I have been given the freedom to explore. It is subjective and to an extent nonsensical. Yet it is amazing to find how different each universe would have ended up without their respective protagonist in it. It is no wonder people refer to Kishimoto and Oda as geniuses. Only they would have been able to execute such intricate universes with absolute perfection.

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