Artificial Devil Fruits are manmade fruits designed to give consumers special powers like a natural Devil Fruit would.
The creation of artificial Devil Fruits is known to have been attempted twice. One such fruit was made by the great scientist Vegapunk but was deemed a failure; it was later consumed by Kozuki Momonosuke and gave him the ability to transform into a dragon. Later, Caesar Clown was able to mass-produce artificial Zoan-type fruits that granted a variety of animal transformations, which were later given the name SMILE. Hundreds of members of the Beasts Pirates have consumed SMILE fruits.
Artificial Devil Fruits are created based on Vegapunk's research on how Devil Fruits affect the user's Lineage Factor, making practical applications of such effects on the blood. All artificial Devil Fruits made so far have granted Zoan-type abilities. However, Vegapunk's and Caesar's development methods were quite different. While Vegapunk utilized the Lineage Factor of a fruit user in Kaidou to develop his artificial fruit, Caesar utilized the Lineage Factor of regular animals. Thus, Caesar was only ever capable of producing regular Zoan-type fruit replicas, while Vegapunk's capabilities in this research are indicated to be much broader.
Both Vegapunk's and Caesar's artificial fruits take away the consumer's ability to swim much like a natural Devil Fruit. However, as evidenced by the unusual effects of both scientists' fruits compared to natural Devil Fruits, producing a normal Devil Fruit through manmade means is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to the point that even Vegapunk, possibly the top scientist in the world, has not been able to successfully pull it off.
Vegapunk's Failed Devil Fruit
Sometime within the last 38 years, Vegapunk developed a fruit by utilizing the Lineage Factor of Kaidou, the user of the Uo Uo no Mi, Model: Seiryu. However, the fruit was then deemed a "failure" and never given an official name. A member of CP0 stated he believed it was "fortunate" the experiment was deemed a failure, for unknown reasons. It was eaten by Kozuki Momonosuke.
It is an apple shaped fruit with a long stem that curls at the end. It is rather small compared to natural Devil Fruits, and due to being man-made, its patterning is also different: instead of swirls covering the fruit, it has ring patterns. While Vegapunk's failed version is light colored all the way with a long swirled stem, the SMILEs manufactured through the co-operation of Caesar and Doflamingo are dark with light ring pattern with a short stem.
Abilities and Side Effects
The fruit was intended to have the same effect as the Uo Uo no Mi, Model: Seiryu. It allows the user to transform into a pink, serpentine dragon that bears a resemblance to the Chinese or Japanese variety. The user also gains the ability to generate Flame Clouds (焔雲 Homura-gumo?) that could also be used as stepping stones, giving the appearance of flight. The fruit grants the standard Devil Fruit weaknesses.
Momonosuke's initial usage of the fruit appeared to have several flaws which may have contributed to it being deemed a failure, but all of these have since been shown to be a result of Momonosuke's young age and lack of experience. A few moments after consuming the fruit, Momonosuke transformed automatically, and he claimed that he did not know how to revert to Human Form. Later, he was shown to be able to accomplish the task, albeit ending up completely naked, which is unlike that of a natural Zoan. He has since transformed in and out of his Beast Form willingly while retaining his clothes and it is unclear why he lost his clothes when he first transformed back into his Human Form. The size of Momonosuke's full Beast Form transformation was also much smaller than that of the natural fruit's transformation, barely being big enough to carry a normal-sized human. However, this was shown to be a result of Momonosuke's age, as when Shinobu matured his body by 20 years, Momonosuke's transformation was much closer in size to Kaidou's. After achieving the form of a full-sized dragon, Momonosuke likewise gained a massive increase in his strength and durability, as he could easily smash through walls by simply crashing into them and is able to hurt Kaidou, in his dragon form, with a bite. He also gained better control over his ability to produce Flame Clouds, being able to uses them fly himself and Luffy at high speed all the way back up to Onigashima from the shores of Wano Country. Because of this, it remains unknown why exactly this fruit was considered a failure.
SMILEs are the artificial Devil Fruits that were created by Caesar Clown. They are produced by irrigating natural fruits with a special substance known as SAD. Out of all the SMILE fruits created, only 10 percent of them successfully grant Zoan abilities to the consumer, and the abilities granted are notably different and noticeably weaker compared to real Zoan fruits. The other 90 percent of SMILE fruits are duds which, when consumed, will leave the consumer powerless but still take away their ability to swim, as well as take away their ability to express any emotions other that joy, which is where the fruit gets its name.
These fruits were monopolized by the Beasts Pirates and consumed by approximately 5000 members, resulting in roughly 500 successful SMILEs eaters, known as "Gifters", and roughly 4500 dud SMILE eaters, known as "Pleasures".
An unknown amount of time ago, Vegapunk's research into Devil Fruits led him to develop an artificial replication of one, using Kaidou's Lineage Factor as the basis for it. However, he then deemed this experimental fruit a failure, despite interest from the World Government in the results. The fruit remained in Punk Hazard and, because of Caesar Clown's attempt to blow up the island, was believed to have been destroyed.
Sometime within the last four years, Caesar developed a method to create artificial Zoan Devil Fruits with a special chemical known as SAD. He and his captain Donquixote Doflamingo mass-produced these fruits in a factory on Dressrosa and sold these fruits to Kaidou of the Four Emperors in exchange for weapons. Kaidou fed these fruits to his crew to grant them Zoan abilities, though only ten percent of the fruits actually worked. Kaidou's ally, Kurozumi Orochi, decided to put the leftover dud fruits in the leftovers that the poor resident of Wano Country ate, forcing them to look happy all the time. It was this effect that caused Kaidou and Doflamingo to name the fruits "SMILE" out of a cruel enjoyment of such misfortune.
A few months before the present day, Kozuki Momonosuke, who had been brought into Caesar's lab as a test subject, was trying to escape when he encountered Vegapunk's artificial fruit. The young boy ate it due to being extremely hungry, and thus gained the power to transform into a dragon.
A short time after Momonosuke ate the fruit, the Straw Hat and Heart Pirates formed an alliance to take down Kaidou, and to weaken the Emperor's forces they destroyed the production of SAD and SMILEs. They captured Caesar and defeated Doflamingo in the process, causing the latter to be arrested, and thus took away the potential to make more SMILE in the future.
- Vegapunk's artificial fruit was erroneously identified as a SMILE on Momonosuke's entry in Vivre Card - One Piece Visual Dictionary.