The secret of Devil Fruits is finally unveiled in One Piece. Twenty-five years after their introduction in the very first chapter of the series, the Devil Fruits and their mystery are explained thanks to Dr. Vegapunk, the genius scientist who has studied these enigmatic objects for decades. Apparently, Devil Fruits are a manifestation of people’s desire for change and growth, wishes made real by the fruit’s incredible abilities.
Of the many mysteries that One Piece fans have been waiting to see explained in the series, perhaps none is more important than the secret of Devil Fruits. Despite being around since the very first chapter when Luffy ate the (supposed) Gomu Gomu no Mi, the origins of the Devil Fruits remained a mystery. The only thing known about them is that eating one will give a person incredible supernatural abilities, categorized into three different classes: Logia, Paramecia, and Zoan. However, Devil Fruits also has rules and limitations. Most famously, Devil Fruit users will lose the ability to swim (later explained as a weakness to plain water), and no one can eat more than one Devil Fruit without dying (except Blackbeard, for reasons unknown) . There is also a single Devil Fruit of each type, which will respawn in the nearest normal fruit after the user dies.
Dr. Vegapunk’s long-awaited manga debut signaled that many of One Piece’s greatest mysteries would begin to be solved. According to a Reddit thread containing spoilers for Chapter #1069, while seeing Luffy use his Gear Fifth transformation against Rob Lucci, Vegapunk gives the other Straw Hat an explanation of what Devil Fruits actually are. According to the scientist, devil fruits are manifestations of a desired next step in the potential evolution of life. Each Devil Fruit user represents a possible future for humanity, and the powers of the fruits are the actualization of wishes made by people. These “deviations” from the natural course of things are however considered “unnatural” and draw the ire of Mother Nature herself, in the form of the sea, which rejects Devil Fruit users.
The fruits of the devil are the manifestation of the “desire” of humanity
Dr. Vegapunk’s explanation actually contains more questions than answers. It is unclear how and when humanity’s “wishes” or “desires” took shape in the devil fruits, whether it is a process that is still ongoing or has happened in the past. . The latter explanation seems more likely, as the Devil Fruits are likely tied to another great One Piece mystery, the Great Kingdom which disappeared 800 years before the series began. This is possibly confirmed by Vegapunk saying that Luffy, in his Gear Fifth form, resembles the Sun God Nika depicted in the ancient texts he studied. One Piece fans already knew about Nika’s connection to the world’s mysterious past, including the Great Kingdom and the Void Century, but the Vegapunk reveal also adds Devil Fruits to the mix.
This explanation establishes Devil Fruits as the representation of the importance of “desire” as a key concept in the world of One Piece, perhaps in a dichotomy with “will”, represented by the other major source of abilities of the series, Haki. According to Vegapunk, a person who eats a Devil Fruit “lives a totally alien existence” born of the power of the imagination, but it’s still unclear how this process works. It may have to do with the mysterious “inherited will” residing inside certain Devil Fruits, but it’s all still theory at this point, as Vegapunk himself admits in this chapter. This means that no matter how shocking and exciting these Devil Fruits reveals are, One Piece fans can still expect a lot more in the future.
The latest chapter of One Piece is available via Viz Media.