With Doflamingo consumed by his madness and rage, he seeks nothing but utter destruction and death now. Unable to chase after Luffy and tired of disposing the fodder standing in his path, he has decided to increase the contraction speed of his Bird Cage to bring about a premature end to the game he has tied Dressrosa and its people into. The hell he has envisioned for each and every single person standing against him is but minutes away and Luffy still unable to move and use Haki has found himself in a situation where he may be too late in liberating the nation he gave his word he would save. Will Zoro and the Tontatta help delay the Bird Cage long enough to buy Luffy enough time to defeat Doflamingo or will the miracle that helps save Dressrosa take another form?
What a surprise, so Doflamingo’s defeat has been extended to take place beyond this chapter. I was certain Oda was building up the previous chapter to set-up Doflamingo’s defeat in this chapter, but apparently Oda seeks to highlight the double-edged nature of Gear Fourth before he concludes the battle with Doflamingo. The benefit of focusing on the side-effects of using Gear Fourth is it helps to highlight the charm Luffy has and his ability to attract characters over to his side, which in this case happened to be Gatz and the Gladiator fighters who have been targeting him for the bounty Doflamingo placed on his head.
With the fight reaching its conclusion, it is only a matter of pages now until Doflamingo falls at the fist of Luffy. Doflamingo at the moment just can’t seem to match Gear Fourth Luffy both in terms of speed and power and appears to be instead trying to buy time for the risks of Gear Fourth to kick in and affect Luffy. Throughout their 20 minutes fight, Doflamingo hasn’t once managed to inflict noticeable damage onto Luffy and has instead been the one who is receiving the beating. If Doflamingo does still have the energy to get up after receiving Luffy’s Lion Bazooka, I doubt he would have much strength left to seriously stand against Luffy even if Gear Fourth wears off. It seems very likely that Oda has set-up Doflamingo’s fall for the next chapter – most likely a weakened/weakening Doflamingo vs base Luffy.
It is finally here, a new gear developed by Luffy using his Gomu Gomu no Mi powers to increase his battle potential, a gear centered around bouncing. In order to combat the giant beasts on Rusukaina, Luffy on top of developing his Haki exploited the “bounciness” of his rubber body and utilised his experience in Nightmare Luffy form to design a new Gear. While in Gear Fourth has increased both his offensive and defensive capabilities and is currently overwhelming Doflamingo with speed, power and unpredictability. If the fight continues in such a way, Doflamingo has no chance against Luffy, but of course Doflamingo will have something up his sleeve to balance out the battle. Will be very interesting to see how Doflamingo deals with Luffy and Gear Fourth and how Luffy will eventually overpower Doflamingo.
We all suspected Luffy would at some point reveal a major power-up he developed during the past two years that allows him to surpass his limits and many anticipated that this power-up would take the form of a new gear – Gear Fourth, and alas with this chapter, we finally have confirmation that Luffy has indeed developed a Gear Fourth to push himself beyond his limits. In order to defeat Doflamingo within the hour and prevent anyone in Dressrosa from getting killed, Luffy has taken it upon himself to be the raging storm that blows away the darkness known as Doflamingo.
What an interesting revelation, so the four seated executives were the ones who set Doflamingo onto the path of revenge and fed his perception of superiority. By swearing their loyalty to Doflamingo and treating him as a King, Doflamingo grew up with the mindset that he was chosen by heaven, chosen to be a superior being. Over time, the darkness inside him was able to embrace his madness and utterly consume him. The four seated executives may have helped foster the evil within Doflamingo in order to pursue their own ends, but ultimately it was Doflamingo who used the four to fuel his own madness and obsession. As Law told Trebol, they are just puppets who strings Doflamingo is happily pulling along to his choosing. Doflamingo became the subject of their dreams and used their obsession to further his own madness.
What a spectacular chapter; of course Law wasn’t dead, but to think he would mount such an intense counter attack on Doflamingo using his own life to create a vulnerability within Doflamingo’s perspective. Law’s ability to utilise the overwhelming effects of his Ope Ope no Mi is definitely master class and expressive of how powerful the Ope Ope no Mi is in capable hands. From Law catching Doflamingo off guard and landing his “gamma knife” to Doflamingo tanking all Law could throw at him and revealing the hidden use of his Ito Ito no Mi – being able to perform emergency medical treatment on himself, everything about this fight focused on in this chapter was amazing. But what truly made the chapter was the final page when Doflamingo attempted to end Law’s life and Luffy intervened stopping Doflamingo’s foot with his own, that just screamed badass, especially with the two glaring at each other with such serious intent. It is on, the real final battle has begun!
So the question left hanging at the end of the last chapter continues to remain hanging at the end of this chapter – is Trafalgar Law dead? I do like how Oda rewound the events a bit to detail what happened to Law before being “killed” by Doflamingo while Luffy was distracted by Bellamy, yet for the chapter to end with the same cliff-hanger as the previous chapter, I can’t help but feel my interest slightly neutralised with the lack of movement in the story. I don’t think Law is dead, as elements have been set up already to cater for his survival, but I do appreciate the tension Oda is trying to create with the possibility that Law could die. The threat of the Bird Cage now being real is a welcome development, I love how there is a ‘timer’ of sorts for this climatic battle.
We are finally getting into the business end of the arc where Luffy finally gets serious about facing and taking down Doflamingo. With Luffy having to take out Bellamy with his own hands, he has come to terms with what kind of person Doflamingo really is and I believe Luffy is now ready to fully unleash his fury onto Doflamingo. The sadistic, cruel and menacing figure that is Doflamingo, Luffy now has his sights set solely on him.
Even with a hole through his abdomen, Doflamingo still handles himself like nothing is wrong. Either Doflamingo doesn’t feel the injury he just sustained, which is highly unlikely, or Doflamingo is just an incredibly great actor and holds himself in manner that fools his opponent into perceiving that he is fine. Law definitely did manage to injure Doflamingo but Doflamingo is able to read Law so well that when Doflamingo isn’t distracted, he is able to defend against all of Law’s attacks despite his injuries. Doflamingo has been able to regain the flow of the battle and now has Law at his mercy, whom he intends to reward with the embrace of death. With Luffy about to return to the top of the Royal Palace, it will be interesting to see what Doflamingo ends up doing.