For the 20 years, Kouzuki Hiyori had to hide herself and act as someone unlike her true self, yet despite all that enduring and expression of resolve, she took a gamble with Zoro and revealed the truth to him. This decision by Hiyori wasn’t just a choice made on a whim, internally she carefully weighted up her options and felt Zoro was someone she could trust. And not only has Hiyori revealed the truth to Zoro but she appears have also let herself behave freely around a stranger she just recently met. Sure her true self has been pent-up behind her alias of Komurasaki but to let loose completely and place all her trust in Zoro with her secrets, Zoro must have made an unforgettable impression with Hiyori.
Thanks to Hiyori we learn that Kappa’s exist and of why she was left behind when Momonosuke was sent 20 years into the future – in order to keep the Kouzuki bloodline alive in case Momonosuke and Company did not succeed. Hiyori had help from the one of the Nine Red Scabbards who remained on Wano Kuni 20 years ago. Kawamatsu protected Hiyori and helped her emotionally recover from the loss of her father, mother and brother who she lost all on the same day. For a 6 year old girl, the weight of the pain was overwhelming and she initially could bring herself to converse with others and in a sense “feel”. The suffering engulfing her trapped her within a state of numbness. Slowly though, thanks to the efforts of Kawamatsu, she was able to melt away the pain freezing her heart and laugh again. Kawamatsu helped bring Hiyori to a state where she could carry on the fight but unfortunately when she was 13 years old (which is 13 years ago from the current time), Kawamatsu was captured and Hiyori had to carry on the fight alone. Hiyori hasn’t mentioned it yet but based on her reaction of wanting to be excited but keeping it held in, she had to remain on guard throughout her time keeping her identity hidden. Hiyori may have escaped from the pit of darkness she was cast into but she is far from free yet. Hiyori is likely still burdened by the secrets she keeps and the heart she had to close in order to survive. Hopefully with the Straw Hat Pirates and a more optimistic outlook for the future, Hiyori is able to liberate herself from the mask she had to wear for the past 20 years.
Luffy trained his Kenbonshoku Haki during his battle against Katakuri who also served as a mentor in a sense. Now it appears that the mentor to assist in Luffy’s training with Busoshoku Haki is Hyougoro the Flower. Luffy is able to harden his body with Busoshoku Haki but what he wishes for now is to learn how to direct that energy onto somebody else and ‘release’ it, exactly what Sentomaru did to him during their encounter in Sabaody Archipelago when Luffy’s punches were deflected. Given what Hyougoro said, the technique he used was taught to him by a swordsman in the past. The basis behind the technique appears to dealing with transferring ones Haki onto the object/person and releasing the Haki at the appropriate time, be it when cutting or deflecting an attack. Fortunately for Luffy, he is the perfect place to train, so learning through trail and error is an option. Now that he has seen how it works again and heard the explanation from Hyougoro, Luffy likely is mentally building his approach to learning that ability. Luffy also understands that in order to battle Kaidou, he needs to master this form of Busoshoku Haki as it will enable him pierce Kaidou’s tough Dragon skin/scales. Given that Luffy exponentially developed his Kenbonshoku Haki during his battle with Katakuri, I expect him to develop his Busoshoku Haki at a rapid pace as well during the current Prison Sumo tournament. This tournament will have the added effect of inspiring the prisoners within the compound. Those low on hope will start to believe again when they gaze upon Luffy and witness his challenge against the Beast Pirates and his very imprisonment. Luffy may even end up having a short fight with Queen before Chopper and Company arrive.
Zoro has also been introduced a new application of Busoshoku Haki, so it will be interesting to see what he does going forward after he heals up. Hiyori may have more information apply Haki to ones blade given they she had been around Kyoshiro for a long time and he most likely is able to use Busoshoku Haki in such a way. Gyukimaru having seen Zoro save Hiyori and Toko may end up being the mentor figure to Zoro, explaining more about turning ones blade black and performing the technique.
Very excited to see Luffy and Zoro develop their Busoshoku Haki further. I am also curious to see if the CP0 had anything to do with deciphering the rebellion secret message card. And will we find out what is up with Kyoshiro because actions are definitely suspicious and counter to fully supporting Orochi. Looking forward to the next chapter.