It has finally arrived, the moment in which Luffy finally exchanges his final blow with Doflamingo this arc! Now we can finally move forward from Dressrosa and onto the rest of the New World. Finally! The interrupted and temporized nature of the Luffy and Doflamingo battle seriously did hinder the excitement attached to the match-up and unfortunately, with the addition of the whole of Dressrosa being incorporated into the defeat of Doflamingo, we were not only distracted from the Luffy VS Doflamingo conclusion, but ended up having the whole climax of the battle postponed for several chapters, just so Dressrosa could have their “ahhh” moment and realise they should actually do something themselves to help themselves. I understand the intention Oda-sensei had by using Doflamingo’s “madness” to develop several characters (Luffy, Law, Bellamy, Viola, Dressrosa) and it wasn’t bad but there are times when the focus of the reader’s attention needs to be limited to less developments to allow for those few developments to be more impacting.
Overall, the Dressrosa Arc was quite thrilling to read; it kept me excited and I actually really did enjoy it for the most part, but it was just the manner in how the conclusion began that I find myself with a somewhat jaded opinion on the overall Doflamingo battle. Up until the point when the final hit on Doflamingo was postponed for a more dramatic moment (after Luffy landed his Lion Bazooka), I found myself quite engrossed in the battle, but when the slowing down of the Bird Cage became a prominent necessity in the battle, I couldn’t help but feel all that built up excitement dissipate into fragments of its former existence. The end of Doflamingo became too excessively dramatised. The focus during the battle ended up becoming too spread out to keep one’s excitement maintained throughout the battle.
At the very least, I feel the Luffy VS Doflamingo battle should have continued while Oda-sensei shifted focus towards the whole of Dressrosa attempting to slow down the Bird Cage in order to buy Luffy those few precious seconds to wear out Doflamingo and get in that final hit, kind of like how Luffy fought Crocodile while the rest of the Straw Hats + Vivi searched for the bomb in Alabasta (Alubarna).
The Luffy VS Doflamingo battle may not have been my favourite One Piece battle, but I enjoyed the highlighting of Gear Fourth, especially the final attack Luffy used to bring down the Heavenly Demon, Doflamingo. Gear Fourth combined with Gear Third was great to see and I certainly do hope to see more of King Kong Gun in the future, that attack was just sheer badass.
The flashback of Rayleigh identifying the weakness of Gear Fourth also may hint towards a very interesting development, one which involves Luffy developing a further Gear or at the very least evolving Gear Fourth further. The flashback itself was a set-up for King Kong Gun, but Luffy definitely will either need to improve on Gear Fourth or to develop a new Gear for situations that will arise in the future which are similar to the one he found himself in this arc with Doflamingo. Gear Fourth clearly does put too much strain on Luffy’s body and leaves him too vulnerable after his Haki is exhausted. If Luffy didn’t have the whole of Dressrosa helping him, he would never have defeated Doflamingo.