Awakening is a huge topic of interest and it has become one of mine too. Initially, I assumed it could end up with a lot of discrepancies if it were a deus-ex machina boost as there are so many devil fruit abilities, but Oda’s shown he has a method to his madness.
If anything, I expect awakening to be similar to haki; something that’s been a part of One Piece since the beginning, isn’t outlandish and is usually pretty simple. As we all saw with gear 4th, it was absolutely simple and straightforward and I expect awakening to be the same.
Without further ado, I shall proceed to breaking down awakening and elaborate on the results of my findings.
What is Awakening
Awakening is the full manifesting of a Devil fruit’s full power; it’s a phenomenon that occurs when one has fully learnt to control their devil fruit.
A simple analogy to explain awakening would be it’s more sensible to be able to ride a bicycle with perfect control at high speeds before upgrading to a motorbike or accidents will occur; the same is synonymous with Devil fruits, you don’t get to use the full potential of an ability when control isn’t adequate or it becomes a counter-productive and useless power.
Devil fruits as we know endow one with powers; unbeknownst to us, there exists another side to these Devil fruits which is called awakening. I will be breaking up devil fruits into 2 sub-divisions:
- Baby-Stage: When referring to the initial powers granted which is the suppressed power of a Devil fruit.
- Awakened-Stage: When referring to the unsuppressed power of a Devil fruit.
The user’s role and levels of Devil fruit control
The user and the Devil fruit are 2 separate entities, Joker’s brief description of awakening is consistent with this belief; he goes on to mentions that it’s the Devil fruit that awakens rather than the user. If it’s the Devil fruit that awakens, then it begs the question, what role does the user play in awakening the devil fruit?
According to my findings, awakening is dependant on 1 factor which is perfect control over a Devil fruit at its “Baby-stage”. How did I come to such a conclusion? One has to read Joker’s analysis of Luffy before he boasts about awakening as answered in the spoiler below.
- Joker first analyses Luffy’s gear 4th and his analysis implies it’s being held in place by haki rather than being solely used to enhance or support gear 4th; Luffy doesn’t cover his body in haki for gear 2 or 3 because haki isn’t fundamental in maintaining those forms.
- Joker proceeds to confirm this assertion by acknowledging Luffy’s fairly good grasp over his ability, which in other words, means he doesn’t have perfect control yet which can ultimately be translated as Luffy wouldn’t need to use haki to maintain his gear 4th, if his control were that of perfect mastery.
Based on this, it seems rather conclusive that only perfect control is necessary for one to awaken.
Simply put, there are 2 levels of Devil fruit control:
- Baby-tier control: Imperfect control over a Devil fruit.
- Awakened-tier control: Perfect control over a Devil fruit.
Advancing from Baby-tier control to Awakened-tier control at a Devil fruit’s Baby-stage is when the Devil fruit advances to the Awakened-stage.
- On consumption, user is at Baby-tier control and has access to the Devil fruit’s “Baby-stage” abilities.
- Train to advance from Baby-tier control to Awakened-tier control.
- Fruit advances to the Awakened-stage once user has advanced to Awakened-tier control.
Rarity of Awakenings
The first thing to notice is he never says awakening is rare; however, he just says it’s the next and final stage to Devil fruit progression or development. He only mentions an Aspect of awakening that is rare and that’s when it affects beyond the user’s body like Joker showcasing the evidence of his fruit being awakened.
This external effect is such as buildings turning into strings can be activated or deactivated, so awakened users can affect when their fruits affect their surroundings.
Why all Devil fruits Awakenings won’t affect outside the user’s body
As the translations imply, an awakening will not always affect the surroundings. One has to ask then when does it affect the surroundings? Seemingly, it affects the surroundings depending on the nature of the Devil fruit or ability at the Baby-Stage.
The first Criteria is the ability must allow a user to produce and control substances of innumerable quantities which so far includes two Paremecia, Joker and Trebol along with all Logia.
Being that the purpose of awakening is to increase the effect of an ability, if an ability at the Baby-stage allows one to produce a substance, awakening enhances that ability by increasing the amount of the substance produced.
