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The Magic of ‘One Piece’ Explained: Devil Fruits to Haki

The Big Picture

  • One Piece is one of the longest-running anime and manga series, with over a thousand chapters and episodes.
  • The series revolves around Monkey D. Luffy’s quest to find the One Piece treasure and become the King of the Pirates, facing dangerous foes and the Navy along the way.
  • The two magic systems in One Piece are Devil Fruits, which grant incredible powers but come with weaknesses like the inability to swim, and Haki, which allows users to utilize their spiritual energy for offensive and defensive purposes.


One Piece is one of the most daunting anime one could start watching. It began when mangaka, Eiichiro Oda, started publishing One Piece in Weekly Shonen Jump’s manga magazine in 1997. It would get a quick anime adaption that started airing in 1999, and it became known as one of Shonen Jump’s “Big Three,” the most popular titles in the magazine, alongside Bleach and Naruto. Roughly a decade after the term the Big Three was coined, One Piece is the only manga and anime still running with weekly manga chapters and anime episodes, and now even has a Netflix live-action adaptation.

One Piece is the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a young man who has a single dream: To find the legendary treasure known as the One Piece and become the King of the Pirates. Alongside a crew of trusted friends, Luffy sails the dangerous seas of the Grand Line to find Laugh Tale, the hidden island containing the One Piece. On his journey, Luffy faces many dangerous foes, including fellow pirates who want to conquer the seas, and the Navy who want to purge the world of the pirate menace.

With over a thousand published chapters and nearly as many anime episodes, One Piece has gathered an immense cast of characters, two rich magic systems, and a depth of lore across many diverse locales. This depth can make it hard for new viewers to jump into the anime or the manga, and this article will get you started by explaining the two magic systems: Devil Fruits and Haki.

One Piece

Monkey D. Luffy sets off on an adventure with his pirate crew in hopes of finding the greatest treasure ever, known as the “One Piece.”

Release Date
October 20, 1999

Cast
Mayumi Tanaka, Kazuya Nakai, Kappei Yamaguchi, Hiroaki Hirata, Ikue Ôtani, Akemi Okamura

Genres
Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
20

Devil Fruits in ‘One Piece’ Explained

Of the two magic systems, Devil Fruits are the oldest and perhaps one of Oda’s greatest creations in the entire manga. Introduced at the beginning of the story, Devil Fruits have always been a vital part of One Piece’s frequent spectacular battles. Devil Fruits are incredibly rare and distinctive fruits that grant anyone who eats a single bite incredible powers. The fruits are easily identifiable, thanks to their vibrant colors, an intricate pattern of swirls on their skin, and by their foul taste. No two Devil Fruits grant the same power, but all Devil Fruit eaters share two weaknesses: The ocean and Sea Prism Stone.

The Ocean

All Devil Fruit eaters lose their ability to swim after consuming the Devil Fruit. It’s not just a loss of muscle memory; entering a body of water saps them of all energy. Even entering a bath can drain a Devil Fruit eater of energy and prevent them from using their abilities. Notably, it does need to be a body of water. Simply spilling a glass of water on them or spraying them with a hose wouldn’t have the same effect. One Piece is an anime about pirates sailing the high seas, making this an especially devastating weakness. One poor battle on the ocean can send a Devil Fruit eater to their death, or even just a patch of rough water. It’s currently unknown why Devil Fruit eaters can’t swim. One explanation is because the ocean hates those with Devil Fruit powers, but it’s unclear if this is the truth or one of the many myths that have grown around the Fruits over the centuries.

One-Piece
Image Via Adult Swim

Sea Prism Stone

Sea Prism Stone is known as a stone that has the same properties as the ocean. When a Devil Fruit eater touches Sea Prism Stone, it provokes a response very similar to being dropped in the ocean, draining them of their energy and preventing them from using their powers. The Sea Prism Stone is also impervious to any Devil Fruit powers used on it.

