One Piece, Bleach or Naruto: Which has the strongest protagonist?

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An image featuring the protagonists of the Shonen Big Three

Whether it is One Piece, Bleach, or Naruto, each of these Big Three Shonen series has a remarkable protagonist — but who among them is the strongest?

The Big Three of the shonen classics are Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, and Tite Kubo’s Bleach. These three series follow the protagonists as they accomplish their goals by becoming stronger along the way.

While One Piece is still an ongoing series, Bleach and Naruto covered their final arcs long ago. As for the protagonists, they achieved their dreams and accomplished more than that.

However, all things considered, Luffy, Ichigo, and Naruto all have some pretty cool powers at their disposal. Delve deeper to find out which One Piece, Bleach, or Naruto has the strongest protagonist.

The powers of One Piece’s Monkey D. Luffy

An image of Luffy using gear 2 in One Piece

Luffy’s devil fruit functions mainly as Gomu Gomu no Mi, a paramecia type that turns him into a rubber man. He can stretch and retract parts of his body as if he is made of rubber. He is also immune to lightning-based attacks because his body acts as an insulator.

Luffy’s creativity and flexibility allow him to amplify his powers using gears ranging from two to five. However, the true nature of Luffy’s devil fruit is that of a mythical Zoan called Hito Hito no Mi: Model Nika. 

What distinguishes Luffy’s devil fruit is that it only reveals its true powers after awakening. No other fruit possesses Paramecia abilities and then turns into Zoan upon awakening. According to the Five Elders, the World Government has failed for more than 800 years to obtain the Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika. 

Upon assuming this form, Luffy can change his surroundings into the same properties as a rubber. Due to this, he easily deflected Kaido’s “Bolo Breath” and even bounced it back at him. This is how Luffy’s awakened powers show the characters of both Paramecia and Zoan-types.

The powers of Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki

Ichigo stares angrily in Bleach

Ichigo Kurosaki has the powers of a Soul Reaper, Quincy, Hollow, and Fullbringer. This makes Ichigo the most unique protagonist in One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto. His powers are awakened in the first episode after taking Rukia’s sword. Since then, Ichigo became a substitute Soul Reaper and gradually gained new powers. 

After learning about his heritage in the TYBW arc, he receives dual Zanpakutos, which is rare in the series. The only reason one being can have that is to store another entity within themselves. 

Ichigo’s powers have always evolved over the years, becoming something else entirely whenever a major took place. He started as a substitute Soul Reaper who had hints of Hollow powers within him. Ichigo then used his “monstrous powers” to fight villains. 

During his fight with Aizen, he loses all his powers and only gains them back after two years. Then, after realizing his Quincy heritage, his powers change once again. Because of the constant change in his powers, Ichigo’s strength was enhanced several times at every turn.

The powers of Naruto’s Naruto Uzumaki

An image of Naruto after time skip

Naruto Uzumaki is another example of the “monster within” shonen trope in the Shonen genre. His father, Minato Uzumaki, sealed the Chakra of the nine-tailed beast inside of him on the day he was born. 

However, Naruto was unaware of this and was exceptionally bad at controlling his Chakra. He would even fail the simplest tests at the academy. Like many other Shonen series, Naruto follows the protagonist as he gradually develops his skills and accomplishes his goal. 

Naruto starts out by using the beast’s Chakra little by little and then ends up befriending him. By the end of the series, he gains absolute control over the legendary beast’s powers. 

Without the nine-tailed beast’s powers, Naruto had four times Chakra compared to a prodigy like Kakashi since he inherited his mother’s Uzumaki blood. In the spin-off series Boruto, Naruto loses Kurama, but still, that doesn’t diminish his strengths significantly.

One Piece has a stronger protagonist than Bleach and Naruto

An image of Luffy, the strongest protagonist among One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto

The strongest protagonist among One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto has to be Luffy. Unlike Ichigo and Naruto, Luffy didn’t start out as a weak, powerless person. He was already strong before setting out to the sea, thanks to the years of training he put into honing his devil fruit abilities. 

Furthermore, he has the same powers as a literal god after his awakening. Though some might argue Naruto also has the powers of a legendary being, the fact that Kurama died in Boruto makes him somewhat weaker. What’s more, Ichigo’s powers weren’t enough to kill Yhwach, and he could only do that with Uryu and Ryuken’s help. 

Even during his fight with Aizen, Ichigo had to give up all his powers to defeat the monster who had become immortal. Furthermore, Luffy’s powers are the same as the legendary individual called Joy Boy from the Void Century. 

One Piece is far from over, but the number of people who are stronger than Luffy can be counted on one hand. The aspiring Pirate King will surely gain more strength along the way, making him the strongest protagonist in Shonen’s Big Three.

One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto can currently be streamed on Crunchyroll. In the meantime, check out our other anime coverage below:

Genya’s abilities in Demon Slayer | Muzan Kibutsuji abilities in Demon Slayer | Demon Slayer’s The Infinity Castle | Kagaya Ubuyashiki abilities in Demon Slayer | Demon Slayer Thunder Breathing 7th form | Demon Slayer Season 3 Episode 7 | Hell’s Paradise Episode 8 | The real villain in Hell’s Paradise | Hell’s Paradise’s Elixir of Life | One Piece’s Empty Throne | One Piece creator | One Piece manga hiatuses | One Piece Red Hair Pirates | One Piece Shanks’ twin theory | Bleach vs Naruto | Naruto’s Talk no Jutsu problem