Like the One Piece, Devil Fruits are wanted by both pirates and marines alike for their magical properties. But there are limits to their power.
Luffy’s Straw Hat Pirates may be the face of One Piecebut the hidden stars of the manga are the Devil Fruits. Due to their magical properties, which bestow superpowers on those who eat them, Devil Fruits are considered “one of the secret treasures of the sea.” However, as Luffy’s brother Portgas D. Ace revealed, it is the circumstances under which one eats the fruit that decides whether a person will get its powers.
The common understanding of how Devil Fruits work in One Piece is that whoever eats one gets the specific magical powers inherent in the fruit. The classic example of this process was provided in One Piece chapter 1, when Luffy ate a Devil Fruit that Red-Haired Shanks and his crew obtained while on an adventure. As a result, he gained his iconic super-stretch powers his. Later, in One Piece #766, Trafalgar D. Law was forced to eat a Devil Fruit that gave him the superhuman ability to manipulate anyone and anything within a particular area. These events had fans asking an obvious question – shouldn’t One Piece‘s heroes and villains be trying to share Devil Fruits so multiple people can claim their powers?
The difference in powers between Luffy, Law, and other Devil Fruit eaters (like Luffy’s brother Ace) is due to the Devil Fruits themselves. There are over 20 different types of Devil Fruit, each with its own magical powers that are described in its name. For example, the Devil Fruit that Luffy ate is known as the Gomu Gomu no Mi or the “gum gum fruit,” hence Luffy’s rubber-like abilities his. The fruit Law ate is known as the Ope Ope no Mi or “operation fruit,” thereby giving him a surgeon’s control over his metaphysical operating room. Similarly, after Ace ate the Mera Mera no Mi or “flame flame fruit,” he gained the ability to control fire. However, in doing so, he also proved this power couldn’t be shared in the way some fans had suggested.
Ace’s experience eating a Devil Fruit corroborates the idea that eating the fruit is all that’s required to gain its power, but – as reported in Shou Hinata and Tatsuya Hamazaki’s One Piece: Ace’s Story – he also found that for any given fruit, only the person to first bite the fruit actually obtains this benefit. In the case of Ace, he split the fruit with the Masked Deuce. However, Ace bit the fruit seconds before Deuce. As a result, Ace gained the fruit’s powers and Deuce did not, despite eating an arguably bigger piece than Ace. In those few seconds, he lost the grant of power.
Splitting a Devil Fruit is relatively uncommon in One Piece. Both Luffy and Law ate the whole fruit by themselves. This led some fans to theorize that Devil Fruit powers could perhaps be divided among several people. Ace‘s discovery debunks that theory and reveals an interesting but little known twist in the magical powers of the Devil Fruits – namely, their power cannot be shared. This revelation made the Devil Fruits even more unique and valuable than they already seemed in Once Piece lore.
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