Apparently my post in this thread was the last one made before the forum collapse, so they definitely were trying to hide the truth!
Jokes aside, I still stand by my reasonings.
1. The age. Dragon was 17 at the time of the God Valley incident, while Roger and Garp were 39 and 40. It would make sense for Rocks to be older than them, considering he was Roger's first and biggest rival, and he was the Gold standard of a pirate in that era, making all his subordinates and enemies part of the new era: Roger (39), Rayleigh (40), Garp (40), Sengoku (41) and Whitebeard (36). One Piece is filled with examples of men being late bloomers: Roger had Ace with 53, Dragon had Luffy at 36, Whitebeard had Weevil at 39 and Shanks probably shagged Makino very recently so between 37 and 39 years. If Garp was the biological father, that would mean that he had Dragon with 23, almost immediately after just joining the marines (56 years ago) which doesn't seem very realistic for someone that has to devote his life to marine duty. Could be wrong about this of course, and maybe Rocks had around the same age as Garp and Roger, but he wasn't a marine so no duties whatsoever to adhere to, and even then…
2. Garp has mentioned Dragon in ambiguous terms, both asking Luffy is he has met his old man yet, and telling Luffy that he is "the child of my child" in non-gendered terms, which could easily be a red flag if Garp had a daughter (Luffy's mom) instead of a son. That would also explain why he hasn't been punished for his relationship with Dragon or used by the WG to lure him and also why he was so insistent that Luffy HAD TO become a marine while seemingly not caring about what Dragon is up to: they aren't blood related, but he respects that he's trying to dethrone the Nobles that he also very much despises and isn't specially keen in stopping him. Consider also how much emphasis the story has made about sons not carrying the sins of their fathers, because…
3. Xebec's motivations, as explained by Sengoku, were "conquering the world" and "baring its fangs at the Celestial Dragons". The most notorious incident he was involved with was related to opposing people who had to protect Celestial Dragons, and 2 of his most notorious crewmembers aim to change the world and bring more equality (in their own egotistical twisted ways). How curious then that Dragon's whole motivation is dethroning specifically the Celestial Dragons, and that he started the Revolutionary Army after seeing Roger's execution, which was emphasized by Oda. Possibly because seeing the man that defeated his father get executed was the turning point for him to think "hey, my dad had good intentions but his methods were the wrong ones and he was a blood-lusted evil psycho (probably) and he died a forgettable death while this man is starting the great age of piracy, so there's room for change in this world and it's not limited to marines and pirates". That's also why he tells Luffy at Loguetown that choosing to be a pirate is fine too, and why Woop Slap ponders if Luffy becoming a pirate was his dream or his fate, something that doesn't make sense if there was no notorious pirate in Luffy's lineage.
4. With most of the story's examples of Inherited Will being about people receiving it from someone they are not related by blood (Luffy and Shanks, Luffy and Roger, Franky and Tom, Jinbe and Fisher Tiger, Chopper and Hiruluk), it would be pretty disappointing if "oh actually Blackbeard has inherited the will of his biological father that was as evil as he is and it was revealed to him in an epiphany that he had to eat the same Darkness fruit that his father had". Also maybe Whitebeard would have made a comment or two about how this random orphan kid resembles his old captain, but maybe that's just me. And Shanks has Celestial Dragon/Gorosei connection written all over its face so I wouldn't even touch him (though he has a likelier case than Teach at least).
5. Their hair is pretty similar going off the silhouette, so that could be a hint. Also, Luffy doesn't resemble his father very much, not physically nor personality and quirk-wise, whereas young Garp looks 200% Luffy and 60 year old Luffy from the SBS has the fucking Garp smirk. Their brass, explosive and child-like behaviour was also paralleled in Water 7, whereas Dragon is... calm and collected. I wonder why.
6. It would be cool if Garp has family ties with both of his biggest pirate rivals with his son-in-law and adoptive grandson.
7. It would make Luffy even more special (Roger's hat, Shanks blessing, Ace's brother, Sabo's brother, Dragon's son, Garp's grandson AND Xebec's grandson??? no fucking way!!!!) which is a trend that will NEVER stop, specially after recent events. But remember that women are out of the equation so Luffy's grandmas and his mother don't matter nearly as much.
8. Dragon being from Goa Kingdom could be a red herring, factually true if Xebec was also from Goa Kingdom, or whatever third option and it would still fall in Oda had it all planned from chapter 1.
I've been re-reading Fishman Island recently and, besides reconfirming how bad it is, I've encountered something that I haven't see anyone mention.
When the Strawhats first encounter Wadatsumi, they mistake it for an Umibozou, a sea-faring giant buddhist monk yokai. "Umi" of course means sea, and "Bozou" references the buddhist nature of it, literally meaning "sea priest".
