Was Gear 5 planned since Chapter One of One Piece?

One Piece Gear 5

The One Piece analysts were quick to trace the origins and find any hints of Gear 5 in the story when it was introduced in chapter 1044. Those who believed in Oda or as they would say it Goda, claimed that Gear 5 had been planned since the beginning. So was Gear 5 planned since Chapter One of One Piece??

The others were a bit more critical and declared in different forums that the power-up wasn’t planned out well enough. It was too random and came out of nowhere. With episode 1071, the debate has come back to life once again. Let’s put our analyst glasses on as we delve into Gear 5 and the moment the idea sprang up in the author’s mind.

Instances when Gear 5 was foreshadowed

Luffy in Arlong Park
The shine shines upon Luffy when he defeats Arlong | Image Courtesy of Toei Animation

The primary reason why fans believe Gear 5 was not pre-planned is the lack of foreshadowing. This claim isn’t baseless but there have been instances that can be directly linked to the much talked about power-up. 

  • In Skypiea, there are parallels drawn between God and Luffy; as Skypieans pray to God only to be saved by Luffy. 
  • There have been occasions with a special emphasis on the sun’s rays. Whenever Luffy accomplishes his goal of protecting the oppressed, the sun shines upon him. 
  • A discussion about foreshadowing is incomplete without the mention of Luffy’s pose resembling that of Sun-God Nika. 
Gear 5 foreshadowing
Luffy’s Dance in Skypiea looks like the silhouette of Sun-God Nika | Image Courtesy of Viz Media

All these moments vaguely hint at the events of Episode 1071, which might be an indication that Oda had something in mind. Maybe it wasn’t as clearly carved out in his mind, hence the ambiguity. 

Was Gear 5 planned since Chapter One of One Piece?

One Piece manga chapter 1
Cover Page of One Piece Chapter 1 | Image Courtesy of Viz Media

Whether Gear 5 was planned since day one or not, it does fit into the themes of the story. Reinstating the idea of freedom and the main character possessing the most ridiculous power, these themes scream One Piece. If Gear 5 was planned since Chapter One of One Piece, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t how we know it in the present.

  • To back this up, Doflamingo introduced the idea of Devil Fruit awakening. Doflamingo was one of the Seven Warlords, who weren’t a part of Oda’s initial plans with One Piece. 
  • Shank’s possession of the Devil Fruit and the shock he displayed when he discovered that Luffy had eaten the fruit can be brushed off as a coincidence. But it’s concrete proof that Oda always wanted the fruit to be much more than the Gum-Gum Fruit.
Luffy Gear 5
Luffy Gear 5 in Episode 1072 | Image Courtesy via IMDb

There’ll be no definite answer to the question of Gear 5 was planned since Chapter 1 unless Oda confirms it himself. But it’s a little ignorant to assume that Gear 5 wasn’t planned at all. Even if chapter 1 is ruled out, in Skypiea Oda for sure had some direction in mind with the future of Sun-God Nika. 

Conclusion

Was Gear 5 planned since Chapter One of One Piece?
Luffy Gear 5 vs. Kaido | Image Courtesy via IMDb

Even if Eiichiro Oda didn’t plan Gear 5 since Chapter 1, he has managed to make sense of most things related to the power-up. There are plot holes that make the whole thing a bit imperfect but is perfection the destination of the 25-year-long journey that One Piece has become? 

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