What Does Gear 5 Mean For One Piece Final Saga?
With Gear 5, Luffy's inevitable clash with the World Government will be on the horizon, setting the stage for One Piece's epic conclusion.
For the first time since One Piece's Wano Country Arc debuted in June 2019, the conclusion of the long-running narrative is finally within sight. The Raid on Onigashima has ravaged the land of Wano, but thanks to the efforts of the Straw Hat Pirates and their various allies, Kurozumi Orochi and the Beast Pirates' reign of terror is finally set to crumble. At the center of this revolution is Monkey D. Luffy, whose battle against Kaido has pushed the series' protagonist to not only learn the advanced application of Conqueror's Haki but also achieve a brand-new transformation — Gear 5.
Following CP0's intervention in the duel between Kaido and Monkey D. Luffy, the latter was seemingly dealt a killing blow by the captain of the Beast Pirates. However, as seen at the end of Episode 1070, rather than dealing the Straw Hat Pirate a defeat with his attack, Kaido spurred his opponent to reach new heights and finally Awaken his Devil Fruit's powers. Now armed with the full potential of the Human-Human Fruit, Model: Nika, Luffy is primed to enter One Piece's final saga.
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Years before the events of One Piece, the World Government erased massive swaths of history in an effort to hide the truth of the Void Century. In the process, they also changed the name of the Human-Human Fruit, Model: Nika to the Gum-Gum Fruit; however, unlike the World Government's manipulation of the Void Century, the reason for this decision is still almost completely unknown. During the fight between Who's Who and Jinbe in Episode 1040, Who's Who (a former member of CP9) reveals the true name of Monkey D. Luffy's Devil Fruit, creating the first clear parallel between One Piece's protagonist and the mythical character known as Sun God Nika. Heralded as a champion of freedom and liberation, Nika served as a beacon of hope for slaves and oppressed citizens around the world before being removed from history — coincidentally, Monkey D. Luffy exerts a similar effect throughout his travels.
The parallel between Monkey D. Luffy and Sun God Nika is quickly becoming more and more significant, but the Straw Hat Pirate has been compared to another figure for even longer — Joy Boy. This historical figure also lived during or before the Void Century, and like Sun God Nika and Monkey D. Luffy, he is deeply associated with revolution and freedom. As seen during the Fish-Man Island Arc, Joy Boy did everything in his power to help fish-men and merfolk achieve equality above the sea, leaving the underwater people an apology note after failing to do so. Considering Luffy's promise to take Princess Shirahoshi to the surface, as well as the reveal that Joy Boy also wore a Straw Hat virtually identical to Luffy's, it's obvious that the Straw Hat Pirate carries the spirit of the legendary figure. Assuming that One Piece's main character continues to embody the inherited will of Sun God Nika and Joy Boy — virtually a guarantee after achieving his new Gear 5 transformation and ushering in the Drums of Liberation — a conflict between Monkey D. Luffy, the World Government, and the Emperors of the Sea is bound to occur in the near future.
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Since defeating Charlotte Katakuri and escaping the Big Mom Pirates, Monkey D. Luffy has been championed as an Emperor of the Sea, but as evidenced by his crushing losses at the hands of Kaido, the Straw Hat Pirate still needed a significant power-up to truly compete against the Grand Line's strongest pirates. Even after Luffy learns how to imbue his strikes with Conqueror's Haki, he's unable to put the World's Strongest Creature on the ropes; however, following his breakthrough and initial Gear 5 transformation, this dynamic immediately shifts. Although the full potential of the Human-Human Fruit, Model: Nika remains a mystery, it will undoubtedly propel One Piece's protagonist to new heights that exceed those of not only Kaido but also the World Government and their most prominent leaders.
Should Monkey D. Luffy prove successful in his effort to defeat Kaido, he'll finally be on the short list of candidates to reach the end of the Grand Line, find the One Piece, and usurp the powers that be. Without this breakthrough, it's hard to imagine that Luffy would stand a chance against characters like Shanks, Blackbeard, and the upper echelon of the Marine's military force — even with the help of his allies and his tremendous control of Haki. In addition to this, his ever-increasing attachment to concepts like liberation and freedom and characters such as Joy Boy and Sun God Nika is thrusting him closer and closer to an all-out war against the World Government, setting up the final saga of the long-running shonen series.
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Few developments in anime/manga history have been as highly-anticipated as the debut of Monkey D. Luffy's Gear 5 form, so it's only appropriate that the transformation would have massive implications for One Piece's narrative. The Straw Hat Pirate and his Awakened Devil Fruit will liberate the island of Wano with a victory against Kaido and the Beast Pirates, inching them ever closer to truly establishing themselves as the strongest pirate crew in the Grand Line.
The race to find the One Piece appears to be reaching its climax, and with Luffy, Trafalgar D. Law, and Eustass Kid now wielding Awakened Devil Fruits, it's clear that the Worst Generation is prepared to live up to their title. The World Government's erasure of historical figures like Sun God Nika and Joy Boy may have delayed the inevitable, but it will not stop the New Age of Piracy from reaching the end of the Grand Line and taking the world by storm.