Giving an Ogre a Club
Well folks, Oda-sensei hasn’t officially said so but all the necessary pieces have fallen into place and I think it’s safe to say that Kaido’s base design has been mainly influenced by the Japanese ogres known as ‘oni’.
We were given our first hint back when his island of operations *seemed* to includes ogre-like horns akin to the mythical Ogre Island (Onigashima) from the Japanese folktale ‘Momotarou’. This week, those protrusions were confirmed to be horns.
What’s more, take a look at the weapon he used to clobber his subordinates in this chapter, an iron club; a weapon perhaps most commonly associated with oni. So much so that it’s even an idiom in Japanese, ‘like giving an ogre an iron club’. This is similar to saying something like ‘putting wings on a tiger’, taking something that’s already powerful and making it even more so.
The only question left unanswered about his design at this point is, who is his tailor?
That shirt he’s wearing is *faaabulooous*!
Sanji’s Favorite Lighter
Looks like Sanji is still using his lighter from S.T. Dupont!
The lighter was previously glimpsed in Punk Hazard and had no less than two in-your-face appearances in Film Z. Not letting that $14,700 go to waste, eh? ;)
Weekly Shonen Jump #21+22 Ch.824
One Piece Vol.79 Ch.793
Follow the White Rabbit
There were some huge world-building developments in this chapter with intriguing glimpses of *very* interesting characters -particularly of the Vinsmoke variety- but as this is the ‘Four Emperors’ Saga’, continuing from Kaido above, let’s talk about Big Mom!
Ah yes, Big Mom. For years fans have theorized that Whole Cake Island arc might be an Alice In Wonderland-inspired fantasy adventure and this chapter was certainly the icing on the (whole) cake. (Bing!) Big Mom, her crew, her ship, her headquarters and of course the tea party have all been accented with familiar Wonderland flourishes. As if he couldn’t make it any more obvious, Oda-sensei has *literally* given us a giant white rabbit to follow.
So let’s step through the proverbial looking glass and see how deep Big Mom’s rabbit hole goes. …ooh, I… I probably should have thought that one through. Anyway, here’s a panel from this chapter that I think is perhaps the most important hint as to what makes Big Mom so powerful. Ready?
A door!? I KNOW RIGHT!?★ It’s a living door that sings what it is! This should immediately call to mind more of Alice’s adventures but more importantly, notice that it’s a *wooden* living door that sings what it is! Where else have we seen this?
The singing figurehead on Big Mom’s ship!
Way back in the 5th edition of the column [Japanese language only, sorry!] I mentioned how odd it was that a distinct wood-grain was glimpsed inside the mouth of the ship. Is there anywhere else we’ve seen wood associated with Big Mom before?
Keanu-face: “Woah…” Is it possible, that if Big Mom’s jolly roger references her Devil Fruit ability (supposing she has one) that *she* is the one responsible for the living figurehead and this door? In addition to the tree, there are other marks on Big Mom’s flag as well. Do they represent other natural elements? Then how about this; remember when we first met Big Mom and to our collective horror she appeared to be eating some off-screen characters? Instead of a *human*, is it possible that she was eating highly protesting…food? Curiouser and curiouser!
Weekly Shonen Jump #20 Ch.823
Weekly Shonen Jump #23 Ch.825
One Piece Vol.66 Ch.651
“Win the crowd, and you’ll win your freedom.”
Once again we have a glimpse at Luffy’s uncanny ability to gather people to his cause. Notice that as the series has progressed this ability of his has grown from inspiring a girl and some backwater Marines to now the entire population of a country; and yet…Luffy himself is not considered a hero. Well, I mean he *is* but in his own mind -and Oda-sensei’s- Luffy is a pirate who through happenstance performs heroic feats.
More often than not Luffy’s deeds weren’t directly witnessed, or even attributed to him, but he still inspired people to achieve greatness *through his actions*. This is perhaps most evident when even the people of Dressrosa miraculously understand this distinction and instead of calling for Luffy, they chant ‘Lucy’, the hero and champion of the coliseum. Despite being a pirate ‘Lucy’ became an idea for them to gain strength and inspiration from.
Also Consider that ‘Lucy’ wasn’t a single champion to begin with, the role was performed by *both* Luffy and Sabo making this ‘Lucy’ figure even more impressive. Mihawk’s words during the Paramount War are almost chilling and seem to foretell even more amazing and unthinkable feats that Luffy will accomplish before his journey is complete.
TV Anime #732
One Piece Vol.57 Ch.561
The Defeat of Dark Dreams
A moving choice of background music for Luffy’s takedown of Doflamingo.
This memorable piece is from One Piece Film: Strong World, ‘The Final Battle -Gigant Thor Axe-‘ which unsurprisingly played during Luffy’s final and powerful blow to Shiki. More than just a powerful and exciting anthem, this particular number has come to represent the triumph of Luffy’s willpower and exuberance over the dark and evil dreams that live within the villains’ hearts.
TV Anime #733