Why Is Gear 5 the Perfect Power Up for Luffy in One Piece?

In addition to being the pinnacle of Luffy’s abilities, Gear 5 is among the greatest power ups ever bestowed upon a main character in anime history. Luffy’s strength blossoms with the Fifth Gear, which is unlike any other gear upgrade in the entire series. Except for a small minority, Gear 5 was favorably welcomed by all the fans worldwide. To pull them back from the dark side, I’ve discussed why Gear 5 is a perfect power up for our protagonist Luffy below.

The Ultimate Freedom Luffy Yearned For

Luffy in gear 5 form in Egghead Island
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Toei Animation (IMDb)

I don’t want to conquer anything. I just think the person with the most Freedom In the entire ocean Is the Pirate King, said Monkey D. Luffy

The quote above is one of the iconic lines said by none other than Luffy, our beloved protagonist. He has always been a person who yearned for ultimate freedom in anything he does, and this is evident from his quote.

Having flexibility in his fighting style, Luffy uniquely fights with his rubbery powers like none other. He always comes up with distinct moves depending on the situation and that is how he upgraded to Gear 5 (see the complete list of Luffy’s gears here) over the years.

So, in addition to Luffy attaining his peak strength, the Gear 5 awakening granted him the freedom he had long desired. He is now able to do whatever he wants in this toon-like form and is limited by only his creativity.

Thus, Gear 5 complements his stretchy body and powers exceptionally and unlocks his potential to accomplish anything in battle.

Connection to Sun God Nika

Luffy poses as Sun God Nika in Gear 5 form in One Piece
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Toei Animation (X/@ToeiAnimation)

It was revealed later in the story that Gomu Gomu no Mi devil fruit’s original name has always been Hito Hito no Mi Model: Nika. That is how Luffy was able to transform into “Sun God Nika – The Warrior of Liberation” with Gear 5.

If you paid close attention to the story, you very well know that Nika wasn’t introduced to the story out of the blue. The most hated Skypiea arc (see One Piece arc rankings here) is when the Sun God figure was first mentioned and has been talked about for a long time throughout the story.

The Sun God Nika’s story came full circle with Who’s Who explaining the story to Jinbe (and to the fans) during the Wano Country arc. Nika has been revered by the Shandians, Fishmen, Buccaneers, and the Giants of Elbaf.

The Sun God has always been a symbol of hope and freedom for the downtrodden slaves. He is said to bring joy and free people from their shackles. Luffy has always been the embodiment of freedom in One Piece and the connection to Nika perfectly ties in with Luffy’s character, as mentioned above as well.

Furthermore, Luffy’s connection to the Sun God Nika and freedom has already been analyzed by the fans and is found to be interrelated with renowned philosophies such as the Hegelian Theory of Authentic Master (Hegel’s Master-Slave Dialectic) and Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existential Freedom.

I’m no philosopher but after watching the analysis by popular creators, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between One Piece and real-life philosophies.

Oda Wanted Gear 5 to Subvert Audience’s Expectations

Why Is Gear 5 the Perfect Power Up for Luffy in One Piece?
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Toei Animation (IMDb)

After Gear 5’s debut, in an interview between Eiichiro Oda & Gosho Aoyama (author of the Detective Conan series), Oda remarked a lot about Luffy’s latest gear technique. As you can see below, Gear 5 is something that has been planned a long time ago and Oda has always wanted it to be this way. He had a great time playing around with Luffy’s Gear 5 and was aware of the divisive reactions already as evident from the statement he made.

Luffy got a power up called “Gear 5th”, that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I drew this playing around a lot thinking that it it’s okay if people are against it. I just want to be playful with battles – Oda

Moreover, he stated that in an era of weighty powerups for Shonen’s main characters, he wanted to remain playful and light-hearted with Luffy’s Gear 5. After getting inspired by the famous Tom and Jerry, he got the idea of Gear 5 and it reflected the core theme of One Piece and Luffy i.e. “Freedom” and his own artistic vision.

Battle mangas have to keep getting more and more serious in order to meet the fans’ expectations and I’ve always hated that. That’s why i definitely don’t want to become a serious manga in the end, i just want and decided to be playful, and i’m finally able to do that. That’s why when i drew this. I had super fun.

If you have been following Luffy’s adventures for a long time, you know deep down in your heart that Luffy has always been goofy and wacky from the start. But in times when he needs to step up his game, he does become super serious with his Gear techniques.

The same happens with the Gear 5 power-up; Luffy may look funny initially but with the events in Egghead arc’s climax, he is disproving his haters by showcasing the serious side of Gear 5. Gear 5 is a brilliant and colorful mashup of seriousness and goofiness that many often overlook to call it off just as a funny power up.

Brings the Utmost Joy and Smiles to Everyone Around Him

Luffy smiling in gear 5 form in One Piece
Image Courtesy: One Piece by Toei Animation (X/@ToeiAnimation)

Luffy has been my favorite main character in all kinds of fiction works I’ve read and watched. There is a simple reason behind this; he made me smile even at times when I couldn’t or it didn’t make a lot of sense.

With him transforming into the Sun God Nika, he kicked it up a notch as the Gear 5 powers are an incredibly hilarious sight to behold. It is said, “Nika would one day come to free the slaves from their oppressive masters and bring smiles to their faces while spreading joy wherever he went.”

The statement about Nika perfectly blends in with Luffy’s Gear 5 powers as it doesn’t just make the people around him smile but also makes us the readers and viewers grin whenever Luffy unleashes his Fifth Gear. Luffy spreading joy with this technique reminded me of the times I used to absolutely immerse myself in a cartoon and forget about everything, especially when I watched Tom and Jerry as a kid.

So yeah, those are the reasons why Gear 5 is the perfect match for Luffy. However, I know that the Gear 5 animation is entirely subjective but I hope you find my reasonings reasonable. That said, let me know your thoughts about Gear 5 in the comments below.

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