Well. A new thread, huh. Only took 15 months to fill up the previous one. Let's see how things have changed from then (in which I voted "Other" in the poll): @BellisarioFaith:
Well, my "other" is partially "none of the above", in that, while I do think we're gonna get one more (hence not voting for "Jimbei's the last one"), I'm seriously doubtful that it'll be any of the available choices on the poll based on everything we've seen so far. None of them feel right, certainly not the way Jimbei did. I could be quite wrong about that, and I'm sure part of that is my own bias because, by the time I started reading the series, Fishman Island was already complete and Jimbei had promised to join eventually, so him being official at some point has been a given to me for the whole time I've been reading weekly. But that doesn't change the fact that none of them have made the same impression and given the same vibes he did.
The one possible exception there is Yamato, whom we've just met and hasn't had the chance to leave much of any impression at all, but I'm not bandwagoning on him at this point. I suppose I could have waited a few months before casting my vote to see if he becomes more convincing and appealing as a possible Straw Hat, or if the hype for him dies out completely. Maybe after he's been around longer, I'll end up wishing I'd voted for him and feel much more optimistic about his chances. But eh. I'm friggen lazy and wanted to get my vote-explaining post out of the way before things start devolving in here, and Yamato, though he leaves me with a stronger first impression than several of the other options, seems perfectly viable as just an arc ally as well. I would rather just place my bets now and admit I was wrong later.
For whom I think it will be? No idea. Could even be a new character. Whom I'd like it to be? Vivi, who has far better chemistry with the Straw Hats–and I mean all of them (minus the three she never got the chance to meet), not just one or two–than any of the other choices. Hell, just the possible interactions between Vivi and Robin (whom she knew as an enemy) alone sound more interesting than everything we've gotten from some of these other choices combined. And for those who believe "Vivi already is a Straw Hat", yes, I believe that too, and still do consider her to be at least an honorary Straw Hat member regardless. But I'd literally prefer her coming back and sailing on the Sunny with them as a full-time member than any of the other choices joining. If one of them does, I won't love it, but it'll be whatever. If Vivi comes back, I will love it.
Well, my stance that we'll get one more crewmember, no more or less, remains the same.
At this point, Yamato definitely feels like the most likely option, by far. None of the other so-called major candidates for consideration seem to come anywhere close to him:
- It never felt to me like Carrot was being built up to join even at her most prominent in WCI, and her complete lack of presence and any amount of individual importance in Wano has only sealed the deal. (I'm not really into the whole "but she could get 'her moment' later down the line, let's wait and see!" train of thought. I prefer to make judgements based on what we've already seen and what's already happened, not based on what could happen–let's be real, a LOT could happen in this series–and then if something changes, adjust accordingly.)
- Thanks to Tama's young age and complete lack of ability to defend herself, in addition to her power seeming like a poor fit for the SHs, I'm very doubtful about her as well. Yes, we do know now that Shinobu can age people up, but why Tama? I didn't like it being done to Momonosuke either, but at the very least, there was the justification that doing so put him at his correct "chronological" age (how old he would be if he hadn't time-jumped). Tama doesn't even have that reasoning. There's also the fact that, while it's a reasonable enough guess, it's never actually been established that she wants to leave Wano with Luffy (unlike with Yamato).
- None of the other retainers feel right when they're so devoted to Momo and Wano, and likewise for Momo himself, also wholly devoted to Wano.
- And Vivi, whom I mentioned above? Not much has changed there for me, haha. I still like her better than any of the other choices, and I still acknowledge that she's probably not an option, as much as I would like it. I'm only bringing her up because I did so last time.
As for Yamato himself, I'm definitely more receptive to him as a choice now than I was then, it's true, since we've seen far more of him. I like his design, he and Luffy seem to get along great, and Yamato has explicitly said he wants to leave Wano and go with Luffy. That being said, in terms of wanting him to join, I'm still not fully won over yet, so I'm waiting to vote in the poll. It'll be disappointing if he does so without changing his weird Oden fixation at all. I will fully admit that there's some bias here because I didn't like Oden, but I really want to see Yamato realize that you can look up to someone and want to live up to their legacy and admirable qualities–even if I personally believe he's admiring the wrong guy, haha--without literally declaring yourself to be that person and trying too hard to emulate them. If he can do that and decide to be himself, whoever that may end up being, while still looking up to Oden in a better way, then I'll be more on board with him as a potential crewmate–and for the record, I think the chances of that are pretty high considering his Oden emulation is primarily played for comedy. I'd just really rather not have him continue that on the Sunny as his major personality quirk; I don't really want to have to bring all the Oden wanking with us after this arc is over, haha. I'll be a lot more lukewarm about him as a member if that's the case.
That being said, though, I gotta say: whether he joins the crew or not, I definitely expect him to leave Wano in some way after this is all over. He has made it explicitly, abundantly clear that he wants to help free Wano from his shitty dad and then get outta dodge and go out to sea after being trapped on Wano/Onigashima his whole damned life. I just do not see the "he's gonna stay as a retainer" or "he's gonna be the guardian deity of Wano" arguments, at all. As other folks here have already pointed out, the only character in-universe who has been shown to want that for him is…Kaido, his abusive dad who forced him to stay there in the first place. Having Yamato decide at the end "Actually, after wanting to leave my whole life, I am gonna stay in Wano to protect it after all like my dad wanted me to…but for my own reasons, so it's okay, I'm still defying his wishes!" feels really lame and like a complete cop-out. I can't really say I understand why someone would want that fate for Yamato, either, unless it's like "I hate him as a character and I want him to be stuck in a life that makes him unhappy" or something petty like that, lol. But that doesn't seem to be the reasoning for anyone who's making the argument for him to stay.