Overcoming the limitations of its existence, this brave soul pushed himself beyond his capabilities driven by the duty etched into its soul by its creator. A noble and honorable soul using everything it had to scale the massive hind leg of an Ancient Elephant in order to deliver its friends, the Straw Hat Pirates and Law, to the top. Regardless of fatigue, it broke past the barrier of impossibility and successfully saw to it that the Straw Hat Pirates reached the top. A hero in name, form and action, Ryuunosuke the dragon will forever be remembered for what it accomplished during its trying journey towards the enigmatic Zou. RIP Ryuunosuke.
I was wondering what would end up falling down and it turns out it is monkey. A monkey with a hat. A monkey strangely characterised like Raizou the Ninja based on what Kanjuro said about the unique sound Raizou makes when he runs around – “tetetete”. At this point I was pretty sold on the fact that Raizou the Ninja is a monkey and the reason Kin’emon and Kanjuro know about Zou is because of Raizou – because he was once part of the Mink Tribe. This could be the case, but the cliffhanger of the chapter adds some doubt towards what exactly could be happening.
Kanjuro playing Blindfold no Jutsu with Kin’emon at that exact moment was so weird. Two grown man acting like complete fools at the worst possible moment. How absurd. How ridiculous. How ludicrous. I love it! Oda purposely removed those two from the focus of the current story and I assume because them being present when in Zou would ruin something Oda plans to reveal much later beyond the introduction of Zou. Or he may have some specific plans for Kin’emon and Kanjuro that will significantly affect a major moment in this arc. Whatever the case, I look forward to seeing where Oda is going with Kin’emon and Kanjuro’s story and what exact purpose they will serve this arc.
Ryuunosuke, he is awesome. Even if he was alive for only two chapters, he was such a charming and lovable character. I will miss him. RIP Ryuunosuke and thank you for helping bring out a side in Robin which we do not get to see much of, I will forever be grateful to you for that. In her own way, Robin has become just as weird and unique as the rest of the Straw Hat Pirates. With her making face faults in Dressrosa and now tearing up at the sight of a dragon’s heroics that she couldn’t help but put flowers at the site of its “death”, I am seriously looking forward to seeing how she opens up more and develops in the future. Unlike the rest of the Straw Hats, Robin isn’t as vocal about her reactions as them as illustrated by Oda giving her thought bubbles when expressing how cute and adorable she thought Ryuunosuke was. Robin is vocal about her morbid thoughts, but she doesn’t react when others complain about it. And it is that silent weirdness of hers that is super cute. Robin has become much more than the “smart, serious” member of the Straw Hat Pirates.
The architecture and environment of Zou is quite spectacular; a mysterious city in the middle of a mysterious forest with a massive whale-looking tree at its center. The architectural style of the buildings certainly scream ‘Ancient Civilisation’ and that most likely means that there is a Poneglyph (or more) hidden away someway on the Island (the Whale Forest?). Zou was stated by Law to have been untouched by humans for a thousand years, so with it having its existence span back before the void century began, it seems like the perfect place to hide a Poneglyph with an important message. Zou really does remind me of Upper Yard. I wonder if the main antagonist of the arc will be a character like Enel, but instead of being a Logia with Godly powers, s/he will be a powerful Zoan user to match the animal theme of the arc and Island.
We finally get to see the Mink Tribe of Zou, and as many suspected, they are humanoid animal looking creatures. Bepo, Pekoms and that Cat from Hawkins crew are most likely Mink as well – what else could they be? Carrot’s appearance was interesting, especially the manner in which she avoided Zoro’s slash – floating? Could it be due to some Devil Fruit or is this a particular characteristic of the Mink? Anyway, speaking of Zoro it is great to see him back into his usual uniform, although I do miss not seeing him in a suit.
The appearance of the Nami-looking Mink is an interesting twist. The narration at the end of the chapter does seem to hint that Nami could have been transformed into a Mink or at least wants the reader to think that Nami has transformed but given the obvious nature of that possibility, I really doubt that humans are transforming into Mink. Nami wasn’t even wearing that outfit the last time we saw her, although it has been a week and a bit, but coupled with the fact that the Nami-looking Mink is carrying a sword instead of her Clima-Tact, it seems a dead giveaway that Nami wasn’t transformed into a Mink and instead the particular Mink in question has gotten her hands on Nami clothes, whether stolen or given.
The situation surrounding the Monkey who fell from Zou with a similarity with Raizou the Ninja in the sound he makes “tetetete”, does support the fact that Raizou could have been transformed into a monkey, but it is just as possible that the monkey, who is a Mink, ended up mimicking Raizou – as they say ‘monkey see, monkey do’. The Monkey who fell may be this Bariete who the Carrot mentioned. Will be interesting to see what Kin’emon and Kanjuro do when that monkey(?) is preventing them from accessing the country.
With so much mystery surrounding Zou and the Mink tribe, things really aren’t what they apparently appear. Humans (Kaidou’s Army) have finally made their way into Zou after a thousand years. The Zou entry gate has been broken, the village buildings have been demolished and there apparently appears to be something going on within the “Whale Forest” regarding intruders. Kaidou’s Army is definitely up to something, especially if they managed to find the Ancient Elephant and scale it to reach Zou. With the Mink tribe seemingly in trouble, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Luffy and the Straw Hats to help them out. With Luffy currently running off on his own, you just know something dramatic is about to happen, especially with him following the destruction and running towards the Whale Forest. Will Luffy end up meeting whoever the Mink are worried about? Really looking forward to the next chapter.