The hands of fate tick forward guided by the age ascending to the dawn. And with its ascent, it cast out reverberating waves of sound that embody the beat of drums carrying liberation within its breath. Empowered by this resonance, Luffy has reawakened and within his spirit so too the representation of the Sun. Joy Boy has arrived and the truth surrounding Luffy and the Gomu Gomu no Mi has come into focus. How will Kaido react to Luffy’s current state when he discovers that the opponent before him is the Joy Boy he is aware will bring the world to salvation. Instinctively, Kaido already knows Luffy is special. Relief colours his smile and satisfaction imbues his breath. All Kaido needs is proof that Luffy is Joy Boy. And Kaido will receive it in this battle.
I was expecting Luffy’s Devil Fruit to be a Nika Fruit but what I did not expect was the Devil Fruit to be a Mythical Zoan. For it to be a Nika model within the Human Human sub-category, I was not anticipating that. The true form of Luffy’s Devil Fruit does now explain how Luffy was able to accomplish feats that went beyond something rubber could do. The Fruit allows Luffy greater freedom than just stretching. This is how the Gears were born within Luffy’s rubber body. The Devil Fruit reacted with Luffy’s desires and manifested a path forward on which Luffy could evolve how he battles.
On the topic of a Devil Fruit’s will, it appears that Zoan Fruits have a will of their own and in a sense choose who their vessels are. The Gomu Gomu no Mi/Hito Hito no Mi; Model: Nika evaded the World Government for 800 years and when it met Luffy, chose him. Even when the World Government once had the Fruit in their possession, fates dedicated that the Red Haired Pirates cross their path and separate them from the Devil Fruit. It now makes sense why the World Government were so mad at Who’s Who for failing to protect the Fruit when he worked for them. To achieve a feat never reached by the World Government for 800 years, the World Government was so close. I’m curious to find out where the World Government initially collected the Gomu Gomu no Mi from and why Shanks targeted that ship. Did Shanks know about the importance of the Gomu Gomu no Mi or was that just fates hand at work? I am also interested to know if the past users of the Gomu Gomu no Mi were members of the D clan and if any of them also awakened the Nika properties. Judging by how this is the first time Joy Boy has awakened in 800 years, I suspect that is a negative.
The symbolism of drums to support the theme of liberation was such a fascinating revelation. Many cultures around the world incorporate drums into their tradition and even associate drums with the Gods and Deities that encapsulate their history. I follow Hinduism and also believe in spirituality. I practice meditation daily and I have been taught that when you can hear your inner drum sounding within your meditative state, you have reached a point of liberation and progressed on the path of enlightenment. A drum beat can be interpreted as the echo of the soul. So seeing drums used as the precursor for the Warrior of Lights awakening, it hits a personal level of relevance for me.
Luffy’s role going forward has evolved from just a pirate sailing the Grandline out of feelings of Romance to now embodying a figure that is compared to a God who is also known as the Warrior of Liberation. The destiny awaiting Luffy has been further clarified. Luffy has always helped other whenever he traveled but going forward, he will take on a more active role in being the Warrior of Liberation. Sailing to Laugh Tale isn’t the end of Luffy’s journey. The real endgame begins after he reaches Laugh Tale. That is when Luffy role as Nika will come full circle regarding the unfulfilled will of Joy Boy. The World Government fear this which is why they were willing to sacrifice an elite CP-0 agent in order to remove Luffy from play. Unfortunately for them, their actions have resulted in quickening Joy Boy’s reawakening and unlocking the ‘ridiculous’ power contained within the Gomu Gomu no Mi.
Within his Gear Five state, Luffy was able to sense Kaido and even pinpoint exactly where he was in order to grab him without the use of his physical sight. He reached down into the Onigashima Skull Dome and pulled Kaido, who was in his Dragon form, back to the roof to continue their battle. He instinctively knew what needed to be done and from there he proceeded to continue to handle Kaido as an oversized toy. Kaido literally had the stars knocked right out of him. Kaido’s appreciation at Luffy surviving was fantastic. For the bastard that Kaido is, at least he wanted to fight Luffy genuinely and beat him fair and square. Ever since Kaido battled Oden, he has been posing himself the question of whether anyone else in the future would be able to challenge him the way Oden did. Kaido has found that answer in Luffy and desperately seeks an answer. An answer that may very well bring Kaido to a version of his liberation.
Along with possessing greater endurance, physical strength and freedom, Luffy is also now capable of extending his rubber powers on the surroundings around him. He used the ground as a rubber barrier to block and deflect Kaido’s Blast Breath back at him. I expect that he can also use his abilities to change the properties of the ground or wall he crashes into to avoid suffering collision damage. Would be interesting to see if Luffy can change the properties of water to be rubber-like. Going forward, Kaido will come to learn of Luffy’s powers and that he is the person who has inherited Joy Boy’s will. Upon such a realisation, I am curious to see how Kaido would react. Will Kaido be interested in seeing Luffy succeed as Joy Boy?
Hiyori also gets to reawaken as herself within this chapter. Behind the masks she wore, she desperately tried to play the role of Komurasaki in the past but within this moment, all her pain and suffering surfaced within the words she exchanged with Orochi. Hiyori called out Orochi for the pathetic individual he is and boldly and proudly declared herself as Kozuki Hiyori. A scene reminiscent of Momonosuke’s expression of who he is to Kaido. Not once has Hiyori forgotten who she is and where she came from. Along with expressing that the Kozuki clan always keeps their promise, Hiyori also mentions the Dawn is sure to come. Words that express the belief the Kozuki clan held in Joy Boy and the person who would arrive in the future to complete what was unfinished. Now that Luffy is reawakened, what will Momonosuke do? Will he also begin to believe in Luffy and Yamato? In order for Wano to move forward, Momonosuke first needs to come to a realisation in regards to what he is fighting for and why. Once he has reached this point, he will know what needs to be done – defeat the Beast Pirates, protect Wano and open its borders. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.