As the Beast Pirates overwhelm the Samurai rebellion with sheer numbers, the likelihood of the raid succeeding decreases with every moment. Though unbeknownst to both parties, Tama has made herself a player within this war and took it upon herself to change the very flow of the battle with the assistance of Nami, Usopp, Komachiyo, Speed and the other Beast Pirates she had pacified. The pieces in play which the Beast Pirates expected to slowly devastate the rebellion are now being turned again them thanks to Tama’s Kibi Dango. Each and every SMILE user present on Onigashima are being rounded up and converted into allies against Kaido’s forces. What the Beast Pirates and CP0 thought to be an expected result is now rapidly crumbling into chaos revealing the ignorance consuming the Beast Pirates. Destiny beckons and the nine shadows begin to make their way into the light.
The tenth character with the Akazaya Nine is obviously Hiyori. She made her way to Onigashima to assist with the war and most likely met Law when he was exploring the lower parts of the Onigashima mansion. Hiyori may have requested Law to assist her by helping the Samurai if they were injured. Assuming Law was aware where Hiyori would be – the treasure repository, he may have already had the idea to switch the Samurai away from danger when he arrived on the roof. This explains why Law mentioned to Luffy that he had already planned to move the Samurai below before Luffy requested him to help.
Another curious moment within this chapter is Bao Huang and where she is located – on the performance floor…exactly where Orochi was “decapitated”. If we presume that the mysterious figure helping the Samurai is Hiyori and Bao Huang is able to get a look at her, would her expression of Komurasaki/Hiyori being present on Onigashima Island in the treasure repository incite a reaction in Orochi’s “corpse”? If Orochi heard that Komurasaki was alive and on Onigashima Island, would that not be enough to inspire the capabilities of his Devil Fruit to kick in? Such an awakening of his Hebi Hebi no Mi, Model: Yamata no Orochi Devil Fruit may allow for him to be “revived”. It seems too intentional to have Bao Huang appear right where Orochi was “killed”, especially with Bao Huang about to discover the identity of the tenth person. If she verbally expresses to the rest of the Beast Pirates who she found with Orochi potentially indirectly listening, the mention of Komurasaki (Bao Huang would recognise Hiyori as Komurasaki) could elicit a reaction in Orochi. In such a scenario, I expect Orochi to have his Yamata no Orochi form awakened.
The character who attacked Yamato whom I initially thought could be Ulti is someone else entirely. Considering the narration supporting the panels on the page Yamato was shown being attacked, it seems likely for a Tobiroppo member to be engaging Yamato. As present, the current five members are preoccupied. There is still someone it could be though. Could it be Drake (a former Tobiroppo)? Drake may not be aware that Kaido’s child has allied with Luffy and still believing that Yamato is with Kaido, attempted to save Momonosuke and Shinobu by attacking Yamato. Once the two engage in dialogue will Drake come to realise that Yamato has allied with Luffy the same way he did? Could Yamato leave Momonosuke and Shinobu in Drake’s protection as Yamato moves on to Kaido where they will assist Luffy. On the way to Kaido, Yamato may encounter Jack. Or will Yamato and Drake move together to Kaido with Momonosuke and Shinobu?
Franky taking on Sasaki was great. Despite the numbers disadvantage, Franky is still able to manage Sasaki’s brute force but eventually the Gifters intervene to bind Franky for Sasaki’s charge. Fortunately, Nami, Usopp and Tama arrive with their Beast army following to both free Franky before he is hit by Sasaki’s charge and to pacify the other Beast Pirate SMILE users who are present in the area. Tama has shifted the flow of battle and allowed for the Straw Hat Pirates to fully engage against the Beast Pirate Officers standing against them. Well, unless the Straw Hat Pirate members are Nami and Usopp who are pretty much kiting Ulti and Page One along as the Beast Pirate forces are dismantled by Tama’s Kibi Dango. Ulti does attempt to stop the group but Nami’s weather manipulation abilities serve as a great support ability to keep Ulti at bay and away from their heads. Back to Franky, with his distractions removed, he catches Sasaki off guard and uses his Franken Sword weapon to slice Sasaki in his abdomen. I don’t believe Sasaki is completely down for the count but he will have been greatly injured.
With Bao Huang central to the Beast Pirates counter attack, someone will need to disable her. Leaving such a dangerous piece on the board will only continue to invite disaster for the Samurai. Bao Huang allows for the Beast Pirates to both communicate and to survey the Island for the positions of the Samurai. This additional information provides King with the tools he needs to counter the rebellion. There is also Who’s Who who has an eye tattoo on his chest. An implied connection to Bao Huang is assumed. Is Who’s Who the central point of the network Bao Huang is using to communicate and spy or is he a victim of the power the eye mark evokes? The identity of Who’s Who is also in question considering his encounter with Jinbe in the part.
Black Maria has revealed her intent to capture Nico Robin for Kaido but her enthusiasm for immobilizing Robin via breaking her limbs may have been the spark Sanji needed to escape the trance he is currently in. Sanji clearly notes the ignorance on Black Maria’s part for underestimating Robin and only seeing her as a tool for their ends. Such a statement builds up much excitement for what Oda has planned for Robin. With hundreds of chapters having gone by with Robin receiving inadequate battle focus, I wonder if this arc will be the arc Robin finally gets her moment to shine as serious combatant. Robin unfortunately didn’t get a battle during the Enies Lobby Arc and the last time she received a battle that genuinely showcased her abilities was during the Sky Island Arc when she took out Yama. Excited to see how Robin is highlighted in this arc.
Personally, I would love to see Robin and Brook take on Jack or if Black Maria does leave Sanji, for Robin (and Brook) to take her on. I wonder if the Black Haired lady wearing the mask that is standing near Sanji is in fact Robin undercover who came to understand the relevance of the eye masks. It seems like a very Robin thing to do, intellectually dismantle your opponent using their own power. Robin could have come across the mask and communication device used to transmit messages after defeating a Beast Pirate and found out that Sanji has been immobilized. Brook may have been tasked with locating Bao Huang and taking her out so that the Beast Pirates information line is cut.
Alternatively, Sanji breaking free from his situation and standing against Black Maria in order to stop her from finishing off Kin’emon and the other Akazaya Samurai would also be a welcome twist. Sanji definitely needs to escape on his own and ensure that his principles are not used against him going forward. It is just not a good look for a someone facing off against powerful pirates with the freedom and life of a nation on the line to not do everything and anything in their power to stop such injustice. Looking forward to the next chapter.