The legends of Ryuma has not only defined the man itself but the nation of Wano Kuni whose people were inspired by the many tales told about the greatest Samurai in their history. Ryuma conveyed to the world and to the nation of Wano Kuni the strength of the Samurai. The many enemies lining up to take advantage of Wano Kuni, including pirates and World Nobles were kept at bay by Ryuma and the rise in Samurai he inspired. Because of that movement Ryuma ignited, Wano Kuni still remains an independent nation and that is one of the reasons why Ryuma has been bestowed the title “Sword God”. With such a history behind Ryuma’s life, Zoro will have a major part to play in Wano Kuni’s future as the man who defeated Ryuma’s reanimated corpse and brought his blade, Shusui to Wano Kuni.
None of the Wano Kuni residents know but Zoro had Shusui given to him, he did not steal it. Ryuma’s corpse may have been revived by Brook’s shadow but the residual spirit and characteristics of Ryuma were also present during his battle against Zoro. He recognized Roronoa Zoro as a swordsman worthy of defeating him and wielding his blade, Shusui. Ryuma’s extensive use and skill with the blade along with his familiarity allowed for Shusui to be turned into a black blade which makes it all the more meaningful that Zoro was recognized as a swordsman worthy of wielding Shusui. Zoro has since that moment matured even further as a swordsman and person. Even if Zoro does not end up keeping Shusui after this arc, he will have the opportunity to wield it again and through that moment, the people of Wano Kuni will come to understand Zoro’s worth as a swordsman/Samurai.
With the knowledge of Shusui becoming a black blade, it seems almost inevitable that Zoro too will evolve his blades into black blades through this journey. Zoro’s goal is not to become just the greatest swordsman amongst the living ones but the greatest swordsman in history and to do that, he will need to achieve beyond what the previous great swordsman before him have achieved. Zoro may end up evolving all three of his blades into “black blades”. The blades are more than inanimate objects and seem to possess some sort of aura/spirit that allows the blade increase in strength the more prominent its aura. Evolving the blade could mean that the Swordsman is so familiar with the blade that part of their spirit/aura ends up being imbued into the blade. The blade becomes greater than an object and in a sense part of the swordsman. Unfortunately the story behind black blades will have to wait as just as Zoro posed that question to Gyukimaru, Kamazou appeared hunting down Toko and a lady from the pleasure district protecting Toko.
This chapter once again reminds the reader how awesome a character Zoro is. Zoro’s heart has remained consistent throughout the story, he is prepared to put himself in harms way and at risk for others just like he did with Rika when he was introduced. It was great seeing him rush to the aid of Toko and the woman trying to save her (Hiyori?). Zoro doesn’t know it yet but Robin went out of her way to save Toko, so it’s good to see that Toko is making an impression on multiple Straw Hats. Toko’s role within this arc intrigues me because for a seemingly tertiary character, Oda-sensei has curiously focused significantly on her relative to other arc characters. Toko’s introduction was memorable and she quickly melted readers hearts with her peculiar characteristics. We now have two situations centering around Toko, so her character must have a major role to play within the arc going forward. It is also interesting to see that the lady from pleasure district is familiar about the three sword style. Her reaction to Zoro’s stance was more than mere surprise, it was familiarity in what she was seeing and curiosity in Zoro.
Gyukimaru was so cheap within this chapter exploiting moments Zoro was distracted in which ultimately led to Zoro being pierced by Kamazou but I can’t blame Gyukimaru because from his perspective, Zoro is a man unworthy to be in the realm of Samurai, a thief who seeks to destroy what signifies Wano Kuni. Gyukimaru will shortly learn the error of his judgement because he will come to see what type of swordsman and person Zoro is.
Big Mom and Queen are destined to meet. Their love for O-Shiruko made certain of that. Linlin’s craving for O-Shiruko and Queen’s supply of the O-Shiruko dishes due to it being his favourite food wasn’t mentioned for no reason. Linlin along with Chopper and Co. are heading towards Udon presumably to rescue/pick up Luffy. To satisfying her neverending hunger, Linlin will fight Queen for the O-Shiruko especially since Queen himself mentioned that no body but himself is allowed to eat his O-Shiruko. Will Chopper and Raizou use the ensuing chaos to free Luffy? And most importantly will Linlin regain her memories/hatred once encountering/seeing Luffy, the target of her vengeance and the reason she journeyed to Wano Kuni.
I wonder if Kuina has any connections to Wano Kuni through her mother or grandparents. Kuina was very adept in swordsmanship and was the one of the few people who bested Zoro, albeit at a time when Zoro wasn’t known as the Pirate Hunter and was still learning. Still, it would be exciting to have more of Kuina’s story/family history revealed. Looking forward to the next chapter.