The consuming Night of wickedness has ended and given way to the emancipating radiance of the rising Sun. Time flows and restitution begins its ascent against a backdrop of ruin and relief. As the Kozuki clan return to represent Wano, the process of restoration unites the nation upon the desire of creating a paradise that once used to reflect Wano. Loss becomes the foundation for growth and pain becomes the driver for recovery. To honour the fallen means to move forward and live. A new day has dawned and with it, the freedom to enjoy it.
Danger may surround Wano but they are all in it together. A nation united and bound mutually by their suffering and liberation. Even if the World Government chose to target Wano now, the enemy they would meet and aggravate would be one possessing a tactical advantage, resolve and overwhelming spirit. This is why they have opted for a more convert method of response. Despite the victories the World Government couldn’t prevent the Straw Hat Pirates and their alliance from reaching, they now seek to capture the most dangerous piece the Straw Hat Pirates have in their arsenal relative to the World Government’s continued operations. Removing Nico Robin from play means they remove the biggest advantage their enemies possess.
Why was Robin talked around within this chapter? She is the most probable reason the World Government and Marines are making a move into Wano, so why has her presence intentionally been obscured within the contents of this chapter? She is the only Straw Hat Pirate not to be seen in focus during these events. Now, her lack of proximity can be easily explained but I find it incredibly suspicious that any direct presentation of her was avoided. It seems intentional. Most likely to drum up tension and suspense because the coming events will revolve around her relevance as Joy Boy’s guide. The most terrifying outcome, of Robin being captured, actually feels plausible at this point. If the World Government only seek to capture Robin instead of ending her, there is a likelihood that such an outcome may arise. Though, when interpreting that possibility within the context of One Piece entering its final saga, it becomes curiously unclear how Robin being captured would set-up the events to follow within the coming saga. Rather than stream-line events, it would further convolute the plot by adding additional steps needed before the Straw Hat Pirates can reach Laugh Tale. For this reason, I don’t believe Robin will be captured within this arc by the World Government and Marines. Or if she is, that capture will be long-lasting. A third party, such as Kuzan, may appear to liberate Robin from Ryokugyu’s possession. Kuzan is aware of how Sakazuki behaves and would anticipate how he would act as per the intentions of the World Government i.e. stealth infiltration into Wano after their liberation.
The person hijacking the Five Elders and CP-0 transmission is someone who is both aware of the World Government’s presence around Wano and how to hack into that particular communication system. Based on their the dialogue exchanged, it appears this mystery person is familiar with the CP-0. Most likely this person was Sakazuki or Ryokugyu under Sakazuki’s orders. The CP-0 agent under pressure to perform for the Five Elders likely wouldn’t have had an issue with the Marines involving themselves to target the Straw Hat Pirates. As for the mission Sakazuki sent Ryokugyu in for, it is most likely to capture Robin. If the mission was purely observational, an Admiral’s presence, someone who could rival the strength of a Yonko or at least get close, would not be required. Whatever Sakazuki plans for Ryokugyu to do, it likely involves an Admirals presence. If Robin isn’t the target, I wonder if Sakazuki wants to kill the Shogun of Wano or Luffy.
Going back to Robin, the reason for her lack of presence within the Flower Capital or alongside Franky and Usopp could be because she is conducting her own work. It would make complete sense for Robin to be away researching the Poneglyph’s and history of Wano. Onigashima contained at least one Poneglyph, which Robin will need to decipher and in addition to the Poneglyph underneath the Flower Capital, there is also the Road Poneglyph to locate and translate. It is strange that none of the other Straw Hat Pirates are accompanying her, such as Jinbe, but it could be explained in a natural way. All of the crew and the Ninja-Pirate-Mink-Samurai alliance are aware of Robin’s usefulness and the target on her back. The Straw Hat Pirates would not leave Robin alone. If other alliance members were accompanying Robin, I can see the Straw Hat Pirates being comfortable with that. If we are looking at characters that also didn’t appear in the chapter who could be assisting Robin, they may be Hitetsu, Hygoro, Inuarashi or Denjiro. One of them could be aware of where Kaido kept the Road Poneglyph. Denjiro was inside Orochi’s organisation, so he could have heard whispers or rumours concerning the location of the Road Poneglyph if Kaido moved it from where it once was located when the Kozuki possessed it. If Kaido is still alive and imprisoned, I wonder if Robin is having a chat with him as to why he chose Wano, what he knows about it, and any information he has concerning Joy Boy.
