So ever since we learned that Devil Fruit powers can sometimes be negated through strong Haki, I’m sure a lot of people including myself have been thinking there must be some kind of connection between the two beyond just “Armament lets you interact normally with them”. Luckily, I think the most recent chapter of the manga actually gave us a pretty good hint as to the connection between Devil Fruits and Haki, thanks to Doctor Vegapunk’s theory about devil fruits.
Vegapunk describes devil fruits as follows: “Every Devil Fruit is a possibility for human evolution that someone desired!!! If only I could be like this… if only I could be like that!! All of those powers represent the many branches of the future of Humanity.”
Now, if we go back to Chapter 597 of the manga, when Rayleigh is explaining Haki to Luffy for the first time, he says the following: “To never doubt — that is power!”
This tells us that Haki is a spiritual power born from concepts like conviction, will power, fighting spirit, etc. It’s a manifestation of the wielder’s spirit. But more importantly, look at the wording Rayleigh uses. In a way, the idea of a lack of doubt is the completely opposite of what Vegapunk says Devil Fruits embody. Devil Fruits in his explanation embody a possibility, a fantasy, a wish. The use of “if only” really cements that idea for me. And while one could say that yes, possibilities and wishes can be achieved through willpower, that isn’t really what Devil Fruits are about thought I will get back to it later. At their core, Devil Fruits are basically a shortcut. You take one bite of the fruit, and the powers are immediate. Yes, you have to train them, but to actually acquire the abilities as a whole, you didn’t really need to do anything other than eat a bad tasting fruit.
With these two pieces of information, you can start to form a partial hypothesis of how the Devil Fruit and Haki interaction works. Say a Logia is fighting a person with Haki, and the Haki user coats their weapon in Armament in order to attack the Logia user. In that moment, the “possibility” that exists within the Logia devil fruit clashes with the “conviction” of the Haki user. To put it another way, the Devil Fruit says “If only this person was made of fire, so they could not be punched.” but the Haki attack breaks through that ideal with the conviction that “My punch will hit this person”. Same with negating Devil Fruit powers used to affect the body of the Haki wielder. They break through the effect of “If only I could do X to this person” by channeling the conviction of “I am not affected by this power.”
I mentioned I would get back to Devil Fruits and Conviction combined, so let’s go into that, because I think it really answers the question of how Awakenings work. Kaido says in the manga during his battle with Luffy that “Awakening is what happens when your mind and body catch up to your powers.” Given that we have the idea that devil fruits represent a possible evolution for humanity, perhaps Awakenings are what happens when you train yourself to that point where your body essentially embodies that state.
I could go into DNA and Lineage Factors for why this might be the case, but the series actually gives us a perfect example of this in the form of Lucci’s recent Awakening and the Impel Down guards. Shaka says that “It is usually the case that Awakened Zoan powers absorb and control the User’s personality.” We see this with the Impel Down guards very clearly, who have become animal-like in their mental abilities. A reason that could be the case with Zoan devil fruits is that Zoans embody the possibility of “If only I could turn into X animal.” Now, a weak willed person might let that possibility take them over as they begin to awaken. They let the spirit of the animal in the devil fruit overtake them, becoming basically that animal. However, Lucci had enough strength of mind and self identity that he was able to remain in control as he awakened. He has “become one with the animal” but in a way which preserves his identity.
Someone proposed the theory that Luffy was only able to awaken his devil fruit on Onigashima because he had become, just as his devil fruit embodies, a warrior of liberation when he was fighting Kaido to free Wano.
If we take Awakenings as “Reaching the point where your mind and body fully encapsulate the possibility for evolution within your devil fruit” then the powers gained upon Awakening can be seen as “Evolving further past what was originally dreamed of by the fruit.” It’s an evolution beyond what the possibility within the fruit saw. In a sense, it is limitless evolution.
I know that was a lot, but I really think I’m onto something here. Let me know what you guys think.
*Theory by DiglettsOtherHalf