Amidst the sheer outlandishness on display, Kaido can’t help but wonder who Luffy is and how the shift in his power and presence evolved since their first encounter. Kaido’s perspective of Luffy continuously kept transitioning throughout their encounters. From a rookie unable to truly comprehend the realms of an Emperor toward one who was capable of challenging the Yonko and pushing them to the brink. Kaido now recognises Luffy’s spirit and acknowledges the will he possesses as genuine. In conjunction with Kaido’s changing view, Zunesha too is having a reevaluation of their thoughts. Zunesha did not believe Luffy was Joy Boy when they first met during the Zou Arc but now after Luffy awakened Gear Fifth and the Nika Fruit, Zunesha understands that Luffy is the one who has inherited Joy Boy’s will. After over 800 years of separation, Zunesha has experienced the rhythm of his dear friend who could not accomplish the mission he began all those centuries ago. Zunesha’s heart danced to the sound emanating from Luffy inspiring them to put all of their hopes into Luffy. All those subject to Luffy’s awakening may view it from different avenues from they all arrive at the point where they are left in awe on what is on display.
Luffy and Kaido must be on their last legs but the passion behind their attacks can still be felt. Kaido wholeheartedly believes in what he is doing and feels a level of elation he can hardly contain. Despite losing his subordinates, castle and sister-like figure, Kaido can’t erase that smile from his face. To have met an opponent that forced Kaido to dig to the very core of his being, he can’t help but be relieved. After the trauma he endured for twenty years when Oden was tricked by Higurashi and distracted during their fight, Kaido finally met an opponent who could rekindle his dormant excitement. Throughout the years where Kaido couldn’t shake his anger of having a unique experience stolen away from him, he arrived at a point where what he thought was unattainable was in fact a moment even more than he could have hoped. Luffy has exceeded Kaido’s expectations and even as each breath darkens his senses, that smile he wears is a reflection of just how content he is. He is enthralled with the moment.
When it came to the shinobi within One Piece, I reached a point where I stopped caring. As a group of professionals, they have been immensely underwhelming and forgettable. Not even the humour on display for the shinobi in focus is entertaining anymore. Patience has been exhausted and hope completely destroyed. Personally, the presentation of shinobi in One Piece has been one of the worst I have seen in a fictional story. I understand Oda-sensei respects Kishimoto-sensei (mangaka of Naruto) very much and the two are close friends but under utilizing a core cultural aspect of Wano does a disservice to both the shinobi and the arc in general. Oda-sensei didn’t want much overlap with Naruto but in his obsession to restrict himself, he kept the presentation of shinobi in a very unnatural state which had no balance whatsoever. The two shinobi that received the most focus, Raizo and Shinobu were similar in many ways and without adequate focus and (shinobi) characters to balance them with, the shinobi aspect of their character became a detrimental element. A badass shinobi character was desperately needed to champion the profession who could have elevated the wackiness in both Raizo and Shinobu’s personalities too. The reasons ridiculous characters like Luffy and Usopp shine so much in the Straw Hat Pirates is because characters like Zoro, Sanji and Nami exist. With the focus Raizo did receive in this chapter, it was cool but I have long since lost interest. I was more relieved the issue with the fire was finally dealt with than impressed by Raizo preparing for such a moment which he once failed to handle in the past. At this point, I would have preferred if Oda-sensei not include any Shinobi in One Piece. He could have at least gone with something culturally aligned with Japan that he could fully explore and utilize like say Shrine Maidens/Miko who use shikigami or some form of mystical arts.
I am loving how the imagery of Momonosuke carrying not only Wano on his back but the future of the world is being set-up (Luffy, Robin and the New Generation). Momonosuke’s arc has been ongoing since the start of the New World when he was introduced during Punk Hazard. His story may have not been the most interesting or satisfying pre-Wano but once Oden’s flashback was told, the pay-off for his set-up began to be laid down. Slowly but surely, Momonosuke is maturing into an individual who will succeed his father and surpass him in his achievements. Momonosuke in his Dragon form is holding the very platform the future of the world is represented on. Oden may have held Wano on his back in the past with the Akazaya Samurai but the responsibility Momonosuke now carries is even grander. Not only is Wano relying on Momonosuke but soon the whole world will be.
Yamato keeps telling Momonosuke that he is key to guiding the world to the Dawn and I don’t doubt that. Once Momonosuke embraces his role and the courage he possesses deep inside himself, he will understand what needs to be done going forward. Despite his current doubts about opening Wano’s borders he will recognise the importance Luffy holds and why supporting “Joy Boy” is imperative to Wano’s future. Momonosuke won’t be able to help Luffy directly but he has been building up an intimate bond with Yamato so that when the time calls for it, Momonosuke will have no issue with relaying his intentions through Yamato. The most importance steps Wano needs to take once opening its borders is supporting Luffy. Oden wished for it and Wano closed their borders for it. All of Wano’s 800 years of history has been building up to this moment and Momonosuke will be the Shogun who takes Wano into the new era. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.