WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece chapter # 1022, “The Stars Take the Stage”, by Eiichiro Oda, Stephen Paul and Vanessa Satone, available in English via Manga Plus and Viz Media.
In chapter # 1021 of One Piece, the fight between Black Maria and Robin reached its fever pitch, with Robin revealing a new technique using his Giant Fluer: Sea Serpent Snapdragon. When pressed further, Robin reveals another new form: “Demon Fleur”, with which he smashes Tobi Roppo, smashing Maria’s back with a Grand Jacuzzi Clutch while Brook finishes off his minions.
However, unbeknownst to them, a Maria watches them, having apparently seen everything. Meanwhile, in the port of Tokage, Caribou has come to Luffy’s aid, bringing with him enough meat to finally revive the Straw Hat. As Luffy regains his strength, Momonosuke pushes Shinobu aside and insists that he use the Jutsu of maturity to turn him into an adult.
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All of this brings us to Chapter # 1022, where the opening provides an update on the numbers: 30,000 Pirates of the Animal Kingdom versus 5,400 members of the Samurai-Pirate Alliance. The name and location of each of the Tobiroppo is also updated, revealing that five of the six have been officially removed from battle. Also, there are only 15 minutes left until Onigashima reaches the Flower Capital, and although Luffy is regaining his strength, he may not have time to return to Onigashima and stop Kaido before the fortress reaches its destination.
On the third floor of the castle, Fukurokuju and Raizo face off in the fire room. Raizo asks Fukurokuju why he allied himself with Orochi, to which Fukurokuju replies that shinobi exist to serve the shogun, no matter who he is. Raizo creates clones of himself, but Fukurokuju quickly discerns which one is the real one and knocks him to the ground with his Lobe Crackers. He says that Raizo serves a ghost and that he was always too emotional to be a shinobi. Raizo replies that emotion is what makes them who they are.
He continues to remind his former comrade that they laughed, cried and perished alongside Kazuki Oden on the day of his death, that they are ghosts driven to fulfill Oden’s wish. They chose to follow their emotions and carry out their mission of their own free will, even if it means that they are going to die. He then declares that Momonosuke will be the new shogun.
On the third floor, in the fight between Killer and Hawkins, it appears that Killer has Hawkins on the ropes, the latter admitting that his prospects for victory are slim and that he has hardly any replacements left. Killer responds by saying that he is sorry for those lives and impales Hawkins with his scythe. Hawkins then says that although he has some lives left, the real question is who they are, revealing that he used a straw doll to evade Killer’s attack.
Meanwhile, on the second floor, Law and Kid confront Big Mom. It is then revealed that the Hawkins dummy transferred the damage from the Killer attack to Kid, who is confused as to where the stabbing came from. Killer realizes what Hawkins’ cryptic message meant: that the doll represented the Kid and not himself. Hawkins explains that he thought it would be entertaining to watch Killer kill Kid without him knowing, but then decided it would be more fun to tell him after all. Hawkins poses a real conundrum for Killer – killing him means killing Killer’s captain at the same time – but Killer laughs at it, saying he likes Hawkins’ style.
On the show floor, the King and Queen threaten the converted Animal Kingdom pirates, fire blazing around them. Sanji keeps the front, but admits that two of them at the same time is too much for him. He calls Chopper and Dr. Miyagi, saying that if the medicine doesn’t work to get Zoro to safety. Chopper asks if the medicine will take a long time to take effect, to which Miyagi says that Zoro was already in serious condition to begin with. Chopper cheers for Zoro as the swordsman clings to life.
Sanji returns to the fight, kicking Reina in the face. King orders the remaining followers to find Zoro and kill him. Perospero is irritated that the battle has raised so much dust that he cannot aim his bow at Sanji well. He goes on to say that if Sanji had married Pudding to begin with, he wouldn’t have had to mate with Kaido’s crew under his mother’s direction. Just when he is about to lose an arrow, he is hit by the Nekomamushi of the Guardians as revenge for Pedro’s death. Unfortunately, this is of no use to Zoro, as the Animal Kingdom Pirates have found him. King then steps in to finish off Zoro, with Chopper begging to be left alone and Sanji asking if he has to do it all for “Mosshead”.
Suddenly, Marco appears and blocks Rey’s attack, saying that he has heard tales about the race of people who are on top of the red wall and that they can burst into flames. King and Queen realize that this means that the Whitebeard Pirates are still alive. Just as Marco gives up and the Queen prepares a laser attack, Zoro explodes from his cocoon of bandages. Marco announces: “It is time for the stars to enter the scene.”
Samurai and pirates encourage Zoro to go out. The swordsman then throws a three-sword style: Oni Giri Purgatory alongside Sanji’s Diable Mouton Mallet. The two exchange an understanding that once the battle is over, they are going to see Luffy as King of the Pirates.
Chapter 1023 will be released on Sunday, August 29.