Kozuki Oden was portrayed as quite the thug in this chapter, one seemingly not warranting any shred of compassion or support. I presume this was intentional by Oda-sensei as he had only revealed Oden filtered through the eyes and mouth’s of others. I would wager that exactly like Hiyori when she was first introduced as Komurasaki with an antagonistic lense, Oda-sensei is doing the exact same thing with Oden where whatever he does is viewed negatively by the those commenting on him and verbally painting his social image. Beyond such subjective analytics, Oden may very well be completely different to how he has been “portrayed” by the public of Wano Kuni. This does seem like the path the story is headed towards with Wano Kuni finally having an opportunity to see the true Oden.
Given the scenarios Oden was vilified in throughout this chapter, a different portrayal can be reached if coloured by a different commentary. Let’s take the reputation Oden had built up with the harem he had created by stealing away woman from the Wano Kuni villages and seducing them. What happens if rather than seducing those females, Oden was instead opening a door away from abusive or shackled relationships they were in? It changes how Oden is viewed. Oden’s actions may have caused problems but everything he has done may have come from the intent to genuinely want to help. Unfortunately for Kozuki Sukiyaki, his advisor only focused on the problem Oden was viewed as which is curiously suspicious. It is almost as if he wanted Sukiyaki to disown Oden. Makes me wonder if that advisor was working with Orochi in the past to overthrow the Kozuki family by first getting the Heir to the Shogunate of Wano disowned by his father.
Oden’s rough portrayal is further established when we get his introduction where he is cooking food on a funeral pyre for an elderly man, Katsuzo. The family are distraught and in shock at such a scene, horrified by the disrespect present before them. Not only does Oden eat the food cooked in the funeral pyre but he also drinks sake. The viewer is made to view Oden as a rebellious individual one not bound to the constraints of the local law and its borders. But as that scene plays out, we come to learn that Oden didn’t just behave in such a way to cook his food in that scene, he wished to share a final meal and drink with a close associate. To Oden this was his final farewell to Katsuzo. Instantly, this scene establishes that Oden’s actions are deeper than what has initially been portrayed earlier in the chapter. Rather than Oden being some brat looking for attention, his actions are driven by purpose. At the end of the chapter we learn that a large boar, titled a “Mountain God”, has invaded the Flower Capital in order to retrieve its child – the baby white boar Kin’emon has stolen and brought to the Capital. With this incident, the people of Wano Kuni may finally come to see Oden for who he really is.
Denjiro finally makes an appearance in this flashback and he is quite the swindler. His appearance in the past does somewhat remind me of Koushirou (Zoro’s master and Kuina’s father) in how they have long hair which is tied back. Could Denjiro and Koushirou be related? It would be insanely cool if there was some relation to the Nine Red Scabbards and Koushirou which in turn will give Zoro by extension a reason to see the current mission through. Denjiro could be Koushirou’s brother, which may explain why he has been kept out of focus for the time being as revealing him now to the group would signal to Zoro the past of Koushirou. Whatever happens, it will interesting to see Denjiro’s role in this arc. Loved Tsurujo and Kin’emon encounter in this chapter and how Kin’emon attempted to steal from her without success. Hopefully we get to see more of present time Tsurujo in this arc as she is a exciting character. Looking forward to the next chapter.