How does Hawkins get people to follow him when the main purpose for their inclusion is to serve as bodies taking damage for Hawkins? Whenever Hawkins is damaged, that damage transfers over to one of the bodies he has targeted with his Devil Fruit ability. Surely if people knew what fate awaited them if they were to associate with Hawkins, one would think it would be hard to find people ready to follow Hawkins. Do those followers not know about Hawkins’s Devil Fruit or are they that committed? Hopefully this arc expands on that because I am very curious to learn more about Hawkins’s backstory.
Just give Zoro the sword, Luffy! The readers want to see Zoro’s reaction when he recognizes what sword it is once he wields it. Zoro already senses the uniqueness of the blade from its aura and despite knowing nothing about the blade and its story, he is adamant in needing to inspect the blade which likely ties in to the familiarity he feels towards the blade. Obviously Luffy ignores Zoro stating he desires to cut something only to proceed punching the opponents while holding the sword. I REALLY hope Luffy doesn’t lose the sword before Zoro gets a chance to try it out. Please don’t Luffy…I have a bad feeling about this.
Fortunately Zoro held his own against Hawkins and like the beast he is, he is always ready to unleash his fury and fangs having taken out two of Hawkins’s life tokens. Sadly Hawkins Straw Straw no Mi means that in order to completely take out Hawkins, one will have to exhaust all of Hawkins’s straw tokens that transfers lethal damage from Hawkins onto the target of the token i.e. the Beast Pirates fodder. Thankfully, the woman Zoro saved owns a tea shop with herbal medicine that can cure the poison currently inside Tama’s body. Despite living in a remote area, other villagers do know of Tama and can relate to the struggles she has to go through i.e. drinking water from the river.
As a result of the shortage of food and taxes/rent charged by the Shogun, the local shops suffer and often fail to make ends meet. They are stuck to prepare their food with the left overs from the farms that are exclusive to the Shogun and his men. As can be imagined in such an unjust system, one can only do so much with left over food (unless their name is Sanji – I hope he prepares them a feast) which makes it troublesome to sell, in particular to those with the funds. The wealthy are corrupt and have access to fresh produce through the Shogun’s farms. This endless spiral of suffering is perpetuated by the greed of the leadership and the ignorance of those supporting such leadership – “if I’m not affected, I don’t care if you are”. It is a never-ending cycle with only misery and further misery awaiting at the end, especially with the World Government willfully turning a blind eye to the inhumane suffering they could prevent. Fortunately, a specific crew with a history of upheaving the status quo has arrived at Wano Kuni. They will inspire a nation to rise up against the jailers shackling them to the pain and injustice they have been enduring.
Enter the tea shop assistant who has attracted the eye of one of the Shogun’s men. He offers Kiku the chance at a care free life if only she marries him i.e. if she offers herself to him. It cannot be coincidence that Oda-sensei presented Kiku as anything but a tea shop assistant. Her responses to the fool trying to woo her over were completely generic and robotic as if to hide the fact that she is acting the part of a fragile girl. Surely Kiku is more than she makes herself out to be, like say a Kunoichi undercover waiting for an opportune moment to strike at the Shogun and Kaido, because is what it feels like. Kkku appears to have potential to be an interesting character but before a case can be made for her being the next Straw Hat nakama, I will need to see more including her behavioural tenancies and interaction with Luffy and Zoro to get a solid idea of what type of character Oda-sensei wishes us to view her as. More than Kiku though, I am intrigued by Tsuru, her character design is quite unique and memorable.
Trafalgar Law’s crew is on Wano Kuni! Which means Law is not far behind. At this point it has become pretty apparent, Oda-sensei is adding another Supernova to the mix to drive home the inevitability that Kaido will be defeated in the near future by the Straw Hat Pirate Alliance and allies. Most, if not all the relevant Supernovas featuring within this arc will fight against Kaido. Firstly though the Shogun will need to be handled in order to help Momonosuke become the new ruler. Once the situation surrounding Wano Kuni is dealt with, the story can move towards focusing on the Beast Pirates and the downfall of Kaido, the strongest creature in the world. Wano Kuni will likely ally itself with the Straw Hat Pirates to take out Kaido and at this point, we may have a fairly certain idea of who the next Straw Hat Pirate nakama could be as they would presumably be deeply involved in the battle and be reasonably fleshed out at this stage or at the very least have a compelling air of intrigue surrounding their mysteriousness.
Could the much anticipated next member be a Kunoichi? Would Oda-sensei do something so expected or will he once again subvert our expectations? Very much looking forward to the next chapter and seeing how this arc develops.