Sea Prism Stone is most commonly used to build cuffs and chains that bind Devil Fruit users, keeping them lethargic and powerless for easy capture and detainment. However, it has several other applications; offensively, the Navy makes bullets and nets from it to capture Devil Fruit eaters easier. The Navy has also been known to line the bottoms of their ships with the Stone to deter violent ocean life from attacking them. The Devil Fruits are central to One Piece’s appeal by offering a wild variety of abilities that help keep battles interesting while showing off Oda’s immense creative abilities. One hallmark of Devil Fruits is that they’re only as powerful as the user, offering greater strength to those willing to test the limits of their power and use their minds as well as their fists. While no two Devil Fruits grant the same abilities, they are grouped into three classes: Zoan, Logia, and Paramecia.

Zoan Devil Fruits

Zoan-type fruits offer their users the ability to transform and shapeshift, most often into some form of animal, though a member of Luffy’s crew, Chopper is a reindeer who ate the Human-Human Fruit. Most Zoan users gain access to several transformations that range from completely human to completely bestial, though they retain their human minds regardless of their form. Zoan-types can be further divided into two especially rare subclasses: Mythical and Ancient. Mythical Zoan-types allow their users to become creatures straight from myths and legends. A great example of a mythical Zoan Fruit is the one possessed by Kaido, a fearsome villain who’s known as a Yonko, one of the Four Emperors of the Sea. Kaido’s Fish-Fish Fruit: Azure Dragon Model allows him to become a massive dragon, allowing Kaido to uphold his reign of terror in the New World. Ancient-type Zoan Fruits allow their users to become long-extinct creatures like dinosaurs, such as X Drake’s Dragon-Dragon Fruit: Allosaurus Model, which allows him to become a powerful allosaurus. Mythical and ancient Zoan Fruits are immensely rare compared to average Zoan types, and even Devil Fruits in general and are considered stronger than ordinary Zoan like Chopper’s Human-Human Fruit.

One-Piece-1
Image Via Adult Swim

Logia

Logia-type Devil Fruits are the rarest and most powerful type of Devil Fruit. They grant elemental-based powers, including the four elements of fire, water, earth, and air most Western audiences will be familiar with. While some of the Fruits grant one of these directly, such as the Flare-Flare Fruit that grants fire-based abilities, they also offer unique ways of using them. Both the Gas-Gas Fruit and the Smoke-Smoke Fruit involve air-based powers but have very different uses. All Logia-types allow their users to generate infinite amounts of their element, giving them extremely powerful offensive capabilities. The true strength of Logia-type fruits, however, lies in how they make the eater a part of that element. Logia-type users are incredibly hard to harm, with many of them being incorporeal. For example, one of protagonist Luffy’s greatest rivals is Navy Vice Admiral Smoker, who ate the Smoke-Smoke Fruit. Trying to strike Smoker without Sea Prism Stone or Haki is like trying to punch a pile of smoke — completely ineffective. Logia-types can also make part or all of their bodies into their element, giving them a variety of ways to manipulate their environment and attack. The combination of offense and defense capabilities is what makes Logia-type users such dangerous foes.

Paramecia

Paramecia-type Devil Fruits are the most common type of Devil Fruit and offer a wide range of abilities, acting as a catch-all for fruits that don’t allow animal transformation or element-based powers. However, they are sorted into three groups: Body manipulation, environmental manipulation, and substance generation. The best example of body manipulation Paramecia lies in the protagonist, Luffy. After eating the Gum-Gum Fruit, Luffy became a rubber person — his body is incredibly stretchy and resistant to many physical-based attacks because he bounces back. His body always has the same properties as rubber. Other body manipulation fruits work on command, such as the Weapon-Weapon Fruit that allows its user to turn their arms and legs into various weapons.

Environmental manipulation Fruits let their users dramatically alter the environment around them, working on either inanimate objects, living objects, or both. An especially powerful environmental manipulation fruit is the Ope-Ope Fruit, possessed by Trafalgar Law. Law can create an environment called a “Room” around him in a sphere and can manipulate anything within his sphere as he pleases, living or not. Finally, substance-generating Paramecia-types can appear similar to Logia-types. Users with this kind of fruit are capable of producing infinite amounts of a substance and manipulating it to their will, but they are not made of it the way a Logia-type user is. An example of this Devil Fruit is the String-String Fruit possessed by the villain, Doflamingo. Doflamingo can produce incredibly strong, sharp strings for a variety of purposes such as flying and attacking, but he’s unable to make his body into strings; any blows against him will strike normally.

