One Piece (spoilers!)

Diophantine

慈陰
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Hey, I haven't posted here before for some reason but I guess I should. One Piece is one of, if not, my favourite anime series. I started it when I was 8 when I watched the English dub on Toonami until the Alabasta arc when I started reading the manga. My favourite arc is the Enies Lobby/Water 7 arc and my favourite non-Luffy character (because saying Luffy is a cop out!) is Nico Robin. She had a great first impression, her personality adds a different dimension to the comedy and interactions in the crew, she has a great character design, had an incredibly compelling backstory, her big arc completely changed One Piece, and she is essential to the lore of the series. My favourite fight is probably Luffy vs Rob Lucci.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about Zoro, his involvement in Wano, and his future. WARNING HEAVY SPOILERS!!! Don't read unless you've at least finished the Oden flashback.
Set-up for Zoro's arc in Wano:

I believe that Oda is giving all of the East Blue Straw Hats their own arcs. Now yes, the Straw Hats are all the main characters of One Piece, but I think that Oda puts a larger emphasis on the original 5 East Blue members (perhaps you could make an argument for Robin given her importance to the plot and the fact that she already had an entire arc centred around her, but I think it's a loose one). These 5 usually play bigger roles in storylines, and feel like the main core of the crew. Luffy's main traits are represented by the other four characters. His willpower is represented by Zoro, his lack of common sense is compensated by Nami, his adventurers' spirit is represented by Usopp and his dreamer's personality is represented by Sanji (go back and watch Sanji and Luffy discuss All Blue in the Baratie arc).

Sanji already had Whole Cake Island; Usopp is heavily foreshadowed to have Elbaf as his main arc given his interactions with the giants at Little Garden and Enies Lobby; I believe Nami, while this is a weaker case, will have Raftel as her main island arc - Skypeia had a lot of foreshadowing by showing Nami's importance to Luffy as a navigator, where she repeatedly gets him to where he needs to be in near-death situations such as getting him to Skypeia and assisting him in his fight against Enel.

Zoro's arrival on Wano has been foreshadowed in the Thriller Bark arc as he defeated Ryuma and earned his sword Shusui, the national treasure of Wano. Wano is also known as the country of the greatest swordsmen of history. Furthermore, Zoro's prized possession, the Wado Ichimonji which he inherited from his late rival Kuina, has been revealed to have been created in Wano. Zoro has had the most screen-time out of any character in the Wano arc excluding Luffy. He has a personal vendetta against Orochi, unlike any of the other main cast who are fighting him because they need to, and even has a love interest. Everything is shaping up for Wano to be Zoro's arc. Very small point but one I figured I'd mention, Wano is the "Ancient Japan" island much like Dressrosa is the "Spain" island and Alabasta is the "Arabic" island (get it? ARABasta!). In an interview, Oda revealed the hypothetical nationalities of the Strawhats if they were from the real world. Luffy was Brazilian, Nami was Swedish, Chopper Canadian, Franky American, Usopp South African, Sanji French, Robin Russian, Brook Austrian and, you guessed it, Zoro was Japanese.

Superficial similarities between Zoro and Oden:

Zoro and Oden were the only people ever to be able to use the sword Enma without fainting. Zoro and Oden both use multiple swords to fight. Zoro is part of the future Pirate King's crew, while Oden was part of the previous Pirate King's crew. Oden was bad at navigating and Zoro is perhaps even worse. Zoro slayed the dragon on Punk Hazard in a near identical fashion as Oden slaying the giant boar in the flashback. Zoro has set a goal of taking down Oden's worst enemy. Zoro hunted pirates, Oden fought the Yakuza. There are probably more that I can't think of off the top of my head, but there are many similarities there.

Character similarities between Zoro and Oden:

Oden and Zoro are both great leaders. Oden inspired the Scabbards who pledged their unyielding debt to him. While Zoro doesn't often show leadership - as Luffy is the captain of the crew - he does show these qualities. The Usopp incident in Water 7 is perhaps the greatest example of this. Oden holding up the Scabbards in the boiling pot to prevent their execution is pretty much the same situation when Zoro risked his life to stop Kuma from capturing Luffy. They are both willing to sacrifice their lives and dreams for their loved ones. Oden willingly gave up on his trial to join the Whitebeard Pirates when he heard Amatsuki Toki calling out for help, choosing to save her even if it meant he could not join their crew. Even smaller similarities like how Oden was initially annoyed by Kinemon and Denjiro, while Zoro is annoyed by Sanji, Luffy and Usopp.

