Is it wrong to not want Katakuri to lose now? Even though I want Luffy to win, I have found myself suddenly and unexpectedly charmed by Katakuri. From embodying the nasty qualities of the Big Mom Pirates, Katakuri has now shown what lies beneath that “perfect brother” shell moulded by the weight of others expectations. Katakuri beyond the self feeling obliged to meet his family’s expectations is an individual filled with pride and the spirit of a warrior. Katakuri’s reaction to Flampe’s interference completely redefined his character. A redefinition that compells the reader to reevaluate their perception of Katakuri. This without a doubt is the chapter that made me a Katakuri fan.
The moment Katakuri found out about the external help he was getting and his inability to notice it, that was the moment the audience got to see the true Katakuri and how much he cares about his image as the “perfect brother” when his pride as a warrior was at risk of being compromised. Call Katakuri traditional, call him a fool, he may be all that but he is also a memorable character whom ironically has become more beloved by the readers the more imperfect he has shown to be.
Throughout Katakuri’s battle with Luffy and his taunting, he has come to respect Luffy’s resolve and spirit. Even with Katakuri’s clear gap in strength, Luffy has continued to struggle and has with each attack closed that gap. Katakuri has come to respect that will and has become fascinated with how much further Luffy can grow during this battle. It was that respect which compelled Katakuri to injure himself to “take an attack back” so to speak and to reveal his true face to his family to bring himself to same level as Luffy whom he has now acknowledged as his equal. Throughout this battle both characters have grown; Luffy in terms of his Kenbunshoku Haki and Katakuri with how he has embraced who he really is. While Katakuri will inevitably lose, I look forward to seeing how this battle will conclude and whether Katakuri will have relevance to the future story of One Piece. One thing I am certain about now is that Katakuri will not be disgraced in how he is defeated. His defeat will not be a spectacle for others to base their mockery toward him on. Instead it would serve as a culmination of his desire to embrace who he really is. Much like with Lola, Chiffon and Pudding, Katakuri will come to find what he wants once he is separated from the “prison” of his own “image”.
Flampe is quite the character. I’m shock at how rapidly her tune changed regarding Katakuri once she found out how truly amazing he really is. From championing and idolising him to deriding and mocking him. Expressively annoying and characteristically grating, I’m glad Luffy managed to knock her out with his Conquerors Haki.
Bege has lured Big Mom away from the Straw Hat Pirates whom have decided to return to Cacao Island which currently serves as Luffy’s exit point from Mirror World. Oven has constructed a plan to force Luffy to exit from a specific point by placing a mirror in the center of the Island surrounded by the Big Mom army and requesting all the citizens of Cacao Island to destroy their mirrors or discard them into the ocean. If Luffy does exit from that mirror, Oven plans to finish Luffy off in his weakened state. In addition, there is also an Armada of Big Mom ships waiting around Cacao Island for any who approach the Island or plan to escape the Island. Once Luffy defeats Katakuri, he definitely won’t be in a state to fight Oven. Sanji will most likely be the character whom defeats Oven.
Given the extensive coverage Cracker and Katakuri have gotten, will Smoothie, a Sweet Commander as well, receive the same focus. So far Smoothie has been anything but interesting or likable, the extent of her feats involve juicing others and squeezing the poison from Reiju out of her body. Given the introduction of Smoothie’s subordinates, we may finally be getting some focus on Smoothie and potentially a battle for her to be highlighted in. I still believe Reiju will be Smoothie’s opponent so with Smoothie’s reintroduction into the story, it won’t be long until the Germa 66 show up and exact their revenge on the Big Mom Pirates for lying, betraying and trying to kill them. The Germa 66 whom are also on their way to Cacao Island will likely assist in opening a path for Straw Hat Pirates to reach Cacao Island by intercepting Smoothie’s fleet and the other ships stationed around Cacao Island.
Given the focus Reiju has received within this arc and Smoothie’s ability to negate Reiju’s poison, Smoothie seems like perfect opponent for Reiju to be matched up against. I am very much looking forward to seeing whether this match-up will come about.