Then, a few chapters later, Wadatsumi gets formally revealed as Oonyuudou Wadatsumi, with Oonyuudou being another kind of monk yokai not related with the sea.
Why mention how Wadatsumi resembles a sea buddhist monk yokai out of the blue and then go "actually no"? What other character could be that Umibozou, even if not literally?
It has been mentioned a lot of times, but Imu is literally Umi (sea) backwards, and the kanji it is written with mean Buddha. If you search for depictions of the Umibozou, a lot of them picture a giant shadowy figure with imposing, haunting eyes and a round head as the only discernible traits. Both of which are the traits that are been heavily emphasized when Imu was presented: his shape, including his head (and strange elongated crown) and his eyes in close-up.
So, whatever Imu is, alien, ancient being or whatnot, I think there's a high chance he will be related to or represent some aspect of the Umibozou.
I stick to my old reading: Yamato and Momo are going to both inherit Oden's will, resolving its inherent contradiction by splitting it in two, with one one going out to sea and solving Laugh Tale 's mistery and the other protecting Wano.
Mirroring each other, Momo who was born on a pirate ship and has spent most of his recent life on the run will find some peace in his homeland, while Yamato who's been stuck prisoner on the same island for all of his life gets to roam free at last.
It's just fits all to well to not be what it's going for, but I'm ready to be surprised, for better or worse.
This reading, plus its counterpart (Yamato and Momo being the two halfs of Kaido's combat abilities, the dragon and the kanabo) completing the circle about fathers and sons fits too perfectly. Plus Kaido being the "false" guardian deity and Yamato being the "true" one and Momo becoming both shogun and embracing his dragon abilities to the fullest while the Wano nation can finally rely on a giant ass dragon instead of being afraid of it would be the cherry on top. Would also be really cool if both Momo and Yamato reflect aspects of Kaido's personality and how it was shaped as well, like people endlessly theorized about Kaido being a scaredy-cat like Momo when he was young, but since Kaido's flashback seems more and more out of reach, maybe that's something that we will need to fill the blanks off ourselves.
This, to me, is way more important that the ship role discussion. Apprentice would be fitting and hilarious when it comes to the reactions of other people/factions (a la Jinbe/Zoro), sake brewing/bartender to serve some drinks for that final whole world party, adventurer like Oden, ship guard, combatant if Zoro officially becomes the vice-captain… I can easily see Oda approaching not one but multiple positions even if Yamato goes to hold only one "officially".
Has it ever been addressed if Big Mom can create homies out of Poneglyphs? If so, would the poneglyphs be able to read themselves or tell about their contents? And if not, why not? The only limitations about the Soru Soru that I recall without having to reread all of WCI is Pound saying that souls can't be put onto corpses (so as not to make the Kage Kage redundant/heavily nerfed).
One of the things I have the most gripes with post timeskip is Sabo. Here's how I would have handled it:
First, I wouldn't just get rid of him. I get Oda's intention of having a trio of sworn brothers who care for each other, and the trauma of losing one at such a young age, specially when you're just two kids (one an orphan and the other one a semi-orphan) makes for a compelling backstory, a dark warning about the cruelties of the world and for Luffy's struggle to save Ace to have even more weight, since it isn't bound by blood/family duty. I would still prefer if Ace was the only brother and was handled differently, but all in all, eh.
The matter at hand is how Sabo is hamfisted to return into the story in the worst possible way. You can excuse Robin not telling Luffy directly after their reunion because Sabo asked her to (even though it hasn't been stated in the story), but Ace not learning about him during his 3 years of piracy? And Sabo not learning about Luffy and Ace when he belongs to a extremely important organization that has to deal with information about people from every faction? Specially since Dragon learns at the very start of Luffy's journey that he has chosen the pirate path? Bullshit. You could even make the argument that Garp knew about Sabo too, since he regularly visited Luffy and Ace and he wouldn't need an MIT title to follow the dots and learn that the blond kid my grandsons are playing with is of noble descent.
All of the above is justified by the way of a vaguely defined "amnesia" that oh so happens to end literally after Ace dies, and even implied by the anime to happen when Sabo sees Ace's face on the newspaper. Damn, if only he had learned about this like a week before huh?
