Luffy in Gear 5 from Vol 104 of One Piece
(Eiichiro Oda / Jump Comics)

When Will Gear 5 Finally Appear in ‘One Piece’?

One Piece‘s Wano, the longest arc ever published in shounen history, wrapped up for manga-readers last year. In the anime, it’s clear that the Raid on Onigashima is in its final stages. Alas, its climax is so huge that many anime-watchers have already heard about it, whether they wanted to or not: The debut of Luffy’s Gear 5. Don’t worry, though, because just knowing it’s going to happen is nothing compared to what Gear 5 actually is. The animation of Gear 5 is eagerly awaited by the entire One Piece fandom. But when is it actually going to happen?

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Not to be an asshole, but technically, it’s already happened. Gear 5 makes a very sneaky “blink and you’ll miss it” appearance during the climax of One Piece Film: Red. But I know what you mean—when will it appear in the anime, in the scenes from which it sprung forth in the manga? I don’t have a date for that, but my expert opinion is: very soon. I’d wager that Gear 5 debuts in the anime before the summer 2023 season starts in July. Not that One Piece is beholden to “seasons,” since it releases new episodes year-round.

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Okay, but when will Gear 5 appear in One Piece?

There are a few key fights which have to be resolved before Gear 5 appears. Kid and Law have to finish their fight with Big Mom. Fukurokuju and Raizo are still in a standoff. Zoro and King have to have their epic duel. Sanji has to battle Queen in the midst of a deepening existential crisis (which worries the hell out of me because I love my twirly boy just as he is). And lastly, Robin has to shake the threat of CP0.

This might seem like a lot. And it is, in some ways. But we’ve whittled down a lot of Kaido’s forces and allies already—all the Tobi Ropo, plus Jack and Perospero. Most of the remaining fights are already in their finishing stages. Henry Thurlow, an animator for One Piece who has worked on key sequences like Big Mom’s epic combo attack, has referred to what’s currently happening in the anime as “the final Wano fights.” (Incidentally, I’d bet money that Thurlow was tapped to animate Gear 5. He’s said on his Twitter that he’s working on a major, challenging sequence.)

Honestly, considering how much we’ve already seen, it could be wrapped up in about a month’s worth of episodes. Then again, the anime is famous for drawing events out and taking its time. Which is why I’m projecting “by July” instead of saying, “I’ll already be losing my mind during Tears of the Kingdom‘s release weekend and my heart might actually stop if Gear 5 happened concurrently.”

If there were a projected rest week for the anime, I would say Gear 5 would be the episode before that. But there’s no break currently scheduled until the final week of 2023. As much as some say the anime drags things out, I deeply doubt it can drag the proceedings out that drastically.

A visual feast

At this point, you might be wondering why people are so excited to see Gear 5 animated. Telling you that would be tantamount to giving a major spoiler. Let’s just say that seeing it on the page was incredible, because Eiichiro Oda is a freaking genius at drawing frenetic and emotive characters, but it’s practically begging to be animated.

Part of the reason we can all allow ourselves to get so excited is that, since Wano and the Onigashima raid especially, the animation in One Piece went up several notches. The animation in fight scenes over the last year has been absolutely breathtaking. I’d argue the series is currently providing us with some of the most exciting animation in anime, precisely because the individual artists are allowed to leave their personal artistic stamps on their sequences.

To ignore the visual feast which we’re all already reaping because we’re so amped for Gear 5 would be refusing to see the forest for the trees. There are a lot of potentially stunning sequences which are slated to happen before Gear 5. I’m personally looking forward to Zoro and King’s fight. I’m not even a huge Zoro fan. I just think that sequence has a lot of potential.

So I think we’ll get Gear 5 before the highest heats of summer. But it will be a couple more months, still. On the bright side, there will be plenty of stunning sequences to entertain us in the meantime.

(featured image: Eiichiro Oda / Jump Comics)

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Image of Kirsten Carey
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.