While reading the latest chapters, I’ve been pondering the potential limitations of Luffy’s Gear 5. It’s increasingly clear that perhaps Luffy shouldn’t default to this gear in every confrontation.
Remember Luffy’s initial clash with Kizaru when he adopted his Snake man form in the chapters? There’s a distinct shift in his demeanor as he transitions from Gear 4 to Gear 5. In Snake man mode, Luffy exudes determination, seemingly hell-bent on safeguarding Vegapunk and conquering the admiral. But upon shifting to Gear 5, that focus seems somewhat diminished. He opts for merely hurling Kizaru away, becomes side-tracked by Zoro’s duel with Lucci, and subsequently, when Kizaru re-engages, Luffy’s attention is scattered by clones, endangering Ussop and the crew.
This raises a question: Does the Nika form hinder one’s ability to maintain a serious attitude? In this mode, Luffy appears to prioritize amusement over achievement.
We’ve always known Luffy to be light-hearted, but it seems Oda might be emphasizing a potential flaw in Gear 5, especially given the buzz around its chapter debut and fan queries about its constraints.
Let’s recall Luffy’s battle with Kaido in the chapters. Pre-Gear 5, he’s totally invested, trading blows relentlessly with Kaido. But post-transformation, his antics involve skipping rope with Kaido and laughing inappropriately. This uncontrolled laughter underlines my suspicion: Nika mode possibly diminishes Luffy’s seriousness, potentially heightening risks.
Now, it’s more appealing to attribute this to an inherent characteristic rather than the stereotypical manga trope of “excessive energy consumption”. While the Nika form likely drains stamina – evident in Luffy’s fight against Kaido in the chapters – it’s noteworthy that other forms supposedly do the same. Having a unique and tangible flaw for Luffy to grapple with makes for a more riveting storyline.
A side note: Gear 5 is fantastic! It deviates from the typical solemn transformations in shounen, mirroring the series’ essence.
Interestingly, some fans highlighted Oda’s notes, suggesting that awakening a Zoan introduces the “risk” of succumbing to the fruit’s innate will. This aligns with my theory and offers an explanation for the peculiar behavior of the jailer beasts – a detail I’ve often pondered over.