Luffy from One Piece uses Gear 4

When Does Luffy Get Around to Gear 4 in ‘One Piece’?

Figuring out which One Piece episode features a particular event is like trying to find a teeny little needle in a haystack the size of the Atlantic ocean. One Piece has over 1,000 episodes and counting, and it was hard enough figuring out the episode in which Luffy switched into Gear 2. Sure, I could have looked it up online, but that would be CHEATING. I believe in something called JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY. And my JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY DEMANDS that I watch EVERY SINGLE EPISODE OF ONE PIECE so I can get the scoop on Luffy’s Gear 4 ALL BY MYSELF.

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And I’m gonna do it all in one day.

I have 12 TV screens each playing episodes of One Piece at 3x speed. I will be restrained to a motorized swivel chair that will rotate 360 degrees approximately three times per second, so I am able to watch all 12 screens at roughly the same time. While this endeavor allows me to watch episodes faster than normal, I will still have to spend every waking moment watching One Piece. I will be hooked up to an IV drip of Mountain Dew Baja Blast mixed with espresso to keep myself awake and nourished. How will I pee? I’m just gonna hold it.

Let’s get this show on the road. Chair. Whatever.

Related: The 10 Best One Piece Characters on Attack of the Fanboy

So what is Gear 4 in One Piece anyway?

Gear 4 is an ability that uses the combined power of the Gomu Gomu no Mi (the rubbery Devil Fruit Luffy ate) and Busoshoku Haki. It was obtained by Luffy during his training on the island of Rusukaina. Similar to how he activates Gear 3, Luffy coats his forearm with Busoshoku Haki and the bites down on it to activate Gear 4. He then blows AIR into his body, which allows him inflate his muscles, with extra emphasis on his torso. Gear 4 allows Luffy to instantly achieve the body of someone who does Chest Day all day for 10 years straight.

After Luffy is properly inflated, he then coats his arms and legs in Busoshoku Haki, hardening them to the point that they become the color of graphite. He spreads the remaining Haki across his body in a manner than resembles flaming tattoos. He also gets a really incredible smokey eye look that any early ’00s emo band would envy. He grows larger in this form, standing approximately 13 feet tall! Gear 4’s unique changes to Luffy’s musculature give him exponentially increased striking power and defensive capabilities. He is also able to change his Gear 4 body into MULTIPLE FORMS. How is this fair to his opponents? It isn’t. Perks of being the main character, I guess.

When in Gear 4, Luffy trades his standard sweeping attacks, like the Whip and Scythe, for shorter, more compression-based blows. Luffy is additionally able to change the direction of his attacks mid-strike while in this form. Despite his Gear 4 body’s hard appearance, most of the attacks leveled against him just bounce off. He’s still rubber, after all.

For all of Gear 4’s perks, it comes with some significant drawbacks. There is a limit to how long Luffy is able to keep Gear 4 active. When that limit is reached, Luffy is rendered exhausted, deflated, and immobile. It’s similar to the effect Primary Lotus had on Rock Lee during his fight with Gaara during Naruto‘s chunin exams. Both attacks are essentially a massive gamble, and if the user isn’t able to defeat their opponent, they lose.

Using Gear 4 renders Luffy unable to use Haki for 10 full minutes after he is no longer able to sustain the form. It also exponentially increases Luffy’s metabolism so he instantly digests and uses up all of the food and calories in his body. When he used Gear 4 twice during his battle with Charlotte Cracker, he was rendered unconscious for three whole days. Which is how long I intend to sleep once this chair stops spinning.

The good news is, Gear 4’s drawbacks are nullified after Luffy eats food. As the series progresses, the exhausting effects of Gear 4 are lessened even further. After Luffy trains his Haki on the island of Udon while studying under Hyogoro, he is able to recover his energy muc more quickly. And if he exits Gear 4 before its time limit, he will suffer no ill effects whatsoever.

When does Luffy use Gear 4 in One Piece?

Luffy first uses Gear 4 in episode 726, during his battle with Donquixote Doflamingo, the Heavenly Demon Monkey. Luffy was forced to invent the technique mid-fight after Gear 2 and Gear 3 failed to do any damage to Doflamingo. He needed a technique that would grant him the speed of Gear 2 and the strength of Gear 3 in tandem. Luffy was able to use Gear 4 to access his Boundman form, which gives him a bodybuilder chest and weirdly small (but exceptionally powerful) arms and legs. The increased power allowed Luffy to defeat Doflamingo once and for all.

During his battle with Charlotte Cracker, Luffy awakened the “Tankman” form of Gear 4, which granted him enhanced durability. He was only ever able to use this form once, directly after he ate Cracker’s biscuits to the point that he was almost bursting.

Luffy reveals the final form of Gear 4—the “Snakeman” form—during his battle with Charlotte Katakuri. Unlike Luffy’s other Gear 4 forms, Luffy’s body does not expand dramatically when in the Snakeman form. His muscles only increase a bit, but his arms and legs remain covered in Haki. Luffy’s hair also becomes flame-shaped and his body produces a strange substance that looks like a combination of steam and fire. When in this form, Luffy gains increased speed over his Boundman and Tankman form, and is also able to use the “python” ability, which allows him to change the direction of his attacks mid-strike.

So there … that’s your answer. Can someone please un-duct tape me from this chair now? I gotta go throw up.

(featured image: Toei Animation)


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Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.