Luffy in Gear 5 form from One Piece
(Toei Animation)

If Gear 5 Is Luffy’s ‘Peak,’ What Does That Mean for a Possible Gear 6?

One Piece is a large and sprawling epic, both in terms of its scope and the sheer amount of real-world time it’s taken to tell the story. As such, you can mark the growth of its hero, Monkey D. Luffy, in any number of ways.

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You could track the increases in his bounty. You could speculate how geographically close the Straw Hats are getting to the One Piece, based on how far they’ve come across the Grand Line. Now that we’re in Egghead, you could even point to how Luffy is faring in fights against the same people he struggled against earlier in the series.

But you would also track his progress by his “gears.” Devil Fruits are such a delightful power system because their powers are largely limited by the user’s imagination. As Luffy has gradually gotten stronger throughout the series, he’s thought up and trained himself in new ways to use the Gum-Gum Fruit. These are Luffy’s “gears.”

Since Gear 2’s introduction in Enies Lobby, new gear reveals have been a highly anticipated aspect of One Piece‘s big fights. Will Luffy’s number of gears just keep growing until One Piece is over?

Gears 2 through 5, a primer

Gear 2 makes Luffy super fast. In Gear 3, he enlarges a particular part of his body to comedically large proportions. The various forms of Gear 4—Bound Man, Snake Man, Tank Man—involve Luffy slightly enlarging and reshaping his whole body to bring out different abilities.

And Gear 5 … Gear 5 is special. It’s the climactic peak of Luffy’s development, as a fighter and a character, so far. Gear 5 is the awakened form of Luffy’s Devil Fruit, which is actually the Human-Human Fruit: Nika Model. Usually, awakened forms mean that the user can make the world around them conform to the laws of their Devil Fruit. For Luffy, it means that everything around him (including himself) becomes subject to Looney Tunes rules.

Will One Piece stop there? Will there be … Gear 6?

Why Gear 6 is unlikely

Gear 5 was constructed to be the climactic peak of an entire storyline of One Piece. After two and a half decades of storytelling, Eiichiro Oda gave Luffy the powerup which would enable him to become King of the Pirates. Luffy even yells “This is my peak!” in the anime

What’s more, through Joyboy, Gear 5 even ties into incredibly important lore surrounding the secrets of the Void Century. The various parallels shaping up between Joyboy and the Void Century versus Luffy and the modern day are going to be wildly important for how the end of the series itself will shake out.

In other words: stories rarely reach a highly-crafted climax, decades in the making, and then tack on another climax in that thread. For the sake of the story, I doubt Luffy’s evolution is over. He’ll keep growing until the very end. But I don’t think that evolution will be “Gear 6.” I think we’ve hit the gear ceiling.

Ever since we learned about awakening in Dressrosa, it’s been touted as the highest level a Devil Fruit user can reach. If there’s something beyond awakening, as Gear 6 would have to be, it lies beyond any recorded example of any Devil Fruit, ever. The World Government is famous for keeping secrets, but neither scientists like Vegapunk, rebels like the Revolutionaries, or historians like Robin have indicated there’s any precedent for anything beyond awakening.

Instead, it’s more likely that evolution will be some new ability within Gear 5 itself—a new level of absurd logic for the Nika form to reach.

But hey, maybe I’m wrong. Gear 5 has often been compared to Dragon Ball‘s Super Saiyan. And Super Saiyan was thought to be Goku’s peak. But it turned out there were … like … one hundred additional, higher forms of Super Saiyan. Beyond simply Super Saiyan 1, 2, and 3, there’s Super Saiyan God, Super Saiyan Blue … In other words, there’s a Gear 5 of Super Saiyan forms.

Eiichiro Oda is incredibly good at making every major reveal of One Piece feel epic and surprising. As we come cruising into the final saga, there’s no knowing what he has in mind for Luffy. All we can count on is that our boy will continue to evolve and delight us. I can’t wait until he’s finally King of the Pirates.


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Author
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.