Surrounded and alone amidst the cross hairs of the Beast Pirates, Momonosuke questions how he should act with an injured ally incapacitated before him. Should he abandon his comrade and attempt an escape or would a more noble act involve struggling alongside his comrade regardless of the outcome? Conflicted with such a choice, Momonosuke looks passed his own desires and begins to wonder how a shogun would act. In that moment with the executioners axe swinging down, a challenger arrives to defy the very age the Beast Pirates have constructed. The daughter of Kaido, Yamato, cast her faith in with the Kozuki family and stands firm against the Beast Pirates with the intention of destroying Kaido’s hold over Wano Kuni and defending its future shogun from the assaults of his attackers.
With Yamato compelled to act, she was unable to concern herself with keeping up appearances as Oden and instead responded to Sasaki as her genuine self. Rather than invoke the name of Oden as the reasoning behind her actions, Yamato has expressly chosen for herself to side with the Kozuki Family. Yamato stands against the Beast Pirates and defends Momonosuke as herself. With Yamato facing off against a Tobi Roppo member and several Gifters (the Armored Division), would she need assistance or are her abilities sufficient to challenge all those opponents by herself? Yamato was able to comfortably hold off Ulti earlier in the arc and she now effortlessly took out a Gifter, so I don’t think Sasaki would be an issue. The main problem Yamato may have with the Beast Pirates targeting Momonosuke is splitting her focus between both Sasaki and protecting Momonosuke. After attempting to do both, a third party may arrive to assist Yamato. That third party could be a Straw Hat Pirate, Hyogoro, Marco or some other Samurai.
Queen’s plague is such a fascinating one. The bullets imbued with the plague infects the target transforming them into a feral ice oni. On top of that, those attacked by the ice oni in turn lose their sanity and transform into the demons. It works the same way a zombie plague operates. Once infected, it spreads. But why ice? Does Queen’s plague have anything to do with the research conducted on Punk Hazard when it was operated by the World Government and Marines? I won’t lie, the ice oni biting the neck of the target and freezing the surrounding area reminds me of Monet’s Yuki-Onna form. Monet attacked in the very same manner when in her Yuki-Onna form but she was completely conscious and in control of her actions. It would be great to see Monet again at some point. Regardless, Robin and Chopper have taken notice of the plague and how it functions. What will Chopper do to counter Queen’s plague and cure those infected? Can Chopper do anything in such a situation? They may need to consult with Drake first before deciding how to proceed because Drake seems to be aware of exactly what is happening and may help identify a path to a remedy for Chopper.
Seeing as Zoro is up against ice oni, now seems like a good time for Zoro to reveal his ability to use fire with his swords. Zoro has long since shown interest in flaming swords (since chapter 126) and given Kin’emon’s foxfire style being able to cut and burn using flames, I really do wonder if Zoro has now found a way to utilise flames himself through his attacks during his time on Wano Kuni. If Zoro was going to reveal such a skill, it will be on Wano Kuni, the land of the Samurai.
Jinbe really has muscled Sanji out of the Monster Trio position and is now even overwriting Sanji as the tactician. Sanji and Jinbe may overlap in such abilities but it is obvious that Jinbe is the superior fighter and tactician given his technique and experiences. Oda-sensei is aware of such an overlap and this chapter goes deeply and subtly into such a stressed relation. Amusingly though, Sanji is the only party aware of his contributions being overshadowed. Jinbe at this point is completely oblivious to how Sanji is interpreting the situation. All Jinbe is concerned about is being of use to the Straw Hat Pirates and assisting the rest of the members. Once Jinbe has aligned with the crew more closely, he should begin to see where Sanji is coming from. You can bet though that when Sanji and Jinbe work together, insane chaos will result.
Bao Huang assessing the enemy pieces on Onigashima makes her a dangerous member of the Beast Pirates especially when you consider she is capable of remotely observing various parts of the Island through her cat familiar. With more information King has available, the stronger the structure of the Beast Pirates counter attack. If Boa Huang and King were to be taken out, the organisation of the Beast Pirates would crumble immediately. But who could defeat King? And will Boa Huang even face off against any of the Straw Hat Pirates or their allies? She seems purely reconnaissance based. And further, can Boa Huang even fight? However events play out, the target of the Beast Pirates is Momonosuke. Once they kill him, they believe the Samurai will lose their will to fight. As for the Luffy, Law and Kid, does King have any ideas for how to deal with them?
Kaido’s fear was real. He did recall Oden for a moment during the Akazaya Nine’s attack and the pain Oden had instilled into him during their battle twenty years ago. Unfortunately for the Akazaya Nine, even with nine of them attacking Kaido, their combined might doesn’t match up to the strength Oden had wielded. Kaido was injured through the Akazaya Nine’s attacks but only Oden had the strength and ability to truly cut him deep enough to challenge his life. Consequently, Kaido has become disappointed at the Akazaya Nine’s efforts and has unleashed his own attack of wind scythes toward them. Not even Kiku was able to defend against it. Kiku sword was cut in two and her left arm sliced off. Kaido is slowly getting serious about fighting and the Akazaya Nine are rapidly exhausting their energies. Is defeat the Akazaya Nine’s only option? Surely the injuries they have inflicted onto Kaido will count for something.
Kaido does not believe there will ever be a Samurai as monstrous as Oden but he has yet to meet Zoro and to experience the conviction his daughter holds. Kaido may have overpowered Yamato in the past, but Yamato is now serious about stopping the Beast Pirates and opening the Wano Kuni border. I believe those two will remind Kaido of Oden once again as the swords that pierced him twenty years ago, revisit his body with a hunger spanning twenty years. And seeing as Yamato has Oden’s journal which may contain information on Oden’s two-sword style, I wonder if Yamato has already trained herself under such a style. What would happen if Yamato were given swords to use? And could the portrayal of her taking up two swords signal to Kaido her resolve in following Oden’s footsteps rather than Kaido’s? It would be symbolic if such a scenario plays out in front of Kaido as Yamato puts down her Kanabo and starts to wield two Samurai swords. None of the Akazaya Nine learned the Oden two-sword style directly from Oden and their imitation of it wasn’t as effective as Oden’s as per Kaido’s comments. If Yamato had mastered or at the very least trained using such a style, the Oden two-sword style wouldn’t be lost and rather exist within Yamato who could in the future teach it to Momonosuke. Wanting to leave his own sword style for his son, Oden may have recorded the techniques and training required within his Journal. The “very important things” Yamato mentioned when talking about the journal to Luffy could be the secrets behind Oden’s two-sword style. Momonosuke witnessing Yamato’s current actions may be enough to inspire him to give Yamato the Ame no Habakiri.
Yamato once gaining swords to wield may very well be the Samurai from Wano Kuni that exposes the might of Wano Kuni to the world as she journey’s with Straw Hat Pirates after the conclusion of this arc. Wano Kuni seems a too important Island to not have a representative for. Yamato has spent the majority of her life in Wano Kuni and is deeply inspired by its culture, history and heroes. Yamato has expressed her intention to open Wano to the world but she can go beyond and help expose it too. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.