Out of all the characters, who would have thought that Caesar would be the central person in helping save Zou and the Mink, albeit his assistance was acquired through blackmail, but still nonetheless his actions did end up saving the Mink race. The fact that Oda is placing such focus on Caesar and is going through to the effort to redeem his character somewhat suggest to me that Oda does have future plans for Caesar in being an ally/associate of the Straw Hat Pirates. If Jack and Kaido do have more of Caesar’s weaponry, Caesar being associated with the Straw Hat Pirates will be a huge benefit for them in their upcoming battles against Kaido.
Seeing Caesar reduced to such a fangless villain is quite amusing see. After having been introduced as such a cold-hearted psychotic bastard and having created such powerful weapons of mass destruction, he is now unable to exercise any action of villainy with his heart currently being held captive by the Straw Hat Pirates. Any sort of callous concern for others or expression of self-interest is met with threats to his life i.e. Sanji using Caesar’s heart as the bargaining chip. Caesar getting his just desserts, while deserving for his character, has me slowly feeling concern for his fate. Having found himself in such unfortunate circumstances, what exactly will his fate be and can he ever make up for the all the bad he has done? Saving Zou and the Mink, even if not intentionally, does go some ways in helping to establish his character as one who can help others. I doubt Caesar will end up as a Straw Hat nakama, but he can be a legitimate ally of the Straw Hat Pirates.
Nami finally got one of her uncommon moments to shine that is not a fanservice scene. While Wanda was weakened and emotionally unstable, it was still impressive to see Nami engage in a fight that sees her athletic abilities focused on. Hopefully we actually get to see Nami engage in a fight against a proper baddy further into this arc – the same goes for Sanji, Chopper and Brook.
Chopper and Nami expressing their intent to save the Mink was badass. Caesar reluctantly helping Chopper come up with an antidote was hilarious – poor guy, from his perspective he must feel that his scientific genius is being abused grossly. Still thanks to Caesar and Chopper, the Mink were saved and they now owe their lives to the Straw Hat Pirates.
With the crew on their way to the Whale Forest, I really do wonder if we will finally get some clarification on what exactly is up with the Whale Forest and why the Mink regard it as such a sacred place that they must defend and protect. Oda seems to have intentionally left the Whale Forest out from the flashbacks i.e. not allowing Jack to reach and explore it. Oda may have something hidden away in the Whale Forest and Raizo could be there unknown to any Mink. Chances are high given the fact that Zou is over a thousand years old that there is a Poneglyph on the Island. Could this Poneglpyh also offer clarification on why Kine’mon, Kanjuro, Raizo and Momonosuke left Wanokuni to travel to Zou?
One thing that has been bothering me since it was revealed that Zou is a Giant Elephant, is how did Kine’mon, Kanjuro, Raizo and Momonosuke intend to reach Zou? Log poses don’t work and besides randomly stumbling across Zou, one would need a Vivre Card to reach it. If Zou really was their destination, they would have needed a Vivre Card or some other way to locate Zou and given that they did set up from Wanokuni, it seems almost likely that they did have someway to reach Zou…if they did have a Vivre Card, who gave it to them? A resident from Zou who ended up in Wanokuni?
Well whatever the case, one of Big Mom’s ship found their way to Zou thanks to Pekoms, who is now confirmed to also be a Mink. Given that Pekoms was talking to Big Mom on a Den Den Mushi, I am of opinion that Big Mom is not on that ship that reached Zou and if that is the case, Pekoms and whoever is with him seems like a good opponent for Sanji to shine. I doubt a fight arose yet, but chances are that one will eventually result. Sanji would have easily realised that Pekom’s target is Caesar and knowing that the Mink have just faced one tragedy, it seems possible that Sanji would have taken Caesar away from Zou and drawn Big Mom’s ship away with him. Given that Oda did specify that 2016 is Sanji’s year, it seems really stupid if it began with Sanji being captured by Pekom’s on Big Mom’s ship, so I really do doubt that Sanji has been captured.
2016 is definitely going to be an exciting year, very much looking forward to seeing what Oda has in store for Sanji and his fans.