Ways Gear 5 Is The Best Shonen Transformation


  • Luffy’s Gear 5 transformation is unique in the world of shonen as it is not fueled by grief or pain, but rather represents his carefree and freedom-seeking personality.
  • Gear 5 showcases Luffy’s boundless imagination, as all of his transformations originate from his ability to imagine unique solutions to overcome challenges.
  • Unlike other power-ups in shonen, Gear 5 exists not just to make Luffy stronger, but to display his ingenuity and ability to adapt to any situation, emphasizing his pursuit of freedom.

Monkey D. Luffy is the protagonist of One Piece and among the most iconic characters in Shonen history. One Piece, being the most popular shonen manga to have ever existed, has produced phenomenal characters after phenomenal characters, however, at the heart of the series is none other than Luffy, who is a true representation of everything that Oda wants his readers to see.

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Just like many shonen series, there are countless power-ups and transformations seen in One Piece, and among the most significant ones is Luffy’s Gear 5 that he tapped into very recently in the Wano arc. While getting new transformations is nothing groundbreaking for any series, the way that Oda has gone about Gear 5 makes it so and, at the same time, certainly gives it a shout for being the very best Shonen transformation of all time.

6 Not a Manifestation of Grief or Pain

One Piece Luffy awakens Gear 5th

The vast majority of shonen transformations stem from grief or pain, such as the Super Saiyan. This is a trope that has been seen quite a lot in nearly every shonen series. The main character suffers a great emotional trauma or pain and then transcends to the next level, turning into an enraged being powered up by their rage to vanquish the evil. While that isn’t bad per se, they are almost always the same and there is never any creativity.

At the same time, they strip away a character of their true personality and turn them into a shell of their true self. Essentially, Luffy’s Gear 5 flips the script on this and is completely devoid of any rage or pain. Luffy has never in his entire life attained a transformation due to grief or pain, simply because that is not a transformation that Oda intends to show in his heartwarming story for a character who is carefree and only chases freedom all his life.

5 True to Luffy’s Character

Gear 5 teaser one piece

The reason why Gear 5 is so iconic is simply because it goes very well with Luffy’s very own personality. Shonen protagonists are, more often than not, very goofy characters who have a lighthearted personality. However, when they transform, they leave all that behind and manifest power in the form of rage and grief or sorrow.

While that is always cool to see, it does end up stripping away the character of their very own freedom and, at the same time, makes them something that even they would not envision themselves to be. When it comes to Luffy, this has never been the case. None of Luffy’s transformations have ever deviated from his own character. Luffy has had every single one of his transformations come from imagination.

4 Based On Luffy’s Imagination

Monkey d luffy gear 5 nika one piece

Luffy is a character that has always relied heavily on imagination. Although he may look like a dunce at times, Luffy has boundless imagination and that is exactly what Oda has shown from the very first chapter of the series. When it comes to transformations, Luffy always makes use of his endless imagination to come up with the most unique solutions. For instance, Luffy developed Gear Second when he saw CP9 use Soru and, given that he had a rubber body, he found a way to copy that. When he needed to hit harder, Luffy developed a way to get a bigger hand simply by inflating his bones and gaining the fist of a giant, once again, showcasing his imagination.

RELATED: One Piece: Characters With The Potential To Awaken Conqueror’s Haki

When he had to topple the beasts on Ruskaina, Luffy incorporated the Haki that he had learned with his incredible Devil Fruit and created a form powerful of tangling with these powerful monsters. To overcome Cracker’s biscuits, he ate his way through them and blasted him off. To combat Katakuri’s incredible Haki, he turned to Gear Fourth and toned it down to a version where he could make use of immense speed. The culmination of all of this is Gear 5, the ultimate transformation of Luffy where his imagination is truly boundless and he becomes the freest person on the oceans, which is exactly what makes this transformation so magical.

3 Power Up Exists To Display His Ingenuity

gear 5 teaser luffy one piece

Power-ups in Shonen exist to make the character stronger and that is the primary reason for their existence. The same cannot be said for Gear 5. Gear 5 doesn’t exist just because Luffy needs to get stronger. Instead, Gear 5 exists to display the ingenuity that Luffy possesses and use that to shape his body to conquer the situation that he finds himself in.

Gear 5 exists to show that Luffy can adapt using his incredible imagination and boundless freedom to any situation, which, once again, reinforces the idea of him being the freest person on the seas – something that he has always wanted to be.

2 The Epitome Of Freedom

Nika gear 5 luffy one piece

Another reason why Gear 5 is the best transformation in Shonen is simply because it is a form that is based on freedom. From the very first chapter of One Piece, Oda has made sure to make Luffy a person chasing freedom. When Rayleigh asked Luffy what he wanted to conquer, his answer was simply that he wanted to be the freest person instead, and not conquer anything. Luffy, at his heart, wants freedom and he wants to share this freedom with all of his friends.

Luffy does not care about power or getting stronger primarily, but he realizes that chasing freedom for himself and his friends inadvertently means that he has to become the strongest. Being a character that has never chased strength anyway and has only ever wanted to be free, Gear 5 making him the Warrior of Liberation is certainly a stroke of genius by Oda.

1 Toon Force

Kaido surprised by Gear 5th one piece episode 1071

While this might be controversial for some fans, Gear 5 is essentially Luffy tapping into the childlike powers of toon force. Luffy becomes quite like a cartoon character and canonically so, given that even Kaido states that he appears to be a character that has been brought to life from a comic strip. Luffy can make his eyes pop out or make his enemies do so by spreading his ability to them. Luffy can also run in the air or do things that are only possible in a childish cartoon.

Luffy, at his heart, has always been a child. The power of Gear 5 stems from his imagination and Luffy basically brings forth a world that he envisions within his mind. This is why Gear 5 is Luffy truly at his peak, not just in terms of strength but also in terms of characterization. Gear 5 brings out the very best of Luffy in every way without having any negative emotions play any part. Gear 5 makes Luffy the Warrior of Liberation and the man who spreads laughter and joy wherever he goes and makes his readers do the same. Truly, this is among the very best transformations to have ever existed, and it is certainly the most unique and, arguably, the very best of all time.

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