The question is what is the source of this increase? and this is where the surroundings become important…
If we use Ace, a Logia, as an example and assume Ace was awakened which I believe he was, what was his final and ultimate attack? “Flame Emperor” which was a huge flame ball we can assume requires being awakened. We can also assume he didn’t need to turn trees and buildings into flames, he can just conjure it which means his awakening doesn’t depend on surroundings as a source.
The question that finally arises is why does Ace’s awakening not depend on the surrounding inanimate objects to produce fire, while Joker requires’s awakening requires the surrouding to produce strings?
Perhaps, if the object being produced isn’t intangible like Fire, Sand, Magma, etc. then, it won’t affects the surroundings whereas if it is tangible like strings, it will affect surroundings.
Out of all the people who create and produce a substance that is tangible, those who produce tangible substances are:
- Joker’s Ito Ito no Mi (Paramecia)
And this is why such awakenings are rare; not many DF users will extend their powers to their surroundings besides Joker.
Permanent or Temporary
It’s a permanent effect. Where is the sense in being a master at controlling one’s abilities for a moment and then suddenly being bad at it? None whatsoever. How to prove this? The Zoans in Impel-down were awakened and despite losing consciousness, they remained in the same form.
This means awakening is not a temporary power-up since it neither requires stamina or consciousness (like gear 4th) as proven by awakened Zoans and this is also consistent with the theory that it’s a level of mastery which isn’t something lost with consciousness or stamina either.
Also, remember the awakening occurs in the fruit; not on the individual directly. So even though Joker was knocked out, his fruit doesn’t lose it’s status of being awakened except on death of the user where someone else will have to awaken it if consumed.
Predicting Awakening Power-Ups
We initially spotted the awakened Zoans in Impel-down and Crocodile mentioned that they had increased resilience due to being awakened. We only saw them in their Awakened-stage, but based on Crocodile’s comment it can be deduced that their resilience is higher than it was in the Baby-stage.
- Baby-stage: Zoan Devil fruit grants a resistance value 30 (made up value).
- Awakened-stage: Zoan Devil fruit now grants a resistance value level of 100 (made up value).
First thing to understand is Zoan Devil fruits naturally and by default increase one’s physical feats and this fruit clearly increased their resistance at the Baby-stage and enhanced this even further at the Awakened Stage.
Joker before mentioning he was an awakened devil fruit user showed amazing utility of his Devil fruit. We saw him healing internal injuries; creating clones; manipulating people and using it to fly. It’s fair to say even without the Birdcage and the White techniques (off-white, God thread, etc), he showed excellent control and mastery.
- Baby-stage: The Devil fruit only create strings from the user’s body and possesses less variety of strings.
- Awakened-stage: As we all saw, the Devil fruit now has a huge variety of strings and creates strings from outside the user’s body too.
What’s quite clear is the awakened string fruit allowed him to have a larger source of strings which enabled him to produce much larger attacks.
Luffy has shown excellent control over his abilities, his gears show how well Luffy has advanced in manipulating his abilities. Gear 4th however powerful it is cannot be utilized if not being held together by haki and evidently, it shows that he’s not mastered his Devil fruit manipulation as Joker rightly stated. If anything, haki being used with gear 4th is acting as a training wheel in aiding Luffy in learning to maintain this form.
- Baby-stage: Rubber Devil fruit can stretch and expand within set limits and offers good durability against blunt-attacks.
- Awakened-stage: The Rubber Devil fruit now stretches and expands even further (with little to no limitation) and has increased durability against blunt attacks.
If Luffy can stretch further because of enhanced elasticity and durability, it means:
- Gear 2 can be faster and stronger since it can handle fast flow of blood than at the Baby-stage.
- Gear 3 can be bigger and compress even more air than at the Baby-stage, either way it’s more powerful.
- Gear 4 wouldn’t exhaust him any more because of stronger elasticity & durability and haki wouldn’t be necessary to support it, but only to enhance it’s power.
Stronger rubber properties means he can combine Muscle balloon and Bone balloon without risk; he’d probably almost die doing that now.
It’s relatively straight forward; once the user’s control has advanced from Baby-tier control to Awakened-tier control at the Devil fruit’s Baby-stage, it means the Devil fruit advances to the Awakened staged where the full spectrum of the Devil fruit’s power is simply unleashed (permanently).
*Theory by Hannibal Psyche