Once again the monstrosity of hatred becomes the perspective which people become blinded by. As it was with Ace, the world represented by the World Government made the source of his blood, his father, the villain and the object towards which to direct all hatred and blame towards. Now here with Rebecca, Doflamingo has made the source of her blood, the Riku family blood, the object of hatred and negativity. To think such a turn of events was possible, to make Ace’s execution and the context in which it took place in so relevant this arc. Really, what a magnificent chapter.
So that is how Soldier-san is connected to Rebecca, he looked after her from when her mother passed away. Before reading the chapter I had worried that the flashbacks spanning the whole chapter would be too much but I am so glad the flashbacks extended as much as they did because it was so worth getting all these details fleshed out about Rebecca and Soldier-san’s past. It was more compelling and relevant then I had expected. With just this chapter, Rebecca’s character has now shot up from being a secondary character to being one of the central focuses of this arc.
Rebecca’s mother, Scarlet, was the daughter of the then current king of the kingdom, but after a certain incident which saw the Riku Forces set the kingdom aflame and Doflamingo appointed the new King, Scarlet and her daughter became the targets of the new Kingdom. Scarlet eventually fell victim to the kingdoms desperation and ended up killed trying to find food for her daughter. Soldier-san regretting not being able to protect Scarlet swore to protect Rebecca even if it cost him his life.
It is unclear who exactly Soldier-san is, but throughout the chapter I had gotten the feeling that he may very well be the former king of the country. Doflamingo has shown himself to be an incredibly twisted fellow and him wanting the former king to see the country he worked so hard to keep peaceful fall in despair and crumble before his very eyes into something twisted by the Donquixote Family, that doesn’t sound so farfetched in my eyes. It would be expected that Doflamingo would have killed the former king but given how Doflamingo has kept Rebecca alive with full knowledge of the blood that runs through her body and instead is seeking to make her suffer within the Colosseum, that expresses just how twisted and overconfident Doflamingo actually is.
When the very end of the chapter came and Rebecca discarded her shield before entering the stadium, the thought that Soldier-san could be Kyros pierced my mind intensely. Rebecca is about to fight within the stadium with a style that doesn’t utilise a shield, which has been hinted to how Kyros fought. The thought that the former king of the country was also Kyros then started to take shape within my mind. Rebecca did say; that Kyros retired 20 years ago, that not a single soul in the country knows his true identity, and that not even the oldest spectators have ever crossed paths with him. For someone so famed, surely at least one person would have crossed paths with him in town or such, well not really if Kyros was someones hidden identity, like say the Kings hidden identity which not many people even get to meet. The fact that the Colosseum before Doflamingo arrived wasn’t a place for killing but an arena to pit one man’s ability against another in an honorable fashion speaks volumes to just how much the former king actually enjoyed these Gladiator bouts. Rebecca’s father, Ricky the Gladiator, could have learned his two-handed sword style from the former king.
Well regardless of who actually Soldier-san is, it is certain that he is someone extremely relevant and important to this arc, someone who is willing to put his life on the line, even though he has become a toy, to save this country becoming twisted by Doflamingo. It doesn’t seem like Rebecca knows that the Toys were former humans, so I doubt the thought crossed her mind, but it would be really cool if a Soldier-san was indeed a family relative of hers.
I just can’t get over the parallels created this chapter between Ace and Rebecca, they had almost the same type of childhood – having the blood flowing within themselves absolutely despised and hated by the townsfolk. This intensity of hatred was enough to make Ace question his worth of living when he was younger. Do the same thought flows within Rebecca’s mind? Deep down does she question whether it is right for her to be alive? Being cursed and booed must have a crushing effect to ones spirit and confidence but the good thing is that the desire and resolve to save Soldier-san is overriding all those negative thoughts and keeping her from crumbling.
I was wondering who would be a perfect candidate for the Mera Mera no Mi and I think we just found out who. Rebecca mirrors Ace in so many ways that her being the one to consume the Mera Mera no Mi and inherit the will of Ace that most of the world still associate the Mera Mera no Mi with is only fitting. Even Luffy, seeing such a scene play out before his eyes must take him back to two years ago when negativity and hatred were all that met Ace from the public, Marines and certain pirates at Ace’s execution. This tournament just became more than winning the Mera Mera no Mi now…Luffy’s fury is rising and with each reason he gets to crush Doflamingo, that’s one more reason why Doflamingo (and Blackbeard) are such idiots for underestimating Luffy. Just keep giving him more reasons Doflamingo, it will make the moment when Luffy’s directs all his fury towards your face so satisfyingly delicious.
I now find myself hoping that Rebecca becomes a member of the Strawhat crew. If Soldier-san is indeed the former king then once everything is sorted out and Doflamingo has his face smashed in, the former king can reclaim his throne. This would give Rebecca the opportunity the travel with Luffy and not be bound by the duty of having to immediately act as the princess of the nation like what happened with Vivi. Well unexpected things are bound to happen and doubt things would settle this easily with Doflamingo concerned, but I’m still hoping now that Rebecca can travel with the Strawhats. Looking forward to One Piece returning in two weeks.