I think it's safe to say it's unrelated to haki and I think that your first and third option are essentially identical. A regular paramecia shouldn't be able to open holes in their body usually. Definitely a special fruit thing.
As for the debate Count is waging - I think it's almost objectively true that everything he is saying is correct if you use only what is being shown in the manga as evidence, but it's also logically true that (even if Oda isn't doing a good enough job showing it) his authorial intent is for us to feel like his advanced observational haki is contributing to his battle prowess.
If Oda expects us to think that Katakuri's foresight is an integral part of his moveset, he's doing a bit of a half-assed job. It doesn't come across as anything more than a minor advantage that doesn't really add anything to the battle. And I'm almost convinced he's going to ignore it if Luffy finds a way to defeat or stalemate Katakuri.
I think Katakuri is reacting, not initiating. He's reacting because he wants to prove his fruit is superior. He wants Luffy to launch his attack so that he can beat it. He knows what attack is coming so he's able to react and replicate it.
I can agree with that assessment. I am only saying that even if he can see the attack a few seconds ahead, it barely matters. If Katakuri didn't have foresight and yet was still able to create superior versions of Luffy's attacks, would you find any of the things Katakuri has done to be weird and not simply impressive physical/tactical skills?
Except, no one in the manga has ever parried gatling. They've dodged it, blocked it and phased it but they've never parried it. This is where the inference that CoO is being used comes into play. He's faster than Luffy, sure. But what makes more sense? Him being zomg super duper fast and mounting a superior attack (which honestly, I would call bullshit if not for his CoO) or him using his future sight to be able to effectively use his speed and counter?
Or I can believe it's due to the simpler explanation of nobody having powers similar to Luffy, thus never being able to parry Luffy in the first place. Either makes sense, and the latter does sound better on paper, but both happening simultaneously is redundant.
Seriously, what is so hard to believe about a Yonko Commander seeing an attack and immediately copying it to fight back in a few seconds? It's not even like Luffy's attacks are anything mentally complex, it's just stretching and inflating.
My understanding would be that observation counters observation. And Doflamingo, in my opinion, has exhibited CoO usage before. I'm pretty sure I've seen him do the neck roll dodge before but even if he hasn't, he was able to put up armament haki in response to Luffy's Gear 4th attacks. I'd argue that's CoO usage to mount a defense at the last second. Personally, I think haki is a fun and interesting concept but if you don't like it there's nothing much I can do about that. I'm not going to argue against your personal preferences.
I argue that is just Doflamingo being that quick and to enphasize the power of Gear Fourth. I can concede that Katakuri can be using foresight in his fight, but outside of that, I think you're giving Oda too much credit for how he inserts Observation into fights.
I don't see what's fun about Oda arbitrarily assigning "superior" levels of Armament Haki despite that purely being based on spiritual willpower. I don't see what's fun about characters having Spidey Senses and always needing to have Observation Haki sidelined so that they don't become overpowered or make fights into convoluted bouts of meticulous wits that try to sound bigger than they are like a Hunter x Hunter chapter. I don't see what's fun about Conquerer's Haki only being good for knocking out fodder as a shallow attempt to make a character we already know is powerful look powerful to build up hype and all of the forum discussions it spawns about if it will actually be useful because of how pointless it appears to be as a superpower. I don't see what's fun about non-Gear Fourth Luffy's normal punches, Armament punches, and Gear Second all being virtually the same in strength and virtually useless at this point in the series, along with Elephant Gun.
Man, I hate Haki. We don't need to get into an argument about that, I'm just voicing my thoughts.
That's why we need to see more. Was the wedding a showcase of potential weaknesses his CoO has that could play into his defeat? Maybe. We don't know. If it doesn't play into his defeat (or in his strengths later in the fight) then yeah, it's a pretty dumb tacked on ability.
And until we see more, I'm going to voice my thoughts on what the fight seems to be focusing on if it continues like this. We have no idea if the wedding is a potential showcase of Katakuri's weaknesses since nothing seemed peculiar about how his abilities work. I am always game for Oda to surprise, but I am not going to place blind faith in him either for a concept that he clearly fades out of existence most of the time so that fights still look compelling.
They're not mutually exclusive. You can use occam's razor for both!
My idea is that mochi is the inferior grade to rubber. His usage of CoO in conjunction with his devil fruit is what allows him to one-up Luffy. Of course, if this theory doesn't pan out then I don't know what the hell Oda is trying to get across here with the comparisons. If Luffy's fruit is the inferior then err… okay? CoO would just be tacked on in that case.
