Relevant to the chapter and the characters featured within is an emotion overwhelming in its nature yet invigorating in its embrace. Stemming from the perception of ones worth, it drives its holder forward with the desire to express the value they embody. It empowers yet afflicts, such an emotion capable of existing as either a virtue or a vice is the emotion known as pride. Bellamy with his pride of being able to decide his own fate, Zoro with his pride of becoming the best swordsman, and Hajrudin with his pride as an Elbaf warrior. Each of those characters faced with a seemingly insurmountable wall, place their belief in the pride they hold in their ability to surpass their limitations.
Bellamy may be disoriented by sorrow and the betrayal he suffered at the hands of one he deeply admired, but beyond the lack of cohesion he has demonstrated in his decision, he has made a choice, one which has him baring his fangs at the only man on the island capable of ending a ten year long darkness that has shackled thousands under its wretchedness and agony. In a panic to find a sense of self lost to the despair of misery, Bellamy places his conviction and pride behind the fist he conveys his emotion through.
In the scope of this arc, Bellamy’s actions may seem nonsensical but when you take into account a further relevance to Bellamy’s character you can begin to understand a possible reason behind the course of action Oda has taken regarding Bellamy’s character. The very fact that Oda has Bellamy connect a punch coated in Busoshoku Haki on Luffy and actually have an effect on Luffy, conveys to me that Oda is currently having Bellamy in a sense prove his worth to Luffy, so that when Luffy is able to “save” Bellamy and bring him into his alliance (which is what this current saga is focused on), Luffy will be confident in Bellamy’s ability to represent the Straw Hat Pirates and what they embody.
Now I personally don’t believe that Bellamy is going to be the next Straw Hat nakama, especially given the brief manner in which Oda covered Bellamy’s past, but he has been focused on enough that I do believe that Bellamy will become a relevant member in the Straw Hat Pirate alliance, illustrated by the fact that Oda is currently giving Bellamy a significant amount of focus in this climatic part of the arc and has ability-wise developed him a fair amount that he can stand on his own two feet in the New World. The revelation that Bellamy is capable of utilising Busoshoku Haki has confirmed it for me, Oda has a certain interest in Bellamy and a plan for him, one which I believe will relate to the alliance that is about to form around the Straw Hat Pirates and their intention to bring down the four Yonko and sail the seas freer that any other person. I may be wrong and some may disagree with me, but you have to wonder why Oda is handling Bellamy in the way he is.
The Zoro vs Pica match-up is surprisingly still a balanced fight, at this point I would have expected Zoro to have figured Pica out and been ready to end his destruction, but Pica is proving to be a much more elusive opponent than I had initially surmised. The longer Zoro’s fight with Pica goes on, the more I am inclined to believe that this fight parallels the one Zoro had against Daz Bones in Alabasta. Both Pica and Daz Bones share the common trait of believing due to their Devil Fruit that they are unbeatable.
It is starting to become apparent that in order for Zoro to defeat Pica, he will have to identify the real Pica within the mass of stone Pica is using to both attack Zoro and hide himself. Much like how Zoro defeated Daz Bones by overcoming the limitation of what he can and cannot cut, Zoro will have to overcome his limitation of what he can perceive in order to defeat the man capable to using the whole island as his weapon. Exploiting Pica’s weakness in the way he talks and laughs can help to make Pica more vulnerable, but ultimately Zoro will have to pinpoint where the real Pica is for him to come out victorious. Possibly the “breath” Zoro began to hear in existences when residing within the boundary between life and death in his battle against Daz Bones will become relevant in this fight as well. The difference between the “breath” of the real Pica and the stone he controls may be how Zoro comes to identity the position of the real Pica within the stone.
Hajrudin’s expression of resolve was a sight to see, despite having been crushed by Mach Vise once before, he willed himself back up and through the pride he holds as an Elbaf Warrior and in his dream of one day becoming the King of Giants, he manifested enough strength and fortitude to take on Mach Vise’s 10,000 ton hell vise and send him flying right into the ceiling of Doflamingo’s birdcage. Even though Hajrudin was taken out by one punch in the Corrida Colosseum competition by Luffy, he has shown a tremendous amount of resolve to withstand Mach Vise’s 10,000 ton hell vise and overwhelm it that even Zoro noticed the pride burning inside Hajrudin. You could say that after the fight Hajrudin displayed, he has been recognised in the eyes (well eye…) of Zoro as a true warrior, one which I believe Zoro wouldn’t mind seeing represent the Straw Hat Pirates if Hajrudin becomes a member of the Straw Hat Pirate alliance. Hajrudin may also become a relevant character when the Straw Hat Pirates begin their adventure in Elbaf, and if so, it makes this fight all the more significant.
It seems as if Oda is having the Corrida Colosseum fighters prove themselves in front of the Straw Hat Pirates before they inevitably become members of the alliance about to form that will support the Straw Hat Pirates in the New World. In this chapter alone, Zoro has recognised the abilities of Orlumbus and Hajrudin. He may also come to see the potential of Ideo and Sai who are taking on Dellinger and Baby 5 respectively. With “The Fighting King” Elizabello II still active and winding up his King Punch, Zoro may also come to see the abilities he has (I wonder if the King Punch can damage Doflamingo’s birdcage O.o). Bellamy by being able to injure Luffy (even if slightly) has expressed to Luffy that he has gotten stronger. Luffy already considers Bellamy a friend and now that he knows Bellamy is strong, I don’t see Luffy having any issue with Bellamy becoming part of the Straw Hat Pirate alliance when it forms if Bellamy has such an intention.
Chinjao, Bartolomeo and Cavendish have already had a fair amount of coverage this arc, but it will be fascinating to see their relevance in the Straw Hat Pirate alliance solidified when their battles are brought into focus. Chinjao having such a legendary status should be able to take out Lao G without being pushed as far as he was against Luffy earlier in the arc. Robin already recognises Bartolomeo and Cavendish’s abilities illustrated by her leaving Gladius to them, so it will be exciting to see them take down Gladius and display how able they are to take on New World opponents.
The conclusion of the main Straw Hat Pirates battles will most likely be delayed until the Corrida Colosseum fighters wrap up their fights, but I can’t say I mind as I am also looking forward to seeing the Colosseum fighters in action and crushing the Donquixote Pirate they are up against. Much like how this arc is a proving ground for the Straw Hat Pirates that they are ready to sail in the New World, it is also the same for the Corrida Colosseum characters who are about to become relevant to the Straw Hat Pirate alliance that they are capable of supporting the Straw Hat Pirates against any enemy within the New World.
Regarding Jinbe’s cover story, I wonder if the stolen offerings are actually related to the displacement of the Sea Cat town or if the two are separate developments. Well that aside, I believe the culprit behind the stolen offerings is Wadatsumi. The shadowed figure is large and round enough to resemble Wadatsumi. Plus it wouldn’t be surprising if Oda has Jinbe come across someone he already met before in the cover story.