Well this was a chapter and a half, wasn't it? Oda's spent 20 odd years establishing the delicate structure and balance of power of his world, both in geopolitics and the criminal underworld, and how the two interact, and now he's set in motion a domino chain that will collapse it all. Obviously we aren't going to descend immediately into chaos, the real game changer of Kaido and Big Mom's alliance is going to be caught up in Wano for a while, so won't have much to do with the World Government and the Warlords' turmoil, but the seeds have been sown and the chain reaction has begun. Oda's recent estimate of 5 years was an obvious lowball, but its shows that he sees the ending on the horizon. I believe that more than ever after this chapter.
I feel like I was half right about how much Reverie we were going to see in this intermission. I expected another one like the last, with only tangential references to it, but instead we got a chapter that deals with it directly for the most part. But also aside from the big result of the Warlord vote, it was all so vague we learned basically nothing else. A fatality? An attempted murder? Something happening with Sabo, probably one or both of the latter? Something about Alabasta? Who knows what really happened.
Never expected Morgans to be so much of a fighter. He's coming to be kind of a wildcard in terms of how he uses his influence. Previous coverups and lies (like the Doflamingo one) in his paper, as well as running propaganda comics such as Sora show that he's not one bit above taking the World Government's money and printing their lies, but then he throws his support behind Luffy and rejects the cheque here because he thinks the truth is more interesting. It seems the news depends on Morgans' idea of the most evocative story, true or not. Click Bait Morgans, they should call him.
And on the Morgans scene, what is the deal with Attach? It would have made sense if he was a Cipher Pol plant from the start, given that we first see him working for the World Government before he became a reporter, but if that's the case, was he bothering with a fake face even back then? If that wasn't the real Attach, where is he? Is it just a coincidence the Government chose their own former employee to impersonate? Seems like the kind of thing that'll come up in an SBS sooner or later. Oh, and what's Wapol of all people calling about?
The Sabo stuff is too obtuse to make a concrete theory about. The reactions make his death and him being framed for an assassination equally likely, and puts dying in an apparent assassination attempt not far outside the ballpark. I've had for a while now a pet theory that Vivi will be forced out of the World Government and use her leadership abilities to take command of the Straw Hat Grand Fleet, since Luffy isn't interested in being responsible for it. If, say, the World Government assassinated Cobra and Sabo disappeared with Vivi, helping her get onto Sai's ship or with the Dressrosa escort, it could all come together…
Blackbeard; also too obtuse. The official wording, "if the Navy's only going to take it," raises questions. It's not just that they're going to have it, he implies that they'll take possession of whatever he's after but not use it to its full potential, or at all. Curiouser and curiouser.
Sword is another big deal. The clues in the dialogue here paint an interesting picture of Sword's relationship with the World Government and Cipher Pol. We can make a decent guess that Sword's undercover agents are a "need to know" kind of deal, even for the upper levels of Navy command, given how Borsalino treated Drake at Sabaody. It's suggested that Cipher Pol and Sword aren't sharing information about operations with each other either, but not only that, that Sword has moral disagreements with the hypocrisy of the World Government and its agents. I think Oda's setting up a schism for the Navy. We'll see the authoritarians like Sakazuki standing with the Government when the world collapses into chaos while the more reasonable guys caught in a bad system, Garp, Sengoku, Issho, Smoker and so on will make a stand against the Government's corruption and defect, taking a lot of fire and manpower with them. Through this, Oda can build into an ending where the oceans still have a peacekeeping force but where the cruel history of the current Navy can still be confronted and the people responsible dealt with. Film Z was non-canon, but if Zephyr really is out there in the canon universe, I wonder what he'd have to say about all this.
The last few pages of the chapter were great, seeing all the Warlords learning they were disbanded only after they and their hideouts are already surrounded. Very much the Order 66 of the One Piece universe. I don't see any of them actually ending up dead or captured though. I feel particularly bad for the force sent after Mihawk, especially if Stainless is really the biggest name they had to send after him.
Going back to the top idea of the global power structure collapsing, this is how it starts. Vegapunk's Warlord replacement obviously hasn't been implemented yet, given what a surprise the current Warlords got, so the Navy is going to be short on firepower for a little bit after this, especially considering the kind of losses their attempts to arrest the Warlords are likely to cost. Who knows how long it could take for them to get back to full power. Perhaps the vote would have gone differently if Big Mom and Kaido had teamed up a few days sooner, if the Government had known what they'd be up against. Whether they go on to challenge the whole world or whether Luffy beats the two of them into submission, the Navy is facing their worst case Four Emperors scenario at the exact time they crippled themselves with this risky transition. This is how the global conflict begins. This is the best time to be a One Piece fan.