'One Piece': What is Gear Fourth Snake-Man?

One Piece's latest episode ended with the introduction of a brand new Gear Fourth variation, [...]

One Piece's latest episode ended with the introduction of a brand new Gear Fourth variation, Snake-Man, as Luffy felt he needed to draw on its power in order to bring his fight with Katakuri in the Mirror-World to a conclusion.

But what is Snake-Man? It's a much different form than the previously seen Bound-Man and Tank-Man, so read on for what makes it different from the others. Note there will be mild spoilers for what's to come in the anime.

Snake-Man, as fans could already tell at the end of Episode 869, has a different look than the other two. It's a more slender transformation with Luffy's arms and legs being the only things filled with Haki rather than expand the muscles of his entire body like Bound-Man. Luffy's hair gets a change as well as it takes on a more wild look. Fire is a unique trait to the Snake-Man form as well as Luffy doesn't produce steam, but a mix of steam and flame. There's a noticeable viscosity to it.

Along with the visual differences come a difference in what Snake-Man allows Luffy to do. He gets a significant speed boost and this form allows him to use the "Python" technique. It's got different traits than when he uses Python in Bound-Man, though, as Snake-Man requires more of a mastery of the Observation Haki. Because in Snake-Man, the Python speeds up the longer Luffy stretches out his arms.

For example, if Katakuri is able to dodge it with his Observation Haki, Python makes Luffy's punches tougher to dodge because they start ricocheting at an increasing speed with an even harder to predict trajectory. But Luffy still has to be in control of those punches.

With this increase in speed, Snake-Man also carries over Bound-Man's jumping ability. Snake-Man might have an edge over the two in that case, but it does not have Bound-Man's defensive ability. Because Luffy only fills his arms and legs with Haki, rather than expand all of his muscles. it's more of an offensive form than defensive one. Luffy's still open to taking damage as he normally is, though arguably Snake-Man makes up for it with its offensive power.

Most importantly, Snake-Man is the Gear Fourth form that will give Luffy the necessary agility he needs to get the upper hand on Katakuri. Katakuri's still got tricks up his sleeve as well, but Luffy's going for a big gamble with Snake-Man. Soon fans of the anime will be able to see this all play out!

Eiichiro Oda's One Piece first began serialization in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997. It has since been collected into over 80 volumes, and has been a critical and commercial success worldwide with many of the volumes breaking printing records in Japan. The manga has even set a Guinness World Record for the most copies published for the same comic book by a single author, and is the best-selling manga series worldwide with over 430 million copies sold. The series still ranked number one in manga sales in 2018, which surprised fans of major new entries.