What tragic treatment of people by the representative who was meant to protect them. For the leader of Wano Kuni to treat his people as disposable as garbage, how utterly inhumane. I expected Orochi to behave in such a deplorable manner but even with that expectation, it is still hard to comprehend that a person can go through with such cruelty. Orochi knowingly included the failed SMILE’s in the left over food for the outer Wano villages and intentionally desired them to consume the fruits and have their emotions stripped away save for smiling and laughing. All because Orochi considered their grieving for their deceased loved ones an inconvenience and annoyance. How far will Orochi morally fall before he is satisfied?
What makes this situation worse is considering the reality that Orochi was one of the Oden’s retainers who vowed to protect Oden and the Kouzuki family. Within the flashback panels in this chapter, there are two characters hidden with only their silloheute’s revealed, one being Kawamatsu, whom hasn’t officially been introduced yet, and the other character being an unrevealed one. I believe the second character hidden is Orochi. It makes sense when you consider the betrayal being conveyed through the Wano Kuni characters when discussing Orochi. An individual sworn to protect their master only to turn on them and bring about their masters death would be considered the ultimate betrayal. It would also explain why Kaidou and his crew would join with Orochi to overthrow the Kouzuki family. Kaidou wouldn’t ally himself with a nobody but if Orochi were a close aide to the Shogun of Wano Kuni, it could establish why Kaidou entered into such a relationship and venture.
The SMILE Devil Fruit, what a perversion of something that itself was seemingly unnatural. SMILE’s only have a 10% success rate and even then, the power bestowed upon the individual is not entirely proper but twisted and skewered towards a product manufactured. All in order to create an army of Zoan Devil Fruit users, Kaidou has paved such a path covered in tragedy, destruction and suffering. He cast thousands into an age of misery for his desire to drag the world into chaos and disorder. We have yet to find out the full extent of Kaidou’s reasons behind his desires but whatever they are, they would hardly justify what he has done.
The only reason Orochi is still in power is because he has the backing of Kaidou, the strongest creature in the world. If that fear is taken away, there is nothing Orochi can do to stop a capable fighter from dragging him down back to the level he belongs. Orochi is happy to use Kaidou as a shield to hide his perversions behind, even going so far as to threaten the World Government, but with Orochi now angering the individuals targetting the Yonko and challenging the World Government, his threats hold no weight. Zoro and Sanji have disrespected Orochi and now stand against him. Soon Orochi will come to feel the liberation of having his reality turned completely upside down. Caesar Clown and Donquixote Doflamingo experienced that first hand and now it is Orochi’s turn.
It may just be me but recently I feel whenever Oda-sensei attempts to contrast Zoro and Sanji by equating them, the inclusion of Sanji opposite Zoro feels severely forced. First with the bounty increase which Sanji did in no way earn unlike Zoro whose actions and feats directly led to his high bounty. Oda-sensei required Sanji’s bounty to be above Zoro’s so he made it happen. Unfortunately the arc in which Sanji received the bounty increase, very little was done by Sanji to justify the increase. Instead the bounty increase is tied mainly to his Vinsmoke family name and his connection to the Germa 66. Secondly, Sanji does is no way hold the same weight of wanting to protect Toko as Zoro. Robin does but not Sanji. Sanji only met Toko once when he served her Soba but Zoro has bonded with Tonoyasu, been to Ebisu village and even saved Toko once before. I know Sanji has more than enough reason to want to stop Orochi and Kaidou but when the manner in which such motivation is being conveyed is tied directly to the rivalry between Sanji and Zoro, it is hard not to compare the weight behind the reasoning for each of them. Personally, it feels weird having Sanji shoehorned next to Zoro when the situation doesn’t naturally compel such a moment. Hopefully, Sanji can come to each his status as Zoro’s rival.
With Tonoyasu having been killed and the truth behind the SMILE fruits being revealed, will the nation come together to fight for the freedom stolen away from them and perverted by the impulses of the corrupt? Tonoyasu’s will has been left behind for the people to pick up and carry on. And thanks to Tonoyasu, the rebellions plans have been kept secret and Orochi’s fear has been laid bare for all to see. The once honourable nation of Wano Kuni is now a factory of misery and wretchedness. The whole of Wano Kuni can now see that if they choose to open their eyes and see the truth unfiltered by the fear shackling them. The fate of their future rest with what they decide now. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.