And lastly, The Wisdom Kings are often depicted as:
“Fire-Headed Vajra Being, they hold various weapons in their hands and are sometimes adorned with skulls, snakes or animal skins and wreathed in flames. This fiery aura is symbolically interpreted as the fire that purifies the practitioner and transforms one’s passions into awakening, the so-called “fire samadhi” (火生三昧, Japanese: kashō-zanmai).”
Now you might be like: “That’s just Luffy drawn as Ken from the Street Fighter! Hah, ‘Biggest Wheel’, more like ‘Smallest Brain’!”
And you are right, that is Luffy drawn as Ken but there is one big difference, and that is his flaming head. Not only does it look a lot like the silhouette of Sun God Nika but I couldn’t find any image of Ken having a flame hair like this. He is famous for his fire powers but the flame head is 100% Oda’s addition, which just so happens to match how Wisdom Kings are often portrayed.
Wisdom King Through-out the Story
I mentioned that Oda already used the design of Luffy’s Gear 4th before for Enel. Now, you are probably thinking Oda just liked the design and reused it without thinking much. After all, there is no way he could plan THIS FAR ahead, right? And you would be right. He didn’t. It’s just that Oda is not that kind of a writer. He will not simply reuse something like this without weaving a story around it and explain it, because Oda is an Adapter.
Luffy, Enel and Wisdom King – 3 completely different figures from 3 completely different Cultures all sharing a near identical look.
No, he didn’t plan for Gear 4th to look like Enel’s giant form but he found a way to tie them, or rather I think he found a way to do so. He will explain further why they look so similar and I think it all boils down to The Wisdom King and the notion of it being a Deity (God).
As we know, Enel suffer from delusion of grandeur. He thinks of himself as a God (Kami) due to his Devil Fruit Powers (ironic I know). His ultimate form takes the similar appearance to Luffy’s Gear 4th which in turn resembles the Wisdom King. Is it just Oda being “lazy” and reusing the design? Or is it just Enel’s delusion of him being a God that makes him attempt to emulate a “real” God he has heard/read about, The Wisdom King?
We know that Enel is something of a historian himself. We see him learn about the Moon people in his cover story and we know he somehow learned about the story of Fairy Verth and the Arc Maxim. Perhaps the reason he removed his wings is to bare more of a similarity towards the depiction of Sun God/Wisdom King.
Both Skypiea and Wano are isolationist countries, the most obvious parallel for them being such are their unique terms for Haki, and there is still a lot for us to learn about their History and how they inter-connect. We know citizens Wano made the Poneglyphs and we know citizens of Shandora were tasked of protecting one. It’s not too out of the question that both of these civilizations worshipped the same Deity just under a different (or the same) name. This Deity Worship would persevere because of their isolation from the rest of the world as there would be no one to “cleanse” their history.
Sun God (Nika) is mentioned in Skypiea meaning the Skypieans are aware of him. This further supports the possibility of Enel modeling his look after the Wisdom King/Sun God. Also, Nika’s hair is wavy just like Luffy’s hair in Gear 4th. Also, his limbs look super rubbery.
Every Word Matters (Closing Argument)
When you write a story you want to do it in the best way possible. You want for every line, scene or action you write to have a purpose and meaning, why include them otherwise? This is especially the case for the medium like Manga where you are limited by the number of pages that can fit in a weekly Chapter and this is especially the case for Oda who has previously admitted that he is limited by the aforementioned number of pages.
So we should pay extra attention to the things Oda include in the story, no matter how mundane or trivial they might seem at the first glance. When Oda keeps drawing parallels between Luffy and the Wisdom King in a story he self-admitted is limited by the number of pages/panels, it is surely bound to have some kind of pay-off.
Example: When Momonosuke constantly kept bringing up the fact that he is still a child and as such powerless against Kaido most people didn’t pay much attention to it.
That changed once Shinobu’s Devil Fruit was introduced that can mature things up. Now, Momonosuke still complaining about being a powerless child makes more sense and has a purpose as he eventually gets aged up to adulthood. That’s the set-up and the pay-off and few clever readers picked up on this and figured it out.
The question in my mind is not “IF” the Wisdom King parallel is going to be paid off. The question is “HOW” will the Wisdom King parallel be paid off and I believe this is where we are headed for.
*Theory by The_Biggest_Wheel