So many twists and reveals in these past few chapters, I find myself left quite silenced and immensely liberated by the possibility these developments leave the story to develop towards. I was wondering how Oda-sensei would utilise the Mink race once the focus shifted towards Sanji and the Straw Hat Pirates struggles to get him back, but now with the reveal that there exist a long-standing relationship between the Mink race and the Kougetsu Wano Kuni Family, it seems inevitable the Mink race will be part of the story for a long while now, especially with the Wano Country yet to be even dealt with in the story. Kaidou and the Mink race will be intrinsically linked to the Wano Kuni story (and Kaidou’s) once the focus has shifted towards it.
Sanji, well dam, so we finally get his last name (Vinsmoke) and the origins of his family (North Blue). The Vinsmoke family is a family of assassins with the father being an infamous man, apparently well-known and feared within the underworld. The fact that Sanji’s bounty was “alive only” suggest that the Vinsmoke family, or at the very least the father, has an incredible amount of weight politically. Not sure why Sanji’s father decided now of all times, but he has entered into an agreement with the Charlotte family which see’s Sanji, the third son of the Vinsmoke family arranged to marry Purin (Pudding), the thirty-fifth daughter of the Charlotte family.
With the tea party pretty much underway, it is going to be interesting to see how Sanji handles the dilemma he is currently in. Doesn’t seem like running away is an option if he seeks to avoid the Vinsmoke family from harming his nakama and unless Purin is exceptionally gorgeous, I doubt he seeks to agree to marry Purin. Sanji may very well reject the Vinsmoke’s proposal to arrange the marriage and challenge his father. If Sanji can stop his father, he may be able to dissolve the arrangement. When Sanji left he didn’t seem like he was ready to leave the Straw Hat Pirates, he genuinely seemed to want to return to them.
With Luffy getting into the mix now, especially with Pekoms now being forced to take Luffy along when he returns to Big Mom, things are about to get really interesting and entertaining. Luffy isn’t the type of man who moves to peoples expectations and despite Sanji leaving a note that states he will handle his problem, Luffy will inevitable make the problem his own. Luffy does not want to lose Sanji and he does not want to become part of Big Mom’s crew, so it is going to be very interesting to see what Luffy ends up doing once he crashes Big Mom’s Tea Party and incurs her wrath. I suppose Luffy could piss Big Mom off so much that Big Mom herself calls off the arrangement in order to crush ALL the Straw Hat Pirates. Much like Luffy did with Robin, he will force himself into the situation and make his nakama’s enemies his own.
Luffy did say he will go alone to Big Mom’s tea party, but I have a feeling things aren’t going to turn out that way. Zoro’s reaction to Sanji’s decision seems a bit off, he does state that he doesn’t care, but I guess that is just Zoro not being honest with himself. Even if Luffy does go alone to Big Mom’s tea party, Jinbe will be there and without a doubt, Jinbe will team up with Luffy. Ah, I can’t wait to see Jinbe back into the story, I initially wasn’t too fond of him, but I have grown to love him. Whatever happens, I eagerly await to have my expectations exceeded by Oda-sensei’s creativity and vision (I noticed Franky’s new hairdo Oda-sensei!).
With Raizou being revealed to be safe and the whole of the Mink race putting their life on the line to keep that knowledge from Jack, we may finally get to find out some more information about Kine’mon, Kanjuro, Raizou and Momonosuke’s intentions for leaving the Wano Country and coming to Zou. Kine’mon is the retainer of the Kougetsu Family and the Kougetsu Family share a long and deep bond with the Mink race. I feel like the origin of this bond may be revealed later in a subsequent arc with Oda-sensei currently focusing on Sanji and his dilemma this arc. Personally, I don’t see Kine’mon not wanting to help Sanji after Sanji went out on a limb and risked his life to save Kine’mon back on Punk Hazard. With Kine’mon’s goal of finding Raizou having been met, he may just decide to aid the Straw Hats in getting Sanji back.
I really did find it weird that Oda-sensei forcefully split Kine’mon and Kanjuro from the rest of the group and that he chose to keep Momonosuke in dragon form while in the presence of the Mink, but after the countless responses to the Beast Pirates questions of Raizou’s location being “not here” or “we don’t know”, to the point that the Mink tribe suffered immensely, I genuinely did believe that the Mink tribe knew nothing about Raizou or where he was. I expected Raizou to be on Zou as that is how I felt the story built itself up as, but the Mink tribe enduring pain, destruction and loss because they were protecting Raizou, this came to a complete surprise to me. To be able to endure such pain for a comrade and to be unwavering in the face of despair and death, my opinion of the Mink tribe just shattered into one of love and respect. It is going to be fantastic to see more of the Mink tribe when the Straw Hat Pirates taking on the Kaidou Pirates becomes the focus of the story. I am very much looking forward to the next chapter.