Hints at major happening may have been right under our noses this whole time
One Piece chapter 1044 is all over the internet now and the masses are going crazy over the latest installment in the long-running manga. A significant part of the story, fans are now carefully combing back through the series’ 25-year history for hints and clues about a very important occurrence in the latest pages.
The detective work has brought fans back to a color spread art piece from a past chapter that features the likes of Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, Nico Robin, and the rest of the Straw Hat crew dressed up as characters from fighting games like Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., Darkstalkers, and more. People have now realized that this artwork may have held hints at the latest milestone this whole time. Major spoilers ahead.
One Piece 1044 sees the continuation of the massive battle between Straw Hat captain Monkey D. Luffy and the world’s strongest creature and leader of the Beast Pirates, Kaido. After being stricken down by a powerful attack from Kaido — which was a result of the interference and distraction from one of the Straw Hats’ past foes — Luffy appeared defeated and all hope was lost.
At the end of chapter 1043, series creator Eiichiro Oda dropped a bomb on fans as the final panels left readers with a massive cliffhanger. Luffy could be seen regaining consciousness and grinning widely, and his hair began to undergo a transformation that seemed to point at a potential new form for the beloved protagonist — think the hype and importance of a new Super Saiyan form in Dragon Ball Z.
The chapter’s conclusion states that “Joy Boy” — a legendary historical figure in the world of One Piece that we know little about — has returned, seemingly implying that Luffy is Joy Boy. This sent the internet into a frenzy of speculation, but 1044 now has shed light on what exactly is going on here.
Luffy indeed has a brand new form, which he is referring to as his Fifth Gear. In actuality, though, Luffy’s power from him and the Devil Fruit that granted it are something totally different than what we have been led to believe this entire time, and Luffy is indeed Joy Boy.
We get to see Luffy (Joy Boy) in action here and are left with a clear shot of what this transformation looks like. In this form, Luffy has billowy hair that looks like fire, and flame clouds surround his torso.
Luffy in his Fifth Gear/Joy Boy form from One Piece chapter 1044
Though this is the first official look at Luffy’s Fifth Gear / Joy Boy form, Oda has seemingly hid a hint at this transformation in the color spread of chapter 1028. The special art piece shows Usopp and Nami playing video games against each other in what is clearly meant to be a fighting game.
Zoro, the crew’s swordsman, can be seen dressed as The Legend of Zelda’s Link, Franky is clearly Donkey Kong, and Nico Robin appears to be inspired by Darkstalkers’ Morrigan. Most importantly, though, Luffy is depicted as Street Fighter’s Ken — who utilizes fire within his attacks from him.
Color spread art piece from One Piece chapter 1028
This Ken version of Luffy readies for battle with fiery fists, but unlike the classic world warrior Luffy sports a hairdo made of fire that looks very similar to his Joy Boy form. Other details, like the 800 in Usopp’s goggles, point to this artwork being a peek at the future, and Oda definitely has a reputation for planting things in plain sight that end up being very important pieces of the puzzle later on.
On the surface, One Piece chapter 1028’s color spread is an awesome nod to several of the fighting games we hold near and dear. For the initiated, though, it’s a Log Pose pointing to one of the most significant and earth-shattering developments in all of One Piece.