One Piece’s trademark Devil Fruits are absolutely integral to the core story. Whether it’s by serving as the main power system or as genuine, bonafide plot devices, Devil Fruits are truly essential to One Piece’s story.
Keeping this in mind, it’s great to see so many characters having already given fans examples of Awakened Devil Fruits. Katakuri and Doflamingo are two great examples of Paramecia Awakenings, Luffy’s Gum-Gum Fruit being a Paramecia type as well.
And yet, two recent Awakenings seen in the manga have raised an important question: where is Luffy’s Awakening? The answer may seem misleading or even flat out wrong, but Luffy’s Devil Fruit Awakening has already happened.
Luffy will likely debut his Awakened Devil Fruitit against Kaido in the current One Piece arc
One Piece: Luffy’s mastery of the Gum-Gum Fruit
Recent One Piece chapters saw Luffy’s Worst Generation co-leaders, Trafalgar D. Water Law and Eustass Kidd, show off their Awakenings against Big Mom. While this was well received by many fans, these same fans were curious as to why Luffy hasn’t displayed his Awakening yet.
One of the most important prerequisites for Awakening a Devil Fruit seems to be time spent with the Fruit and one’s control over it. The two Awakened Paramecia users fans have seen so far, Doflamingo and Katakuri, are 41 and 48 years old, respectively. In terms of age, the two have had much more time to master their Devil Fruits than Luffy has.
Yet on the contrary, Luffy (like Law) has had his Devil Fruit since he was a young child. The two have spent their formative years honing their Devil Fruit skills. Luffy is also a fighting prodigy, just as Law is and Kidd as well, which surely plays a role in his Awakening as well. Fighting with powers one doesn’t understand, will most likely not end well.
The effects of the Gum-Gum Fruit on Luffy
An important concept to consider when analyzing Devil Fruit Awakenings is the similarity Devil Fruits have in the story to Haki. Devil Fruits and Haki have three types: Paramecia, Logia, and Zoan Devil Fruits; and Armament, Observation, and Conqueror’s Haki. These also each have their own subcategories and advanced versions.
Considering the similarities, an important line from Luffy’s training master must be discussed within this context. Rayleigh told Luffy that Haki truly grows in the heat of battle against strong opponents. This was proven when Luffy used Katakuri’s strength to elevate himself, resulting in his attaining Future Sight Haki during the Katakuri fight.
The final key to Luffy’s Awakening qualifications is the uniqueness of the Gum-Gum Fruit as it relates to Paramecia mastery. Unlike other Paramecia fruits in One Piece, which allow users to create their associated substance, the Gum-Gum Fruit turned Luffy into being 100% made of rubber. In other words, Luffy doesn’t create rubber with the Gum-Gum Fruit, he truly becomes a Rubber Man.
Luffy had to train for years to get basic body control in order to not stretch all the time. This is seen in One Piece when Luffy first ate his Devil Fruit and unknowingly stretched his arm out as he walked away from Shanks, who’s holding his hand.
In a somewhat inverse way, Luffy’s control over the Gum-Gum Fruit is similar to that of a Logia user's control over whatever element their body is. The main difference is that Logia users transform their bodies into their associated element, whereas Luffy is constantly maintaining a specific form and shape with his rubber body.
By the time Luffy was ready to sail the Grand Line, he already had impressive mastery over the Gum-Gum Fruit. When One Piece’s timeskip ends, and Fourth Gear is developed while Second and Third are mastered, Luffy already has all the experience, time and mastery he needs with the Gum-Gum Fruit.
Returning to Rayleigh’s comment within the context of Devil Fruit Awakenings, it would seem all that’s left for Luffy to do is let his Awakening bloom in the heat of battle. That being said, what better time to do it than Wano? What better opponent to debut it on than Kaido, the strongest man alive?
The answer to both of these is none, as Luffy will certainly need his Devil Fruit Awakening to take on the threats looming behind the Yonko that currently towers over him in One Piece.
Luffy's Awakening in One Piece: Final thoughts
One Piece’s debut of Law and Kidd’s Awakenings has led to many fans questioning whether or not One Piece’s protagonist is ready to Awaken. Let there be no doubt, Luffy is ready for an Awakening and will undoubtedly debut it against Kaido.
As One Piece’s story approaches its final years, Luffy will undoubtedly need his Awakening to take on the likes of Blackbeard, Akainu, and the mysterious Im-sama. There’s no better time for Luffy to finally Awaken than now, while he can still perfect it leading up to these climactic battles.
While there’s much debate as to what this Awakening will finally look like, there can be no doubt it will certainly debut in the current One Piece arc.