With the cliff hanger at the end of chapter 1007, someone who appears to be Oden enters the Treasure Repository where the Akazaya Samurai are located. Caught completely off guard by such a possibility, the Samurai could nothing but stumble back in shock and attempt to rationalise what exactly was taking place before them. Naturally, their emotions internally reacted with joy as conveyed by the tears of Kin’emon. Yet who exactly is the mysterious figure and could it really be the real Oden? Surely it can’t be considering the flashback that took place earlier in the arc where Oden was shot by Kaido as he collapse in the pot of boiling water. I also believe the figure that appeared in chapter 1004 to tend to the injured Samurai and this Oden aren’t one and the same.
Who could this Oden be? There are many possibilities in play; some close to impossible, some unlikely, some quite possible, some more possible and some very likely:
- The real Oden.
- Somehow he survived, got in contact with Toki and was sent twenty years into the future;
- Somehow he acquired the powers of the Toki Toki no Mi and sent himself twenty years into the future;
- Toki was somehow able to use her abilities on Oden without being in contact with him;
- Someone disguised as Oden:
- The Mane Mane no Mi user (Bon Clay) somehow touched Oden’s face or evolved what appearances he can access (all the appearances touched by previous users as well) and is able to transform into Oden’s appearance – doesn’t really make sense for Bon Clay to be in Wano though;
- Catarina Devon using her Inu Inu no Mi, Model: Kyubi no Kitsune to disguise herself as Oden – why though? And how would she know how Oden looks?
- Hiyori in disguise as Oden – in order to enter the battle and keep her identity secret, Hiyori has disguised herself as her father. As suggested by others, Hiyori could have gotten the aide of Onimaru to help with the transformation if he possesses the ability to share his transformations with others;
- Onimaru could have used his abilities to transform into Oden – but why would he do that and appear in front of the Akazaya Samurai instead of using his actual or Gyukimaru form? Onimaru likely knew how Oden looked and did have access to many blades;
- A clone of Oden;
- Kanjuro has been shown to create ink clones, if he is still alive and looking to torment the Akazaya Samurai to catch them off guard, creating a clone of Oden to appear in front of them could serve such a function. Kanjuro knows how Oden looks and is aware of how the former Daimyo of the Samurai appearing in front of them would affect them;
- Oden’s DNA may have been acquired by a gifted scientist (Judge or Vegapunk) and had a clone of him created;
- There exist a Devil Fruit that can clone people (different functionality than the existing ones). Unlike the Mane Mane no Mi or the Inu Inu no Mi, Model: Kyubi no Kitsune which only changes the users physical form, this hypothetical Devil Fruit could create a “double”. This double could have been sent into the future – totally unlikely but as a possibility, why not?;
- There is the Inu Inu no Mi, Model: Bake-danuki, but that’s a non-canon Devil Fruit – seems odd for Oda to recycle non-canon content into canon, so I doubt a Devil Fruit is the cause of the current Oden in Onigashima;
- An illusion:
- Fukurokuju is currently unaccounted for and he is the captain of the Orochi Oniwabanshu which suggest that he hold considerable skills as a shinobi. One of the shinobi skills is genjutsu which allows the user to create illusions. Could Fukurikuju be using genjutsu to create an “Oden” in front of the Akazaya Samurai so that they let down their guard and open themselves up for attack?;
- An illusion created by a Devil Fruit? Doesn’t seem likely as they doesn’t appear to be any set-up for this;
- A double:
- Oden’s doppelganger acting like him;
- Someone who had impressive facial reconstruction either through Mr Prince or a skilled doctor;
- Ghost – drawn into the physical world by the Fire Festival (an event to mourn the dead):
- Kurozumi Higurashi’s ghost appearing in the form of Oden to taunt and distract the Akazaya Samurai – unlikely considering Oden’s blades and the irrelevance of Higurashi in the current time;
- Oden’s ghost appearing to meet with his fellow Samurai and assist them in their time of need as the liberation of Wano and the fate of Momonosuke hangs in the balance – could ghost interact with objects in the physical world like doors?;
- Moria could have dug up Oden’s grave, just as he did Ryuma’s in the past, and used Oden’s corpse as a vessel for the shadow(s) he wields in order to reanimate him;
- The pristine form Oden has at the end of the chapter could be the result Akazaya Samurai being distracted by Oden’s presence and not recognising the rot/decay on the body yet. Once the next chapter begins, the Samurai could see the rot and decay on the body and realise that what is in front of them is the corpse of Oden. Or Moria could have enlisted the aide of a skilled make-up artist to disguise the corpse as being alive;
- While the corpse may not have the same “shadow”/soul operating it, the body still contains residual presence from the original soul and that could be what is influencing it to move now i.e. to see his fellow Samurai and to assist in the battle for Wano;
- Moria being on Wano wouldn’t be that surprising considering his connection to both Kaido and Wano;
- Blackbeard began making a move after the events during the Levely/Reverie were publicized. Blackbeard was interested in recruiting Moria which may have happened;
- The current “Oden” being a corpse would also help Kin’emon understand that Zoro was not lying when he said he faced Ryumma before and was given Shusui by Ryuma’s corpse;
- Momonosuke’s powers
- This Oden only appeared after Momonosuke transformed into his Dragon form. Could the two events be linked? Could the Dragon form allow for others to see that which they most desire? Or is this what Momonosuke desires the most? Momonosuke desires his father again and after hearing the transmission of the Beast Pirates heading to finish the Akazaya Samurai, Momonosuke seeks to help them and indirectly through his power, created an “Oden” to appear in front of the Akazaya Samurai (indirectly imagined Oden without his blades as Momonosuke knows the blades are elsewhere);
- Similar to how Shenlong/Shenron in Dragon Ball granted wishes, could Momonosuke’s Dragon form allow others connected to him to manifest their desires in either a non-tangible or tangible form?;
- Could the full moon also have an effect in empowering Momonosuke’s power in his Dragon Form which could be why it didn’t display itself before when he transformed?
- Is this one of the side-effects of the Artificial Devil Fruit Vegapunk created?;
- Alternate reality Oden;
- If the Akazaya Samurai were administered “medicine” before, could they be high on the drugs and be imagining Oden in front of them out of their desperation?;
- The Oden that appeared is a robot;
Oden wielding swords that aren’t Enma and Ame no Habakiri does knock out several of these theories, especially the illusion ones. If someone unfamiliar with Oden and his history were creating an illusion, they would have used his familiar image where he wielded both his blades, Enma and Ame no Habakiri.
I personally like the idea of the current Oden being his corpse or the result of Momonosuke’s Dragon Artificial Devil Fruit abilities. Such avenues could lead to very interesting developments. Moria appearing within Wano could add a very curious piece to the board and potentially make the Blackbeard Pirates relevant to the events playing out. Momonosuke’s Dragon ability causing the appearance of Oden would help hint at the potential side-effects the Artificial Devil Fruit has and provide a possible reason for why Vegapunk didn’t research into that Artificial Devil Fruit further.
Overall, what seems likely is the current Oden being someone transformed into such a form. As for why, it could be inspire or to deceive the Akazaya Samurai. Whatever the case, looking forward to learning about the truth behind this Oden.