Since Crocodile first mentioned devil fruit awakenings in Impel Down, we’ve only been shown a few examples. Looking back over the series, there are several clues that may reveal two major insights into awakenings that I haven’t seen others discuss.
Consider the Examples (both Known and Possible):
The murmurings of Sir Crocodile…
“Perfection” according to what we know now in the series is certainly Awakening! Either Crocodile was wrong or he was exaggerating. However, we can’t say he was merely unaware of Awakening because he is the first character to openly coin the term in the series (as I mentioned above).
Enel, the topic of theories…
Like Crocodile, who claims to have perfected his ability, Enel has long been considered a candidate for having possibly awakened his devil fruit. Unfortunately, many of the claims (such as Enel’s ablilty to actually change his appearance entirely) would also certify Monet due to her “Mannen Yuki” form.
The Demon Guards of Impel Down…
The imperfect “Awakened” zoan users who are trapped in their forced state seem to be lacking something more than their full awareness. So many theorists have compared this form to Chopper’s old Monster Point that it’s almost assumed that they achieved it through a similar means.
The glimpse of possibility with Chopper’s monster point…
Like with the Demon Guards, one has to wonder if you can be truly Awakened when you seem to be almost unaware (like an extreme case of sleepwalking). Fortunately, Chopper’s recent development shows more potential since he’s beginning to control his Monster Point, albeit with drugs.
The clear demonstration by Doflamingo…
After giving us a limited description of what it means to wield the ability of an awakened devil fruit, he began imposing his string secreting ability on the environment around him. This is where we seem to have been left by Oda for now.
Is that all we have?
The Other Abilities of a Truly Awakened Zoan
Crocodile claimed that endurance and recuperation were the forte of an Awakened Zoan user. However, having a specialty implies that other abilities do exist. Readers were so enamored with Doflamingo’s defeat that it would have been easy to overlook the scene showing Sabo’s exit from Dressrosa. He is riding away on a crow and having a conversation with one who claims to have the ability to summon the following flock at will.
Assuming that this member of the Revolutionary Army is actually in possession of the tori tori no mi – model crow, this should open up a world of clues. Sabo’s interest in the crow person’s ability seems to imply that it isn’t commonplace. I would like to suggest that this is one of the products of a TRULY awakened zoan.
Unlike the mindless brute squad being employed at Impel Down, this likely powerful member of the revolution certainly has control over his faculties. It would seem that the ability to command an army of your zoan devil fruit’s type is what is being demonstrated here. It is very much like how Jinbe and other Fishmen/Merfolk are able to call for and control fish of their type!
This could be truly amazing if you have access to reasonable numbers of your animal! Surely this is merely speculation. Right? One could claim so; except, this isn’t the first case we have witnessed. Both Cub and Bian of the Tontatta Tribe were able to call their relative animals to command. If not an ability solely reserved for Awakened Zoans, it is definitely an underutilized skill that could completely change the way those devil fruit users operate in both battle and support. (One has to wonder, could it be done by Chopper?!?)
“Awakening” … What is Asleep?
Now the question is, “How does one awaken a devil fruit ability?” One possible clue may come from the Zou arc. When Zunisha’s abilities are finally released by Momonosuke’s command, she stirs from her curse of walking in a sleep-like state and shows her true power.
It is highly possible that devil fruit Awakening functions in the same way. To command the “devil sleeping inside” one must have a conqueror’s spirit. If this is the case, the key to controlling an Awakened ability is Conqueror’s Haki. The only confirmed fully Awakened devil fruit user, Doflamingo, is also confirmed as having the haki of the conqueror. Finally, we may have a deeper purpose for this epic ability that has only been known to take out “fodder” during some battles to merely thin the numbers.
Consider some of the other characters that many claim have achieved an Awakening (or have at least begun to do so). They all have a conqueror’s spirit: Crocodile attempted to take over the kingdom of Alabasta, Doflamingo succeeded in becoming the usurper of Dressrosa, Enel dominated Skypiea as a god,Luffy (who we all know will eventually unlock this level) will be Pirate King!
What are the implications of someone with Conqueror’s Haki being able to command a devil fruit into Awakening? They could very well bring their subordinates’ and crewmates’ abilities into submission. Now we may truly be able to take seriously the speculations of the Strawhats’ possible Awakened abilities!
*Theory by Theo Ries