And that is exactly why Zoro is one of the most badass shounen characters ever created, he delivers satisfaction in spades (sorry Pica). Not only did he impress with his strength, his ability to tactically analyse the situation and act accordingly was what truly blew my mind. On top of that, the art work this chapter was sublime, those double page spreads melted my eyes as Zoro disposed of Pica in epic fashion. Indeed, the Straw Hats are more than just Straw Hat Luffy and God Usopp, Zoro was quite right when he told Pica he was on a completely different level to him, a shame Pica chose not to listen, he underestimated Zoro big time!
Hah, I had expected Zoro to ride Elizabello’s King Punch to reach Pica, but who would have expected that out of all the characters, it was Orlumbus who would be the one to literally land a hand to Zoro. That ‘Admiral Killer Bowling’ ability of Orlumbus is quite the dangerous one, nice to see that he served a significant purpose in this arc.
Have to admire King Riku for the pacifistic approach he handles himself with despite having been plagued by the events from ten years which Doflamingo forced him to carry out. Guilt and regret must have been eating away at King Riku inside but he still made the decision to choose to retain whatever humanity he had left in order to prevent himself and any hope he had for Dressrosa returning to its once peaceful state from further slipping away into the darkness. Doflamingo and Riku really do reside in the extremes of what a king embodies, but being a king is definitely more than just having military might and having the power to defeat one’s enemies. Uniting the people of the country and leaving a legacy also embodies what a king should do. King Riku may not currently be the king of Dressrosa, but he sure did act like it this chapter; protecting the people of Dressrosa by using his life to keep Pica away from the Dressrosa citizens.
Such a moment set the scene perfectly for Zoro to show Pica how much of a beast he really is. To not only slice Pica’s massive body in half, but to do so while still in motion in midair and continue slicing Pica until Pica had no where left to run and hide, Zoro indeed is a dangerous beast! Those shocked and mesmerized faces everyone reacted with while witnessing the spectacle that was Zoro taking down Pica piece by piece was an insanely satisfying moment to behold. Right now, the whole of Dressrosa, the marines, the Colosseum fighters, the Revolutionaries, and the Donquixote Pirates are truly getting a look at what the Straw Hat Pirates are capable of and Zoro himself isn’t even the captain of the crew! Just wait until they see what Luffy is capable of.
Pica may have had confidence in his ability to avoid getting hit while hidden away inside stone, and he may have had a reason to but where Pica made a gross error in judgement was underestimating Zoro and assuming that he wasn’t capable of besting the level of Haki Pica could manage. Pica left himself completely open when he overestimated what his Haki could defend against, much like how Vergo and the rest of the Donquixote Pirates overestimated themselves when they faced off against their respective opponents. Trebol and Doflamingo most likely will end up in a similar situation where they will overestimate what they are capable of. Even though the rest of this battle was obvious pretty early on, the manner in how Oda went about highlighting Zoro was spectacular. We finally get an idea of how strong Zoro’s Haki is. It was also really cool to see Zoro use the falling rubble from Pica’s collapsing statue to jump towards the old Royal Plateau and avoid falling down with the rubble.
As for Elizabello’s “King Punch”, we finally get to see the purpose it was saved for – to prevent the rubble from Pica’s statue from collapsing on top of King Riku, Usopp and the others on top of the Old Royal Plateau. Elizabello saving his old friend definitely was a great way to utilise the “King Punch”, well played Oda. And indeed, well done King Elizabello II.
With Usopp, Franky and Zoro getting intense moments to highlight what they are capable of, I really REALLY want to see Robin be highlighted in more than just a panel in a chapter, I would love for an entire chapter to be dedicated to a fight Robin will feature in. And because of that hope, I really do want to see Robin head up to the top of the Palace and face off against Trebol as Luffy takes on Doflamingo. Trebol should definitely get the same treatment as Diamante and Pica and Robin should also equally get the same treatment as Usopp, Franky, Zoro and Luffy, so I can’t help but feel that a Robin vs Trebol fight would be incredibly fitting in this arc. Robin needs to show that she is capable of handling herself and of her advancement as a fighter during the past two years which she trained. Trebol would be a great opponent to showcase what Robin is capable of.
Jinbe’s cover story, well damn, Oda sure did make the cover story immensely more interesting with just one cover page. A Poneglyph huh? How relevant will it be the main story and will Jinbe find a way to bring that Poneglyph to Robin’s attention. Very interested to see what happens in the cover story now.