With the anime being done the Wano Arc, and people finally calming down after the gorgeous Gear 5 episodes, one question comes to mind. Zunesha tells Joy Boy has returned and Kaido tells that the one who defeats him is Joy Boy.
But the real question still remains. Who is Joy Boy? (Joy Boy be like – everyone asking who is Joy Boy. Nobody asks how is Joy Boy). The common consensus is that Luffy is Joyboy. But how true are those assumptions. Let’s take a look at them in detail in this article.
What do we know about Joy Boy?
Getting right into it, we know a few things about this entity called Joy Boy. Firstly it might’ve been the name of a person but now it has sort of become a title.
As far as we know the first Joy Boy existed during the Void Century, and most likely went against the 20 Kingdoms. What little information we know about the Void Century is all because of the poneglyphs that were left behind by the ancient people and the one that Joyboy wrote? Could this mean that he was from Wano? Or does this mean that the poneglyph language was commonly used 800 years ago?
He made a promise to the Fishmen, that he will bring them to the surface of the World, and to fulfil that promise the Noah was constructed. Due to unknown reasons, he wasn’t able to fulfil his promise, and left this responsibility for the next Joy Boy who would come after 800 years.
Furthermore, there is a giant straw hat in a hidden chamber in Mariejois, that Imu was seen looking at. Many speculate that this might have belonged to the previous Joy Boy but nothing is clear as of yet.
Is Luffy Joy Boy??
Simple answer. Yes. Luffy indeed seems to have inherited the title of “Joy Boy” and the reasons for that are as follows.
Firstly lets start off with the fact that Toki came all the way to the future to find the next “Joy Boy”. She would have gone ahead 20 years (ie. come to the current time) if not for her meeting Oden.
This would mean that Joy Boy was probably about to do something so big that she travelled 800 years into the future just to see it. In Chapter 960, Oden too mentions that the borders of Wano must be opened up, to prepare for Joy Boy to arrive.
Both these incidents seem to align with Luffy’s time as a pirate and him liberating the islands on his way to Wano.
Toki was born around 830 years ago and was part of the Amatsuki Daimyo family, yet she did not know much about her homeland, Wano. This would mean that Wano was open 800 years ago and some event caused it to shut itself to the outsiders.
This along with the “legend” that King , a Lunarian knew about, would suggest that Joy Boy would indeed rise again in Wano.
Even Zunesha mentions that for the first time in 800 years, she could hear the Drums of Liberation stating that Joy Boy has indeed returned. Zunesha is indicated to be familiar with the previous Joy Boy, hence knowing the in the future the next Joy Boy will indeed appear in Wano.
All of this happened when Luffy awakened his devil fruit powers and entered Gear 5 in Wano. Once again, this suggests that Luffy indeed is Joyboy, or has atleast inherited that title.
So I believe 800 years ago, too Joy Boy or someone else like Madam Sharley prophesized that something will happen in the future. Hearing that people like Toki travelled to the future, while others like Zunesha just waited for centuries.
Adding on to this with another small detail found in Chapter 960 , the Neptunians mention the meeting of two sovereigns (which in the English dictionary is a supreme ruler). We know now that one of them is Shirahoshi, who is Poseidon and has control over the Neptunian creatures. But what about the other? Could they be referring to Momonosuke?
In a vague sense he too is now the Supreme Leader of Wano, on top of which he can communicate with and give orders to Zunesha.
Or could it be Luffy that they were referring to? While Luffy is not a conventional ruler, he can use Conqueror’s Haki, meaning he has all the qualities to become a Ruler. Thus in this way of interpreting it, maybe they were referring to Luffy as the other sovereign born in a distant sea.
Also at the end of the panel, they do mention that “it is almost here… and surely all will go well this time”. This is most definitely referring to the promise that the old Joy Boy failed to fulfil, but now Luffy and Shirahoshi will.
Speaking of Shirahoshi, the incident that occurred in Fishman Island with Noah, can also give us more confirmation that Luffy might be Joy Boy.
Symbolically, Noah stands for the promise Joy Boy made to the people of the Fishman Island, over 800 years ago, and since he wasn’t able to fulfil it, he left it for the next Joy Boy to do. Due to this promise, the Fishmen have taken it upon themselves to protect the ship till the time is right as can be seen when Neptune says “We mustn’t allow any harm to come to the Ark!! It must never be moved until a certain day arrives!!”.
Now the thing with this “prophecy” from old times is that, Luffy was the one to damage the ship. One Joy Boy made a promise, while the other accidently destroyed the ship, which according the Neptunians further hinted that the time was here.
The funny thing about prophecies is that they are self-fulfilling. The more you try to prevent it, the more you line up the events in just the right way to cause it. And in this case, Luffy damaging the ship, might be what sets of the chain of events that’ll result in the Fishmen coming out of the sea, into the land, finally fulfilling Joy Boy’s promise to the Fishmen.
All of this, coupled with the fact that the World Government they were even willing to sacrifice an elite agent and piss off Kaido, just to prevent the rise of Nika (and even Joy Boy), does truly mean that Luffy has become Joy Boy.
To top it all off, in Chapter 1052, the people of Wano, start gossiping and we see that they’re calling the man who beat Kaido, “Joy Boy”.
Without even doing anything Luffy’s name as Joy Boy has already started spreading within Wano. It will only be a matter of time before it’s spread around the World.
Joyboy’s real identity & Nika:
With all of this (little) information we have about Joy Boy, let us try to see who he was. Of the top of my head the most confusing fact to deal with was if Joy Boy and Nika are the same?
To deal with this, lets remember Vegapunk’s explanation for what a devil fruit is. He theorized that they are a manifestation of humanity’s desire to become something. And since the Hito Hito no Mi : Model Nika, has been stated to have been evading the World Government for over 800 years, it would seem that the fruit itself is much older.
This makes it clear that Nika was someone from a very long time ago. Based on this I believe, that Nika was some all powerful person, or at least the legend of such a person spread, until someone wished to become Nika, resulting in the devil fruit existing. Then 800 years ago, our first Joy Boy, eats the fruit and gains the powers of the Nika fruit.
This makes sense if you consider the fact that in the possible war torn ages back then, Joy Boy would’ve fought like how current Gear 5 Luffy is, with a distinctive laughter, and everyone who witnessed that event, would forever remember him to be a “laughing man” which over time became “Joy Boy”.
On top of that there is another similarity. Luffy’s heartbeat were stated to be Joyboy’s drums of Liberation, and Nika is known as the warrior of liberation. The similarities are just too much.
As mentioned above, all it takes is for a single rumor to spread around.
Furthermore, there could have been some intentional changing of names and fake rumours spread around to mask the real thing. Just like how Roger was Gol D. Roger and not Gold Roger, many generations ago maybe something similar was done with the “Nika” and “Joy Boy” names, which got obfuscated.
Well, whatever happened, the essence of their names stuck around to the disdain of the World Government, who has been trying to get rid of their existence ever since the Void Century.