When drawing One Piece, Eiichiro Oda was heavily influenced by the manga Dragon Ball, and had the series in mind when designing his characters. Oda has said that when he was creating Luffy, he was thinking about "manliness", because Dragon Ball had already done all the things that a child could possibly be happy about.
Luffy was first featured as the main protagonist in the first pilot of One PieceRomance Dawn V.1 in the Shonen Jump specials showcasting upcoming artists, about a year and a half before One Piece began. He would remain as the main protagonist in the second release of Romance Dawn, Romance Dawn V.2 (featured in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine itself) and the final version Romance Dawn V.3.
Luffy's character changed throughout all three versions of Romance Dawn. Starting from Romance Dawn version 1, Luffy was much smarter than his final incarnation and while he had the power of the Devil Fruit he did not seem to have any named attacks. He claimed to be a candidate for pirate and a Peace Main type of pirate. His background story was near enough identical to the final story released with Romance Dawn version 3, with a number of noteworthy differences. The major difference being that Higuma was absent from the story in this version. Another minor difference was that Shanks' arm was bitten off by a shark instead of a Sea King. In Romance Dawn V.1 there was also a panel that featured a Luffy as captain of his own crew. This is the only time an older version of Luffy has been drawn by Oda in regard to the One Piece storyline.
Version 2 of Romance Dawn featured a Luffy closer to the final version than Romance Dawn version 1. He now had a named attack (though it featured a different naming scheme to the final version) and lacked the intelligence he displayed in Romance Dawn version 1, however, it is arguable that he was less intelligent than his final design overall. His story, though still featured him eating the Devil Fruit, did not feature Shanks and instead Luffy got both his hat and the Devil Fruit he ate from his grandfather. Luffy remained a Peace Maine type of pirate in this version and was still promoting himself as a candidate for a pirate while seeking to join up with a crew.
In both versions, Luffy was missing the scar under his left eye and he had a slightly different jolly roger. Apart from this the only difference in Luffy's overall appearance was the adaptation to suit the drawing style of each Romance Dawn. The most note worthy change from each version was of Young Luffy, whose head and body shape, though remained roughly the same, was different enough to notice.
In the anime, Luffy's past had a few cuts during its initial airing. The scenes that were cut include the scene where he stabbed himself under the eye to prove to Shanks that he was a man and all the of the scenes of Shanks giving Luffy juice, and Shanks making fun of Luffy for being a child, as well as some of the interaction between Shanks, Luffy and the rest of Shanks' crew. Although the One Piece: Episode of Luffy Special first animated the scene of Luffy stabbing himself under his eye, all of the aforementioned scenes were not seen in the anime until Episode 878.
In the manga, post-timeskip Luffy is capable of using Gear Second maintaining it in a single part of his body, while in the anime, he shows no such difference, requiring his entire body once more to turn red and emit steam like previously.
In November 2018, a statue of Luffy was dedicated in Kumamoto in front of the Kumamoto Prefectural Government office as part of the Kumamoto Revival Project.
Luffy in Premier Show 2012.
The statue of Luffy in the One Piece Mugiwara Store in Ikebukuro.
A mascot character of Luffy at J-WORLD Tokyo.
The Luffy statue in Kumamoto.
Luffy as a child in Oto Utage.
Luffy appeared in Kyutai Panic Adventure!, where Frieza attacks Tokyo and Odaiba. Luffy and his crew come to Goku's aid, but they are intercepted by and fight against the Arlong Pirates. Luffy also appeared in Kyutai Panic Adventure Returns!, where Frieza and Enel attacks Tokyo and Odaiba. Goku arrives to fight Enel and Luffy appears to help him. Luffy and Goku make an attack called "Gomu Gomu no Kamehameha" and they destroy Enel.
Luffy and other characters also appeared in "Cross Epoch" with Dragon Ball characters. In this story, after Luffy falls from a cliff, Goku orders the Flying Nimbus to save Luffy from the fall, and then, he rides the Flying Nimbus until they arrive at the tea party. Being able to ride the Flying Nimbus, in the universe of Dragon Ball, means that Luffy is pure of heart.
Luffy appeared in the crossover one-shot drawn by Yusuke Murata to promote the Jump Super Stars game. He, Goku, Naruto, Bobobo, and Sena fight Dr. Mashirito to save Mamori.
