One Piece Explained: How does Luffy’s Gomu Gomu no Mi power work, and what are its various forms?

One Piece Explained

Since its debut in 1997, One Piece has not only established itself as a monumental titan in the world of manga and anime but also left an indelible mark on pop culture.

Eiichiro Oda’s masterful tapestry intertwines epic adventures, intricate characters, and sprawling lore, capturing the hearts of millions and epitomizing the very essence of storytelling in the modern age. There are profound themes of friendship, ambition, and the pursuit of dreams here, ideas that have resonated across cultures, making One Piece an iconic testament to the power of animation.

The world of One Piece is vast and deep, filled with mysteries, histories, and intricacies that mirror our own societal challenges and triumphs. To the uninitiated, it offers an exciting adventure on the high seas; to the veteran fan, a poignant exploration of humanity’s shared values and conflicts.

Being the geeks that we are over here, we’ll be diving deep into the rich mythos and lore of One Piece, shedding light on the elements that make this anime such a cultural phenomenon.

How Does Luffy Gomu Gomu No Mi Powers Work & What Are Its Variants?

Monkey D. Luffy is an important figure in Eichiro Oda’s One Piece world. Not only because he’s the series’s protagonist, but because of what he represents as a leader and person. While Luffy has the heart of a role model, he has the powers to back him up. Luffy’s powers are derived from the Gomu Gomu no Mi Paramecia Devil Fruit. This grants him rubber-like properties.

This allows him to stretch his body like rubber. This makes Luffy’s body immune to conventional blunt attacks and gives him the ability to dish out powerful attacks. Furthermore, his powers allow him to stretch his limbs from a great distance to attack enemies, giving him great advantages in combat. Additionally, Luffy’s rubber body comes with unique abilities that add to his versatility in battle. 

He can inflate his body like a balloon, transform his fists into giant wrecking balls, or turn his body into a spring to generate more speed and force. Furthermore, Luffy’s rubber body helps him stay immune from electric attacks. This proved useful in his battle against Enel during One Piece’s Skypeia story arc. 

Luffy has a few weaknesses. Some issues Luffy faces with his powers include needing to wait for his limbs to retract, using excessive motion to attack, being susceptible to cutting attacks, blade weapons, and Busoshoku Haki (like other Devil Fruit users). With knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses in mind, it’s important to highlight each of Luffy’s forms (Gears) he’s acquired in One Piece (so far). 

Gear 1st – Standard Form

Luffy never acknowledges Gear 1st like the others we’ll discuss later. This is prominently Luffy’s base form. Each attack Luffy initiates starts with part of his Devil Fruit’s name in it. One such example is his iconic Gomu Gomu no-pistol attack, where he pulls his arm back and forces it forward to deliver a nasty punch to his opponent. 

Luffy’s defenses all stem from his rubbery body. No bullets, cannon balls, or lightning can penetrate Luffy’s body in this state. Moreover, Luffy has an arsenal of attacks in his Gear 1 form. Later in the story, Luffy learns how to infuse haki with his standard attacks, making them more powerful. 

With its advantages, comes disadvantages though. Many were discussed above, including him having to dedicate time to stretch his limbs, making him vulnerable to attacks. Furthermore, he’s susceptible to sharp weaponry, so sword-wielders will have a fine time fighting him in this state. While it’s not Luffy’s best form, it’s helped him win some incredible fights earlier in the series 

Gear 2nd

Gear 2nd is the first form Luffy acknowledges by name in the manga and anime. He debuted this form in his fight against Blueno during the Enies Lobby Story Arc. Luffy initiates this form by increasing his blood flow speed. He starts by pumping blood through his legs to activate the effect across his entire body. Then his whole body begins to exert steam, causing it to turn pink. After One Piece’s time skip, Luffy exhibits full mastery of Gear 2nd and can activate it through different parts of his body. 

Anyways, once activated, Luffy’s body exerts steam, causing him to look more pink. Before he attacks, he’ll utter the phrase “Gomu Gomu No Jet…” and unleash a much faster and more powerful attack compared to his base form. Essentially, Gear 2nd increases Luffys’ physical capabilities, making him faster than Soru users and someone who can penetrate foes with Tekkai defenses. 

Before he went on to train with Rayleigh during the time skip, Gear 2nd depleted his energy quickly and threatened Luffy’s lifespan. Nowadays, Luffy’s managed to reduce these effects and discovered a way to fuse his Haki with it. This led him to create the fire-fist-themed attack Red Hark, which was strong enough to force Kaidou to dodge his attack.

