This chapter went by quickly, but boy did it reveal something profound. First I was wrong about the effect of Luffy’s hit. While he managed to knock Kiado to the ground, Luffy was largely ineffective against Kiado. After he hits the ground, Lady Speed falls out of Kiado’s cape. Luffy goes to her and is told that Kiado fought Lady Speed. It is implied that he also hurt Tama.
In the One Piece series, Luffy’s most important personality traits are his simple-mindlessness and recklessness. The combination of these to aspects tend to result in Luffy getting into trouble, usually resulting in him getting a lot of attention and a higher bounty. However, Luffy is more complex than that. His sense of righteousness leads him to defend the weak, even when it will be easier for him not to.
I say all this because the moment that he finds out that Tama was hurt by Kiado, he becomes enraged. Kiado can come across as a funny character, that can lead the audience to like him, forgetting that he’s evil. I think Oda was reminding us of this fact, noting that even children aren’t safe from him. Luffy being Luffy he goes into a rage and attacks Kiado.
He calls Kiado’s attention, then attacks with Gomu Gomu no Elephant Gatling. He manages to knock Kiado out of his dragon form. He then quickly shifts into Gear Fourth: Boundman, using Gomu Gomu no Kong Organ. The barrage doesn’t do much as Kiado simply get’s up and uses Eight Trigrams Thunder-Clap, KOing Luffy while mocking his claim of becoming “Pirate King.”
I think Oda is trying to impart to the audience that the feeling that Luffy is so powerful that he’s the “fifth Yonko,” is completely false. While, we know that Luffy didn’t really fight Big Mom, let alone defeat her, some people (like myself) felt that the gap between him and the Yonko was close. While, I think Luffy did earn his bounty, it is somewhat inflated. Luffy has been defeated easily before and he will recover. The result of this encounter was unexpected.
If Luffy can’t touch Kiado (right now) then who can? Oh, What happened to the other Strawhat’s? So far the Strawhat’s have been on a bit of a winning streak, especially Luffy having successively defeated Doflamingo and Big Mom (though not head to head). He needed to run into a conflict that he couldn’t defeat simply by being head strong and barreling without fear. Kiado will provide a major challenge, that Luffy can’t easily overcome.