What an interesting turn of events with Gyukimaru being the fox, Onimaru, a companion of the Daimyo of Ringo who passed away shortly after Wano Kuni was lost to Kaido and Orochi. Onimaru took it upon himself to protect the honour of all those who passed away in Ringo from having their graves disturbed by the Beast Pirates. He also took himself to see Kawamatsu’s mission through once Kawamatsu unexpectedly disappeared one day. For twenty years, he too has been fighting for the day when Wano Kuni can be reclaimed.
Hiyori is quickly being built up as the secret weapon of Wano Kuni no one knows about save Zoro and Kawamatsu. Despite the prisoners of Udon rallying behind Momonosuke as the son of Oden, Momonosuke has no right to ask them to lay their lives down to save the world still fresh in his mind given his lack of suffering alongside the rest of them. As conveyed by Shutemaru earlier in the arc, just because they are figures from the past who the people of Wano Kuni once knew, that does not mean the people have to follow them. The fate required in the upcoming battle demands an ironclad level of respect and honour. Something which I believe Hiyori earned based on how she has been continually fighting for her family’s dream over the last 20 years.
Despite Kawamatsu the Kappa finally being revealed in all his Kappa glory, the most shocking aspect of the chapter for me was the revelation that Kiko is a man. I didn’t expect that. I probably should have given that the Nine Red Scabbards are a group composed of all males but the fact that Kiko was intentionally illustrated as a female led me believe that Kiko was one. You got me Oda-sensei, what a good twist. Additionally Kiko looks super dangerous and cool with that mask.