The biggest retcon in One Piece history was made even more interesting by the revelation that Red-Haired Shanks, the man who put Luffy on the path to becoming a pirate, was aware of the secret of the Gomu Gomu no Mi Devil Fruit all along. Fans already speculated that when Shanks stole the Devil Fruit from the World Government he knew that it was actually a much more powerful and dangerous one, and the manga clearly confirmed it, changing the relationship between Luffy and Shanks forever.
In One Piece‘s very first chapter, a kid named Luffy accidentally eats a Devil Fruit that Shanks and his pirate crew had recently stolen, obtaining the powers of a rubber body, thanks to the Gomu Gomu no Mi, a Paramecia-type Devil Fruit. Paramecia are considered the least powerful Devil Fruit when compared to the element-based Logia or to the rarest ones, Mythical Zoan. Twenty-five years later, the manga shockingly revealed that Luffy actually ate the Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika, a Mythical Zoan connected to a mysterious figure called “Sun God Nika”, who was worshiped by slaves in antiquity. The World Government, afraid of this Devil Fruit, tried to hide its existence by changing its name but was unable to get a hold of it. The last time they tried, Shanks stole it, with the implication that it was just a coincidence and he was not aware of its true origins.
Shanks Was Aware Of The True Nature Of Luffy’s Devil Fruit
Chapter #1054 of One Piece confirms that Shanks knew much more than what transpired until now. A brief flashback shows the Red Hair pirates attacking the World Government ship transporting the Devil Fruit, despite knowing that it is protected by the powerful special agents of the CP9 agency. The sequence even shows a CP9 member puzzling over Shanks’ attack, as that Devil Fruit “just turns you into rubber“. The flashback drops a further hint about Shanks’ real intentions, showing the pirate smiling shortly before losing an arm to protect Luffy from a sea monster (which happened in chapter #1) as if he knew that his sacrifice was needed to let the boy fulfill his destiny.
This chapter confirms what fans already suspected, that Shanks was aware of the Gomu Gomu no Mi secret. This would also explain why he put so much trust in Luffy, a kid from an unknown village in East Blue, to leave him with his most prized possession, the straw hat that belonged to the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. Nika is remembered as a liberator who brought smiles everywhere he went, and this Devil Fruit was eaten, eight centuries ago, by the mysterious Joy Boy, of whom Luffy is now considered the successor. The World Government is afraid of Nika’s legacy because it could overturn the tyrannical order they established. If Shanks is aware of all that, it’s just another confirmation that he is one of the key characters in the series, who holds the answers to many of its mysteries.
Shanks And Luffy’s Relationship Is Even Deeper Than It Looks
There is one, more sinister question that remains to be answered, and it is if Shanks actually let Luffy find that Devil Fruit because he was aware of the boy’s destiny as one of the inheritors of the “Will of D.”, the sworn enemies of the Celestial Dragons. Considering that Shanks recently declared his intention to finally go claim the One Piece treasure, it is very likely that these questions will be answered when he and Luffy meet again, but this time it will be as rivals.