But my inference comes from Luffy saying "as if rubber would lose to mochi" and Katakuri consistently emphasizing that his is better. It makes more sense to me that rubber is supposed to be the superior grade.
And this highlights the difference in our thoughts. I think that Katakuri can give Luffy just as good a fight without foresight while you see it being integral to his fighting style. Given how fast characters are in One Piece in general ever since Alabasta or so, I am sticking to my guns harder than mochi stuck to Big Father's cannons.
You just reminded me of how much I abhor the concept of Devil Fruit supremacy lol. No matter, I think it would be more interesting if Luffy is inferior. That way, he has to rely on a specific unique property of his powers to win, like his bounciness or something. This is the tables being turned on what happened between Luffy and Enel. Luffy's bounciness could be something that Katakuri's stickiness can't truly replicate.
[QUOTEYou can use it for a series that is far more consistent than its peers. This isn't Bleach or Naruto. And this is in regards to mechanical applications of abilities, not story progression.
Yes, I do expect the guy that was stated as having super duper good CoO to use CoO in his fighting style.
Not really. Occam's razor would have dictated that Vivi and Paulie would have joined the Straw Hats. Occam's razor would dictate that Ace would live because nobody ever dies in the present in One Piece and Luffy saved him from the scaffold. Occam's razor would dictate that the obvious suspect with a criminal record is the culprit in a murder mystery story instead of the butler who was coincidentally at most of the crime scenes. Occam's razor is not something that should be held on a pedestal when evaluating fiction, even if it's written good. Authors almost instinctively want to go for explanations that are unexpected and complex, which goes against the very basis of how Occam's razor is about favoring the simplest answer. Now, I am obviously not saying that authors should pull anything out of thin air for the sake of being surprising because that's cheap and stupid. They need to subtly lay the groundwork for these things to be believable and satisfying for the narrative.
And mechanical applications of abilities tie into how an author will want to write the flow of the battle and introduce new moves, advantages and disadvantages, etc.
On paper, I would agree with you. But Oda has executed Observation Haki in such a half-assed ambiguous fashion post-Skypiea that I don't have that much faith in Oda when he always likes to conveniently ignore Observation Haki or somehow lazily expects us to do the work for him of assuming every big combatant is using it in a fight without intuitive visual cues and statements. Besides, Katakuri's foresight was only praised in the context of how it could mess up the wedding. Now all the praise towards Katakuri is focused on how he's superior to Luffy's Devil Fruit abilities.
That would fundamentally change the fight then. It would be about "how am I going to get passed the phasing" ala Crocodile. Like I said before, I think he's using his CoO to copy Luffy, you don't. The fight is going to be unremarkable if your expectations for Katakuri's abilities are that he can do anything he wants because he's just straight up better rather than if he's utilizing his known abilities (CoO being highlighted as one of them).
You could do both. It's not like a villain can't have a contingency or extra layer of their fighting style to overcome after the protagonist's first solution seems to be found. Just like when a character awakens/shows a power-up after getting nowhere earlier in a fight and seems to have a villain on the ropes before they somehow use their own special power-up or attack.
Expecting katakuri, a Yonko Commander, to be strong and fast enough to copy and outmaneuver Luffy is not me thinking "he can do whatever he wants". If there's anybody that thinks Katakuri can do anything he wants, it's Oda with how Katakuri's special abilities include five second foresight, multiple extendable/inflatable limbs, mochi stickiness, Haki-immune intangibility, jellybean sniping, mochi constructs such as earplugs, and a trident hidden within his body. I swear, all of that coupled with looking stereotypically badass design-wise with no depth or connection to his characterization, having superior versions of Luffy's attacks and having a bland stoic personality aside from the one or two moments he cares about his family makes him almost look like an amateurish fanfic character.
Yeah, the spear is kinda weird. No arguing there. xD
Good. Kizaru doesn't need a sword either if he's already got light speed kicks, mirror hopping, and explosive laser beams. But at least the sword is made of light, I guess.
And yeah, like I said before, personal preference. I don't particularly find anything wrong with Katakuri. I see it as juxtaposition with all the sweets and goofy, Disney-esque characters this arc.
I kind of find mostly everything to be wrong with Katakuri. I never thought somebody as creative as Oda would make one of his major arc characters be like that. And I don't mind Katakuri being "darker" than his siblings, and would probably ignore him as is not the main arc antagonist. But he's almost a surrogate for Big Mom as Luffy's big solo arc fight until Luffy gets out of the Mirror World, and that pushes him too much in the spotlight for me to tolerate him without question.