Being so blinded by the desire to want to see Jinbe and Sanji highlighted in battle, I found myself forgetting that there is another aspect of their character that can be highlighted to showcase their growth and value within the New World and that aspect is that of the roles they embody within the Straw Hat Pirates. Jinbe expressed his value wholeheartedly this chapter as he maneuvered the Thousand Sunny out from certain doom with his Helmsman skills. As readers, we got a taste of how the Straw Hat Pirates have gained a strength with the addition of Jinbe.
Jinbe was hinted from early on as being a Helmsman but we never truly got to see how capable he was until now and what a spectacle it was to see Jinbe single-handedly control the sail and steer the Thousand Sunny through Big Mom’s wave. Jinbe’s skills are so inhuman not even the Big Mom Pirates believed such an outcome was possible, they all jumped to the conclusion that the wave swallowed the Thousand Sunny up. I’m not even sure the readers suspected that a Helmsman could be as necessary within the New World as Jinbe showcased in this chapter. I very much look forward to seeing what other spectacles Jinbe will treat us to.
With the mirrors on the Thousand Sunny now shattered, the Big Mom Pirates won’t be able to confirm the survival of the ship and in turn continue their pursuit. Big Mom being the mass of raging power that she currently is may realise what happened. Before that happens though, the Big Mom Pirates are in a state of vulnerability with their guards lowered which is the perfect opportunity for the Straw Hat Pirates to continue their escape. What will happen though is when Sanji and Co. are ready with the cake, Big Mom will need to be present to eat it and be knocked out by its deliciousness. Before the Straw Hat Pirates escape, Big Mom will need to eat the cake baked by Sanji, Pudding, Chiffon and the Whole Cake Island’s 31 chefs.
For Luffy to escape, he will need to defeat Katakuri and seize Brulee in order to pass through a mirror to return to the real world. I don’t believe Luffy would be able to escape without dealing with Katakuri first as Katakuri would not let Luffy escape. And for Luffy to be able to defeat a Yonko, it is necessary for him to fight Katakuri and for him to defeat Katakuri. Unlike Cracker, Katakuri is much more capable and aware of Luffy’s abilities. And unlike before, Luffy is currently alone in a semi-exhausted state. By defeating Katakuri, Luffy will be expressing his growth and his potential for dealing with significantly powerful opponents.
I am surprised I didn’t realise this before but it makes sense for Sanji and Jinbe not to fight any of Sweet Commanders within this arc because by delaying such battles it makes their growth more meaningful and impacting when do go about fighting such opponents and coming out victorious. Save Luffy, the rest of the Straw Hat Pirates will be battling the subordinates of the Yonko and before they can be shown defeating such opponents, they will first need to prove that they can challenge such opponents otherwise all tension is lost from future fights if they can defeat such characters early on within their New World journey when the rest of the opponents they will face will be of similar strength. Sure the Yonko crews they face will be slightly stronger than the last but it wouldn’t be drastic like it was within the Paradise Arcs where each subsequent antagonist group were stronger each Arc. Within the New World, the Yonko are classed as similar threats meaning the World Government sees them as equal threats i.e. one does not pose much greater danger than the other. The split between the four and the constant tension existing between each one suggest that each Yonko are wary of the other and concerned about each other’s actions. The Straw Hat Pirates crew will need to first show they handle opponents like the Yonko subordinates before they can face off against them seriously and that time is not at this moment.
Luffy is the exception as his growth in strength is more imperative to be highlighted than the rest of the crew as it will be him who faces off against the Yonko. The Yonko are opponents for Luffy to battle and defeat and it is because of that, he is given such focus on battles this arc against two of Big Mom’s Sweet Commanders. Luffy will need to be able fight the Yonko lieutenants first if he wishes to be a challenge and threat to a full powered Yonko. As the gap between the Yonko and their Commanders are so large, it makes it that much more necessary for Luffy to face such opponents early on in his journey within the New World so that he can begin to realise his weaknesses and how to evolve his fighting style and capabilities to match the stronger opponents he will inevitable face. The rest of the crew can have their moment to shine once they have regathered and understood the strength of the opponents they will need to face. Seeing as Kaidou and his army are the next major antagonist in line, the crew could their moment when the Wano Kuni Arc takes center stage.
Luffy’s expression when he lied to the rest of the crew that he was alright was hilarious – figures that he is still bad at lying. But I understand why Luffy did it, why Nami and Co. believed him and why Jinbe knew why everybody acted as they did. Contrary to how it seems at the moment, Jinbe really does understand the Straw Hat Pirate crew. I believe Jinbe will have an easier time than how it seems adjusting to the crew and meshing with them. Looking forward to the next chapter.