One Piece: How do Devil Fruits work?

Sabo eating the Mera Mera no Mi in Dressrosa (Image via Toei Animation)
Sabo eating the Mera Mera no Mi in Dressrosa (Image via Toei Animation)

Devil Fruits are highly sought-after in One Piece since they grant special abilities to each user.

These fruits are recognizable by their swirly patterns. Depending on the classification, they will also have unique designs relevant to specific powers.

Devil Fruits completely define the combat system in the One Piece series. They are worth several million on the black market.

However, their history remains largely unknown, which means they work in mysterious ways. With the exception of Dr. Vegapunk, most characters don't understand them.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.


How do Devil Fruits work in One Piece?

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Everybody knows that Luffy can stretch his arms for a really powerful attack. However, that's entirely dependent on his Devil Fruit, the Gomu Gomu no Mi.

This article will explain how Devil Fruits are supposed to function.


Users manifest their powers after a single bite

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During the Dressrosa arc, Sabo took one bite from the Mera Mera no Mi, which belonged to his sworn brother Ace. He immediately gained the fiery powers of the Devil Fruit.

Based on this, one can assume that One Piece characters don't have to finish the entire fruit. They will gain the fruit's powers once they swallow their first bite.

Upon gaining these special abilities, the rest of the fruit can be thrown away.


There are three classifications for Devil Fruits

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There are three different categories for each Devil Fruit in One Piece. Each class offers completely different powers for the user in question:

  • Paramecia: Users can perform superhuman feats
  • Zoan: Users into animals, or even an animal hybrid
  • Logia: Users create and control various elements

It should be noted that Zoan fruits can also be classified into two more sub-categories: Ancient Zoan and Mythical Zoan. These are exceedingly rare and grant even more power than regular Zoans.

There are also Artificial Zoans that have been man-made, albeit with detrimental side effects. SMILEs have a 10% success rate, yet 100% of the drawbacks.


Users can only eat a single fruit at a time (with one exception)

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The lore suggests that only a single fruit can be eaten. However, there have been notable exceptions to this rule.

For unknown reasons, Marshall D. Teach was able to defy logic and consume two Devil Fruits in the Marineford arc. How he managed to pull it off is still a big mystery in the One Piece community.


Strengths and weaknesses

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The vast majority of strong characters in One Piece have consumed a Devil Fruit. There are several notable advantages for the users, depending on the classification:

  • Paramecia: Users will have exclusive special abilities
  • Zoan: Users will experience a significant increase in physical stats
  • Logia: Users become intangible to non-Haki attacks

However, there is a huge downside to eating a Devil Fruit in One Piece. Users will no longer have the ability to swim. Furthermore, they will develop a weakness to water and lose their strength upon contact.

There is a material known as Seastone that can also achieve this effect. For instance, Smoker was able to incapacitate Luffy during the Paramount War simply because his large jitte was tipped with Seastone.


When a user dies, the fruit will return to circulation

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Devil Fruits cannot die with One Piece characters. Instead, they will reincarnate into the closest fruit.

The Punk Hazard arc showcased this in full detail. A creature known as Smiley consumed the Sala-Sala Fruit, Model: Axolotl. Upon its demise, a nearby apple suddenly turned blue with a swirly pattern.


Devil Fruits can be Awakened

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Only a select few One Piece characters have Awakened their Devil Fruits. When their minds and bodies unite, they can fully master their special abilities.

Awakenings depend on Devil Fruits in general. For example, Donquixote Doflamingo is a Paramecia user who can turn his surroundings into strings. He would not be able to do so under normal circumstances. These instances are very rare in the series.