Netflix’s ‘One Piece’ follows the story of a young pirate named Monkey D. Luffy who wants to become the King of the Pirates. He plans to do it by finding the infamous treasure known as One Piece, hidden somewhere in the Grand Line. Luffy wants to prove himself as a great pirate, unlike others, most of whom are known to be ruthless and cunning. He doesn’t believe in violence but doesn’t hesitate to fight for his friends.
Being a lean and petite guy compared to other buff pirates out there, Luffy doesn’t look like someone who can fight. However, he has a very special ability that gives him the incredible power to withstand things that would otherwise be fatal to him and make him a very dangerous pirate. One drawback is that his powers don’t seem to work in seawater. Why’s that? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD
Why Does Luffy’s Power Not Work in Sea Water?
Luffy got his powers after eating a Devil Fruit, which turned his body into rubber. This allows him to stretch any body part, which is handy while fighting his enemies. It also allows him to survive the impact of getting hit by a bullet or a canon and throw it back to his shooter. This makes him a formidable force and helps in his plan to become the King of the Pirates, but every superpower has a drawback. And Luffy’s is seawater.
Seawater is not just Luffy’s kryptonite. It works on anyone who has eaten a Devil’s Fruit. No matter their power, seawater will dampen it, and they will be unable to save themselves. For a pirate, this is a rather unfortunate turn of events because one wrong move could claim their life as they drown helplessly at the bottom of the ocean. The reason why seawater and Devil Fruit eaters have this relationship has not been addressed in the Netflix series yet. However, the manga on which the show is based has provided some theories, if not concrete answers.
According to one theory, the Devil Fruits give humans unnatural powers they shouldn’t have. To the sea, anyone with such powers is not human and, hence, unnatural. This makes the sea angry with these people, and it finds them unacceptable, so whenever a Devil Fruit eater falls in, the seawater renders them immobile, and they die of drowning unless saved by someone else.
The situation of a person also depends on the kind of powers they have. In the case of Luffy, whose body transformed after eating the fruit, the powers are not lost in the seawater. He just becomes so weak that he cannot use them. His body can still stretch, but he is not able to use it because the water leaves him unable to move. In the case of others, where the powers are not about physical transformation but something that needs to be activated, the powers stop working, as if turned off in the water.
In the Netflix series, only seawater seems to have such an impact on a Devil Fruit eater. In the manga, however, this rule stretches to any water body deep enough to submerge the person. It doesn’t necessarily have to be seawater. As long as it is stagnant and not in motion, like the rain, it will have the desired effect. It should also be mentioned that just splashing someone with water doesn’t do the trick. In the Netflix series, however, we see that this might be the case.
In one scene, Arlong splashes Luffy with seawater, which is much more than a splash caused by a human. It might be because he was startled or that he fell hard following the splash, but the young pirate doesn’t fight back like he did before he was hit with seawater. Perhaps the TV show might be making some changes to the lore or updating it to suit the plot further down the line. In any case, seawater is fatal to Luffy, but it’s also inescapable, so he will have to continue to walk that fine line and try not to fall over.