I’m not really sure what to think of this arc, it’s developing in a really unexpected way albeit with a predictable end, or so I assume. Ever since the Zou Arc, Oda-sensei has handled the arcs at a sought of tangent from how the story would usually develop, this is probably largely due to the Yonko becoming the focus and the crew having been split in half. Now with every chapter, I find myself both surprised and in wonder towards where Oda-sensei is taking the elements in his story. The end result may be predictable, but I just cannot read the flow of the story. At the same time, it is both challenging and exciting constantly being overwhelmed by awe and the lack of predictability in regards to how the apparent defined end will be reached.
Luffy challenges the Enraged Big Army, but as a result of his exhausted state, he struggles against the mass of enemies whose abilities he has no knowledge of. Eventually, overwhelmed by a barrage of attacks from the different Big Mom Pirates, he succumbs to the weight of fatigue crushing him. I actually didn’t think Luffy was as exhausted as he was to the point of being unable to enter his Gear Fourth state. I expected that Luffy may not be enough to challenge all of the enemies in front of him, so I was waiting for a third-party to intervene and assist Luffy against the Big Mom Pirates. Luffy resolved not to leave his current spot as he waits for Sanji’s return, so even if Luffy was overwhelmed, I expected someone to join the fray and help Luffy out. As things stand, both Luffy and Nami are pinned down on the brink of capture. Luffy is putting whatever energy he left in avoiding being moved from his position but it is only a matter of time before he is taken away. Surely, someone will arrive to help Luffy out, but the question is who? Someone capable of assisting Luffy and taking on the Big Mom Pirates mid tier members. I want to say Jinbe, but I can’t help but feel he is currently predisposed i.e. currently locked away in one of Big Mom’s dungeons. It wouldn’t be too out their for Reiju to appear and assist Luffy, but would she? She’d be putting her position at risk. Very intrigued to see what will happen with Luffy and Nami. I just cannot see Luffy being taken from his current position.
So glad we finally got more information about the Poneglyphs, especially in regards to the total number of Poneglyphs (currently believed to be around 30), how many are Rio Poneglyphs (9), the location of the Road Poneglyph in Big Mom’s possession and that she has two other Poneglyph’s as well. Brook and Pedro manage to infiltrate to the area where it is kept but unfortunately Baron Tamago having an uneasy feeling about Pedro due to their encounter 5 years ago when Pedro tried to steal the Poneglyphs, assigns one of the three sweet commanders as a guard, the Minister of Juice, Sweet Commander Charlotte Smoothie.
Apparently Smoothie has the ability to change other people (and things) into matter which she can wring and wait for it…juice! Hilarious introductory scene for Commander Smoothie, she juiced the life, well most of it, out of her victim into a cup to consume. I am curious to learn how her abilities becomes effective on others or whether she can immediately treat her victims like fruit. Does Smoothie have to touch them first? Drench them in some special juice liquid she produces? Drink their blood? Well whatever the case, it reminds me of Tsuru’s Woshu Woshu no Mi. Tsuru has the ability to turn people into washing and hang them out to dry, effectively wringing out some of the bad in people i.e. cleaning them, when they are turned into laundry. Tsuru was able to treat anyone as washing, she didn’t need to do something before hand to make her opponents suspecitable her Devil Druit. I am very curious to find out if Smoothie’s Devil Fruit functions in the same manner as Tsuru’s.
Seeing as Smoothie has a bounty of 932 million beli, I really do wonder if the Straw Hat Pirates are gong to battle her and whether they are going to defeat her. Luffy took on Biscuit and defeated him, so it wouldn’t be that surprising if one of the heavy hitters of the Straw Hat Pirates challenges Smoothie and defeats her. Luffy is engaged in another dire situation currently, Zoro is disengaged from this arc, and Sanji, well he is just engaged. So who could potentially be capable of taking down a Big Mom Sweet Commander? Yeah, it can only be one person, Jinbe, the Knight of the Sea. He is completely relevant to this arc and will be the piece on the Straw Hat Pirates side that changes everything, especially seeing as he will most likely officially become part of the crew after this arc or in the very near future. Plus Jinbe is ridiculously strong.
Given Jinbe’s request to Big Mom, her reaction, the wheel of bad outcomes, the rumour spread across Totto Land regarding Jinbe’s cowardice, and the lack of Jinbe, I feel like Big Mom ended up tarnishing Jinbe’s reputation and imprisoning him as a consequence of his wheel spin. With Brook and Pedro in the area Big Mom keeps her treasures (Hall of Treasures), I wonder if she also ended up imprisoning Jinbe somewhere around there. Would be exciting to see Pedro distract Tamago, Smoothie and the rest of the guards all the while ending up freeing Jinbe in the process. Or it could very well be Brook who stumbles upon Jinbe and frees him. Can’t wait for Jinbe to appear again, he will be a key character in this arc.
Not sure what Big Mom is getting at, does she seriously plan to forgive the Straw Hat Pirates and let them leave Totto Land alive just because Sanji is requesting it? She wants her alliance with Germa 66 to happen this badly? Big Mom expressed her anger at the Straw Hat Pirates but also expressed her key concern is Sanji and Pudding’s marriage i.e. acquiring the might of Germa 66. I am not sure if her words can be trusted, she didn’t seem like the forgiving type when Jinbe requested to leave her crew. Curious to find out if Big Mom really meant what she said even though such a thing is never happening, Sanji will be leaving Totto Land with the Straw Hat Pirates. Looking forward to the next chapter.