Ryokugyu arrives and his first stop is the Prison Mines holding the captured Beast Pirates. In order to vent and likely silence Queen and King for the scientific and historic knowledge they possess, he took out all the Beast Pirates present there absorbing their life force in the process. It is unclear if the Beast Pirates were all killed by Ryokugyu but he does seem like a guy who doesn’t understand mercy. On top of being able to absorb others life force, Ryokugyu is also able to instill within other forms life. As he walks across the barren lands of Wano, life flourishes and springs to forth. It’s a curious power that gift life but within the hands of Ryokugyu, it serves a very foreboding darkness. One that has targeted Luffy.
I was initially curious why Ryokugyu visited Queen and King first but when you realise that King is a Lunarian with potential knowledge of the secrets the World Government wish to keep hidden and Queen is a scientist who worked alongside Vegapunk (as well as Judge and Caesar) to uncover the secrets of life, it becomes crystal clear why the Marines would wish for such mouths to be silenced. I really do wonder if Queen and King are dead as this would be an incredibly anticlimactic way for them to go out. Oda-sensei is also very intentional in the present-time named characters he kills off and currently, I do not see Queen and King dying in this moment to fit Oda-sensei’s writing style. More so than death, Queen and King were used to build up Ryokugyu as a serious threat to the upcoming encounter Luffy will have with him. Chances are, Ryokugyu may have left the Beast Pirates to die a miserable death but there could be a third party who arrives to save them – Jack? Kaido? The Big Mom Pirates? Further, the scene was played out too comically to induce the theme of death.
I find it hilarious how anti-World Government Morgans is. Without the World Government even realising it, they made an enemy out of an incredibly dangerous man who became fascinated in Monkey D. Luffy without even directly meeting him. All the secrets Morgans realised the World Government wished to hide, he aired it out in the public through his newspaper publications for the whole world to digest. There is no putting that monkey back in the bag. The world now knows of Luffy’s middle name and the mythical form he has taken. Organisations and clans knowledgeable on Joy Boy will find value in the information disclosed. They will understand what Luffy’s form means and the time that has now dawned. The Joy Boy prophecies aren’t just limited to Fish-Man Island and Wano, I suspect the Giants, the three-eye clan, the Wano families existing outside Wano, the Oni, the Sky Island people, the Lunarian remnants, the Tenryuubito and the people of D all have historical information on Joy Boy and what his rebirth means. The future the World Government feared has cascaded into motion and nothing is going stop the revelations about to erupt.
Equal bounties amounts for Luffy, Law and Kid wasn’t something I expected as Luffy was clearly more influential and significant in the downfall of Big Mom and Kaido. Luffy ultimately ended Kaido alone while it took both Law and Kid to defeat Big Mom. I guess the bounties amounts are more to reflect the danger of the new generation rather than the efforts expressed during the Onigashima raid. The World Government fear the new generation and likely settled with elevating Luffy, Law and Kids bounties together to the same level in other to incentivize the New Generation as whole to be targeted as a threat. The other Worst Generation members most likely also received bounty increases. I am very much interested in seeing how all the relevant characters within the story had their bounties increased because this could very well be the final bounty increase for the characters until the end of the series. How high did each of the Straw Hat Pirates bounty increase by and with Yamato’s presence as Kaido’s child now known, what will the World Government set his bounty at. Or will Yamato receive a bounty after he joins the Straw Hat Pirates. Would be fitting if the Marines already game Yamato a bounty under the assumption that he was already part of the Straw Hat Pirates (he did declare his allegiance to Luffy right after the Akazaya Samurai began their raid and when he engaged Kaido). The CP-0 would have known that Yamato was fighting alongside the Straw Hat Pirates. At this point with Yamato already acting as part of the crew, there is no way that he is not joining. He is already a Straw Hat Pirate in spirit and all that await is for that inevitability to be made official.