My proposition: Sabo still has amnesia, but he doesn't recover from it until the proper 2 years of the timeskip. When saved by Dragon, Sabo's trauma about the Tenryuubito's attack emerges, with the mark of his face being a physical scar of a yet to be closed psychological injury, thus having a reason to oppose them and join the Revolutionary Army even if he doesn't remember his noble upbringing and previous hatred from before the amnesia. Dragon, after learning about his family, takes him as his protegée and hides his identity so as not to put the Goa Kingdom nor Sabo directly in danger. This means a new name (or alias) and physically hiding his face (and hence the mark). I imagine something like The Man in the Iron Mask but that's just my bias. Dragon would know first-hand about the importance of not revealing yourself when you're in such a position, and we have seen the RA in hoodies, precisely because like any illegal organization, they have to be anonymous to some degree until it's safe to reveal themselves to the world. Hell, you could even tie this later in the story with Dragon's backstory and his own scars and traumas (his past as a Marine? his Celestial Dragon heritage or forbidden love story? his tattoo that may or may not tie in with the Mark of Slavery and Shandians/Lunarians? be my guest because we don't know anything about him, this is secondary to my proposal).
Sabo starts climbing positions inside the RA, but at the same time his need to hide his identity deforms his personality in some ways, like becoming a very introvert and surly person, not caring about his relationship with others but only his goals. He doesn't open up anymore that it is needed and he doesn't instantly become best friends forever with Hack and Koala (although he could open up a little with the latter, depends on how you want to handle that relationship). He's kind of a douche, and when he learns at some point via Dragon of his upbringing, he hates that part of him even though he didn't choose it and he doesn't even remember about it. At this point, his drive just consists of living just to see the Tenryuubito (and to an extent, all of nobility) gone, and even wanting to kill them just because that's what he has to do. Think something like Lucci but watered down obviously: the only thing in his mind is getting revenge against the Tenryuubito, and the bloodlust he develops is just a consequence of that. You could even show some comments about RA about how they don't fully trust the kingdoms that are becoming allies of the RA, and Sabo reacting to that accordingly and digging even deeper in his persona in fear of what other members might say/think about him if they learned the truth.
When the time comes and he's learned Fishman Karate, Dragon starts training him personally and teaches him Ryosuken, a martial art that involves finding and attacking the "core" of things. In learning this (plus Koala and maybe Robin) he finally achieves a sort of piece of mind state, where he throws away the bloodlust, accepts that part of him and finally remembers everything. Now, the pain hits even harder, because he didn't have the chance to help Ace just because he remembered everything too little too late, but because he was immersed and obsessed by his revenge quest and only about being useful as a weapon, as a tool and as a soldier. Until the moment he achieves that inner peace, remembering about his brothers wouldn't have made a difference. At that point, revealing the truth about himself at Dressrosa makes for a powerful statement and doesn't carry any negative consequences, both because the Reverie is so close anyway that it's time the RA has begun to show themselves directly and because he's ready for it.
A bit too long but thanks to anyone that reads this to the very end.
Not a retcon.
Might not like it. Might not feel it fits. But it's been the plan for a looooong time.
Greg, I know you might not be allowed to answer this (hell, maybe you don't even know more than what you said here), but could you clarify in some way how long it's been planned?
There's a huge difference between "planned since Chapter 1" and "planned since the timeskip one month break after thinking about the final compasses of the series and reflecting on the story up to that point". Specially since, as you previously mentioned, Luffy's outfit having sun references in them became a thing in the New World. That would still be a long time ago (both in real time and in number of chapters), but it definitely would help alleviate the sour taste that this was clumsily put together in Wano with Who's Who diatribe, the interruption of Wano action with a location change just for the lore dump from the Gorosei (when he used Acts previously for the sake of this) and the need to present a 7 chapter long mystery (probably the first time something this important lore-wise has been answered so quickly?).
As always, and even if you can't/don't want to answer this, thank you for your thoughtful posts and columns about the series.
Never once it was doubted it was the gum gum fruit.
Every time there was a chance, it was classified as paramecia.
If I may add to this, even if the japanese community has been wondering for all these years how and/or why Shanks obtained the fruit (and his possible ulterior motives) beyond just being pirate pillaging things , or how Lucky Roux misteriously had a drawing of the Gomu Gomu as if they were specifically searching for the Gomu Gomu, that could have been answered without changing the fruit's name and category. For example, by virtue of it being Joy Boy's fruit in the past. That is to say, the Gomu Gomu no Mi being more relevant/important that it seemed at first didn't warrant all of this. Just my two cents.
I've known One Piece existed since forever, but I wasn't interested in it until late 2020 when I really became interested in the yet-unresolved-mysteries of the series as well as all the theorizing side of the community that is unmatched by any other manga (or fictional piece of work for that matter).
I caught up to date around 998-999 and here I am now lol. I've been lurking and reading forums like Arlong Park and the Discord since then but I guess this week's chapter was just the perfect cathalyst for me to actually join.
Anyway, that's all for me, so thanks for reading! Cheers!