What has become obvious through the Totto Land Arc is the increasing importance of the Germa and their reach in relevance with regards to the story of One Piece. They have been introduced as an antagonist group but when viewed alongside the steps Oda-sensei has taken to flesh them out, it becomes apparent that they are not being handled in a manner akin to the other antagonistic groups we have seen in the past. The Germa’s goals only conflict with the Straw Hat Pirates goals marginally and they currently have no reason to directly oppose the Straw Hat Pirates. Once the Germa realise Sanji’s marriage with Pudding is worthless not to mention a prelude to their destruction, they won’t have any reason to stop Sanji from returning to the Straw Hat Pirates. Given that, what role are they meant to play then?
Being a Vinsmoke, Sanji is already closely connected to the Germa and has interest in what happens to them regardless of how he feels towards his family given their treatment of him (save Reiju) in the past. With the Vinsmoke family in danger of being destroyed at Big Mom’s Tea Party, Sanji is driven by emotions of saving them despite Reiju’s intentions to let all their evil end. Because of that close connection, the Germa are a faction unlike the previous antagonistic groups we’ve seen up until now. With the story of the Germa/Vinsmoke unfinished and seemingly not on its way toward concluding by the end of the Totto Land Arc, I am confident the Germa will remain relevant in the future stories, particularly the Arcs involving the Reverie, Vegapunk, Space and the Final War. With Sanji’s association with the Germa looking to be established soon (by saving them), I believe the Vinsmoke Family will serve a role in aiding the Straw Hat Pirates in the future. The Vinsmoke Family are too important and closely connected to a Straw Hat to be a major antagonist against them.
The main obstacle in the way of the Germa being an ally to the Straw Hat Pirates is Judge’s perspective of the world, once what he believes to be ‘reality’ is shattered, he should have the willingness to accept the truth that what he believed to be ‘right’ wasn’t so cemented in certainty. Judge is driven by the belief that strength lies in science and ruthlessness, and as such he has absolute confidence in the children he raised and modified into weapons of war. If the Straw Hat Pirates can disprove that ‘truth’ by defeating the modified children he is so proud of, it would help convey to Judge just how flawed his methods were in leading to the ultimate strength he seeks, consequently forcing Judge to expand his outlook towards the world. That moment of introspection may also help Judge realise what Sora felt when she willingly sacrificed her own life to try to protect her children.
In order to save his family Sanji may have to fight against them.I doubt Judge, Ichiji, Niji and Yonji in their current state will choose to believe what Sanji tells them about Big Mom intending to kill them. Save Reiju, the rest of the Vinsmoke members don’t see any value in Sanji’s words. They all believe they are better than Sanji and approach their attitude towards him on such a basis i.e. with disrespect, conceit and arrogance. Sanji may have to fight them to convey how serious he is and ultimately wipe the floor with them. Through his kicks, can Sanji get them to understand his feelings for wanting to save them? And in regards to Reiju, can she reign in the Germa’s madness and remind her siblings and father of Sora’s wishes.
In regards to the relevance the Germa have. Their feats in science have the potential to open up new directions the story can travel toward. In particular with regard to exploration. The Germa have devised a method to transverse the different seas without the need to rely on the World Government to travel via the Red Line nor do they have to travel through Fishman Island under the sea to get to the New World. The Germa have utilised large Snails to construct their Kingdom on via different segments on each Snail. The Snails allow them to travel over the Red Line by scaling it albeit slowly. Additionally as their Kingdom is constructed piece by piece on each snail, they can bring their kingdom to wherever they travel. With this portability, the Germa always operate at full strength and would serve an incredibly valuable ally to whoever they associate with. Their other scientific feats include the science to clone humans (who were the original subjects?), a mask to conceal injuries/flaws and the ability to hover in the air with hover boots. With the Germa’s science taken to an advanced level, I am curious to learn if they have any projects in progress that would allow them to travel into space and survive. Space is already a legitimate setting with Oda-sensei establishing it through Enel’s cover story. And it has a direct relevance to the Void Century with the inhabitants of the moon migrating to the One Piece world at some point in time in the past. Additionally, the ruins of the Moon(s) may serve the purpose of further fleshing out the story of the Ancient Civilisation and what happened during the Void Century. There is a basis existing for a Space Arc to have a place within the story and if any faction can find a way to travel through space and to the Moon(s), it is the Germa.
With Judge’s connection to Vegapunk now established, it wouldn’t be surprising if by the end of the Totto Land Arc, Caesar ends up finding himself in the care of the Germa. Both Judge and Caesar are scientist who know Vegapunk and were once close to him. Despite having never worked with Vegapunk at the same time (presumably), they have a common ground when it comes to science and furthering what Vegapunk started. If the Germa do become allies with the Straw Hat Pirates, the Germa would be an ideal place to hold Caesar at. Caesar is a very sought after scientist and his research in the wrong hands can be devastating i.e. Jack. By keeping Caesar with the Germa (to research and practice science), he wouldn’t be out in the open as the Straw Hat Pirates wage war against the Yonko and the World Government. Additionally, Judge who is a genius scientist himself would be able to work together with Caesar to advance the research on Devil Fruits and/or Space Travel.
With the Reverie coming up and the Germa Kingdom invited, Oda-sensei has definite plans for them and how they will go about influencing the events in the story. Therefore their current role within the Totto Land Arc is of particular interest to me, especially in regards their relationship with Sanji. What will Sanji and Reiju do and how will Judge react when he finds out his plans are nothing but an illusion? Looking forward to seeing how Oda-sensei develops the Germa.