- Tori (鳥?) is Japanese for "bird".
- The kanji written for the "phoenix" read fushichō (不死鳥?), meaning "immortal bird", a common Japanese title for the Western phoenix.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Whoever wields this fruit's power can become a large phoenix shrouded in blue flames, as well as a human-phoenix hybrid; notably through Marco's usage, no full-bodied hybrid form has yet been seen, only partial morphing of his arms and legs into wings and bird legs respectively. As with all Zoans, the user's transformation lets them enjoy a boost to their physical abilities, including strength great enough to hold back two Ancient Zoan users at once, and grants the ability to fly. The phoenix form (both partial and in full) comes with a set of sharp bird talons on the feet, usable to deal slashing damage via kicks.
Most significant is the user's power to create "Blue Flames of Resurrection" (復活の青い炎 Fukkatsu no Aoi Honō?), also called "Flames of Regeneration" (再生の炎 Saisei no Honō?). These light-blue (and part-yellow) flames envelop the user upon transforming, and their full phoenix form gives the impression of being wholly made of fire. However, the flames can also be conjured forth without any shapeshifting, from any body part. Generally, these blue flames neither burn nor spread as normal flames do and are not hot, lacking potential for offense—regardless, due to their special nature they are superior in potency to normal fire, proven when Marco overpowered and caused pain to Prometheus, a "special" fire homie made from Big Mom's soul.
Instead of burning, the phoenix flames have immensely potent healing qualities: by cloaking themselves in them, the user can rapidly self-regenerate from any and all injuries inflicted onto them, lethal included, much like how a phoenix is said to rise from its own ashes. The user thus boasts enormous resilience, able to undergo extreme punishment without so much as being slowed down or feeling pain. In Marco's case, injuries like his body being perforated all over (e.g, by gunfire) or having his head run through/parts of it blown off have elicited little reaction from him, the wounds simply disappearing in the flames almost as quickly as they were made.
The user may shift into their phoenix form to automatically heal damage accumulated in their human form, or heal by simply summoning the flames around them while staying human. In the user's full phoenix form, physical attacks may simply pass through them as if their body was one intangible flame, akin to a Logia's body; the defining difference being that the user simply regenerates, their body still being physical under the fire. As such (as a huge advantage over Logia types), even injuries taken while touching Seastone can be recovered by the flames once contact with said material stops (whereas Logia users permanently suffer damage done by anything that does bypass their elementality, like Haki or Seastone).
Defensively, the phoenix flames may help the user ward off extremely powerful attacks through them using their own body as a shield, their healing-bolstered durability letting them endure massive blows without falling. Examples of this are Marco blocking Marine admiral Kizaru's immense barrage of light grenades or the full force of admiral Akainu's Magu Magu no Mi, which has the strongest attack power of any Devil Fruit.
On top of self-healing, the phoenix flames may be applied to other people in order to mend them (even many at once if the user manually spreads out their fire by, for example, swirling their wings), but in that capacity to heal others, the flames have a smaller effect. Once the flames have lit other people, they stay with and continuously heal them. This may even extend to diseases, shown when Marco employed his fire to act as a temporary countermeasure to Queen the Plague's cold-inducing virus, increasing the body heat of any infected party caught by the flames to prevent said virus from spreading through their bodies further.
While powerful, there is a limit to the user's healing factor: that is, the amount of damage from which can be recovered in the long term is limited, as the user is not truly immortal, though precisely where this limit is remains to be specified. Also, as aforesaid, when used on others the flames are not as strong in their healing as when applied to the user's own body, and they depend in their efficacy on the physical stamina of the flames' recipient, ceasing to work once their stamina has run out.
Marco's abilities have garnered him the epithet "Marco the Phoenix", with the man demonstrating extensive use of his transformation to do aerial combat, his avian physiology allowing him to fly at significant speeds and to either utilize his human legs to deliver strong, Haki-imbued kicks or his taloned phoenix legs for slashing claw strikes. Marco can further employ his wings as a means to restrain foes, even extremely strong, fully transformed Ancient Zoan users, as shown when Marco immobilized King and Queen (two of the strongest members of the Beasts Pirates) at once with casual ease.
Marco has made practical usage of flying to traverse battlefields quickly, bypassing enemies on the ground, in order to supervise whatever fighting is going on (as he did during the Battle of Marineford in Whitebeard's place), to relay important intel, and possibly carry others with him. In his apprentice days, Marco acted as a scout for the Whitebeard Pirates, investigating unknown islands.
Combat-wise, Marco's healing capabilities serve a defensive purpose. He can outright ignore most physical attacks he is faced with, letting melee and ranged ones, even weapons, simply pass through his body before his wounds seamlessly close up and vanish without a trace; this makes it seem, even to formidable adversaries, that he is invulnerable. Among other things, Marco has been seen shielding his allies using his own body, such as Whitebeard, before simply healing himself up thereafter.
The man's additional ability to heal others has let Marco serve his years as an efficient ship doctor for the Whitebeard Pirates, and following their disbandment helped him do doctorship on Sphinx.
