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Why can’t Devil Fruit users swim in One Piece?

Devil Fruit gives every One Piece character amazing powers but it has one massive weakness. Here is our guide explaining why Devil Fruit users can't swim.

One Piece: Luffy as a kid eating a Devil Fruit

Why can’t Devil Fruit users swim in One Piece? Netflix’s live-action adaptation of One Piece is finally here, and anime newbies and veterans alike are delighted. But while we were enjoying the retelling of the East Blue Saga, we couldn’t help but notice how the show also brought up the age-old question regarding Luffy’s inability to swim.

Longtime One Piece fans have come to accept that the Devil Fruits that give all the One Piece characters their powers (for example, rubber limbs) are filled with mystery. They are essentially magical power-ups that make for some great fights, pushing One Piece to be one of the best anime series of all time. However, they come with a cost. And as we watched Luffy almost drown multiple times in season 1 of the new Netflix series, you may be wondering why all these pirates are so weak when it comes to water.

Here is our relatively spoiler-free guide breaking down why Luffy and other Devil Fruit users can’t swim in One Piece. Below, we look at clues from the anime series and discuss all the consequences of eating that colorful fruit.

Why can’t Devil Fruit users swim in One Piece?

Devil Fruit users can’t swim for the simple reason that the sea hates and rejects them. That may sound silly, so let me explain.

Although not much is known about Devil Fruits, it has been theorized in the anime series that the powers they grant people who eat them cause users to live in an unnatural state. I mean, in Netflix’s One Piece live-action series, fans were reminded just how unnatural Devil Fruit powers truly are as we saw Luffy’s rubber limbs defying physics in fights and Buggy the Clown dismembering himself during his confrontation with the Straw Hats.

The sea, or mother nature, punishes those who have defied the natural order of the world in favor of immense powers. But before you take this as gospel, it should be noted that this theory is one that was simply brought up by the One Piece character Dr. Vegapunk in the anime. It hasn’t been confirmed as true yet. But so far, it’s the only explanation we have.

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What happens to Devil Fruit users in water?

In the Netflix One Piece series, we learn that when a Devil Fruit user is in salt water, they lose their powers and ability to move their body. So drowning is basically guaranteed, and if a character can breathe underwater (shout out to Fish-Men), they are still paralyzed and at the mercy of sea creatures and natural dangers.

One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda has also clarified that Devil Fruit users aren’t just weak to seawater, but to all water. So while Netflix’s new series focuses on Luffy’s weakness being salt water related, it turns out that he’s also in trouble if he encounters a lake or large swimming pool, etc.

As we saw in season 1 of Netflix’s One Piece, being weak to water in a world that is mainly seawater with a few islands scattered about isn’t ideal. But hey, nothing can stop Luffy in his search for the One Piece treasure, and we can’t wait to see him deal with the dangerous waves yet again in One Piece season 2.

For more Straw Hat Fun, here are our guides on how to watch all of One Piece in order and all the One Piece filler episodes you can skip. We also have guides to the best anime characters and anime villains of all time. And be sure to check out our One Piece live-action review.

Finally, check out our guide to everything new on Netflix this month and all the new anime heading our way this year.