One of the reasons I have trouble with Yamato is the whole Oden identity debacle. I constantly wonder if something is Yamato's wish or a wish of Yamoden. As we met Yamato, we didn't know for how long this whole Oden-hero-worship-to-the-point-of-taking-on-the-idols-identity has been going on. (And I have to be honest at this point: the hero-worship to the point of denying their own identity was a huge turn off for me. It neither managed to make me like the character nor endear him to me in any way or form. Instead, it left a lingering bitter taste.) Chapters later we learn that Yamato started to identify as Oden as a child. So, it's safe to assume that it has going on for roughly 20 years now! That's a very long time. And I just wonder what behaviour we have seen of Yamato is Yamato and what is Yamoden.
Another issue I am wondering about iswhat Yamato's dream is supposed to be?
They want to protect Wano from Kaido and open Wanos border because of what is written in Oden's journal. Once the raid is over Kaido should be defeated and/or leave Wano giving whoever takes over as a leader - I will not participate in the discussion of who should be shogun - the change to open the borders of Wano. You could say: mission accomplished!
What does this leave to Yamato?
Leaving with Luffy? But why? Because Luffy is so similar in his beliefs and views to Roger, who's they learned through the journal? So they are following Luffy, because he is like a person they read about? For me, that's more than just a little shallow.
Or do they want to travel in Roger and Oden's footprints? Make the same journey? Visit the same places? See the same things? That's….lame? That's trying to relive another person's life for me.
If the Yamato under the Oden surface wishes to leave and have adventures on the sea Luffy and the Strawhats aren't needed. I don't see any reason, that says it must be the strawhats. Yamato can join up with anybody they want.
Maybe I am reading it wrong, but the whole reasoning behind why Yamato wish to leave with Luffy is up to two points:
- Oden travelled with Roger -> Yamato is Oden -> should travel with Roger -> Roger is dead -> should travel with Ace because he was Roger's son -> Ace is dead -> travel with Luffy because he is Ace's brother. That's the explanation we got right in one of the first chapters with Yamato. I never liked that reasoning because it felt like Yamato didn't appreciate Luffy as a person, but he was more of a makeshift because the person he really wishes to travel with isn't available.
- Oden wrote something about Roger in his journal and as Ace talked about Luffy they recognized the similarity between Roger and Luffy. But unfortunately, this once again makes me feel like Yamato doesn't see Luffy as his own person.
I know all of this is more or less based on my feelings and the bad first impression I got from Yamato as Oda introduced them. Because Oda really did butch the introduction of them for me. I couldn't feel the excitement others felt about this new character that appeared and looked like the perfect new and last crew member. Like I already said the Oden-imitation was a huge downturner for me. Neither design nor fighting style does anything for me. Devil fruit - with the whole "Oh, hey that's a deity of Wano" but we never heard of it - is just another mess. And the connection with Ace is nothing special in this arc. (Ace feels like glue for this arc with how often Oda uses him.) Do I feel sorry for Yamato because of what they went through as a child and later on… eh, maybe? I can't say it.
All I can say is that nothing Oda has shown of Yamato has been able to redeem the first impression and the resulting negative feeling I got for this character so far. It's a hard verdict, but it is how it is. I won't try to convince anybody to join my side.
Personal I would prefer it if Yamato first leaves and figures out who and what they want to be! Have some adventures on their own.
If they end up joining they will - probably - for the longest time be my least favourite Strawhat. I would even be willing to take Tama over Yamato, even though I stand by "No-children-on-a-pirate-ship". And that is just one of the many, many characters I would prefer over the new perfect crewmember Yamato.
Gosh, I already start to sound bitter.
I will stop now.
Take that however you will. Most of what I have written here are personal feelings and opinions.