Gear 3rd

Enies Lobby is regarded as one of One Piece’s finest storylines. It not only gave fans Gear 2nd, but Luffy mentions Gear 3rd at one point during this story arc to get fans excited. Gear 3rd involves Luffy biting his thumb to make a small opening in it. He blows an immense amount of air into it to increase his hand’s size. He can use this technique in different body parts like Gear 2nd too. 

As one can expect, Gear 3rd gives Luffy more strength in his attacks. The downside is that he’ll become less mobile when using this Gear. The phrase he uses when initiating a Gear 3rd attack is “Gomu Gomu No Gigant.” He later coats his hand in haki to increase his attack’s strength and most of them are named after iconic gun-based weapons and animals. 

The Armament Haki and Gear 3rd combo also give Luffy an increase in his defensive power. He can use this combination to shield his body from enemy attacks. At one point, Gear 3rd caused Luffy to shrink into a toddler. However, thanks to the training he endured during the time skip, this is no longer a problem for him. 

The Armament Haki-coated body parts also increased his defensive powers, which was evident in his fight with Fujitora. He uses it to shield his body from his attacks. Furthermore, this form made him shrink into a little kid after using it, and we saw him running from Rob Lucci in the Ennies Lobby arc. After the time skip in the story, he has better control over his Gear 3 form and has mastered it. Also, Luffy is now able to completely negate the shrinking effect.

Gear 4th – (Boundman, Tankman, Snakeman)

Gear 4th is one of Luffy’s most complex Gears yet. He created this form during the 2-year time skip training he endured with Rayleigh on Rusukaina.  Luffy activates this gear by blowing into his arms and inflating his entire body to enhance his muscles. Then, he coats his body parts with Armanent Haki and lets out steam like with Gear 2nd.

Gear 4th comes with three sub-forms for Luffy to pick from.

The first sub-form Luffy showcased with Gear 4th is named Boundman/Bouceman. He uses this form in his final bout against DoFlamingo during One Piece’s Dressrosa story arc. With Boundman, Luffy always bounces off the surface in his enlarged, haki-infused state. He can rescind his arms and legs inside his body, allowing him to release quick severe attacks with more strength than before. 

In his Boundman form, Luffy can direct his attacks in different directions as shown with the python attack he used on DoFlamingo, Katakuri, and others. This form gives Luffy incredible defensive measures. Luffy can use his haki-coated body parts to bounce enemy attacks off his body.

Luffy’s second Gear 4th sub-form is called Tankman. He uses this form during his bout against Charlotte Cracker. After eating some biscuits Nami made for him, Luffy grew larger in size. Then, he used his Gear 4th technique and became an enlarged being. Tankman assists Luffy from a defense perspective as it allows him to blast opponents away with his enormous body.

Snakeman is Luffy’s last sub-form with Gear 4th and he uses it during his battle against Katakuri. This form is slimmer and emphasizes offense more than Boundman and Tankman. He only concentrates his Haki in his forearms, legs, and torso with Snakeman. In it, Luffy can attack at tremendous speed and can frequently change the direction of his attacks whenever he prefers. However, he loses defense.

Unfortunately, if a powerful haki user with immense strength like Kaidou challenges him, Gear 4th will be mildly useless to Luffy. Moreover, Luffy can’t use haki again for 10 minutes after using Gear 4th. His body will suffer greatly upon using it too. Nonetheless, it’s a form that captivated audiences when it appeared in One Piece’s manga/anime. 

Gear 5th

Gear 5th is Luffy’s latest Gear form at the time of this writing. Luffy showcases Gear 5th during his final battle with Kaidou on Onigashima’s rooftop and creates it by awakening his Devil Fruit’s power. This allowed him to transform into the sun god Nika, the latent power buried within the Gomu Gomu no mi. This not only raised Luffy’s power level significantly, but it changed his appearance from his clothes to his hair color.

This ability gave Luffy the power to bend reality, giving him complete freedom to do anything he wanted within the realm of his imagination. He can utilize other gear techniques quicker, has a faster recovery rate, can give his environment (terrain, living things, lightning, etc.) rubber properties, etc. However, his inexperience with Gear 5th so far leaves him completely drained out. This form left fans shaken, bewildered, and excited for what was to come revolving around Luffy’s quest to become the Pirate King. 

In Conclusion

One Piece’s world is full of complexity and wonder. It contains fabulous characters, strong attention to detail, and many intricate components that make it engaging to follow on a weekly basis. Whether you enjoy reading the latest updates in the manga or love Toei Animation’s handling of its source material, you’ll grow to cherish this pirate-centric world Eichiro Oda created. With all of Luffy’s various forms over the years, it’s interesting to look back at how much progress he’s made. 

Are you a big One Piece fan? What is your favorite Luffy form? Let us know in the comments below!

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