Attention ! This article may contain spoilers for One Piece Chapter 1061, “Future Island Egghead”.
Luffy’s Gear Five should be his ultimate form. When he awakens his Devil Fruit, he accesses his full potential and becomes the Sun God Nika. As such, one would expect him to describe it as his strongest state. However, “strong” is not the first word that comes to mind.
Instead, the mugiwara captain describes the Gear Five as its freest form. “Free” is certainly a common word in his vocabulary, but it is still a particular choice of words.
The conversation behind Luffy’s description appeared in Chapter 1061, “Future Island Egghead”. Jewelry Bonney asks him what is the story behind his appearance; he was recently shown on wanted notices and in newspapers with white hair. Luffy explained that this is what he looks like when he is free.
Technically, this explanation of Gear Five is not wrong. After all, the Sun God was once worshiped as a freer of slaves. The sound of his heart has even been compared to the drums of liberation. Seen in this light, describing the Gear Five as a form of freedom is reasonable and even ideal..
What’s odd, however, is that Luffy doesn’t have that frame of reference. He doesn’t know anything about Nika, or the drums of release, or even the real name of her Devil Fruit. For him, the Gear Five is just the ultimate form of his Fruit Gum-Gum.
Nika’s influence or freedom for Luffy?
The fact that Luffy describes Gear Five as a form of freedom may be an influence from Nika. Unlike other Devil Fruits, Zoan Fruits have a personality of their own, which can manifest in their user.. That’s probably why Luffy was laughing uncontrollably during his Gear Five despite his critical condition; such is the nature of it. If he’s not careful, the Devil Fruit could one day completely take over his mind.
There is also a more positive interpretation of this description. Luffy has always valued his freedom so much that he associates the title of Pirate King with being the freest man there is.. In that sense, it would be natural for him to describe his ultimate form as when he is most free.
It’s also important to keep in mind that he considers strength to be part of Gear Five. When he gave his description, he also flexed his muscles to mimic the form; his arms and legs even took on a simplistic look, like when transformed. Although the word “strong” wasn’t the first to come out of Luffy’s mouth, it was somewhere on his tongue.
For now, it’s best to dismiss Luffy’s unexpected choice of words as a harmless coincidence. It stays in his character and fits perfectly with his new powers. If he starts showing more marked signs of Nika’s influence on him, then fans may start to worry. !