Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga is full of mysteries and surprises, which is not the least surprising for a manga that is more than two decades old and has more than 1,000 chapters. Some of these mysteries are bigger, and some are less important, but one of the biggest mysteries from the whole manga was the identity of an almost legendary figure, Joy Boy! Now, Joy Boy was first mentioned back in 2011, and it took Oda a total of 11 years to – as it seems – reveal the identity of this mysterious figure.
Joy Boy is the name of a legendary figure from the history of One Piece, a hero of sorts who left a mark during the Void Century. Joy Boy was, about 900 prior to the current timeline, partnered with the traveling elephant Zunesha until he disappeared. Legends speak of a new Joy Boy, but his identity has been unknown for a long time. It was initially suspected that Kaido might be Joy Boy, but Zunesha himself later confirmed that Monkey D. Luffy is the new Joy Boy in One Piece.
In the rest of this article, we will tell you everything we know about the persona of Joy Boy in the One Piece franchise. You’ll find out the known history and notoriety of the character, as well as how the upcoming Chapter 1043 seemingly solves the decade-long mystery of Joy Boy’s identity, which has been one of the most important questions in the Wano Country Arc of the series.
Who or what is Joy Boy?
Joy Boy was a figure that existed during the Void Century and played an important role in the history of Fish-Man Island. He was first mentioned in the Sea Forest Poneglyph. Joy Boy delivered Noah to Fishman Island 900 years ago, and the poneglyphs were invented 800 years ago when he wrote his apology.
This would mean that Joy Boy existed and was relevant worldwide for over a century. Joy Boy was also the previous owner of at least part of One Piece. About nine hundred years ago, the inhabitants of Fish-Man Island made a promise to a man named Joy Boy. He gifted them Noah, which will have an elemental role one day. However, it seems that Joy Boy couldn’t keep the promise.
The inhabitants of Fish-Man Island promised that they would keep Noah safe until a certain day came. In the aforementioned poneglyph is a letter of apology from Joy Boy to Poseidon, apologizing for breaking his end of the bargain. He was also Zunesha’s partner. At some point, Joy Boy sailed to the final island of the Grand Line, leaving behind part of a treasure that would come to be known as the One Piece.
Part of the Fish-Man Island promise was broken during the events of the Fish-Man Island arc when Monkey D. Luffy was asked to protect the island no matter the cost, even if it meant Noah had to be destroyed in the end.
Before Luffy completely destroys the ship, Noah is stopped by a group of Sea Kings who were unknowingly summoned by Shirahoshi, saving Fish-Man Island and keeping the promise of the nation with Joy Boy. However, the ship was still badly damaged. The sea kings later took the ship to the Sea Forest, where it was planned to be repaired.
The figure of Joy Boy has been shown on more than one occasion as a title waiting to reach the world: Oden mentioned that he was to open Wano Country “before Joy Boy’s arrival.” When Kaido defeated Luffy for the second time, he mentioned that “he couldn’t be Joy Boy either.” Now, it seems that Kaido’s theory was wrong.
Has Joy Boy’s identity been revealed?
A preview for the upcoming Chapter 1043, titled “Let’s Die Together,” which came out on March 14, 2022, suggested that the Joy Boy’s identity would finally be revealed. Now, you know that there have been speculations, both in-universe and among the fandom, about the nature of the Joy Boy persona, and the theories that it was a title proved to be correct.
Now, the reappearance of the wandering elephant Zunesha opened the door for the big reveal since Zunesha was connected to the original Joy Boy 800 years ago and would, as it seems, be able to recognize him. A preview panel for Chapter 1043 revealed this:
This scene takes place in the aftermath of Luffy’s battle against Kaidou. Luffy ends up on the floor, defeated but smiling, and as Zunesha approaches and sees him, he seems to recognize his old companion. This suggests that Monkey D. Luffy, the series’ protagonist, was Joy Boy all along, and such a theory would certainly make sense. Now, this is, of course, just a preview panel, and we have to see the whole context, but it does seem that the mystery of Joy Boy has finally been solved.
So, has it been? Well, it seemingly has. Like 900 years ago, Zunesha played a major part in this context once again, as the elephant’s arrival in Wano Country revealed the identity of the new Joy Boy. This was a great thing, as Kaido was also there, so King’s theory about Kaido potentially being Joy Boy would have been tested now. So, what happened?
Well, as Zunesha was making his way to Wano, he noticed a fleet of Marine ships heading towards the same location. He then uses the Voice of All Things to inform Momonosuke of this fact and asks him to open up the waters of Wano Country, as he will fight alongside him.
Seeing how the Alliance was in a state of war, Momonosuke accepted Zunesha’s help and opened the waters to the elephant was able to enter and fight on the side of the Alliance. But, while this was his main purpose, a completely unexpected thing happened in Wano.
Namely, not long after Zunesha came to Wano did, Monkey D. Luffy, during his fight against Kaido, activated the true powers of his Devil Fruit. Namely, as it turned out, the Gomu Gomu no Mi was actually the Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika, and it gave Luffy the powers of the Sun God Nika.
At that moment, Zunesha also heard the “Drums of Liberation,” which were not actual drums but a change in his heartbeat that meant that he was near Joy Boy. Zunesha had not heard that beat for several centuries, and when he came to Wano, Joy Boy’s identity was finally confirmed.
Namely, as we discovered, Monkey D. Luffy is the new Joy Boy. Zunesha directly confirmed it, and there is, at this moment, no doubt that Luffy is the character who is, according to the legend, destined to change the world and make it a better place. His influence is supposed to be enormous, just like the original Joy Boy’s influence was 900 years ago.