After this chapter Yamato’s relevance has begun to touch the realms of essential. The path forward is very much set-up to be alongside the Straw Hat Pirates. As the story begins to embrace the significance of Joy Boy more, Yamato becomes more necessary as the agent of Oden who intends to assist the one the world has been waiting for. Dissenters can can disapprove. They can disillusion themselves. They can attach their hope onto something that may or may not manifest. But what they can’t ignore is the direction of the plot and the writing of Oda. Joy Boy has returned and with it a will spanning 800 years has been inherited by Luffy who now takes on such a role. No one expected this out of Luffy, except Yamato, who realised Luffy’s importance to the person the world has been waiting for after Ace’s execution two years ago. The pieces of information Yamato possessed in the form of Oden’s journal, the newspaper articles and even what little information they had from Kaido and the Beast Pirates, he pieced it all together to arrive at the conclusion that the one person capable of fulfilling the promise left unfulfilled by the ancient figure is Monkey D. Luffy.
Continuously throughout this Arc, Yamato has time and time again placed his belief in Luffy. Even when he left Kaido to Luffy, Yamato wholeheartedly believed Luffy would arise the victor. Even now with Luffy having apparently been killed, Yamato continues to believe in a path forward. His spirit hasn’t crumbled and neither has his resolve for what needs to be done. The only thing stopping him is death itself. And until the door appears before him and drags him in, he will continue to struggle and fight. Deep down, Yamato may even believe that Luffy embodying Joy Boy would create a miracle even in this final hour.
Kaido may want to crush everything but Yamato has taken it upon himself to resist against that force and do whatever he can to prevent Kaido from having his way and causing harm to countless others. Yamato fully understands what is at stake and the significance of the current battle which has been contested over the course of 20 long years. There is no compromise. No half-measures. And no option for surrender. The only path forward to save everyone is to fight. To challenge Kaido and the chains of suffering that now needs to be broken in order for the pathway toward the Dawn to begin to be paved. The conviction with which Yamato expressed his spirit was so deeply inspiring and moving. From the eye’s Momonosuke gazed into, he would have realised how committed Yamato is and how resolved he needs to be.
At this point is pretty clear that the Devil Fruit the Five Elders were talking about is the Gomu Gomu no Mi. The true name of Luffy’s Devil Fruit is hidden but what it appears to do is carry the essence of Joy Boy who is now inhibiting Luffy’s body. The properties of Rubber may not be the only modification Luffy’s body underwent when he consumed the Gomu Gomu no Mi. Momonosuke mentioned in the past that Joy Boy and Zunesha were companions and throughout moments in the story Luffy was able to communicate with creatures that connected to the shadows of the Void Century. In addition to the Voice of all things, Luffy may have achieved heightened senses thanks to the “Gomu Gomu no Mi”. Another strange aspect of the Gomu Gomu no Mi is how recently, it has taken properties that do not necessarily match rubber. Kaido even pointed it out during his battle with Luffy regarding how the trajectory of Luffy’s attacks being bent would be impossible for rubber given its nature. What if Luffy isn’t just a Rubberman but something more? The closer Luffy gets to awakening the Gomu Gomu no Mi, the more of its hidden properties he begins to access.
Based on the information we have available, the Devil Fruit Luffy consumed may have originally been called the Nika Nika no Mi. As ones smile stretches as they grin so too does it allow the body and their existence to stretch. Could this be how Joy Boy has returned to the present by stretching his existence across time within the Devil Fruit? And when Joy Boy awakens, he will once again be able to communicate with Zunesha, something which the Five Elders feared when discussing the hidden Devil Fruit.
As for Kaido, it was expected that he would take his rage out on the CP-0 agent but I wonder if that agent is still alive. Considering Oda-sensei’s handling of present-time death for named/important characters, if the death isn’t shown on screen, the chances of them being alive remain high. Until I get a glimpse of a lifeless corpse, I still consider that agent to be alive. The same can be said for the other CP-0 agent that Drake took down. Until his corpse is present for the viewers to see, they are still alive.
After the CP-0 agent is attacked, Kaido moves on to the inner Dome and declares the battle his victory. But before it can be finalised, he requires Momonosuke to surrender. As expected, there is a division of belief across the many characters but even in the face of the World’s Strongest Creature, there are some who still challenge Kaido and continue forward to stop him. Momonosuke isn’t initially one of them but after Yamato’s inspiring words that reflected the truth, Momonosuke point of view changes. Rather than a battle that needs to be survived, he has begun to see this battle as the only chance Wano has to regain their freedom. Once Kaido comes to learn of Joy Boy’s return in Luffy’s body will his plans change? What of King? Someone Kaido was searching for has now appeared on Onigashima. Surely, a reevaluation of his intentions and priorities will need to take place. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.