This chapter was a breath of fresh air after the rough place the last one ended. I might be overthinking things, but I'd go as far as saying it feels like a soft reset for series after the crazy continuity creep of Wano. To one extent or another, every new arc takes the series and its cast back to basics, but after four years of Wano, to effect is all the more pronounced. I think also about Oda's recent comment welcoming people who start reading from the latest chapters, and the liklihood of this being the first chapter of a new volume. It's a great time to bring new readers in with a reintroduction of the core crew and a showcase of their dynamics and relationships.
It also feels a little like an appeal to older readers, the ones who say post-timeskip has been bogged down with too much focus on side characters, giving them exactly what they want with just the Strawhats and a group of fan-favourite legacy villains from the series' early years in focus.
Whatever the motive, all this makes for a real crowd-pleaser of a chapter that I loved reading. If I'm ever not excited for a bounty reveal chapter, I'm not excited for One Piece. It's such classic content.
Jinbe's addition to the crew is great. I love the way he buys completely into the hype surrounding the other crew members and does it with a totally straight, respectful face. He just straight up thinks so highly of these people that something like Nami displaying Conqueror's Haki just makes sense to him. Despite the similarities, his version reads very differently to Luffy and Chopper believing Usopp's lies, or the kind of enthusiastic fanboy hyperbole we would have got if someone like Bartolomeo or Yamato had come aboard. The big guy's a great fit.
The actual figures on the bounty posters don't mean that much to me in terms of analysis or power scaling or deciding characters' worth, but they still tickle that 'number goes up' part of the brain, and manage to feel like a celebration of these characters' accomplishments. Zoro and Sanji's fight is a highlight, but I'm very interested in what happened with Franky's photo. Seems like a hard mistake to make, especially considering the Sunny was hidden outside and not a factor in the Onigashima battle. This feels like a future plot point building, but it could just as easily be written off as a gag in the next chapter.
Cross Guild is just as fun as its first reveal suggested, and makes a great way to bring all these classic characters back to relevance for the final act of the story. I wouldn't say the mix of misunderstandings and being propped up as a figurehead that got Buggy where is are particularly surprising, but they're still tremendously fun to watch play out.
The last scene with the Revolutionaries really makes me realise how much we still don't know about this group. It seems strange for Dragon to be so against the murder of an influential World Government king. Does he have insider knowledge that Cobra is one of the good ones? Is he privy to some lore about the Nefeltari family's connections to ancient secrets, like the Poneglyph they were keeping hidden in their crypts? Or is the coup, when it comes, to be nonviolent? Dragon has been a presence in the story for so long I'm really looking forward to seeing what he's all about. Hopefully the next chapter picks up Sabo's call where it leaves off and gives us some more to work with.
The only complaint I could possibly level at this chapter is there being no hint at all of the next destination, and that one's completely up to my own impatience. It's a fantastic starting point for the final saga and I can't wait to see what's next. There's even the digital version of volume 103 and the colour version of volume 99 coming out at the end of the week to soften the blow of the break. I'm happy to be a One Piece fan right now.