I expected Katakuri to be powerful given his bounty and position within the Big Mom Pirates but I didn’t expect his attacks to mirror Luffy’s within this battle. Is Oda-sensei really trying to nail down in Luffy’s mind the point that his current attack style is not sufficient to tackle the threats he will face within the New World. Katakuri painfully showed that in a battle, power is just as relevant as technique and style. In terms of Luffy going forward, this battle is illustrating that he will both need to evolve his fighting style and find ways of applying more power behind his existing techniques. The final(?) trump card Luffy has left to play is Gear Fourth. Will Katakuri be able to counter that form as well? Somehow I find that just like Cracker, Katakuri will struggle but unlike Cracker I don’t believe he will be defeated yet.
Jinbe, while he did sound cold-hearted, everything he said was completely correct. The opponents the Straw Hat Pirates are facing now hold power far exceeding the opponents they face before in previous arcs. They have angered a Yonkou and are now directly targeted by Big Mom who is burning with enthusiasm to crush them. While Big Mom’s rage is driven by her hunger, it is still fueled by her anger towards them. Fighting is not going to work as Big Mom is just too powerful so the Straw Hat Pirates best hope is to rely on Nami as their navigator to guide them through the unpredictable seas of the New World all the while utilising its harshness to buy them enough time to sail towards Sanji, Pudding and Chiffon (and Pound) who will bake a Wedding Cake that will hopefully knock Big Mom out.
Pudding, her reactions of opposite extremes are so amazingly humourous, I am absolutely loving the coverage Pudding is receiving now. Her “anti” attitude of justifying her current actions all the while internally swooning over Sanji’s comments of concern and care for her add such an enjoyable layer of intrigue to their interactions. I care about both the characters and have become substantially invested in their relationship and finding out what will happen between the two when this arc concludes. Pudding won’t stay with Sanji, she will forever be grateful to him for his kindness and actions but Pudding has her own story to follow. She will likely make the decision to begin her own journey once this arc concludes, a journey that will likely see her traveling the world to find Lola.
One Piece characters have always been ridiculous but the ridiculous Pudding exudes makes sense now, it has been earned by Pudding and substantiates her current development from a daughter fearful of taking steps forward to a woman building up the courage to adventure out into the world. Pudding’s admiration of Lola illustrates just that. Lola was the Chocolate Minister of Cacao Island but Pudding never filled that position once Lola left because she felt Lola was the perfect person for that role. And it is because of that admiration and love for Lola that I believe Pudding will journey into the world to try to find Lola.
Luffy really is in a pinch now. With Karakuri negating and countering every move Luffy has tried so far, will Gear Fourth really be enough to challenge Katakuri? I can see the resemblance between Rubber and Mochi, so Katakuri being able to utilise Luffy’s moves makes sense but it is frightening to see Katakuri perform Luffy’s attacks more effectively than Luffy himself. As the fight currently stands, Luffy’s won’t be able to win but he may be able to find a way to escape from the Mirror World taking Brulee with him and stranding Katakuri inside the Mirror World while he makes his escape with his crew. Another possibility is Luffy finding out a weakness to the Mochi Mochi no Mi and exploiting it similar to how he turned the tables against Crocodile when he found out water makes Crocodile tangible – would freezing Katakuri’s Mochi reduce the effectiveness of his Devil Fruit i.e. prevent him from carrying out attacks that mirror Luffy’s? Beyond that, a third-party trapped within the Mirror World from a past incident could come into play to assist Luffy but that seems unlikely at this point. Excited to see what happens next and how Luffy handles Katakuri. Looking forward to the next chapter!