The Witching Hour Boy prior to this chapter was such an uncertain variable, that I couldn’t anticipate how the character would be used within this story arc. He was important given his rejections of Orochi’s ways and yet was a complete mystery because all we knew about him beyond a silhouette were passing stories of him. With the Witching Hour Boy now being given a face and context behind his actions of rebellion, it makes it much clearer analyzing how he fits into the Wano Kuni story. Tonoyasu has the ability to unite the common people of Wano Kuni against Orochi be it directly through his actions or indirectly through his death, which at this point in time driven by his foreboding statement at the end of the chapter, seems to be a very real prospect.
Tonoyasu is respected by those who remember him and by those whom have experienced his kindness and joy first hand. Tonoyasu may have been different 20 years ago but who he is now is someone who genuinely wants to save Wano Kuni and the people who live within it, be it through sharing what he has or sacrificing his own life. If Tonoyasu did change from his former self, it would likely be due to the combination of Orochi stealing power away from the Kouzuki family and having to part with his daughter in order to help both her and others who are suffering. The message he is about to leave with the Wano Kuni people appears to represent such a red flag for his death. If this does happen, his death will conjure rebellious motivations within the people who blame Orochi for the death of someone they immensely love and respect. The feelings of the Wano Kuni people and the constant subjugation they are forced under can be rallied together by the death of Tonoyasu which will additional serve as the catalyst for igniting their desire to free themselves from their imprisonment. The will of Tonoyasu will be carried on by the Wano Kuni people, his daughter Toko and Hiyori who I believe will be the next leader of Wano Kuni.
On the flip side, there are reasons for Tonoyasu to remain alive. The main reason for Tonoyasu needing to survive this situation is to be a council and advisor to Hiyori when she does become the next Wano Kuni leader. Hiyori will be completely out of her element when she takes the role of leader within such a significant moment within Wano Kuni history but having the support and aid of Tonoyasu will help tremendously. People need as much hope as they can manage after 20 years of suffering and once they find out that the old Wano Kuni is still alive through Tonoyasu and Hiyoru, they will muater up the courage to fight for their freedom and nation. In order to overcome the fear crippling the people, a stronger emotion will need to overwhelm it.
I expected the o-shiruko to last until Linlin arrives but alas, Luffy pulled a Luffy and ate (along with Hyougoro) whatever o-shiruko remained which now leaves zero for both Queen and Linlin. Both of them won’t be amused when learning about what happened to the o-shiruko. Linlin may have temporarily lost her memories but once Luffy reminds her of the hatred she has for him, Linlin will recall the extent of her disdain for Straw Hat Luffy. Linlin won’t appear to help the Straw Hat Pirates because events can’t unfold so conveniently, instead Linlin will further add chaos to the situation which ironically may create the moment for Raizou and Co. to free the other prisoners as Luffy engages with Queen and Linlin all the while training his Busoshoku Haki. Linlin has an insane amount of defense but Luffy will use this opportunity to find a way to accomplish the technique he was attempting to perform during the Sumo tournament. On a side note, I wonder if Chopper and Co. will run into Kid =/.
Kawamatsu may likely be the key in helping Luffy and Co. escape once Raizou and Co. jailbreak the other prisoners. If Oda-sensei has been saving Kawamatsu for a moment to fully introduce him, this would be a perfect moment to highlight his importance and usefulness where maximum impact can be made.
Zoro and Hiyori. Just make it happen Oda-sensei! Hiyori may be slightly weird and cutely arrogant but that is a product of the life she lived for the past 20 years. Zoro grounds her quite a bit as unlike other man, he is able to maintain his composure when he is around her which in turn likely allows Hiyori to be more at ease. Hiyori herself also plays off Zoro’s seriousness by casting him into unexpected situations leading to amusing reactions from Zoro. If Orochi does encounter Hiyori again, I can imagine Hiyori using Zoro to create a reaction within Orochi i.e. such as jealousy. If Orochi does target Zoro, there would be nothing Zoro could say to clear up the misunderstanding which would make the seemingly inevitable Orochi VS Zoro battle that much more exciting. It seems fitting for Orochi who destroyed the culture of the Wano Kuni Samurai to be defeated by one who embodies the spirit of a Samurai and was acknowledged by the spirit of Ryuma.
Will Toko make it in time to see and save her father? Or will she only be able to hear her father’s final words before he is executed? Whatever happens, the sparks of rebellion have been lit and the events taking place are about to redefine the history of Wano Kuni once again. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.