Yamato’s intimacy with the Straw Hat Pirates feels so natural. Like all the other members, Yamato is so weird and that is perfect when it comes to representing the crew. Officially, Yamato has not joined yet but once the celebration, which Luffy held off until after the Onigashima raid, kicks off, I expect Yamato’s recruitment to be official by Luffy (rejection is out of the question). Yamato hugging Luffy was great and encapsulative of the relief Yamato feels after fighting so hard for the Straw Hat Pirates. It conveys the level of belief Yamato holds toward Luffy. I also find it endearing how Yamato followed a Wano practice to embody his prayer toward helping Luffy (and Zoro) get better. Unbeknownst to Yamato and Zoro at the moment, one of the nameless Samurai who saved Yamato is related to Zoro. Yamato may be an Oni but he is also a Wano citizen in spirit. It is also inspiring to see a bond between the Kozuki clan and Yamato (the son of the man who killed Oden and crushed Wano under his heel) being established. The sins of ones father aren’t to be visited upon the child. The psychological conditioning Kaido tried to impose on Yamato concerning being the enemy of Wano and humanity was dispelled by the idealistic and considered decisions of Momonosuke and the Straw Hat Pirates. Concerning Yamato’s outfit, once he completes his bath, I wonder if Oda-sensei will give him a new one or keep the Oden inspired design. The attachment Yamato holds toward the Oden outfit could be too strong to detach from. Hiyori could very well design and commission a new Kozuki inspired outfit for Yamato to represent his acceptance as part of Wano i.e. the ones carrying on Oden and Toki’s will.
Further, Hiyori’s interactions with Zoro were incredibly cute. Zoro is probably the first man Hiyori is able to act so vulnerable around. When she played the role of Komurasaki, she wore a mask and had a wall constantly around her heart. To play the role, detachment was key. Even with Denjiro, she had to work together with him to maintain the act and as such they were likely on edge the whole time without any moment to breath and relax. The responsibility of liberating Wano fell on Hiyori’s shoulders when she was deceiving the criminals who contributed to Wano’s ruin. Hiyori likely didn’t have much opportunity during the past twenty years to embrace how she was really feeling and act on it. Such restraint is gone in front of Zoro. Hiyori is able to now act on how she feels and even freely laugh and joke around. The responsible leader that others see dissolves into a playful spirit when she is around Zoro.
The death of Ashura and Izo wasn’t something I expected considering the manner Oda-sensei handled present-time named character deaths so far in the story. Even though Ashura and Izo dying is tragic, they fell in battle under heroic conditions. They became the foundation for the Wano about to be. This development also adds to the objective significance of the events that have just taken place. The loss of heroes and the theme of sacrifice come into play to enhance the emotions resonating within this arc and to acknowledge the intensity present during the climatic moments of the arc. War was waged and the unpleasant association of its necessity remains. There is no victory in war, just a minimized loss. So long Ashura and Izo and take care. o7. Concerning the statuses of other characters like Tsuru, I REALLY hope she is still alive and is able to or has already reunited with Kin’emon. Tsuru is too great a person to not have the moment of meeting Kin’emon again and reuniting with him. I also suspect that Kin’emon and Tsuru will adopt Toko. Yasuie was like a guardian to the Akazaya Samurai and Kin’emon will become that to Toko.
As for Hawkins, did he die? I doubt it. Someone has to elaborate on the prediction Hawkins made about Luffy surviving after a month. Back when Luffy first ran into Hawkins in Wano, Hawkins predicted that Luffy’s probability of being alive one month from that date is 19% (chapter 913). That very arbitrary date standard Hawkins chose is very curious. Why not a week or a day? Why did Hawkins have to extend his reading to a month later? Was to incorporate events that don’t include the Onigashima raid? Since that statement, around three weeks have passed. Before the relevance of the prediction ceases, just over a week remains. Will more climatic events take place for Luffy within a week and a bit? Most likely. It also needs to be mentioned that when Hawkins made the fortune, Luffy was also carrying the cursed blade Nidai Kitetsu, a blade that is said to bring a horrible death to all of its owners. If there is relevance to this fortune Hawkins made, he will need to be alive to substantiate it when the next time death visits Luffy.
As for the cover page story, I didn’t expect Caesar to be stuck in Totto Land but fortunately for him, he has encountered Reiju, Ichiji, Niji and Yonji. Caesar can now join up with Judge, which I expected to happen after he separated from Straw Hat Pirates during the Whole Cake Island Arc. Caesar was such an influential character driving the plot when he was involved, so with his return, I look forward to seeing how the science aspect of One Piece is driven forward. Unlike, the other major Scientist, Caesar was the one whom Oda-sensei chose to have the audience experience the new breakthroughs of science through. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.
Enjoyment level: 8/10