Inherited will:

I don't think that Zoro is the "reincarnation" of Oden in the traditional sense like how Naruto deals with reincarnation. Zoro and Oden, while very similar, have enough character traits to separate each other. However, One Piece has a recurring theme of inherited will. Among Roger's last words were "There are three things that cannot be stopped: the dream of men, the flow of time and inherited will. As long as people continue to seek the true meaning of freedom, they will never ceased to be!". Luffy inheriting Roger's hat symbolises the inherited will. Luffy's greatest motivator is freedom. He seeks freedom for himself and others. This drives his goal of being Pirate King, and forms his moral compass, as he judges people entirely based on his own experiences with them. Zoro inheriting Oden's Enma can be seen similarly. Oda places a lot of meaning behind Zoro's swords, how he acquires them, and what they mean for him. Kuina's sword represents his dream, and the "cursed" sword from Loguetown represents his attitude to seemingly dangerous and impossible feats. Enma has not yet had any personal meaning for Zoro yet, so it's not too farfetched to assume that it represents Oden's will.

Zoro's future:

With so many things going on in Wano right now, it seems like there's not enough time to really make this a "Zoro" arc. It's not like Whole Cake Island, where Sanji was the centre-piece of it. However, Zoro is most likely going to be the person to liberate Wano due to his promise to Hiyori to take down Orochi, coupled with the inherited will from Oden. How he does that, I don't know. It will most likely involve him taking down someone powerful in a Luffy vs Katakuri type battle, or it may be Zoro literally taking down Orochi himself. Many can see the alliance failing to take down Kaido, and perhaps this can give Zoro an opportunity to turn the tide in the second battle. I can see Zoro taking lead of the Scabbards and settling down in Wano once he achieves both his and Luffy's goal.

Superrrr excited to see how this arc plays out!
 

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WARNING HEAVY SPOILERS!!!
Just curious, are you a fan of the One Piece YouTuber Mr. Morj by any chance? He recently released a video on exactly this, and yeah it's some rock solid analysis and predictions. If you have then it's pretty awesome to see another fan of his out elsewhere in the internet, and if not then man I can't recommend his videos enough his understanding of the story's themes and style are insane and really makes it easy to appreciate it all on another level.
 

vonFiedler

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I'm honestly really surprised to see so many people all over the net talking about Elbaf.

I've got to be honest, I've 100% written it off.

We've got so many loose ends to tie up in the (ever rolling) 5 years of One Piece we have left. World Government, Akainu and the admirals, Im, Revolutionaries, the Reverie, Uranus, Shanks and Blackbeard, the Underground, Vegapunk, what did Doflamingo have over the Celestial Dragons, the destruction of Fish-Man Island and the purpose of the Ark, several Worst Generation pirates that have had fuck-all screentime, what's the deal with Edward Weevil, Zoro beating Mihawk, and then a whole host of other stuff that I can only assume will be dealt with on Laughtale (Void Century, Will of D, Joyboy, the One Piece, etc).

The time where we bounced from fantastic location to fantastic location is long behind us. We've been plot railroaded ever since Punk Hazard. Wano is the culmination of 8 years worth of plot and I cannot believe that we'll be going to Elbaf next just because it's a place Usopp said he'd like to visit 20 years ago. Locations in One Piece are much more heavily foreshadowed than that now and wherever we go next, we'll A. know it before Wano is over and B. I would bet anything will be World Government related. Mariejois would be especially apt as half the stuff I mentioned is there, but New Marineford wouldn't surprise me either. If the Road Poneglyph ended up on Mariejois, that would be geographically close to Fish-Man Island, meaning that it's a believable place for it to have ended up and we can deal with Fish-Man Island loose ends while dealing with World Government loose ends that are all conveniently in one spot right now.

So what exactly is the point of going to Elbaf?

Usopp is the only Strawhat to have already achieved his original goal (become a great warrior). You don't see anyone chomping at the bit to find the All Blue or entertaining any notion that we're gonna map all the seas in the world, but we have to go to Elbaf to make Usopp a warrior when he already is a damn fine one?

Now everyone is saying that each East Blue Strawhat needs their own arc, which is a really good theory if it pans out for Zoro (though Wano sure is taking its sweet time on that end). Because not only did Sanji get an arc recently, Usopp already had a major arc where he became a deity. Hajrudin has already pledged the giants to serve God Usopp, so what could possibly happen on Elbaf but "Hi, nice country, oh you have the Fish-Man Island Road Poneglyph for some reason, that's cool, bye!"

To be frank, Island with big people is hardly even creative enough for One Piece anymore. Wanting to see a place just because it was name dropped a long time ago didn't work out so well for Fish-Man Island.

So while I'm sure that at one point in time there was a One Piece draft that involved a stop at Elbaf, I just don't see it unless One Piece drags on for 10 more years. I wouldn't eat my hat over it, but it just doesn't make nearly enough sense that everyone would be in agreement. If One Piece is really to end soonish, then I'd bet it's Mariejois->Laughtale. If he's full of shit and he might be, then I still wouldn't give Elbaf even a 50% chance as I think it's narratively dead.
 
