One Piece fans know they can always count on one thing to ring true, and that is Eiichiro Oda being a genuine mastermind. The artist has worked with Luffy for decades now, and Oda is still surprising fans with his last-minute revelations. Of course, fans tend to find in retrospect that his twists are telegraphed, and that is true for the manga's latest bombshell. After all, it seems Oda once foreshadowed Luffy's real Devil Fruit, and honestly – we're not surprised at this point.
The whole thing came around in Fall 2001 if you can believe it. Back then, One Piece was celebrating the release of volume 20, and Oda answered a slew of questions from fans to celebrate. It was there some intrepid readers asked what would happen if a human ate the Hito Hito no Mi, and Oda couldn't have answered more suspiciously if he tried.
"I suppose I should say they 'become human'. Uh, I guess you could say that means becoming an adult or finding your true spirit or something. Basically, people will live more human-like. Well, I guess you could say that. Or not. Maybe not. Goodbye," he wrote.
Clearly, the answer is on edge, and Oda no doubt dramatized it for comedic effect. However, that does not discount the fact it came to pass. Like Tony Tony Chopper and a few others, Luffy ate a Mythical Zoan treat as a child, and the Devil Fruit gifted him with godly powers as such. After all, the Hito Hito no Mi: Nika does free up Luffy's childish personality as Oda hinted, and he's definitely living life to the fullest.
Of course, One Piece fans didn't think twice about this 2001 teaser because – well – we thought we knew the Gomu Gomu no Mi. It turns out the Devil Fruit is far more complicated than fans assumed, and Oda didn't tease a single thing here about what Luffy's Hito Hito fruit could do. But as more details come out about the treat, we're sure fans will find more crumbs from Oda in years past.
What do you think about Oda's little teaser from way back when? Do you think Luffy's Devil Fruit needed a bit of spice? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.