Luffy’s dream has been somewhat clear since the first chapter of One Piece. “I will become the King of the Pirates!” he proudly declares. However, there is more to it than just a title. What does becoming Pirate King mean to Luffy? Spoilers for One Piece and Film Red ahead!
Throughout One Piece, we see Luffy rebel against what is common place. He refuses to follow the rules, go along with plans, or listen to those deemed of authority within the world of One Piece. Luffy desires freedom above all else. Luffy does not necessarily think he is above the rules. Rather, he believes no rule will stop him from doing what he believes is right. This is represented most when he punches the Celestial Dragon at Sabaody Archipelago for disrespecting Hachi, Luffy’s friend.
Despite Luffy’s refusal to follow the rules, he still holds two unspoken ones. Do not hurt his friends, and do not trample the dreams of others in pursuit of your own.
Restricting the freedom of another person, especially someone close to Luffy, is about the absolute worst thing a character could do in One Piece. It’s what ultimately leads to the downfall of so many of the series’ greatest villains. Arlong, Crocodile, Doflamingo, etc. held thrones above others, only to have them come crashing down once they put themselves in Luffy’s path.
Why then, in One Piece Film Red, does Luffy treat Uta differently?
It’s easy to point towards their shared childhood causing Luffy to view her with rose-colored glasses, but Uta has not changed that drastically since she was a child. Uta still wants the world to hear her music. Over time that dream morphed into a desire to heal people with her music as well. Eventually this transformed into her music creating peace and allowing for true freedom in a world without conflict.
Uta’s dream is not that much different than Luffy’s. She aspires to a position that will allow her to experience true freedom and then pass that freedom on to others. Luffy’s dream of becoming King of the Pirates, finding the One Piece on Laughtale and presenting its secrets to the world would lead to a similar outcome, at least in his mind.
The problem is Uta’s method of achieving her dream. By freeing her fans from the living world by placing them inside her dream world, Uta removes their free will. Uta makes it impossible for them to achieve their dreams. They can no longer live their lives the way they choose. They can only act in ways Uta desires.
Despite this, Luffy still shows compassion for Uta. Luffy has never been fond of listening to a person’s history. He typically only cares about the present. His empathy is laser-focused on how the person feels and how that informs their actions. It’s why he is typically seen sleeping through or ignoring any backstory or explanation given to him.
Luffy knows Uta cares for all the right reasons. She genuinely wants to save everyone from the harshness of reality as created by the forces that control their world. She is still a good person, so he never stops trying to save her from herself. Her dream is still possible. The way she is trying to accomplish it is flawed.
Since One Piece, and by extension, Film Red, is a story about the creation of myth, Luffy will inevitably live to accomplish what Uta dreamt of. She just won’t be there to see it.