One of the biggest transformations in manga history finally got its anime debut when Luffy’s Gear 5 form appeared in episode 1071 of One Piece. Fans have been chomping at the bit to see this new power since it first showed up in the manga back in March 2022, not only because transformations have been a well-loved trop in Shonen anime for decades but also because of how unique Luffy’s Gear 5 is.
Gear 5 marks a major turning point in the story of One Piece and seeing it in the anime has given fans plenty to talk about. Almost overnight, this transformation has become one of the most talked about anime events of the year. If you’re still catching up on the over 1000 episodes of One Piece, here is everything we know about Luffy’s Gear 5 transformation so far.
Since we’ll be discussing events up to episode 1071 of One Piece, it's fair to say that there will be plenty of spoilers for the show ahead.
What are Luffy’s Gears in One Piece?
Starting in the very first chapter of One Piece, Luffy has possessed extraordinary powers thanks to eating the Devil Fruit known as Gomu Gomu no Mi – called the Gum Gum Fruit in the English dub. This has given him the ability to stretch his limbs and gives him almost unlimited durability. Like any good anime protagonist, Luffy is always finding new levels of power to help him overcome more dangerous foes. These levels are represented by his various Gears.
- Gear 1 is the base Luffy we’ve come to know and love since the very beginning.
- Gear 2 allows Luffy to increase the blood flow through his limbs to increase his strength and speed to new levels.
- Gear 3 is unlocked when Luffy covers his arms with the spiritual energy of Haki, causing them to become harder and stronger, and giving him even more flexibility.
- Gear 4 is one of the most dramatic transformations in the show, with Luffy’s body swelling and becoming far more durable as he covers his entire form with Haki energy.
Until the appearance of Gear 5, this was assumed to be the limit of Luffy’s power. However, like any good Shonen protagonist, he managed to reach a new level of power.
What is Luffy’s Gear 5 form in One Piece?
When Luffy first used his Gear 5 form, it was against Kaidou of the Beasts Pirates. His hair and clothes turned white while his eyes took on a red glow. In Gear 5, his strength, speed, and durability are all enhanced to nearly limitless levels, but that is only the start of the changes this form brings about. Not only are Luffy’s physical abilities improved, but he also becomes an almost absurd, surreal version of himself.
While using Gear 5, Luffy’s mannerisms become like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. His legs spin as he runs, he twists his body fast enough to drill into the ground, and his eyes pop out of his head like he’s just seen Jessica Rabbit perform live. However, rather than a simple change in animation style, this is key to Gear 5’s power. At its heart, it gives Luffy total freedom to act without limits. Like Bugs Bunny tormenting Elmer Fudd, he can produce items from thin air and even alter the world around him in wild, unexpected ways.
Why is Gear 5 so different?
All of Luffy’s previous forms involved enhancing his physical abilities, specifically pertaining to his rubber-like body. However, Gear 5 takes things a step further and gives him the power to do almost anything within his imagination. For a character like Monkey D. Luffy, whose greatest strength has always been his ability to act in ways his opponents don’t expect, this is a formidable weapon.
Gear 5 is so different because of the nature of Luffy’s Devil Fruit powers. While originally it was called the Gum Gum Fruit, later chapters of the manga have revealed that it is really the Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika Fruit. This means that it gave Luffy the powers of an ancient hero known as Nika, a champion of freedom and liberator of slaves. Gear 5 represents Luffy fully awakening Nika’s powers and becoming the Warrior of Liberation for the modern time. The only limitation on his power is his own imagination and stamina.
Gear 5’s Limitations
Despite the incredible power of Luffy’s Gear 5 form, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind. It burns through his stamina rapidly, leaving him vulnerable once the form ends. After he first used it in the manga, it visibly aged him due to the extreme strain it put on his body. It has been suggested that extended use of Gear 5 could potentially shorten Luffy’s overall lifespan.
Luffy isn’t the first anime hero to go through various transformations to achieve new power. Our Dragon Ball Watch Order can walk you through how to experience one of the most famous examples of how transformations shape the story. Bleach is another popular anime that showcases the dramatic power of a good transformation.