Like other Zoan users, Marco can freely choose between entering his full Beast Form or that of a human-phoenix hybrid, but unlike most Zoan users seen so far, Marco can undergo selective transformation of just parts of his body, without changing his full appearance; most often shifting just his arms into phoenix wings and his legs into phoenix legs, while his head and torso remain untransformed. If this is a mark of Marco's superior control over his powers or simply a distinct facet of the phoenix transformation remains unclear.
- Hoo-in (
鳳凰印Hōō-in?, literally meaning "Fenghuang Seal"): While midair in his hybrid form, Marco readies both his talons in front of him and then delivers a strong, two-legged kick to a target. This move proved strong enough to knock back the Queen Mama Chanter, an enormous ship. The technique's name contains the Japanese name for the fenghuang (hōō), an immortal bird originating in Chinese mythology that is often compared to the Western phoenix, sometimes being called the "Chinese phoenix" (despite mythological similarities between the two being only superficial). In the Viz release, this technique is called Phoenix Brand.
- Nashi no Tsubute (
鳳梨礫Nashi no Tsubute?, literally meaning "Pineapple Stone"): Marco transforms his arms into phoenix wings and swirls them around, thereby spreading his fire to a potential multitude of people, engulfing them in order to heal them. The technique was first seen being used by Marco to counteract the "Ice Oni" virus in numerous infected at Onigashima's Live Stage, keeping the flames at just the right temperature to slow the virus' effects. However, as Marco noted, the flames would cease to work the moment the affected would run out of stamina. The technique's name is a pun: the kanji include an antiquated Japanese word for pineapple, hōri (鳳梨?), which plays on Marco's likeness to said fruit (as mentioned in-story) and in itself contains the kanji hō (鳳?) for "feng" (a fenghuang's male aspect); however, the furigana indicate the reading Nashi no Tsubute (梨の礫?), which is an idiom that literally means "tossing the pear", referring to a lack of reply after asking something (the "nashi" for "pear" sounds the same as "nashi" for "nothing"). In the Viz manga, the technique is called Phoenix Pyreapple.
Video Game Techniques
- Rebirth Flame (再生の炎 Saisei no Honō?, literally meaning "Flames of Regeneration"): Used as his Level 1 Special Attack in Pirate Warriors 2 and 3, where Marco changes into a phoenix and flaps his wings, restoring life around him while sending out a shockwave.
- Blue Transmigration Flame (転生の蒼炎 Tensei no Sōen?, literally meaning "Pale Flame of Transmigration"): Marco changes into a phoenix, spirals around enemies to gather them into the air, then charges into the ground from a very high altitude, causing a shockwave. It is used in Pirate Warriors 2 and 3 as his Level 2 Special Attack.
- Phoenix Inferno (
不死鳥の豪炎 Fenikkusu Gōen?, literally meaning "Phoenix Great Flame"): Marco shoots a powerful, fiery shockwave forward from his wings while airborne, suffering from some slight recoil. The move is seen in Pirate Warriors 3 as Marco's Kizuna Rush Special Attack.
- Mythical Zoan (「
動物系」幻獣種 Zōn-kei Genjūshu?, literally meaning "Animal System Mythical Beast Species"): Marco soars into the air and sends an enemy flying, then flies to the airborne enemy and kicks him down to the ground like he did with Kizaru during the Battle of Marineford. This attack appears in Burning Blood.
- Beast Chain (幻獣連撃 Genjū Rengeki?, literally meaning "Mythical Beast Chain Attack"): Marco flies towards an enemy, continuing with subsequent hits caused by flying into them. This move appears in Burning Blood.
- 1st Squad Commander (1番隊隊長 Ichibantai Taichō?, literally meaning "First Division Commander"): Marco covers himself in his phoenix flames and counters attacks from enemies situated around him. If hit from close range he spins around, which causes the enemy to be sent flying away. If hit by projectiles from afar, he flies into the enemy. This move is another one to appear in Burning Blood.
- This fruit's power seemingly combines traits of both the Western phoenix and the Chinese fenghuang:
- The fruit's name and ability to self-regenerate, implied to almost verge on immortality, seem more based on the motif of the Western phoenix. Per various mythologies such as Classical and Egyptian, the phoenix is said to cyclically regenerate or, most prominently, to resurrect itself after burning its body to ashes, and therefrom rising anew.
- The appearance of the phoenix form taken by Marco (with its slenderness, long neck, crest-resembling flame on the head, and what seems to be lengthy "tail feathers" made of closed, bound-together circles) is somewhat more in line with traditional depictions of the fenghuang in Chinese mythology. More than that, Marco's named techniques used in the canon of the manga contain one or both of the kanji for fenghuang or hōō (鳳凰?).
- This fruit is one of three known Devil Fruits that grant the ability to heal/restore health, the others being the Ope Ope no Mi and Chiyu Chiyu no Mi (both Paramecia-type fruits).
- As an answer to a SBS joke question, Oda noted that if Marco had his penis ripped off, he could regenerate it.
- Phoenix – Wikipedia article on the mythical creature this fruit transforms the user into.