So I went down a bit of a One Piece content rabbit hole the other day, and stumbled across this video:
And I think it raised some interesting ideas.
So the basic things to note from the video are this:
> Luffy has been using Gear Fourth more and more frequently, especially after the two week training break leading up to the Raid on Onigashima.
> He's beginning to use Gear Fourth for short bursts and single attacks before powering down without noticeable consequences to his energy levels, rather than using up the entire stamina limit and then having to refresh
> He doesn't have to do the whole biting down on his arm thing to activate this form - it seems like he can do it just by breathing in through his mouth.
Simply put, we're seeing Luffy use Gear Fourth with increased proficiency and control, to the point where he's activating it in the same way he's been activating Second and Third since the timeskip. This raises two very important questions:
1. Has Luffy mastered Gear Fourth?
2. If he has, what's next?
The answer I would give for the first question is that he most likely has based on what we've seen - the way he's powering up and down effortlessly is majorly important. Obviously, his improved Armament Haki helps with this, but from a purely Devil Fruit standpoint, I would say he does.
As for the second question, that's much more open to interpretation. However, there's two possible next steps:
1. Gear Fifth
2. The beginnings of Luffy's DF Awakening
Obviously, there's a ton of different Gear 5 theories out there, and a ton of other awakening ideas, so I leave that to you guys to discuss. What could we see from a Gear 5/Awakening? Could Gear 5 itself be his Awakening? I look forward to hearing what you think!