In another version of "Cross Epoch", Luffy and the crew meet up with the Toriko cast, also spawning an anime episode of Toriko loosely based on the manga.
Luffy is the first manga character to appear on the cover of the Japanese men's fashion magazine Non-no.
L.D. Monkee from Dragonfable.
Momiji cosplaying as Luffy.
Two Piece from Craig of the Creek.
Olympic gold-medalist Miltiadis Tentoglou replicates a Gear Second pose.
Olympic gold-medalist Massimo Stano replicates a Gear Third pose.
In Dragonfable, an online RPG, there was an enemy pirate monkey dressed up like Luffy called L.D. MONKEE, seen frequently during the Ninja VS Pirate War event in 2007.
In Episode 9 of Binbougami ga!, Momiji (while cosplaying as Luffy) parodies his abilities during a tennis game by using "Gomu Gomu no Receive".
In the FUNimation dub, Momiji is also voiced by Luffy's voice actress Colleen Clinkenbeard.
In the episode “Trading Day” of Craig of the Creek, there is a One Piece spoof called “Two Piece” where the female character Floofy bears resemblance to Luffy in that her summer hat is similar to Luffy’s Straw Hat, her lifeguard clothing is similar in color to Luffy’s vest and cardigan from Fish-Man Island Saga, and she wears sandals.
In Episode 56 of Yakitate!! Japan, there is a parody of One Piece where Kuroyanagi turns into a "Tenobi Man" as a reaction from trying Azuma's Japanese-Style Ja-pan dumpling. To this effect, he dons a straw hat and starts stretching his arms like rubber to unbelievable lengths like Monkey D. Luffy.
In Episode 2 of the anime Hayate the Combat Battler, when the "very generous people" are planning to deport him by boat, Hayate goes though a scenario in his head where he is kidnapped by pirates, joins them and dying at the hands of sea monkeys. He ends it with "Thus ends my dream of being king of the pirates" while wearing Luffy's trademark hat.
In an episode of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, in Harumi's room, action figures of Luffy, Zoro, Sanji and Sogeking are visible.
In chapter 139 of the manga Rookies, a girl is shown having a Luffy doll cell phone strap.
In Episode 7 of the anime Macademi Wasshoi!, Suzuho uses the attack Gomu Gomu no Pistol.
Gintama has a great number of One Piece parodies and references due to its nature being a parody series.
In a fake movie preview during an episode, Isao Kondo (playing a lookalike of Crocodile) is seen charging towards heroine Tae Shimura. Tae defeats him with a "Gomu Gomu" move. Similar enemies and attacks are also performed connected to Dragon Ball and Bleach in the same film.
In Episode 13, Gintoki and Katsura disguise as pirates to get into an alien ship. They said they were searching for the treasure "One Park", an obvious play-on-words of "One Piece".
In Volume 4, page 70, 2nd panel, Gintoki is seen reading a copy of Shonen Jump with Luffy on the cover.
The entire We Are! intro was made into a parody in Episode 293 with Gintoki eating a Devil Fruit that allowed his hair to perm and vowed to search the Pirate King's treasure to end his financial problems. He also wears Luffy's pre-timeskip attire. After two years of beating Piccolo from Dragon Ball, Gintoki transforms into the Super Saiyan Goku and returns to the Jabondy archipelago to join the "World Chunin Hunter Hero Exam".
In another episode, Gintoki reads fan mail in which one fan asks what the goal of Gintama is yet Gintoki himself doesn't know. So they have decided (as a joke) the goal would be Gintoki becoming the king of the samurai referencing Luffy's journey to become the Pirate King. Also Gintoki is shown in a picture wearing Luffy's former attire also while being on the Thousand Sunny with the Lion head replaced with Elizabeth's.
In the 2017 season of Gintama, one of the episodes started by ripping off the entire One Piece introductory sequence. It included eating the Kuru Kuru no Mi (Wavy-Wavy Fruit in English) which is a Devil Fruit that physically looks like Luffy's. However instead of giving any superpowers, the fruit gave Gintoki's signature wavy hair. He also changed his goal to finding the Pirate King's treasure and become the "King of the Nouveau Riche" which is a more blatant reference to Luffy's goal from the previous parody.
In Episode 3 of the anime Highschool of the Dead, a zombie bearing a resemblance to Luffy and wearing his Straw Hat is seen walking outside a convenience store but is hit by the bus the main characters are driving.
