What a tough life Katakuri must lead needing to meet the ridiculously high expectations his family and the Big Mom army have of him. Anything below perfect would be a stain against his radiant form and betray the image the Big Mom Pirates have of him in their mind. Their judgement demands perfection and all Katakuri can do is attempt to satisfy that expectation however impossible that may be. Unfortunately, the day such expectations were deflated is today, the day Katakuri will be defeated.
Katakuri represents the pride of Big Mom’s army and as long as he remains standing, the Big Mom Pirates and residents of Totland will continue to look down on the Straw Hat Pirates and any who oppose them. Luffy’s presence and challenge to Katakuri puts them at unease and despite their frustration of being uneasy, they willfully turn away from such a sight towards a radiant Katakuri whom they mentally constructed into a flawless being with their unrestrained desires. By defeating Katakuri, Luffy will set off a tremor that shakes each individual Big Mom Pirates crew member and Charlotte family member to their core. Katakuri has been established as that significant that his defeat will signal such a massive consequential effect. Reality will set in and the realisation of their current predicament will inevitably and shockingly wash over them. Katakuri’s defeat signals the beginning of the Big Mom Pirates collapse.
In a sense Katakuri reminds me of Crocodile, just not as cool. Both aren’t evil in their core but the events around them have shaped how they view the world and approach the future. Crocodile’s defeat as a pirate passionate about becoming Pirate King has chipped away at his enthusiasm toward that dream and Katakuri’s image in his subordinates and family’s mind has forced him to want to live up to such expectations even if he finds such a task burdensome. Both overpowered Luffy yet found themselves more closely challenged after each defeat Luffy took until Luffy was able to exceed his limits and push beyond to defeat them. Luffy learned to combat a powerful Logia user with Crocodile and now he is learning to combat an opponent who excels at Kenbunshoku Haki with Katakuri. Just like Luffy’s fight with Crocodile which shaped how he handled the rest of the opponents in the Paradise story, Katakuri’s battle is shaping how Luffy will approach his future battles within the New World against Yonko, Marine Admiral and other powerful opponents and legends that have yet to reveal themselves.
As things are, Katakuri may hold the upper hand against Luffy but with each attack Katakuri sends Luffy way, Luffy is learning to control his Kenbunshoku Haki and ever so slightly is closing the gap between the two. Luffy will overcome Katakuri’s Kenbunshoku Haki and not only knock Katakuri on his back but defeat him.
While I do appreciate Sanji’s coverage as a cook within the current arc, I still wish he would have gotten a fight to feature in, a fight to highlight his growth against powerful New World opponents. Even with Sanji sharing the spot light with Luffy, it is clear who the more interesting Straw Hat Pirate member is based on the focus they are currently receiving. At the very least, Sanji and the rest of the crew should get substantial battle focus during the next major arc (Wano Kuni). Luffy needs to take center stage now because he needs to be put in situations where he can grow and close the gap between the future enemies he will face i.e. Yonko and Marine Admirals. Looking forward to the next chapter.