After witnessing the sheer madness unfolding before them, both Momonosuke and Yamato should now realise who Luffy is and how necessary his presence is to the arrival of the Dawn. Yamato suspected it and believed in it. Now he is getting the confirmation that Luffy truly is the individual Oden had been waiting on. Momonosuke as well is coming to a realisation of how special Luffy is. By being spectator to the battle Luffy is having against the world strongest creature, Momonosuke and Yamato will arrive at a path that they will realise would need to be traversed on. Supporting Luffy will be the result of what they are both currently seeing. As for Kaido, he too will come to realise the freedom on display before him is the embodiment of “Joy Boy”.
In terms of it being revealed that Luffy had a cheat ability all along, one has got to remember that Gomu Gomu no Mi stopped being an ordinary Fruit from the moment Gears were introduced. From that point forward, the thought that the Gomu Gomu no Mi is an incredibly powerful came to be lodged in the general audiences mind. And as Luffy’s power grew, that reality became even more apparent. Was there any that thought that when Gear Four was revealed that Luffy’s rubber powers hadn’t gone beyond what the Gomu Gomu no Mi should have been capable of in how it incorporated Haki so seemingly into its nature? Even when it was classified as a Paramecia, the Gomu Gomu no Mi was always special.
I personally see no issue with the Gomu Gomu no Mi being revealed to be a Mythical Zoan all along. It explains everything that happened before more than the Gomu Gomu no Mi only being special because main character reason. As it stands, Luffy was able to do what he did not because being the main character meant he could extend what having a Paramecia Devil Fruit could do but because it was his Devil Fruit’s nature that allowed him such freedom all along. Luffy’s uniqueness as the main character resides in how he has been the first person of the Nika users in 800 years who was able to awaken it’s power. No one unlocked the Nika form that made it rise to the levels of a Mythical Zoan. Joy Boy is only reawakening after 800 years because of someone like Luffy not because the Gomu Gomu no Mi is in fact the Hito Hito no Mi; Model: Nika. Luffy is special not because of the Fruit but because of who he is and how free-spirited he is. A characteristic that Oda-sensei had illustrated through Luffy for over a thousand chapters. The essence in the Fruit recognized this and chose Luffy. It went from user to user, failing to awaken until Luffy arrived on the scene.
The Five Elders mention that in every era, the World Government has attempted to recover the Gomu Gomu no Mi but they have never succeeded. This implies to me that the Gomu Gomu no Mi was never hidden away in one set place and through the eras it was always on the move, likely from user to user who the Fruit chooses. In ordinary hands, the Nika Fruit may as well be an average Devil Fruit and even in the hands of users the Nika Fruit chooses, it isn’t guaranteed for its power to be fully utilised. The Hito Hito no Mi; Model: Nika isn’t special by itself despite its Mythical Zoan classification. Luffy made the Devil Fruit special by being able to fully sync with it. No one in 800 years has achieved this feat. No one.
Furthermore, when you look at the presentation of Mythical Zoan’s within this arc, you have embodiments on both ends of the spectrum. On one side you have Orochi, who possesses the Hebi Hebi no Mi; Model: Yamata no Orochi that was defeated by Hiyori who possessed no Devil Fruit (that we know of) or Haki. And on the other side, you have Luffy, who awakened his Devil Fruit and unlocked a power residing within the Devil Fruit that hadn’t surfaced for over 800 years. Orochi lost because of his weak will. Luffy awakened the Nika Fruit because of his conviction. A Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit isn’t a cheat ability. What makes the power extraordinary is the hands in which it shares its power with. And before setting the stage for this revelation, Oda-sensei has gone out his way to balance the power of rare Devil Fruits with the incorporation of Haki and Revolutionary Science (set to become more prominent going forward beyond artificial devil fruits, clones, viruses, biological weaponry, cyborgs, lasers, seastone weaponry, etc).