Bakuman is a story of two students who want to become mangakas and publish their works in Shonen Jump (named Shonen Jack in the anime). It frequently makes references to or features One Piece as well as various other Shonen Jump mangas in its artwork and storyline.
In the MMORPG, Gaia Online, there is an item called "King of Fruits" that is based on One Piece and contains Luffy's signature straw hat as a pose.
In Episode 9 of Asobi ni Iku yo!, Muttley is seeing an anime that mentions a man of rubber - possibly Monkey D. Luffy.
In Chapter 90 of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Bo-bobo uses a move against Torpedo Girl called "Nosehair Bazooka", an obvious parody of Monkey D. Luffy's' attack, Gomu Gomu no Bazooka.
In a chapter cover of D.Gray-Man, there is a volume of One Piece with Luffy on the cover laying on the floor.
In Chapter 25 of JoJolion, a Luffy ornament is seen hanging on the mirror in the fake police car, but its face was changed due to the Paper Moon King Stand ability.
In the manga of Rosario + Vampire Volume 3, page 22 where they say "Let us out, let us out here" Monkey D. Luffy makes a cameo appearance.
In Chapter 339 of Gantz, some people in a cage are singing "We Are!".
In Episode 20 of Fairy Tail when Happy hatches from an egg, a crowd of people gather around him, and one of these characters is shown wearing Luffy's pre-timeskip attire. Also in episode 205, Luffy made a cameo appearance in the first scene.
In Chapter 16 of Dreamland, there is a character who looks like Luffy saying "Food Time".
In an episode of Highschool DxD, Issei Hyoudou says that he wants to become the "harem king" in a manner extremely similar to Luffy.
In Beelzebub, the director of Ishiyama Academy has got a straw hat that makes reference to Monkey D. Luffy
Monkey D. Luffy makes cameo appearance in the episode 18, 2nd season of Wakfu.
In Naruto manga chapter 700, on Naruto's face on the Hokage Monument, Boruto paints the Straw Hat Pirates' jolly roger.
Also, in the Naruto manga spin-off, Boruto: Road to B, when Boruto's teammate Mitsuki shows his ability to stretch his limbs, Boruto asked him if his father is Monkey. D. Luffy, which Mitsuki quickly denied.
In episode 3 from Sora no Otoshimono Forte', Tomoki use mano mano no handling, a reference to Gomu Gomu no Gatling.
In chapter 9 from The Voynich Hotel, Taizou's granma says that he should wear a straw hat to protect from the sunlight, and that he should then becomes Monkey D. Luffy and then becomes the King of Pirates.
In the fighting video game, The King of Fighters XIII, the move of Ralf's Jet Vulcan Punch is based on Gomu Gomu Jet Gatling.
In the manga Hetalia World Stars, Chapter 11, North Italy cosplayed as Luffy in expensive clothing, and sent Germany a text saying that he was going to be the Pirate King.
Yuzuki Fuwa is imitating Luffy's Gear Second iconic posture in chapter 162 of Assassination Classroom. In Season 2, Episode 21 of the series, Korosensei puts his students in a giant bag and uses "Gum-Gum Slingshot" to send them flying, during which he holds onto a goal post and stretches like a slingshot to carry out the action.
In issue 13 of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic series, a red pirate pony bearing Luffy's likeness, hat and scar can be seen in a pirate saloon in multiple pages.
Though some translations dub his name as "Ruffy" or "Rufi", Oda himself made it clear that "Luffy" was the correct spelling of the name.
Oda has claimed that at the time of naming Luffy, he did so because he felt the name "Luffy" was right for his main character. Later Oda found out there is a Maritime term called a "Luff" and has insisted this is pure coincidence but one he was delighted by. Up until this point, this had previously been noted by fans and some considered it intentional.
In the Viz English manga, 4Kids and FUNimation dubs, the most common alteration seen to Luffy is the reference to his Devil Fruit, the Gomu Gomu no Mi, as the "Gum-Gum Fruit." The correct term would be the "Rubber Rubber Fruit," which has not been used outside the Odex version of the series (For example, Gomu Gomu no Fusen is translated as "Rubber Balloon"). This is, however, often considered an unfortunate necessity, as fitting "Rubber-Rubber" into the allotted animation "lip-flap" and time is nearly impossible without sounding rushed or otherwise ridiculous; "Gum-Gum," naturally, fits perfectly.
