The young yet tempered mind of Momonosuke has displayed the effects of its tragic and liberated journey against the towering force of one of Wano’s enemy’s most significant assets. Ryokugyu overwhelmed the Samurai but when Momonosuke was backed into a corner, even Ryokugyu felt the searing pain of the resolve affirming Momonosuke’s heart. Momonosuke bowed his head to save Wano and now with the nation released from the shackles of tyranny and darkness due to a combined effort of alliances and friendship, he realises the need for Wano to be able to defend itself. Momonosuke takes Ryokugyu on himself in order to convey to Yamato that the burden of being Wano’s defender has been released from him. Momonosuke understands Yamato’s dream and now that an opportunity has arisen, Momonosuke wishes wholeheartedly for Yamato to embrace it. The fear of facing an Admiral dwarfs in comparison to the desire Momonosuke has in wanting Yamato to be free. Momonosuke fights to give Yamato a send-off toward a future where he too has the freedom to pursue his dreams.
This chapter left me in tears due to how far Momonosuke has come from when he was initially introduced. Momonosuke’s story has mainly been one of relying on others but through the Onigashima portion of his story where he met Yamato and came to find out the significance of who he is and what he can do, a new form of responsibility and courage has enveloped Momonosuke. While still lost and confused, the fear of leading has become overshadowed by his desire to do whatever he can to protect those he wishes to protect. Even if defeat is inevitable and fear has its grip around his throat, he will continue to struggle because that is what he learned from the friends he has made along his life-changing journey. Luffy, Yamato and the Straw Hat Pirates have become sources of inspiration that move Momonosuke to want to be better and do better. The significance of Momonosuke releasing a Blast Breath on Ryokugyu represents the moment encapsulating all that Momonosuke has gone through and wishes. Out of desperation, necessity and love, Momonosuke has taken steps forward himself. He may only by eight years old in an adult body but he is without question the leader Wano Kuni needs.
There is also a level of vindication for me in Momonosuke’s journey regarding how I approached arguments of Momonosuke and Yamato’s relationship meaning Yamato will remain in Wano. Debates on new nakama can be very heated and often participants can find themselves entrenched within a certain view point. When it came to Yamato and Momonosuke, I saw that relationship as an empowering friendship that would support both characters toward and within their respective dreams. A year ago I made the following argument on a certain forum board:
Even if Yamato feels they have a duty to protect Momonosuke, Momonosuke will not allow that when it comes at the expense of Yamato’s dream. Momonosuke’s arc is about growing into a leader that will change Wano Kuni and eventually be the driving force behind the liberation of the world from the World Government and their deception, manipulation and malice. If anything, Momonosuke’s path of liberation could start with Yamato by absolving Yamato of any obligations he may feel he has to Wano Kuni. If a compromise needs to be reached, Momonosuke may even tell Yamato to return to Wano after he has his adventure with the Straw Hat Pirates and sailed to Laugh Tale.
Momonosuke has come to learn about his importance and potentially the importance of the Straw Hat Pirates concerning the fight his father (and mother) died for (assisting those that will see Joy Boy’s will through). Momonosuke is also rapidly coming to understand the benefit Yamato can have toward reaching such an end (knowledge, strength and intention) and rather than continuing to shackle Yamato to Wano Kuni and the Kozuki family, Momonosuke will instead support Yamato’s desire to join the Straw Hat Pirates. Momonosuke has learned about Yamato’s story and has read Oden’s journal and knows about how the two were shackled to Wano. If Yamato wants to be Oden, Momonosuke will not be the Sukiyaki in that story. Momonosuke will be Momonosuke. By opening up Wano’s borders, Momonosuke will also open up the path toward Yamato seeing their dream fulfilled.
The focus Oda has given to the Yamato and Momonosuke relationship isn’t inconsequential but rather substantial for a reason – because Momonosuke will have a hand in directing Yamato to joining the Straw Hat Pirates.Syphin
While Momonosuke chose not to open Wano’s border yet, he has released Yamato of any obligation he may have felt he had toward remaining in Wano and protecting it. Both Yamato and Momonosuke have become each others saviors. A powerful force has also been created with Yamato and Momonosuke each engaging the enemies of the World (the current World Government) from different fronts. Together, they can catalyst a change that Oden died for and Joy Boy wished for all those centuries ago.
Turning to the revelation of the REAL Wano, it all makes sense now. I always wondered why Wano felt like different Islands joined together but in actuality that wasn’t the true Wano, it was the Wano that came to be after great walls grew around the Island in order to protect it from their enemies. What this development supports are the potential relations Wano in the past had with the Ancient Giants who served as “Continent Pullers” (Oars’s Epithet). Unless the current Wano regions came to be formed by a Devil Fruit power, it is most likely that Ancient Giants helped to form the new Wano around Fuji Mountain. The Ancient Giant skull on Onigashima along with that giant sword helps to substantiate such a possibility. It should also be noted that in Wano there is a giant sized gate leading toward the region that contained Kuri/Oden Castle. Additionally, in the Hakumai region there is the Gondola lift that connects the Mogura Port to upper Wano. The Gondola lift is large enough to fit all the Numbers, whom are Ancient Giant experiments. Why would Wano need a Gondola lift that could support Ancient Giants if Ancients Giants weren’t relevant? I suspect in the past Wano and Giants had good relations. Giant nations may have even exported wood to Wano.
In regard to the development concerning the walls around Wano forming, how did such an occurrence come about? Walls don’t naturally grow which means there is most likely a Devil Fruit power in the mix. An ability to allows the user to control Rock or the Earth. It could be a Logia Devil Fruit or a Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit. Seeing as how focal Mythical Zoan Devil Fruits were to Wano’s story, I suspect the user that created the walls around Wano to protect it centuries ago possessed a Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit. This could also be how the different land masses making up the current Wano were created. This Devil Fruit user created the land and the Ancient Giants pulled it together around Fuji Mountain. Does the Onigashima skull belong to the Giant who possessed this Devil Fruit?
The Road Poneglyph was stored in quite the hidden place, I get why Kaido decided not to move it after finding it. But now that we are aware that Kaido was likely aware of the true Wano, what else was he also knowledgeable of? Kaido kept talking about how special Wano is but he never went specifically into how. Unless Kaido himself never knew why Wano was special? It is unlikely Kaido was aware of the Pluto in Wano otherwise he would have broken down the surrounding walls of Wano long again. But now that we know Pluto can only(?) be released with the destruction of the surrounding walls and opening up Wano, why was Oden so eager to open the borders long before Joy Boy was even expected to show up? What did Oden learn about that made this such a pressing objective that it became one of his final wishes. What a fascinating mystery which will come to uncover as the Straw Hat Pirates journey toward Laugh Tale.
Shanks is such a beast, I did not expect him to able to cast his Haoshoku Haki out in blasts from the surrounding sea of Wano toward Ryokugyu who is just outside the Flower Capital AND affect Ryokugyu to such an extent that his Logia form was nullified. What ridiculousness is that? Haoshiku Haki can do that? Goodness me, Luffy has a long way to go to be able to match Shanks in Haki capabilities. If Shanks is this powerful, how ridiculous was Roger who possessed no Devil Fruit power but just Haki? I love how Luffy was able to recognise this Haki. He knew it was Shanks. An aside, regarding Zoro’s new bounty, I really hope it is near the level of Luffy, Law and Kid’s. Zoro was equally as valuable as them during the battle against Kaido and Big Mom. Zoro may not have downed a Yonko but he is a beast in his own right and deserves a bounty to reflect that (sorry Sanji). Very much looking forward to the next chapter.
Enjoyment level: 9.5/10