All wars are won on information. And going forward as the focus turns to the Straw Hat Pirates being involved in more wars, the need for information becomes more crucial and necessary. Luffy may be the protagonist of the series but there is a limit to how far luck can carry a main character. Gol D Roger lost to a lack of information. Oden lost to a lack of information. Rocks lost to a lack of information. Big Mom lost to a lack of information. The Underworld Broker Joker aka Doflamingo lost to a lack of information. The Straw Hat Pirates lost to a lack of information in the past. Kaido will lose to a lack of information. Even the Lunarians and Ancient Kingdom likely lost to a lack of information.
The Straw Hat Pirates know next to nothing about Joy Boy and the destiny they are pursuing. Toward that end, information IS required. And this is where Yamato comes in. It may not be apparent but he is positioned as one of the most unique characters in One Piece in the relevance they embody. No other allied character outside those who visited Laugh Tale know about the relevance of Joy Boy – not even Robin. The antagonist know but they are antagonist. Oda has intentionally kept information about Joy Boy hidden away until the introduction of Oden and Yamato. Since Yamato appeared in the story, the readers now have confirmation that Luffy is the one who will fulfill Joy Boy’s incomplete will. Yamato is also the only character who realises that Luffy IS the one Joy Boy, Roger and Oden were waiting for. NO OTHER CHARACTER IN THE SERIES REALISES THIS CURRENTLY. Shanks sensed something in Luffy when he gave Luffy his Straw Hat but he wasn’t aware of Luffy’s true importance. The Mink recognise the importance of the Dawn but have little information about Joy Boy, the villainy the shadows embodying the “World Government” represent or the relevance of the next generation in regards to defining the next age. Having lived in Wano Kuni for 20 years+ (mainly Onigashima) and having access to Oden’s journal, Yamato has a particular perspective of events that other characters within the series do not. With Oden dead and those not Yamato that seen the journal in the past also dead, Yamato is the only character who has had 20 years to analyse and comprehend the information being conveyed. Momonosuke and Shinobu may have read the journal but they have had next to no time to truly understand what is being illustrated. Yamato is even aware of the dream Roger and Luffy share as well as the importance of Momonosuke to the Dawn. All of this is intentional by Oda. The keys in the form of information Yamato holds will be the deciding factor in Wano and the Straw Hat Pirates ultimate victory at the end of the series. Information WILL be required going forward.
Such knowledge is already showing the extent of its value within this very arc in Wano. Without Yamato’s presence and knowledge, Kaido’s forces would not have been kept at bay to the extent that they are now. And in general, without information, the Samurai Rebellion would not have reached Onigashima. Additionally, throughout Onigashima, information has been the primary driving force behind the success of the Rebellion. Kaido and Big Mom were able to be separated thanks to the information Law and Kid used to corner Big Mom and knock her off Onigashima. Tama displayed how useful her abilities can be with information on their effectiveness against the SMILE users. Chopper used information about viruses to take advantage of Queen’s Ice Oni virus. Robin was able to defeat Black Maria thanks to the information she acquired from Sabo and Koala about Palm and Fish-Man Karate martial art techniques. Killer used the advantage of information to counter Hawkins’s Devil Fruit. Zoro also recognises the disadvantage he is under through the lack of information he has about King’s race. Sanji as well will use information about changes in his body to his advantage against Queen. Luffy too will defeat Kaido thanks to the information gained from his past defeats.
Yamato has also used his knowledge to the advantage of the Samurai Rebellion. Luffy was able to conserve his stamina thanks to Yamato. Momonosuke was kept safe thanks to Yamato. Shinobu was kept safe thanks to Yamato. Oden’s words and will within his journal were able to be kept alive for the past twenty years thanks to Yamato. And now Oden’s journal is in the hands of Momonosuke because of Yamato. Kaido has been prevented from seeing his plans manifest due to Yamato’s actions and non-compliance i.e. refusal to be Shogun. Luffy was given sufficient time to recover from his injuries and return to the fight without any deaths to any of the Samurai Rebellion thanks to Yamato. Momonosuke will be able to stop Onigashima from crashing down on the Flower Capital thanks to Yamato. And because of Yamato’s current actions, the explosives currently kept within the basement of Onigashima will be prevented from igniting and blowing the Island up.
It may appear that Yamato was introduced too late within the Wano Arc but if you take a step back and look at One Piece within its larger narrative, Yamato was introduced at the perfect time. Onigashima serves as the conclusion to the story that began at the start of the New World when Luffy decided to visited Punk Hazard. At the same time as Momonosuke’s story climaxing, the next stage of the New World is being set-up. And that set-up involves the next generation coming into the forefront and taking the reigns of the New World to determine the direction of the coming era. Oda has been very intentional in setting up Yamato’s character to be closely connected to the next generation by aligning Yamato with the prophecy Oden and Toki mentioned and expressing Yamato’s interest in not only Oden but the rookie pirates making a name for themselves around the world as per his conversation with Ace and his current interest in Luffy. Yamato will be one of the nine shadows. And currently, he is the only character that realises the importance of Luffy and the role the next generation of pirates play within the upcoming war. Oda has connected Yamato to the next generation of pirates within Wano Kuni for specific reasons. Eventually Yamato will play a part in bringing together the forces of the next generation alongside the Straw Hat Pirates to face off against the main antagonist within the series. The upcoming war will not just be the Straw Hat Pirates against the World Government but it will be the next generation against the forces seeking to imprison freedom within a narrative of their choosing. Yamato’s role will not end with the conclusion of the Wano Kuni Arc.
Yamato is essentially challenging the World in the sense that Yamato is key in helping bring about the liberation that will wash over the world as the next generation face off against the World Government. Yamato at present is the only person within his generation who realises how important the next generation of pirates are to the future of the world. But while he may hold relevant information, he doesn’t have the answers to questions that exist. This is where the Straw Hat Pirates come in.
The Straw Hat Pirates will need to learn that their journey isn’t just for themselves. Their fight holds the future of the world in the balance too. Yamato will assist the Straw Hat Pirates in realising the weight of their convictions and dreams in regards to the world and the new age being defined. The Straw Hat Pirates fight isn’t just about reaching Laugh Tale now. It is also about challenging the shadows that seek to bind the world within their grasp. Yamato’s theme of liberation is very representative of the next stage the story of One Piece will focus on.