Chapter 1043 was an absolute banger!
Oda really had us going through a ton of emotions, from sinking despair when Luffy’s crushing defeat was outright confirmed by the narrator to frenzied excitement when Zunesha exclaimed that Joy Boy had returned.
However, the highlight of this chapter was the massive bombshell of Joy Boy’s true identity.
Luffy is finally revealed to Joy Boy when Zunesha’s proclamation of the enigma’s long-awaited return coincides with the Straw Hat captain’s bizarre awakening at the end of the chapter.
Is Luffy Reborn as Joy Boy?
Reincarnation was effectively thrown out of the window when Luffy was revealed to be Joy Boy, as the Straw Hat captain’s presence in Wano directly contradicts Oden’s prophecy.
With Luffy already battling Kaidou long before Momonosuke can open the country’s borders, the inherited title theory is the only plausible explanation now. Thankfully, it’s backed up by plenty of instances in the manga.
Revisiting the Sea Kings’ psychic conversation in chapter 968, we know that two of their kings were fated to meet again in the future.
Since their home has been the All Blue for centuries, the Sea Kings’ rulers likely hailed from Fish-Man Island and the Ancient Kingdom, with the former being Poisedon and the latter possibly being Joy Boy.
While alluding to the speculation that Joy Boy was royalty and the founder of the D. clan, Luffy’s meeting with Shirahoshi mirrors his predecessor’s meeting with Poisedon 800 years ago.
Moreover, Luffy’s characteristic trait of sparking joy in whoever he meets and wherever he goes with his unparalleled kindness strongly matches the essence of Joy Boy’s name.
But despite the Straw Hat captain’s mannerisms being similar to what Joy Boy stands for, he hasn’t taken up his will of raising Fish-Man Island out of the sea and uniting the merfolk with the people of the surface.
This implies that Luffy is not reborn as Joy Boy; instead, he has inherited a title that only select descendants of the D. family are bestowed upon.
With that cleared up, there’s also a chance that Luffy’s ‘dead’ or is on the brink of death, and his ‘meltdown’ could indicate Joy Boy’s latent will awakening in the Straw Hat captain, resulting in a temporary body share between the two.
This possibility is supported by one particular line from Binks’ Sake –
If you lose your nerve, this breath could be your last
Hinting that Luffy is probably ‘dead’ after his attempts to prevent his Gear 4 form from deflating failed.
Also, Momonosuke and Law confirming that Luffy’s Voice is no longer audible further alludes to his body being taken over or entering a heightened state that’s OP for him and Joy Boy.
What is Luffy’s fifth new Form? The Gomu Gomu No Mi Explored.
Luffy’s new form will be based on the evolution of the Gomu Gomu No Mi to a Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit inspired by the Sun God Nika that allows the user to morph into and manipulate oil.
Although it seems out of the blue, the fact that rubber is derived from crude oil is enough to understand why Luffy will able to do this. He has already mildly used this ability for moves like Red Hawk and flame attacks.
But if we’re digging deep into the extent of his powers, we need to first analyze what his current Devil Fruit can do.
Luffy’s entire constitution is made of rubber, including his heart that’s pounding ferociously at the end of the chapter.
Like a car, his heart is the engine that receives and pumps blood to and fro the rest of his body, depending on the Gear transformations he engages.
During his first Gear 2 form in Enies Lobby, his arms and legs act as hydraulic pumps that quicken the pace of his blood to his heart, thus generating heat in the form of steam in the process.
Since oil is flammable, it ignites with the heat produced from the steam and the friction of his blood vessels pumping excessively, thus producing fire.
Additionally, the previous chapter sees Luffy defy rubber’s nature of rebounding, by altering his trajectory mid-air, much like heated oil in a pan that moves freely, further supporting his Devil Fruit’s transformation.
Who is Sun God Nika? What’s Luffy’s Connection to him?
Who’s Who, in chapter 1018, describes Sun God Nika as a benevolent warrior who would bring smiles to the faces of slaves he frees from oppressive masters.
Oda’s been foreshadowing his importance ever since he promised a face reveal last year. But with Luffy’s smirk in the latest chapter, I think he’s finally made good on it.
With Luffy’s matching silhouette at the end of the Skypiea arc and his disdain for slavery, he could very well be Nika!
But hold on, since Joy Boy is confirmed to be Luffy and has the goal of freeing the Fish-Men, all three could be the same person!
Will Luffy defeat Kaidou in the Next Chapter?
Luffy will triumph over Kaidou as per Oden’s prophecy of a sea-splitting battle that’ll free Wano. Although the technicalities of his predictions weren’t met, there’s no way Kaidou has a chance against the legendary trio.
Plus, here’s a line from Binks’ Sake that paints a promising picture for the country –
Now comes a storm through the far-off sky
Now the waves are dancing, beat upon the drums
But if you just hold on, the morning sun will rise.
The second line is synchronous with the Drums of Liberation Zunesha hears as Joy Boy finally comes back, and the third line implies that the Sun God Nika will bring the dawn the country’s been waiting for.
While things may look grim with Kaidou threatening the horrid lives Wano’s inhabitants will lead after he drops Onigashima, the Yonko’s top warriors are all taken out.
Even though a handful of emboldened subordinates pose a challenge against the exhausted Straw Hats, Kid and Law, they still have allies like the Heart Pirates and the Kid Pirates, as well as Nekomamushi and Carrot, who were seen running to join the fight.
But since his underlings are occupied, Kaidou will have to find Momonosuke on his own, probably leading to a second confrontation between Yamato and her father or a dragon duel between the Yonko and Momonosuke.
However, with the potential danger of the island being dropped, the stage is set for the perfect moment Luffy comes blazing back as Joy Boy and Nika.
With so much at stake and an epic battle ahead, I’m super stoked to see what Oda has in store for us next chapter!
About One Piece
One Piece is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since July 22, 1997.
The man who had acquired everything in this world, the Pirate King, is Gol D. Roger. The final words he said at the execution tower were “My treasures? If you want it, I’ll let you have it. Look for it; I left all of it at that place.” These words sent many to the seas, chasing their dreams, headed toward the Grand Line, in search of One Piece. Thus began a new age!
Seeking to be the greatest pirate in the world, young Monkey D. Luffy also heads toward the Grand Line in search of One Piece. His diverse crew is joining him along the way, consisting of a swordsman, marksman, navigator, cook, doctor, archaeologist, and cyborg-shipwright, this will be one memorable adventure.