The “Will of D” has and always have been the chosen one trope. That “fate will doom the D Clan to fight the Celestial Dragons” thing. Is great narratively to only reveal it in Dressrosa. Because in the past the bearer of the D. Name was hinted at to fight against the Celestial Dragons. They all fought the World Government one way or another.
Portgas D. Rouge – birthing the supposedly inheritor of Roger’s will (Ace). Monkey D. Garp – exercising justice by law but still wont allow the Dragons to control him. Monkey D. Luffy – freedom. Monkey D. Dragon – literally fighting the World Government. Marshal D. Teach – freedom. Gol D. Roger – starting the great pirate era and learned the Void Century. Jaguar D. Saul – saving Nico Robin to carry the will of the past and Ohara. Trafalgar D. Water Law – literally fighting Doflamingo. Portgas D. Ace – a tool used to end an era but started a new one. He also saved Luffy, the future Pirate King. Rocks D. Xebec – don’t know but he seemed to be a very intelligent and knowledgeable man, as he was, in studying many subjects that were considered taboo, able to unravel many of the World Government’s secrets, which led the Government to decide to erase his name from history.
I also have to talk about Luffys Devil Fruit.
Now, I know everyone hated this because everyone liked it when he was the underdog and not because of his fruit. I understand that. In fact I even hated it at first feels like a cop out. But ODA did this masterfully by tying it back to the core themes of One Piece which is inherited will. Shanks stole from a World Government ship. So he knows that this fruit is special and the fandom even theorized that the reason why Shanks is in East Blue was to give it to Ace and that’s believable. Even I liked that because it made sense that he wanted it for the boy that is supposedly the inheritor of Roger’s will . But Luffy ate it.
I hate the theory that Luffy ate it because it lured Luffy to eat it.
A big part of the fandom believed it cause as Oda has written Zoan fruits have a will of their own. That just doesn’t make sense. It’s the freedom fruit. Of course everyone is free to eat it. Are you gonna say that the fruit lured Shanks to steal it from a WG? That everyone who ate the fruit before was chosen by the fruit? If so then why hasn’t anyone awakened it for 800 years? The fruit is special but not that special that it lures people to eat it. Instead of thinking that the fruit chose Luffy. Why not think of the possibility that it was Shanks that chose Luffy.
What if it wasn’t the fruit that chose Luffy but Shanks.
Now. When it was revealed that Shanks was a Yonko everyone had the same idea. Why tf would Shanks loose his arm just for a boy he met in the East Blue? If he was so powerful why would he loose it to a mere Sea King? Everyone just accepted that it was because Shanks was weak at that time but what if Shanks lost his arm because he hesitated to save Luffy? He was thinking of letting Luffy die and give it to someone more worthy. He hesitated BUT tying back to the core of the series and the themes of One Piece (inherited will) he saw Roger’s dream in Luffy’s and so he saved him. Choosing to entrust him for the fruit in the process, this also tied back to his arm. It’s not that he was weak to fight the Sea King. You could argue that he hesitated to the point that he could only save Luffy by sacrificing his arm. When No. He allowed his arm to get cut off as punishment for hesitating to save Luffy, his friend. As well as letting the world down for choosing this boy. The world needed a Joy Boy. The world needed someone to bring the Dawn. Luffy was among the Will of D but to carry that devil fruit is another matter. Shanks chose Luffy not because he has the will of D. He chose Luffy as a gamble.
It was his decision that decided the fate of the world that day and it was a gamble that paid off. Now, everyone said that the fruit undermines Luffy’s achievements but think about it.
Luffy is also not the embodiment of true freedom AT FIRST so his fruit did not help him. He has to earn it. Let’s talk about his character progression and how his Awakening is actually earned and not some asspull.
- East Blue – This was him being over confident that he will become Pirate King cause duh. He’s setting sail and does whatever he wants but all of this is selfish. He only cares about his dreams, meat, friends and that’s it. Even him recruiting members is selfish.
- He did not free Alabasta cause he saw it crumbling. He saved it for Vivi. It’s the same with Skypiea he saved it for his friend the inhabitants.
- Enies Lobby. Gear Two and Third. The first power-up in the series literally happened because he was fighting against the World Government. This is the only time I acknowledge that Luffy’s fruit’s will is shown in action. But at the same time this doesn’t feel cop out. Its also earned cause Luffy earned it with his creativity.
- Impel Down is an arc where Luffy’s morals are questioned. He freed the prisoners not because of freedom but because of selfish freedom for his goal in saving Ace.
- Marineford is what cemented that Luffy’s fruit is not some asspull. If this was any other series he will gain a power-up. This was a reality check that to be free you need to be powerful enough to go against the world. If Luffy took his role as captain seriously in Enies Lobby, Luffy took his dream seriously here.
Post timeskip is Luffy’s Agency to actively pursue his dream. It’s why it no longer feels like an adventure but a step by step process.
Let’s talk about power-ups. We established that to be free you need to have the power to go against the world. The Gear Fourth is the power-up for Luffy after becoming strong with Rayleigh. It’s natural progression. His journey was him always saving his friends but let’s take this to consideration.
He saved Fishman Island for Jinbe. He saved the children from Punk Hazard cause they’re friends. He saved Dressrosa for his dream and against Kaido. As well as Law and Rebecca. He went to Whole Cake Island for Sanji BUT even though he went to Wano he saved it not for Momonosuke but for the inhabitants there.
Luffy’s selfish dream before “A world where my friends can eat as much as they like”
Wano is the first time we see Luffy wanting to save the country not just because of his friends but also because he genuinely wants to save it for himself. It was the first time we saw him being selfless and actually becoming the Warrior of Liberation wanting to save people just because he wants them to be free.
Luffy said “I don’t want to be a hero because heroes share meat” but now in Wano we saw him sharing it with people. It’s no wonder Luffy’s fruit awakening was in Wano. This is him rewriting his dream to a more selfless one: “ A world where everyone can eat as much as they like”