Haki in ‘One Piece’ Explained

Haki is the second magic system introduced in One Piece. Haki wasn’t properly introduced until the Marineford Arc, just before a two-year time skip that theoretically marks the halfway point of One Piece, but it was hinted at several times before this arc. Haki is a way of utilizing a person’s spiritual energy in offensive or defensive manners. Unlike Devil Fruit powers, which are only obtainable by consuming the rare Fruits, any living person is capable of awakening their Haki, though the vast majority of people go their entire lives without knowing it even exists. There are three major types of Haki: Observational, Armament, and Conqueror’s.

Observational Haki

Observational Haki was the first type of Haki to be introduced in the series. It appeared in the Skypiea Arc, well before the Marineford Arc, though it was called Mantra by the citizens of the Cloud Island. Observational Haki allows users to have a greater sense of the world around them, sensing other peoples’ auras and intents, and even seeing a small distance into the future.

Observational Haki has a variety of uses, though it’s often used defensively in battle. For example, Luffy uses his Observational Haki to “see” where an opponent will fire a gun or other projectile, and easily dodge even blindingly fast attacks. Ussop, the sniper in Luffy’s crew, used Observational Haki in the Dressrosa Arc to sense the aura of an enemy he was aiming at, even though she was well over a mile away and behind several walls at the time. One can also use this Haki to sense things rather than see them. The rival pirate, Blackbeard, has used his Observational Haki to measure Luffy’s Haki in their various meetings throughout the manga, while a side character called Cobi can use his Haki to sense the hearts and emotions of other people, allowing him to directly experience what they’re feeling.

One-Piece-3
Image Via Adult Swim

Armament Haki

Armament Haki is used in battle and is a fairly common Haki ability after the time skip. It allows the user to coat their body, either in parts or entirely, in an invisible type of armor that possesses both offensive and defensive capabilities. While Armament Haki is canonically invisible, it’s represented visually by a black sheen coating the body parts affected by Armament Haki. The most common application of Armament Haki is Hardening, which makes body parts into armor or weapons. On the defensive, Hardening makes patches of skin hard enough to deflect bullets and shatter swords, as well as reflect other attacks. It also makes attacks strike far harder; a punch with a fist coated in Armament Haki can cause serious damage.

A Haki user can extend their Hardening to weapons they’re wielding, making them even more dangerous. For example, the citizens of Amazon Lily imbue their arrows with Haki, making them so powerful, they explode on impact with their target. Perhaps, the most useful part of Armament Haki lies within its interaction with Devil Fruit users. Devil Fruit users are as capable of using Haki as anyone else; oftentimes, they can mix it with their powers for new effects. Luffy’s Gear Fourth transformation is only possible by using his Haki to relegate the surface tension of his rubber body. It also allows Haki users to strike Devil Fruit eaters they otherwise couldn’t, including Logia-type users. Alongside Sea Prism Stone, Armament Haki is one of the few ways to counteract the most powerful Devil Fruits.

Conqueror’s Haki

Finally, we have Conqueror’s Haki, also known as the Color of the Supreme King, and the rarest type of Haki. It allows users to exert their will over other living beings to a variety of effects. The very few users of this Haki are considered to be people with the qualities of kings. Many view this extreme power as a blessing from heaven, declaring any who wield it capable of being the greatest conquerors in the world. One of the simplest techniques users of this Haki can perform is dominating animals. We see Luffy do this several times throughout the series. At one point, he makes animals frightened of him, but after the time skip, Luffy can make animals obey his commands without any resistance, even powerful ones such as the Kraken. Another common application of this Haki is to render opponents unconscious. One of the best examples of this occurs in the Fishman Island Arc. When Luffy faces 100,000 enemy soldiers, he knocks 50,000 of them unconscious with a single thought and without exerting any physical effort. When two users of Conqueror’s Haki clash, their blows emit black lightning and shockwaves that are capable of throwing bystanders through the air.

One Piece is available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.

Watch on Netflix


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