Death in One Piece for present time characters is handled in a peculiar manner where certain criteria need to be met before that specific character can be killed off. Ultimately in One Piece, present time named characters don’t per se “die”. Sure they may be physically killed off but their memory still exist within those they leave behind which in sense keeps their essence alive. Death is very romanticized in One Piece and won’t just happen because the situation calls for a death. Instead, the theme of Inherited Will largely dictates when a character has transitioned into one who is able to be killed off. Tonoyasu has with his speech and relation to the people of Ebisu become a character whose will was inherited. Unlike previous occassions where characters have come back from seemingly fatal circumstances, Tonoyasu is sadly really dead.
Tonoyasu’s reintroduction to the people of Wano served the purpose of reminding victims of Orochi of an age long forgotten and his death fortifies the reasons rising up within each and everyone of them to fight for an end to the cruelty overwhelming them. Their country was stolen from them, their traditions and culture were perverted, Samurai and supporters of the Kouzuki family were criminalised, the people in disagreement with Orochi were exiled, their nation was ruined by greed and even their emotions were twisted by the existence of SMILE. The people have suffered under Orochi and despite their desires to want to escape from such agony, they are crippled by the fear of going against Orochi and damning everyone they know. Tonoyasu’s death though will inspire the people into action. He was a symbol of hope for many.
I feel so sad for Toko, she has been through quite a lot at such a young age only to now have her father executed because he wanted to help save the country of Wano. Toko is not even able to cry properly because her emotions have been robbed by the collateral effects of the manufactured Devil Fruit, SMILE. All Toko and the rest of the Ebisu villagers are able to do is laugh while neverending tears run down their face. Orochi has twisted the nation so deeply, the people can’t even express themselves freely through their emotions. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first batches of the SMILE fruit which failed were given to the people of Ebisu as food scraps. Those SMILE fruits wouldn’t have granted the people abilities but would have instead made them unable to emote freely beside laugh and smile. It also wouldn’t be a shock if Orochi knew about the side effects yet still proceeded to supply them to the people of Ebisu because it amused him. This is likely the reason why Toko is only able to smile and laugh and why Tonoyasu chose to send her to the capital – to stop Toko’s exposure to such unnatural fruits.
It’s tragic honestly, for a leader of a nation to discard the people supporting it so easily. Hopefully with Tonoyasu’s death the people come to see and understand the reality they are really in. The people can’t willfully blind themselves to the suffering going on around them anymore as it has now become clear that in Orochi’s eyes everyone but himself is insignificant to him and his petty desires.
Zoro has become deeply engrained within these events occurring as he was the closest Straw Hat to Tonoyasu and because right now, he has realised the extent of the perversion going on with Wano Kuni. For Zoro, it has become more than just retrieving Shusui and stopping Orochi and Kaidou because Luffy promised Momonosuke. Stopping Orochi has now become personal. He won’t refuse Hiyori when requested to help. I am also certain that the one who will defeat Orochi will be Zoro and Hiyori. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.