Yet another excellent chapter with tons of interesting things to talk about! Oda continues to surprise each week, taking the story in really unexpected directions.
Sanji’s Moment to Shine
I love the panel of Sanji smacking around Kaido’s subordinates using Zoro as a weapon. And it’s even better Zoro remains unconscious through all of it.
Queen’s teeth sprout what appear to be needles or syringes, demonstrating again just how extensive his cybernetic modifications are. It really seems he’s full-blown cyborg much like Franky and Kuma, so I imagine his ties to the SSG are deeper than we yet realize. But just before Queen can reach Chopper, the return of the Hunter, Mr. Prince, Sanji, who finally gets his big moment to shine. I never doubted this moment was coming. There was just too much setup for it throughout the raid, but I know there were naysayers. All I can say is, the Sanji stans are finally vindicated.
The scene is both an impressive show f force from Sanji and a great character moment. I love just how ridiculous it is to spin Queen’s neck around like a propeller to defelect Perospero’s attack, but it’s also worth mentioning Sanji isn’t even using the Raid Suit when he sends Queen and Perospero flying. The Raid Suit seems to primarily augment his defensive capabilities, so this is all Sanji.
Even more significant than Sanji’s attack, I love him stepping into the leadership position while Luffy and Zoro are out of commission. I really appreciate him both scolding Chopper for losing his composure on the battlefield, while also encouraging him to remember all of the miracles they have already witnessed and to not lose faith in Luffy.
Sanji hasn’t had enough cool moments like this post-time skip, so it’s always nice to see. I also really like the callback to Zou when Sanji entrusts Zoro to Chopper. He says when Zoro recovers, he’ll be worth 10 men, to which a barely conscious Zoro replies, ‘more like 2000’. On Zou, Luffy stressed the importance of rescuing Sanji by saying Sanji was worth 1000 men. Zoro of course said if Sanji is worth 1000, he is worth 2000. I will never stop enjoying Zoro and Sanji’s rivalry and the fact that Oda remembers and calls back to petty insults and challenges from hundreds of chapters earlier makes it even better.
Buildng on the scene from several chapters earlier, it seems we’re gearing up for Sanji to fight Queen, who again comments on Sanji being the child of Vinsmoke Judge. I’m really curious to find out more about Queen’s affiliation with Judge and perhaps even the SSG. This makes me wonder if Queen helped set up the SAD and Smile production pipeline from Punk Hazard to Dressrosa to Wano along with Caesar.
Zoro & Sanji vs. King & Queen?
I’m not sure what role Zoro will play when and if he recovers. The fact that he has been handed off to Chopper to help him recover with Marco also present likely means he will be back up and fighting before the arc draws to a close. I suppose it’s till possible he’ll take over for Marco in fighting King, but I’m really not sure at this point. While there is now setup for Sanji to fight Queen, I’m still not certain it will remain strictly 1 on 1 with Izo and Kawamatsu on route to the performance hall and a number of other characters present already. The battlefield is likely to become fairly chaotic, so it’s possible there will be other participants. That doesn’t mean there’s no chance of 1 on 1 matchups, but I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion at this point.
Both King and Queen should still have even more powerful hybrid forms to tap into, so regardless of how this all plays out, I imagine the battles haven’t really even started yet and thus wll only get more intense. Both King and Queen appear to have real depth to their characters, so as these battles unfold, I hope we learn more about their backstories.
Kinemon’s Final Stand
We next cut back to the aftermath from Kiku and Kanjuro’s battle and Kaido’s surprise attack which concluded the previous chapter. Both Kiku and Kanjuro lie motionless, indicating they are either dead or near death. Kinemon, with his blades shattered, is still barely clinging to life and despite struggling to even move, makes a valiant but feeble attempt to hold back Kaido as Momo watches in despair. I said last week that I believe Kaido’s attack will result ultimately in Kinemon’s death and that point is further driven home when Kaido picks up a katana and uses it to impale Kinemon, delivering what appears to be a second fatal injury.
