Along with the light at the end of the tunnel arises the shadow of uncertainty following closely behind and such is the end reached with the joyous escape dipped deep within the foreboding nature of its substance. An end with ominous shades and threatening consequences. The Straw Hat Pirates escaped yet their allies: the Sun Pirates, Jinbe, the Germa 66, Capone, Chiffon, Pound, Pudding, Caesar and Pedro, their fates were left uncertain and largely at the mercy of the Big Mom Pirates.
Oda-sensei is still running with Pedro being dead as it adds to the weight backing the drama propping up the current tension surrounding the story. Once it has served its purpose, Pedro will return alive. Pedro’s apparent death defines the ambience of the current chapter and the sorrow surrounding it serves as a precursor to the implied sorrow about to take place with the allies of the Straw Hat Pirates placing themselves in dangers way to ensure the Straw Hat Pirates successfully escape. The perceived reality of “Pedro having died” leaves open the gut-wrenching possibility/illusion that others could meet the same fate. Ultimately, none of the allies will die given Oda-sensei’s writing style but in order to establish a threat and magnify the current uncertainty surrounding the allies fates, an event filled with loss and death needed to have occurred, if only temporarily to serve a purpose.
The lack of Pedro’s will being passed on or non-major effects resulting from his implied sacrifice hints at a lack of intention by Oda-sensei. If Pedro was really going to be killed, his death and the events surrounding it would be more grand.
What memories did Pudding remove from Sanji? Given Sanji’s recognition of Pudding after the fact, he still remembers Pudding. Whatever she did, dealt with what happened right before Sanji’s memories were adjusted. This is further evidenced by the “reel” panels and the memories Puddings is holding. The last request Pudding had may have been exactly what she removed from Sanji’s memories after she expressed it. What would cause Pudding to do that? The Sanji/Pudding aka. Sanding shipper in me is screaming a proposal by Pudding but would Oda-sensei head in such a direction? At the very least it could be an expression of affection and Sanji in turn reciprocating that expression. After the unseen last request reveal, Sanji seemed dazed by love and Pudding uplifted by the response. If Pudding deep down still felt unworthy of such love and affection, this could have forced her to remove such memories. Pudding may have realised that before she can begin to love someone else, she will have to learn to love herself. Sanji has inspired Pudding to believe in herself and helped establish a foundation on which she can grow and move forward. Whatever Pudding revealed and cut away, it was something that emotionally impacted her deeply. I know we will see her again in the story but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.
To think with just a few panels Oda-sensei could make me like Katakuri’s character even more and yet it happened. And at the same time Brûlée’s character has become more interesting and likable. I’m glad that within the Charlotte family there are few members who can extend themselves beyond their own arrogance and ego and truly connect with their heart. Brûlée understands her older brother and accepts him flaws and all.
Big Mom’s presence at the end after that melody left events on such a chilling note. Big Mom prides herself on ensuring no one who enters her territory escapes which immediately puts the Straw Hat Pirates in danger. The Straw Hat Pirates allies though who are still within Totto Land, will they be able to escape or with Big Mom now at the scene, will they be captured? Most likely some will escape and some will be captured, but the question becomes, who will be the ones captured? I feel that the Sun Pirates will sacrifice themselves to help Jinbe escape and Judge will use himself as a distraction to aid his children in escaping. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.