Avid anime fans have been following Luffy’s adventures for ages, in the hopes that he would one day become the Pirate King in One Piece. But, his complex relationship with water has thrown a wrench into the works, leaving One Piece fans wondering if Luffy can swim – or if he will be able to learn how to swim in the future.
One Piece Devil Fruit users lose their ability to swim in standing water bodies, such as oceans and lakes – although water forms like rain are manageable. When Devil Fruit users are submerged, they will become extremely weak and unable to move on their own, posing the risk of drowning. It’s unknown if Luffy will learn how to swim with his Devil Fruit powers.
While Luffy cannot swim, the reasons for his inability have sparked numerous debates. Stick around to find out everything you need to know about why Luffy cannot swim in One Piece, as well as if there’s a chance he could learn how to swim at a later stage.
Can Luffy Swim in One Piece?
Luffy has been through tons of adventures alongside his fellow Straw Hat Pirates, many of which involve traversing some seriously deep and dangerous waters. Surprisingly, Luffy has taken on these environmental challenges knowing that he cannot swim at all.
His inability to swim has been confirmed numerous times throughout the One Piece storyline, and there are moments where Luffy not being able to swim causes issues, as seen in the video below by Anime Hentai:
Why Can’t Luffy Swim in One Piece?
This small but deadly weakness is possibly one of Luffy’s largest challenges, as it can really tamper with his supposed destiny. However, the main reason behind his inability to swim is based on one of his largest strengths – Devil Fruit usage.
Devil Fruits come with a massive range of superhuman abilities unique to the specific Devil Fruit in question. However, all Devil Fruits have a rather hefty downside – especially for anyone who loves exploring the world’s oceans, let alone an adventurous pirate.
The means that anyone who ingests a Devil Fruit by any means and gains its power will no longer be able to swim. However, this may not apply to every single Devil Fruit out there – the Sui Sui no Mi seems to be the only Devil Fruit that allows the user to maintain the ability to swim, albeit in particular conditions.
The effects of Devil Fruit usage do not stop at the user being unable to swim. Whoever eats a Devil Fruit will become almost paralyzed when they come into contact with large amounts of water, as if all of the strength is instantly sucked out of them.
Being completely submerged in water will have a major impact on Devil Fruit users, temporarily making them extremely weak and unable to move their bodies on their own. This makes being underwater far more dangerous even compared to the average person who cannot swim, as seen below thanks to AnimxHD:
The above implies that the main threat caused by using a Devil Fruit’s powers is the risk of drowning, as they cannot even flail around and try to stay above the water’s surface. Plenty of their opponents and enemies could easily take advantage of this weakness in an attempt to take them out, causing some seriously tragic One Piece deaths.
Freshwater vs. Saltwater
The main cause of conflict among One Piece fans regarding this weakness to Devil Fruit users is the type of water and its varied effects. Oda has apparently clarified the rules of this effect in an SBS, stating that Devil Fruit users are primarily affected by standing bodies of water – such as oceans and lakes.
As a result, there is no real difference between the actual type of water, rather the waterbody type. There is no major difference between salt water and fresh water in terms of the effect on Devil Fruit users, apart from perhaps the quantity of water.
Can Luffy Touch Water?
On the other hand, Devil Fruit users can apparently still get along just fine with scattered or “moving” water forms, such as waves, rain, or splashes by other means. These still have an effect, but will not weaken them to the same deadly point – compared to being completely submerged in water.
This would explain why Luffy was able to withstand Dance Powder’s rain without succumbing to the Devil Fruit weakness. It would also explain why Luffy was fine with crashing in on Boa Hancock, standing waist-high in water – although most One Piece fans believe that standing water will still drain the Devil Fruit user’s strength from ankle-deep and upwards.
With that being said, it seems that Luffy and Devil Fruit users can still take showers just fine (there is a grey area concerning baths). Oda apparently shared the showering schedule of the Straw Hat Pirates, implying that Sanji, Nami, and Robin shower every day, while Usopp, Chopper, and Franky shower every three days.
Luffy, Zoro, and Brook only seem to take a shower around once every week. While this isn’t the best hygiene routine for Luffy, it does validate that he can work around this Devil Fruit water weakness in his everyday life – provided that he doesn’t randomly fall into the ocean during an adventure.
Will Luffy Learn How to Swim in One Piece?
Being able to swim is a majorly important ability in the world of One Piece, pointed out by Shanks way back in chapter 1, page 11, where he states the following:
“What good is a pirate who can’t swim?”
On page 16 of chapter 1, Luffy says the following – which does provide a possible foreshadowing.
“I’m gonna learn how to swim by the time you leave.”
It could either reference a dismal reality indicating he may never learn to swim or nod to Luffy learning to swim in the future – hopefully without losing his powers. Countless fans are wondering how the final arc of One Piece will go down if Luffy still cannot swim, leading to quite a few interesting One Piece theories.
Some fans may have theorized that Luffy would gain the ability to swim after receiving Fishman blood, but many argue that this would not have this type of effect. Even Fishmen who use Devil Fruits, such as Jack and Vanderdecken, cannot swim – they would just be resistant to drowning due to having gills.
In addition, receiving Fishman blood may not have the same effects as receiving blood from other races – such as receiving vampire blood. It may not mutate Luffy to a point where he suddenly learns how to swim and grows gills.
Another theory, detailed by a couple of fans on Quora, points to the possibility of the ocean having a will, enforcing it on Devil Fruit users when they are submerged in water. This is far-fetched, but it’s somewhat possible since Devil Fruits can be seen as incarnations of the Sea Devil.
The theory supports the idea of Luffy overcoming the ocean’s will by using his Conqueror’s Haki to emit an even stronger will. Doing so could result in Luffy conquering the ocean and freeing Devil Fruit users from their inability to swim – but, only time will tell.
Luffy’s inability to swim has created a massive and pretty comedic complex for viewers since it’s pretty odd that the destined Pirate King is weak to water. But, One Piece fans still hope Luffy will be able to overcome this setback at some point in the future in order to truly become the freest character in the One Piece world.