Where the Youkai Roam
In the full reveal for the true form of Elder Star Jaygarcia’s transformed appearance as a (supposed) Devil Fruit user, we’ve learned that the bull horns from that shadowy first glimpse were a clever mislead by Odacchi as without the rest of his body in the panel, the connection his actual form as a mythological gyuuki (a bull-headed spider youkai) was entirely concealed! The hagoromo-like flames floating behind the nape of his neck suggest that he is in fact a naturally awoken Zoan!
As for the other Elder Stars, I think it’s a safe guess that they also have some sort of relation to youkai as well given this line from Sabo upon his seeing their transformed states:
What could have just as easily been a snarky remark about hell being where heaven technically should be, might actually have been a hint from Odacchi as to the nature of each of the elder’s transformed states!
As for Jaygarcia’s youkai, gyuuki have been referenced before in the series and Zoro even named one of his three-swordattacks after them back during the rescue mission to Enies Lobby which raises an interesting ‘chicken or egg’ question. Did the concept of gyuuki in ONE PIECE’s world stem from the existence of Jaygarcia’s fruit, or was the fruit created on ubiquitous myths of their world? If we can find out the answer to this question, that would actually tell us a LOT about Devil Fruits! We learned from Vegapunk that Devil Fruits were manufactured based on the ideas of dreamers.
People thought about what it would be fun to do and their technology allowed them to harness those fantastic thoughts into an actual medium for acquiring those very same thoughts and powers! So was the gyuuki first conceived of by someone who dreamed up the idea of becoming a magical bull-spider demon or…did that myth already exist? If the original creators of the Devil Fruits were the progenitors of such ideas, then they created the very myths themselves by becoming these super-powered beings and instilling awe and fear in the populace. Consider what that would mean for Nika. It’s quite possible that the concept of Nika is something entirely constructed by the Devil Fruit creators and the so-called ‘Sun God’ never existed and was only a concept of dreamers.
But circling back to Jaygarcia, interestingly enough, there seem to be varieties of gyuuki in actual Japanese myths and one such variant is known as a tsuchigumo 土蜘蛛or literally ‘ground spider’. What’s eyebrow-raising about this name is how it includes the kanji for ‘earth’, ‘dirt’, or ‘ground’. Jaygarcia’s name ‘Saturn’ is known in Japanese as 土星 dosei or literally ‘The Earth Star’. Could each of the Elder Stars have a youkai somehow related to the Japanese name of their namesake’s planet? Wel, it was 860 chapters from Jaygarcia’s debut until his fruit reveal, hopefully we’ll get the next one a bit sooner!
Weekly Shonen Jump #45 Ch.1094
One Piece Vol.39 Ch.371
One Piece Vol.106 Ch.1069
One Piece Vol.107 Ch.1085