Additionally, this revelation doesn’t take away any of Luffy’s past accomplishments. He earned all of his victories in the past. Ever since Luffy’s Gears were introduced, the Gomu Gomu no Mi stopped being ordinary and became something more fantastical. This current revelation of its true identity is just an extension of its reach into that realm. Oda-sensei has been slowly evolving his story and Luffy’s place in it. The Nika Fruit is Oda-sensei’s way of establishing the connection between Luffy, Joy Boy and the Sun God (whom several groups of people revere) and bringing Luffy to a point where his story can shift from just sailing the Grandline for the Romance of it to incorporating more overarching elements that involves liberation. And at its core, One Piece has always been a story about liberation i.e. breaking down borders; whether those borders represent physical borders, sovereign imposed ones or emotional borders that characters unconsciously develop to “protect” themselves.
The presentation of Luffy’s rubber powers has altered since Gear Five was activated. The previous two gears involved hardening the body to increase Luffy’s defense but Gear Five switches that rationale completely and expands on how Luffy’s base gear powered up prior to gears i.e. stretching. Oda-sensei has brought the focus of Luffy’s rubber back to the nature of its stretchiness. Rather than Luffy hardening his body and tanking the attacks, in Gear Five he is using his rubber body to awaken a completely new level of freedom. Luffy has stretched the environment. He expanded Kaido while inside him. He stretched Kaido’s eyes in order to escape. He has stretched himself into a Giant where he proceeded to use Kaido as a jump rope. He shook off Kaido’s Blast Breath by stretching it off and while in mid-air, he used the momentum of his legging rotating in the motion of a wheel to run across the air. Even when Luffy was fatigued, his rubber body deflated into the form of a rubber balloon. Luffy defended himself from Kaido’s attacks by embracing his rubber form. Attacks that should have been fatal had their physical damage majorly nullified by the stretchiness of Luffy’s body. Finally, when Luffy attacks, he transfers his power to other things while attacking which is what happened when Kaido was punched through his head. Luffy stretched Kaido’s head along with his fist when he punched. The nature of rubber has been fully embraced by Gear Five. What is curious is how Luffy’s power could be enhanced if a certain individual did join his crew. Yamato’s Okuchi no Makami possesses the ability to wield the element of Ice and when used in combination with rubber, it will have the effect of cooling it. And once rubber is cooled, it gets softer and its stretchiness increases (rubber though does have a point where it freezes). Yamato technically could empower Luffy by cooling the environment around him.
I loved getting to read the dialogue and see the thoughts of Kaido through this chapter as he fought Luffy. Whatever Kaido threw at Luffy, an answer was always reflected back at him. For the first time in Kaido’s life, he has encountered an individual who fought as freely as Luffy. Attacks that should have destroyed an opponent were endured and stretched off. Even the prospect of death passed powerlessly through Luffy. The perspective of an undefeatable foe realising that they will be defeated is such a peculiar and interesting moment. Very much looking forward to the coming chapters and witnessing Kaido’s defeat. Also fascinated to learn if there is any connection between Luffy’s Gear Five and the Mink Sulong form (and the Okuchi no Makami form) – turning white during their transformations.
April 5, 2022 at 12:15 am
That’s a great analysis, Syphin. Looking past on Luffy’s accomplishments and the nature of the Gomu-Gomu really puts in perspective what this revelation brings to the story.
And now I want to see a combo by Luffy and Yamato, so thank you xD. Also yes, it is really curious for Oda-sensei to have chosen white to be the thematics of Gear 5… If there’s any connection to the Sulong form or Yamato’s fruit, that’ll be crazy.
April 7, 2022 at 11:43 pm
I have theorized in the past that give how Yamato’s Inu Inu no Mi; Model: Okuchi no Makami looks a lot like a Sulong awakened Mink, there could some relation there. Depending on how Devil Fruits are born, a Mink from the past could have been the foundation of the Devil Fruit.
On the ArlongPark One Piece forums, I did elaborate more on this point, so if you are interested:
April 14, 2022 at 8:07 pm
I did read it and like you mentioned there, the Zoan fruits having a will of their own strengths too much this theory. That would add to the way both Luffy and Yamato acted upon their first encounter and after witnessing how Luffy behaves in Gear Five, I’m more inclined to believe this could turn out to be true. Also nice correlation you made about the Minks/Wano people – makes me wonder if those Zoan fruits could have a part of the soul of the animal/mystical entity they embody.