So, uh, now that I've written about as much as I normally would just on the fruit, how was the rest of the chapter?
The cover story's lingering longer on Niji and Yonji than I expected it to. I guess the plot will be their escape and subsequent attempt to reunite with the other Vinsmokes rather than Judge's rescue mission. Fun callback to have the little Charlotte daughter who was cutting open her toys participating in the vivsection. Who are we betting will help them out? Caesar? Pudding? Pekoms? Someone else with a P in their name?
Let's do some looking at the timeline though. Big Mom's already out at sea the morning after the battle at Whole Cake Island. Given the humiliation she suffered there, she's definitely going straight after Luffy. Which means the conversation between Big Mom and Kaido in chapter 907 has to take place that morning, before the cover story's scene. And we know that conversation takes place on the same day as the Reverie's opening, which is the day before Luffy's group reaches Wano, which is two weeks before the Fire Festival. I've seen people doubt the idea of 16 days between full moons from Whole Cake to Wano, saying there must be some days of travel skipped over between the gang leaving Tottoland waters and the start of the Reverie, but there no longer seems to be space for that.
The establishing shot for Sanji's section of the 'everyone reacts to Luffy's presence' it at the start shows how far the island has deteriorated. Check out the before and after. This place is coming down.
The Elders talk about the government as an entity trying to obtain the fruit, leaving out the 'we's or any sense they were there in the different eras where it was attempted. Another point against the theory they're immortal.
Orochi and Hiyori's scene goes on. I try to take a wait and see approach, but I really feel like this bit could have been wrapped up in half the time devoted to it. Hiyori really isn't telling us anything we haven't known for a long time here. Kazenbo choosing to burn Orochi is not what I would have guessed through. I wouldn't have thought that thing was still around at all. I guess I'm looking forward to seeing what misinterpretation of Orochi's orders led it to thinking it should do that, so the scene isn't a total wash.
Returning to the Performance Floor, we get another great shot of Kaido filling the skull dome, doing more damage to the already devastated environment. The tone turns on a dime from the dread of him being there in the last chapter. I think that'll go down as one of the biggest critiques of the Onigashima battle - Oda gives us a few possible darkest hours where Luffy appears to be down, but doesn't really let any of them have the time they need to skin in. Luffy takes a pretty concerning hit in chapter 1009, but is back on his feet at the end of the next chapter. Luffy is blown off the island at the end of chapter 1013, but is rescued by the end of chapter 1015. This latest one doesn't even give him a whole chapter between Kaido annoucning the kill and his body twitching back to life. As much as I hate to suggest drawing this arc out any longer, giving any of these bits another chapter's worth of time to see other members of the alliance properly try and fail to stand up to Kaido without Luffy's help could have gone a long way to make it feel like all is lost without Luffy. As it is, you barely have time to start wondering how he'll get back in the fight (let alone entertaining the fantasy of 'if') before it happens.
And with all that said, and all talk of whether the Nika twist works or not, it's undeniable that the final action sequence is going to go down as an Oda highlight. I've said at least once before that the anime could do so much more to distinguish itself by leaning into the rubber hose possibilities of Luffy's rubber body and the different ways he might move. Well, Oda's forcing their hand on that one. Will they be able to make the most of the opportunity to step it up? (And a part of me wants to see the live action series survive long-term just to watch them grapple with this.)
Kaido apologising for CP0 and expressing relief he gets to go another round is good characterisation. I'm looking forward to any dialogue that happens between him and Luffy, now that Luffy has proven wrong about becoming Joyboy.
Gear Five is a fun design as well. A lot more understated than Gear Four, but in a good way. I'm interested to see if the changed inking on Luffy's shirt is actually ment to indicate a colour change - and what colour it's meant to be now. Hopefully we'll get to see this on next week's Jump cover and confirm the new look.
While I'm not shocked that this chapter and its big twist are proving controversial, and I do have my own reservations, I still very much enjoyed reading it and am greatly looking forward to seeing what Oda hsa planned now that he's pulled the trigger on the series second biggest possible reveal.