Other alterations in the 4Kids dub are mainly directed around the renaming of most of his attacks, most away from references to guns (such as the Gomu Gomu no Pistol, which becomes Gum-Gum Blast), but not traditional weapons (Gomu Gomu no Ono/Gum-Gum Axe). Other than attacks, Luffy is constantly the center of attention for the removal of blood in battles against foes. All of these are common censorship edits made for American TV. With the recent changeover of the dubbing company, FUNimation took a more relaxed approach to editing, and retained the firearm references, as well as a gratuitous level of blood shown. By Episode 177, the anime appears to be fully uncut.
In the book The Anime Encyclopedia: A guide to Japanese animation since 1917 (2001), there was a short article about One Piece. In it there were 3 mistakes concerning Luffy; his age was written as 16, his name was spelled Rufy and he was written to have saved Shanks' life instead of the other way round.
Luffy's popular title Fifth Emperor (５番目の皇帝) contains a linguistic nuance that's often omitted in English Translations, creating a degree of confusion among fans. In japanese, the phrasing (Gobanme no Kōtei) implies that Luffy is a Fifth pirate adjacent to the Yonko without being considered one of them. However, Yonko (四皇 lit. Four Emperors) is typically translated as "Emperor" in english releases, removing this sense of differentiation. This has lead to Luffy incorrectly being called "the Fifth Yonko" in some fan-made translations.
Luffy is the first Devil Fruit user to be seen in the series, as well as the first Paramecia-type user.
He is also first person in the series to be seen eating a Devil Fruit.
Luffy currently has the highest known bounty of anyone who isn't one of the Four Emperors.
He, Sanji, and Usopp all claim to have never been sick, and thus do not know what it feels like.
Luffy's participant number at the Corrida Colosseum (as Lucy) is 0556. That number can be explained with the first two digits taken from Luffy's birthday, May 5; and the latter two, 5-6, being pronounced go-mu which is related to Luffy's Devil Fruit.
Luffy's participant number at the Corrida Colosseum also corresponds to the chapter where he first arrived at Marineford to rescue his brother, Portgas D. Ace from his execution.
Although he is male, Luffy is ironically voiced by a female in both the English (including the 4Kids and Funi but excluding the Odex variants) and Japanese versions of the anime.
Luffy is very similar to Son Goku from Dragon Ball, being the main character, being very childish and naive, having messy black hair and eating too much food. His name "Monkey" can be referenced to Goku's Saiyan tail, which resembles monkey tail. These similarities are fitting since Oda was inspired by Dragon Ball while creating One Piece.
Luffy's powers are quite similar in nature to that of DC Comics hero Elongated Man, mostly because they were both obtained after the consumption of a special fruit.
Thus far, Luffy is the only known character who is able to utilize advanced applications of all three types of Haki:
Future Sight (Kenbunshoku Haki)
Emission and Internal Destruction (Busoshoku Haki)
Infusion and Augmentation (Haoshoku Haki)
Luffy's birthday, May 5, in Japan is known as 'Children's Day' (こどもの日,Kodomo no Hi?), a reference to his childish character. He shares his birthday with Demaro Black.
A fan asked Oda why Luffy doesn't kill his enemies, and Oda answered that it is not a question of morality so much as a matter of punishing the villains for their crimes - he feels that killing the villains lets them off too easily, whereas he considers letting them live to see their dreams ruined a far more fitting punishment.
A fan asked Oda if Luffy's penis could stretch, and Oda answered that it could.
A fan asked Oda why Luffy doesn't have a lot of thought bubbles, and Oda answered that when drawing Luffy, he trying to make him very simple and straightforward about what he wants to be and how he feels, which is why out of all the main characters, Luffy has the least number of thought bubbles, since he acts and says what he wants to do rather than think it.
A fan asked Oda why he gave Luffy a rubber Devil Fruit, and Oda answered that he picked a ridiculous ability to allow him to fool around with Luffy for so long, no matter how serious will be the plot gets in his manga.
Luffy's favorite food is meat. His least favorite food is the cherry pie from "a certain place" for unknown reasons.
Luffy eats ice cubes, the same as Usopp, Chopper, Robin, and Brook.
Luffy's favorite dish to cook is raw meat on a plate.
Luffy's favorite type of island and season is anywhere where there's meat.
Luffy's specific numbers are 01 and 56 (5=Go - 6=Mu).