Warning! Massive spoilers for One Piece Chapter 1043 to follow! One Piece has reached the climax of the Wano Country arc and Luffy and Kaido's fight on the top of the Skull Dome is the only one left to settle before Onigashima crashes down onto Wano's Flower Capital below. Luffy has been pushing everything he has in order to take down Kaido by any means necessary, but the previous chapter left him on such a terrible situation that he was not looking like a probable victor. This unfortunately becomes the case, and with that loss has also sparked a new kind of question.
There have been intriguing teases dropped about Luffy's Devil Fruit in the series in recent arcs, and the more we learn about Wano's potential ties to the One Piece treasure itself, the more it's putting Luffy into a new kind of light. He's gotten so much key attention from the government for a number of reasons before now, and as the end of Chapter 1043 sees him either transform into or tap into what is likely the legendary Joy Boy's power, it's put Luffy's power into question. What if Luffy has eaten something that only looks and acts like the Gum-Gum Fruit? What if it's some other kind of power?
SPOILERS:— Nick Valdez (@Valdezology) March 14, 2022
After #OnePiece's last cliffhanger, I'm starting to think Luffy's Devil Fruit isn't rubber at all...but I don't know what it could be either. After that Kaido line about Luffy's punches and that goopy stuff at the end of #ONEPIECE1043 it's all I can think about pic.twitter.com/qv1ToA5Khf
The most curious bit of recent information comes during Chapter 1042 when Luffy's using his Gear Fourth Snakeman punches on Kaido. The Emperor wonders to himself how Luffy is bending the trajectory of his attacks, and curiously notes that "Given the nature of rubber, that's impossible." This could be some kind of small bit of shock from the Emperor, but as fans of this series know any little detail can be major foreshadowing. Couple this with the fact that the Gum-Gum Fruit was revealed to be previously in the possession of the World Government before Shanks got a hold of it (and Luffy ate it, of course) and that furthers the mystery even more.
At the end of Chapter 1043, Luffy's heart begins to beat in such a way that Zunesha recognizes it as Joy Boy's from 800 years ago. Luffy takes on a smile despite being completely unconscious before, and his body starts to either become and ooze or is covered by it. This further complicates things even more as "given the nature of rubber" as Kaido would say, that ooze has no kind of visual indication that it's some kind of Gum-Gum ability either. If Luffy's Devil Fruit was something other than rubber, it would also make the fact he's a major target make all the more sense too.
He's not only been marked as a major threat by the World Government much like any other pirate, but he was made to be the target of an assassination from the Elders themselves. It's so recent that it happened too that it doesn't seem like he's suddenly more important either. Luffy's been doing the same thing he's been doing the entire series and just challenging authorities of higher scales in both the law and outlaw worlds, and yet he was never interrupted in the way he was here. A member of CP0 had to interrupt the fight with Kaido because, for some reason, now is when a Luffy win is a big deal.
Not to mention the fact that we learned at the end of the Reverie that Luffy (and Shirahoshi) had drawn the ire of the king at the center of the world, and it all begs the question of why now. Why is it now that Luffy has risen to such prominence? It all goes back to his Devil Fruit. There are so many mysteries about how they work, and how the awakenings work, more specifically. What if Luffy's Devil Fruit power has yet to fully awaken? What if it had to...ripen essentially? But then the question becomes, if Luffy's Devil Fruit power isn't rubber...what could it be?
It would have to be something that doesn't conduct electricity, and a substance that would let Luffy fight as the way he does now. So what do you think? Do you think Luffy's Devil Fruit has a hidden power? What if his element is something other than rubber? Let us know all of your thoughts about it in the comments! You can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!