Anyway, your harshness intrigues me. As you've said, you're disillusioned, so I guess this is generating a negative bias in your reading, to the point that I wonder if your mind will be open to let anything delight you.
Sorry, I tend to hyperbolize things during the debate. I'll turn that down a bit.
Actually, there are many things in this arc, that I liked. It's just other things have some weird aftertaste. And I said said before, I will be very glad and eat my words, if those plot points will have substantial consequences and resolve. But there is very high pobablility that they won't.
Plot armor is a trope for the lack of logical explanation to the survival of a character, and that's not the case here for all I know. The Strawhats overcame every danger in their way thanks to their own merit, luck and sacrifices, factors completely acceptable in any given story, even more so in a ludic fiction that's meant to have the tone of a Legend/Fantasy.
In this particular case, that is exactly what I'm talking about. There is no logical explanation. Logically, Strawhats should have been destroyed right there and then. Frenzied Linlin can't be an unstoppable country destroying monster and be nerfed to the point of not being able to break through defensive Chooper at the same time. When I read that chapter, I clearly saw all out-of-universe reasons why that sequence played exactly as it did. It is plot armor, and it does ruin immersion a little.
What seems to be intriguing you is the fact that fiction is written with a purpose, so it is supposed to be manipulated in order to reach its conclusion, its message, to be exciting, to tell something.
However, I can't agree with this contemporary mentality of deconstructing art into tropes/devices without understanding what they mean and without understanding that they are essential to storytelling.
It shouldn't be that unsubtle. I can write like this and get away with it. When author with 20+ years of experience does that, questions are asked. I'm not bashing Oda, but he should be better at hiding inner workings of his story. I know he is better than this. But I also know that any fictional story constantly evolves during the process of realization, and it's hard to choose best ideas. Especially if you are always under a deadline.
Katakuri's character was just meant to go through that development
Chapter 902 Katakuri is not the same person, as chaper 873 Katakuri. Might as well call him Dogtooth, because he directly contradicts himself. Are you telling me that pragmatic guy, who said "we should destroy Luffy before he becomes a threat" turning into someone who is happy Luffy escaped, is a smooth and consistent character development? Only because Luffy didn't laugh at him? This guy, who apparently loves his siblings so much, he woved to never lie down on his back for their sake, develops a bro-crush on a person, who with his underlings helped to try and kill his mother, ripped his brother's arm off, sent other brother to hospital, beaten and kidnapped his favorite sister etc.
Btw, if he was this caring of an older brother, how in the world Pudding grew up so lonely and bitter? They have literally same issues. Katakuri couldn't find the time in 20 years to talk with his little sis? Does he only care about Brulee?
All in all, unless Luffy possess actual ability to passively brainwash people he interacts with, I will see it as clumsy characterisation.