So Hitetsu really was Sukiyaki. Even though I suspected this could be the case, I was really against this reality. For a character who ruled Wano and vowed to protect the land and its people, he was completely detached from the suffering ongoing around him. During the years he resided within Wano after Oden died, he did nothing beside save Tama. He was the Shogun of Wano and he let the suffering of his people continue. He didn’t even associate with the people of Wano who were suffering and attempt to alleviate their pain in some way. To be honest Sukiyaki is a bastard and Yasuie was more of a Shogun than him. Yasuie did everything he could to help the nation, even give his life. I get that Sukiyaki was riddled by guilt and couldn’t face his people after he let Orochi seize control but c’mon, to hide away and pretend there was nothing he could do? What the hell Sukiyaki? You are a Kozuki and your children and grandchildren gave their lives to protect the nation and its people. The least you could do as THE leader of the nation is attempt to help the people. But Sukiyaki did nothing. He didn’t even intentionally go out of his way to save Tama. Only after he encountered her did he feel that he couldn’t not help her. This is why I did not want Hitetsu to be Sukiyaki because it would lessen Sukiyaki’s character and completely bastardize him. I was never against Sukiyaki being alive but what I wanted is for him to be locked away within a cell under the Flower Capital as Orochi’s prisoner. This would explain his absence from Wano’s suffering and provide a path forward for Momonosuke and Hiyori to get guidance for leading Wano. Sukiyaki doesn’t even want to let Momonosuke and Hiyori know that he is alive, so it can be concluded that at this point he doesn’t even want to serve as their guide in leading Wano or learning the Kozuki stonemason skills. Just as he was in the past, Sukiyaki is completely selfish. I get why Robin is completely unconcerned about his attempts to wallow in self-pity. As soon as Sukiyaki started talking about his thoughts of wanting to commit seppuku, Robin cut him off immediately. Robin didn’t care about that and she did not want to hear it. Robin reaction was far kinder than Sukiyaki deserves. Fortunately, Sukiyaki can be useful and reveal valuable information to her concerning Pluton.
Where exactly is Pluton hidden? For Wano to be controlled by Orochi and Kaido for around 25 years with it not having been discovered, it implies Pluton is something or somewhere not easily discernible. Is the whole of Wano “Pluton” or is it hidden away within Mount Fuji or under the Flower Capital? I always suspected the Giant Gate of Kuri Castle, I wonder if there is any meaning behind why such a castle build a gate that could allow entry of Giants too. Kuri Castle was burned and destroyed but when you look at the land it was built on, it resided on an elevated piece of land. The giant gate allowed entry to that region and the land underneath where the Kuri Castle resided is still there. Such a place seems perfect to hold secrets. If the Road Poneglyph isn’t there, could Pluton be located there then? Kuri Castle was one of the regions Orochi, Kaido and the other Beast Pirates avoided. If they did not search that area completely after Oden was killed, it would make sense why Pluton was never discovered. Oden would have been aware of Pluton’s existence, relevance and danger. After reaching Laugh Tale and returning to Wano, he was likely aware of Pluton’s presence within Wano. The best place to hide such a weapon and keep it away from dangerous hands would be keep it in a place you could protect. Could Pluton be underneath the ruins of Kuri Castle (Oden Castle). Behind Kuri Castle is the ocean. If there was an underground waterway, Pluton could be located in a cave beneath the ruins.
The party Luffy held off for weeks has finally arrived and with it the arrival of Kid who wishes to challenge Luffy and win away his title of Yonko. Also on his way is Ryokugyu who seeks to take Luffy’s head back to Sakazuki to win his approval. As for the new Yonko, I did not expect Buggy to be named a Yonko but now that I think about it, it’s obvious. He was always destined toward such a path. That fortunate misfortune Buggy possesses will inevitably lead him toward Laugh Tale in the most dramatic, unintentional and unlucky ways. I wonder what Buggy did to earn himself such an immense reputation. The last we seen of Buggy was him abandoning his subordinates to escape the Marines alone. Could Buggy’s men really have defeated the Marines? I wouldn’t even be surprised if Buggy gets credit for other people’s efforts. It would be amusing if Buggy ended up saving the other former Shichibukai targeted and created an alliance with them. If Buggy was seen as the leader of the alliance that included Mihawk, Hancock, Weevil and Crocodile, I can see why the World Government would label Buggy a Yonko. The Shichibukai existed as a power that balanced the Marines and Yonko, so if the power of a Shichibukai was seen to be represented by Buggy, his position as as Yonko would be equivalent to the feats Luffy achieved i.e. defeating the Marines and consolidating the power of strong pirates within one group. Or did Buggy save Sabo and Bonney somehow? Very much looking forward to the next chapter. Also nice to see Tsuru alive and together with Kin’emon!
Enjoyment level: 8/10