I expected Speed to be featured in the current battle but not in the fashion that she was. For Luffy to use her as a horse to escape and for her to be made compliant through consuming Tama’s dango, how unexpected, yet how utterly characteristic of One Piece. Not only has Luffy robbed the fresh produce from the Beast Pirates and stolen the fresh water from them to give to the people but he has also embarrassed the Beast Pirates. Luffytaro has made himself a target and with him angering Jack, their meeting has become an inevitability.
This chapter made me smile so much. Rather than dance around the middle tier opponents, Oda-sensei recognizes Luffy’s growth he conveyed in previous arcs and has immediately set-up the Luffy VS Jack battle. It would have been troublesome if Holdem gave Luffy a hard time, so its exciting to see Luffy’s strength reciprocated in his actions against the Beast Pirates. Luffy is strong and after having fought with Katakuri, he is ready to take on the Beast Pirates Calamities/Disasters. No need to consume time and pages focusing on Luffy against the sub-sub-leaders of the Beast Pirates. Regardless of whether Holdem remains relevant to the arc after this chapter, he got served the Caesar treatment by Luffy. At best if Holden returns, he will be matched up against another Straw Hat Pirate.
Based on how Kiku wielded her katana to chop off Urashima’s top-knot, Kiku seems to be incredibly capable as a swordsman, but given her uncertainty as to how to react with chaos igniting the situation, Kiku most likely does not have much practical fighting experience beyond sparring. Fortunately a moment has arrived to inspire Kiku with a situation where she will have no choice but to utilise the training she has had. The Beast Pirates have arrived and the only way out of this situation and saving Tama would be fighting.