Unleash and exceed. It is time for the Straw Hat Pirates to put their two years of training and their experience within the New World to use with the strongest opponents they have faced now standing against. Despite their initial attitude, with Kaido moving Onigashima, the Tobiroppo finally decide to take action and combat the enemies before them. Each and every single member of the Tobiroppo including the former member, X Drake, have transformed into their Ancient Zoan forms ready to annihilate any they consider an enemy.
As suspected, the members of the Tobiroppo were all Ancient Zoan Devil Fruit users but contrary to the initial theme of Dinosaurs, the Tobiroppo have Devil Fruit themed after various ancient and extinct beasts. Black Maria and Who’s Who have Ancient Zoan Devil Fruits that are not the Ryu Ryu no Mi model. In Black Maria’s case, it was implied that she had a spider-themed Devil Fruit after chapter 997 when Sanji was caught in webs, so it isn’t surprising to see that her Ancient Zoan Devil Fruit is based on the Rosamygale Grauvogeli – a spider that existed during the Triassic age.
As for Who’s Who, consistent with his neko theming, he has the Neko Neko no Mi, Model: Saber Tiger Devil Fruit. I had expected the Ryu Ryu no Mi Devil Fruit theme to continue for all the Tobiroppo but seeing as that was not meant to be the case, it makes sense for Who’s Who to have a Neko Neko no Mi and for Black Maria to possess the Kumo Kumo no Mi. Each member is transformed into their beast forms and ready for a battle.
Sasaki has transformed into order to stop Franky from defeating his Armor unit. There is also the case of the weapons the Beast Pirates have at their disposal not being terribly effective against General Franky. Sasaki possesses the Ryu Ryu no Mi, Model: Triceratops. With Franky up against an opponent that specialises in ramming and charging, I wonder if Franky will utilise that power to his advantage by redirecting it – potentially outside the building and into the sea? Or into another powerful enemy? And with the Triceratops also being a defensive creature, will Franky’s laser beams be able to damage Sasaki? Franky has incorporated Vegapunk’s technology into his Mecha, so in all likelihood, he will be able to combat and eventually defeat someone as strong as Sasaki.
Sanji finds himself in a seemingly impossible situation with his retreat ending in failure and him now being surrounded by female Beast Pirate members in their transformed states. Will Sanji be able to escape himself? Despite Sanji’s expression in the previous chapter where he proclaimed to be love struck with Black Maria, he still ended up running away in this chapter. Why? Something happened off-screen to incite such a feeling within Sanji. Was it something Black Maria told Sanji? Did Sanji come into possession of new information that he needs to pass on to his crew? His expression of needing to escape certainly supports the possibility of Sanji learning more about Kaido and/or his plans. Whatever happens, Sanji definitely is in a bind and will have to surpass his own nature in order to escape or defeat the enemies before him. Or will Sanji going complete Sanji be enough to overwhelm his enemies with a different power?
Jinbe may finally get his first serious battle as a Straw Hat Pirates and it appears to be against Who’s Who. I doubt Who’s Who subordinates will be able to stop Jinbe but they will be enough to distract and frustrate him allowing Who’s Who to have opportunities to attack Jinbe. If Jinbe had access to the sea, he would be able to make quick work of the Devil Fruit users standing in front of him, well sitting in the case of Who’s Who. I wonder who exactly Who’s Who is and how he knows Jinbe. Is Who’s Who a new character or has Oda introduced him in some form in the past? Considering Who’s Who was a Pirate captain in the past, I wonder if he was affiliated with the Whitebeard Pirates at some point.
Both Ulti and Page One are heading into the action as well. They are hunting Usopp and Nami but I doubt they will find the two. I don’t see Usopp and Nami facing off against Ulti and Page One again which leads me to wonder which of the Straw Hat Pirates would face them. Chopper is busying developing a vaccine for the Ice Oni plague, Luffy is heading to the top of the Onigashima Skull dome, Zoro intends to head up there as well, Franky is preoccupied, Sanji is preoccupied, and Jinbe is preoccupied. The only two Straw Hat Pirates left that could stay behind to combat Ulti and Page One are Robin and Brook. They are both solid mid-tier Straw Hat Pirate members that are very capable in battle. I know Robin was ready to ascend to the top of Onigashima after Marco made his proposition to them but Robin may serve a more integral role staying behind to combat a Tobiroppo. If Robin and Brook see Ulti and Page One becoming a problem for the Ninja-Pirate-Mink-Samurai rebellion, they will certainly leave Zoro to Marco and separate to engage the Tobiroppo. Ulti attempting to headbutt a Robin clone as it disappears or an actual Skull would be amusing. Ulti and Page One are two of the less experienced Tobiroppo, so if Robin and Brook are going to face off against the Tobiroppo, these two would be perfect.
As for Drake, he has expressed his intention to assist the Straw Hat Pirates and transformed into his Allosaurus form to stop Apoo from chasing Chopper and to control the floor along with the Samurai Yakuza bosses until Chopper develops a vaccine for the Ice Oni plague. Enemies like Apoo, the Orochi Oniwabanshu and the Mimawarigumi will be held at bay on this floor. Once Chopper develops the cure and distributes it, the shift will likely occur. Beast Pirates angry and fearful of Queen will have their perspectives of the Straw Hat Pirates redefined. Apoo himself will also realise his only option left for survival is to cast his lot in with the rebellion.
Staying with Chopper, with him heading inside the Tower, I am curious if he will end up locating Queen’s laboratory that may have the equipment he needs for creating a vaccine. Or did the Mink tribe medical team use equipment they brought themselves to Onigashima to set-up the lab? And will Chopper also use the infection to further a new transformation form for his Devil Fruit? He may end up encountering a Number or Numbers after he develops the vaccine.
Yamato has taken Momonosuke to the Onigashima store room where she has mentioned Ace to him. A pirate who attempted to kill Kaido three years ago. With such a story about to expanded on, I expect chapter 1,000 to include the flashback of Yamato and Ace. I don’t believe Ace and Kaido fought. Rather, it was Yamato (as Kozuki Oden) who encountered Ace first and fought him. Once the initial misunderstanding was cleared up and Yamato and Ace realised where the other stood, Ace was likely dissuaded by Yamato from proceeding onward to face Kaido. If Ace was not able to defeat Yamato, I can see her mentioning how he would be unable to defeat Kaido. Either during the fight or in frustration at his inability, Ace attacked the Dragon statue. Likely the latter as an expression of his conviction to eventually return to defeat Kaido. As the two conversed and shared stories – Ace having a little brother and Yamato not being able to leave Onigashima – they developed a friendship. Ace disengaged from his intention of attacking Kaido and instead resolved to return to Wano after strengthening himself and his crew. Ace likely would have returned to Wano Kuni once he joined the Whitebeard Pirates if not for Teach and his betrayal.
With Kaido’s presence being mentioned during the Marineford War Arc, I wonder if Yamato had anything to do with Kaido’s actions? Did Yamato request her father to attack Marineford? And why exactly was Shanks uninjured after his encounter with Kaido? Kaido doesn’t strike me as someone willing to give up an interesting battle. Or did Shanks provide Kaido recompense for the Beast Pirates retreat? A Road Poneglyph? Information on the Ancient Weapons? A Devil Fruit? And in Yamato’s flashback, will we get to see Ace’s crew, in particular Masked Deuce? Very much looking forward to the next chapter.