Just as I said last week, I do believe Kinemon will tenaciously hold out just a little bit longer. Notably, Kinemon didn’t smile before what appears to be his death in this chapter, which is a hallmark of those who carry the name D. as well as those close to the ones with the name D. such as Oden and Kiku. I think Oda will give Kinemn more memorable final words and a farewell to Luffy before his ultimate passing. On that topic, Luffy will be devastated when he learns about Kinemon. I have talked about the idea in past chapter reviews that the scabbards will give Luffy the push he needs to defeat Kaido, perhaps by lending him the last of their lives / shadows, thus fulfilling Toki’s prophecy.
It was sad to see Momo’s memories of bonding with Kinemon as the two rehearse their roles as father and son, played back as he and Shinobu flee. Wano truly is a Kabuki play, so Momo and Kinemon practicing their roles fits well with that particular motif. I already talked about the deaths of the scabbards last week at length, but I’m really saddened by Kinemon’s apparent death and I imagine this will have a lasting impact on the Straw Hats. When all is said and done on Wano, I expect they will reflect on the lives of their friends and allies, Pedro, Yasuie, Kinemon, lost along the way in this quest to liberate Wano and take down Kaido.
Momo – Future Shogun
I was really impressed by Momo this week as he continues to evolve into the leader he must someday become. Despite the sorrow from having just witnessed Kinemon’s sacrifice, he takes one of the Marys and uses it to broadcast a message throughout the castle, while barely choking back tears.
Last week, as he was reading is father’s journal, Momo was suddenly incapacitated by the Voice of All Things. I discussed a number of possibilities for the identity of this mysterious speaker, but we learn this week Momo was in fact hearing Luffy calling out to him through the Force, er the Voice of All Things. Now, I talked about the idea it could have been Joy Boy or Imu speaking to Momo based on his distress and the fact that he asked, ‘who are you?’
Of course, the simplest and most likely answer is that Mmo was simply unfa iliar with communicating to Luffy in this way, but I still think there’s a chance Momo was hearing a different voice when reading the journal. As I said however, the most likely scenario is that it was just Luffy. It’s just worth keeping in mind these other possibilities as well.
Momo here sets aside his own grief and transmit’s Luffy’s message to everyone still fighting on Onigashima. I love that we’re seeing both Momo and Luffy continue to grow as leaders throughout this story arc. Momo is becoming increasingly well suited to rule as Wano’s Shoguun and Luffy is becoming a captain truly worthy of taking up the Pirate King’s mantle. What I think is notable here is Luffy’s taking charge and responsibility for everyone involved in the raid, not just his own crew. We know that the conflict which follows the discovery of the treasure One Piece will engulf the entire globe and as Pirate King, Luffy will shoulder the burden of history. It’s fitting that as the crew have voyaged through the New World, Luffy has matured as a leader, developing the qualities needed to someday live up to the responsibilities he will carry as successor to Roger and Joy Boy.
We see Momo and Luffy’s message has successfully boosted morale with several reactin panels showing characters throughout the castle. The Straw Hats are of course relieved, but it was pretty interesting to see Eustass Kid also smiling at the news Luffy is alive. This only reinforces what I said a few chapters prior – that Kid and Law are not destined to be true antagonists. Like Law, Kid is likely to in some way maintain a friendly rivalry with the Straw Hat Pirates, but may never be a true obstacle on the route to Laugh Tale.
Kaido and Momo: Good Fortune
Kaido then corners Mmo and Shinobu and moves in for the kill, but before he can strike, a chunk of Onigashima on which Momo and Shinobu are standing breaks away, both saving them from Kaido and sending them plummeting toward the land below. I have discussed this idea at length in the past, but I believe Kaido, as an eastern style dragon, has been imbued by his Devil Fruit with incredibly good fortune and that by virtue of the fact Momo’s fruit was created from Kaido’s, he too is protected by whatever this good fortune factor might be. I think there was already a strong foundation for this theory and evidence has only continued to mount. So we have here yet another piece of evidence in support of this theory, with good fortune putting Mmo out of Kaido’s reach at the last moment. By chance, the piece of Onigashima on which Momo is standing just so happens to break away right when Kaido is about to strike and there’s nowhere left to run or hide.