Once Wano finishes up, I can imagine Elbaf being a somewhat shorter arc like Zou was right before Whole Cake Island, which had more content going for it like Wano does now. If Elbaf is visited for just a quick bit (it was also shown for real in one of Big Mom's flashbacks a little before Whole Cake ended, but correct me if I'm wrong), I can see the next arc after that being Hachinosu, or Pirate Island, which is Blackbeard's main territory already. If it pans out like that, kinda knowing how Oda handles things, the next arcs I can see happening are Lodestar Island and Mary Geoise, whichever one comes first. Only then could I see stuff like Laugh Tale and the Final War taking place.

We've seen six fantastic locations after the timeskip anyway, so I can't imagine seeing fewer than four more now (counting Fish-Man Island, Wano would be the sixth). The pre-timeskip main adventure depicted ten of them as well, from Whiskey Peak to Sabaody, not counting the World Government's branches like Enies Lobby or Luffy's attempt at rescuing Ace.
 

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Don't know when Elbaf will be but I don't think there's a chance it gets skipped or even be minor part of the story. It draws heavy inspiration from Viking and Nordic culture, in tribute to the television show Oda watched as a kid that originally inspired him to write a story about pirates, similar to how one of the biggest and most hyped up settings in Wano is inspired by his own home country. Oda's fleshed out tons of fantasy world with unique cultures and I think it's pretty clear that doing this one justice is something that'll just be very important to him.

As for where it fits into the story, the prevailing theory I've seen is that it'll focus on Shanks and something along the lines of the island being his territory or Luffy finally meeting up with him again, which would also give plenty of potential for focus on Usopp due to Yasopp's presence as well. We'll probably see something along the lines of Luffy challenging Shanks and proving himself capable of overtaking him, and Elbaf, the homeland of the two giants who fought for 100 years just to settle a matter of warrior's pride and honor, seems like the perfect place for that encounter and conflict to take place between two close friends with ultimately competing goals.
 
popular theory on net is that elbaf will be a davy back fight between the SH and shanks pirates with the the last red poneglyph on the line...or something of that caliber

no personal opinion on that but it would make the davy back fight after skypiea relevant to the plot
 

Kalalokki

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popular theory on net is that elbaf will be a davy back fight between the SH and shanks pirates with the the last red poneglyph on the line...or something of that caliber

no personal opinion on that but it would make the davy back fight after skypiea relevant to the plot
Davy Back's plot relevance was the introduction of Aokiji at the end of it basically, I hope they don't re-use that sort of thing again.
 

Diophantine

慈陰
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Really great chapter!
Starting off with Yamato, I feel really bad for her. We don't even need an emotional flashback to know what she's been through, just those few lines and all of our knowledge of Kaido as a person. I'd be interesting in seeing more of Ace through a flashback with her, though. I never felt too strongly about him. I cared about Ace because of what he meant for Luffy, but we haven't seen enough of him yet. Good news is that Yamato is 90% confirmed gonna be a Straw Hat. Not certain because she could still lead Wano as an ally to Luffy. She wants to explore the world like her role model, but Oden also wanted the best for Wano. Something could happen that would make her change her mind - perhaps as a way to atone for her father's sins in Wano. Yamato leading Wano would usher in a new age; having a female as Shogun could lead to a progressive shift in Wano's culture in terms of gender equality. Her personality seems a bit too similar to Nami's and I can see that possibly being diluted amongst the crew.

The clash between Kanjuro and the scabbards is hype! Kiku has suddenly caught my interest with her threats to Kanjuro. I felt Nekomamushi and Inurashi's dialogue was somewhat out of place, but hey, the cat has a gun for an arm and the dog has a sword for a leg. How can you not like that? I kind of feel like Kanjuro's gonna have a change of heart of some sort in the late stage of this arc. Maybe to show he's not the tool we think he is. Kiku in that last panel with the blood drenched sword and tears is a good cliffhanger.

Kaido just killing Orochi was sick, and I enjoyed seeing that, but I am skeptical of Orochi actually being dead. His devil fruit is the 8 headed dragon Yamata no Orochi, so he might have survived. The kill felt really quick. No flashback, no panel of Orochi's face in shock, just Orochi saying something and Kaido attacking. He also has far too many people with personal grudges to be killed by Kaido, although I guess it is somewhat fitting that he bites off more than he can chew here. I hate that I instinctively doubt that someone has died, but that's Oda for you.

Assuming they make it out of Wano, Big Mom and Kaido's alliance is going to send the world into endgame. Blackbeard might get involved on their side, being the opportunist that he is. Shanks and Luffy could form an alliance. The Marines have to become more proactive; they can't just let two of the strongest people and organisations alive team up and hunt for the ancient weapons and the One Piece.
 

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