It does seem this was Shinobu's jutsu after re-reading; I was initially thrown off by the 'Eh!?' reaction. I thought Shinobu was surprised when Onigashima started to crumble, but I see now that was Momo, likely reacting to Shinobu's jutsu.
Momo and Shinobu Save the Flower Capitol?
So now Momo and Shinobu are also falling away from Onigashima. We saw last week, Onigashima was very near the mainland, so I assume hey are not over open ocean at this point. We have seen Shinobu use a sail cloth to glide and Momo himself can fly in dragon form when pressed, so I’m sure they’ll be okay. Momo and Shinobu being at ground level beneath Onigashima could potentially be setup for a number of different scenarios. Perhaps this will be setup for Momo to stop Onigashima from falling on the Flower capitol from the ground using his own flame clouds. It could also mean Momo warning the people of Wano celebrating the Fire Festival to get out of the way before Onigashima arrives. Momo’s ability to fly could also be Luffy’s ticket back up to the castle on Onigashima and if there is validity to the good fortune theory, he may be the key to helping end Kaido’s winning streak.
I do really like the potential imagery of Mmo, a ghost or a dream in the minds of the people of Wano, showing up amid their Fire Festival celbrations and using the flames of his dragon form to save them and set down Onigashima safely elsewhere.
We see Luffy still sinking as Law’s crew aboard the Polar Tang arrive. Law’s crew were certainly the most obvious choice to save Luffy. Oda purposely had the people with a submarine left behind to chase after Onigashima. I was surprised Oda resolved the question f who is going to save Luffy so quickly. I feel like he could have left that ball in the air a little bit longer. Resolving Luffy’s rescue so quickly does reduce some of the dramatic tension created by his defeat, but perhaps Oda thought the answer was so simple it wasn’t worth leaving as a cliffhanger. I do imagine Luffy’s recovery should at least take a little time, so he won’t get back into the fight so quickly. And perhaps learning more about how Luffy lost and what makes Kaido so unkillable will notch up the tension.
We next see Usopp, Nami, and Tama listening and reacting to Momo’s message when suddenly, Nami’s climatact speaks. It turns out Nami was actually successful in rescuing Zeus from Big Mom and that his soul has been absorbed into Climatact. I really like the idea that Nami, the Cat Burglar, has received such a major powerup by essentially stealing a piece of Big Mom’s soul. We have seen exactly what Zeus is capable of , so this si a big win for Nami. I do wonder if he’s permanently part of Climatact itself or if he can still assume cloud form. Either way, the possibility of Ulti standing back up to settle things with Nami have just risen pretty dramatically.
Law and Kid Team Up
We next see Law show up beside Kid and the two now prepare to face Big Mom together. I’m not sure they can defeat Big Mom, but at the very least, they can keep her occupied for the time being.
Yamato and Kaido
On that note, we come to the final scene of the chapter as Yamato finally confronts Kaido, calling down his name from the roof of Onigashima, to which he responds, “Don’t you mean father, Yamato?” Yamato then declares her intent to break free from that bond. We have up to this point, only heard about their relationship from Yamato’s perspective, but have not yet seen the two interact. So this confrontation has the potential to be really interesting and to give us insight into oth characters.
I said quite some time ago that a Yamato and Kaido centered flashback seems inevitable and perhaps this clash will be the catalyst. Whether or not this flashback is accompanied by an act break in Wano remains to be seen.
I expect Yamato’s Devil Fruit will at last be revealed when the two begin to fight. As mentioned earlier, this clash and potential flashback could at last reveal the secret of Kaido’s power and we’ll see if there is any validity to the good fortune theory. Learning the reason for Luffy’s defeat may also help dial up the tension before his third and final fight with Kaido.
I also really like the contrast of Momo and Kinemon, unrelated by blood, taking on the role of parent and child while Yamato seeks to unchain herself from that same bond to her biological father Kaido. I think the way this scene and potential flashback play out could significantly move the needle one way or the other on Yamato joining or not joining the Straw Hat Pirates.