The most interesting detail this week is Momonosuke’s decision. He tells Zunesha that he has decided that it is not yet time to open Wano’s borders. It was that one line of dialogue that made me change my mind about continuing the battle, more than anything that happened in this week’s chapter. We still think there’s a slim chance of Kaido reappearing one last time before it’s all said and done, but at this point we don’t think it’s likely at all. And this is entirely based on Momonosuke’s decision to delay the opening of the borders.
I think Momonosuke’s decision means the immediate opening of Wano’s borders is even more directly tied to the Final War and the end of the entire series than was already apparent. This means that many of the things I pointed to as proof that the battle would continue will likely be deliberately left hanging until the final saga.
Eventually, the inflection point of the battle I expected may have passed without our noticing – when Luffy was seemingly killed by Kaido in chapter 1042 and resurrected by his Nika powers in chapter 1043. We didn’t expect the battle to end without Kaido putting Luffy on the ropes and making it look like all hope was lost. However, that’s what happened when the Bowler Hat interfered in their fight and Kaido hit Luffy head-on. The twist then allowed Luffy to wake up.
On that note, we think Oda didn’t allow us to sit with this loss long enough, making it feel more like a speed bump than a major hindrance. Perhaps if he had allowed the forces gathered in the performance hall to fight Kaido amidst the flames, Luffy’s miraculous resurrection would have had a little more impact.
Kaido and Big Mom
Also, we’ve suggested that Kaido’s flashback doesn’t really dig into the roots of his motivation – and we stand by that assertion, but given the end of this chapter, we think it’s entirely possible that the Kaido’s story, like Big Mom’s, continues beyond Wano. As we’ve been saying for some time, we expect Big Mom and the Charlotte family to continue to feature prominently in future story arcs, most likely Elbaf.
In contrast, we expected Kaido’s story to be resolved in the here and now and therefore fully revealed before the raid’s conclusion. But ultimately, the reason why we couldn’t see Kaido’s revival or story is maybe that Oda intends to reveal those details in the future. We still don’t rule out the possibility of another phase of the battle, but the fact that Wano’s borders apparently remain closed and Oden’s dream is not yet realized has changed my perspective – and makes a lot of sense. clearer how Oda can deliver a satisfying conclusion despite all the unresolved narrative threads.
Either way, Momonosuke’s decision both makes sense and has major ramifications for the structure of this story arc. We had understood that Oden’s words in Chapter 968 indicated that the opening of Wano’s borders for the return of Joy Boy was a precursor to the rediscovery of One Piece, but Momonosuke, deciding to wait until later, indicates that this prophesied event will likely mark the beginning of the final war which Oden predicts will be large enough to part the seas.
Luffy the King
This is a big part of what changed my perspective on the nature of the current battle against Kaido. The closest comparison we can make is the Fishman’s Island story arc. We remember as we read week after week, we continually pointed to unresolved narrative threads like the Noah as proof that there must be something more to it than Hody’s hollow attempt to seize power. Which turned out not to be incorrect, but premature. Many narrative and thematic elements that at the time seemed to suggest the battle was just beginning were actually included to set up later events that Oda still hasn’t addressed more than a decade later.
In that sense, we believe that many of these unfinished elements on Wano, potentially including the stories of Big Mom and Kaido, are preparations for events that will only unfold after One Piece is rediscovered and Luffy is crowned as pirate king.
He still intends to use Wano to achieve his ambition of creating a world of war. Her story hasn’t been revealed – and we’re not talking about the Rocks. Being an Ogre is central to Kaido’s identity and motivation and it has yet to be revealed. Just as Wano’s story won’t be complete until the end of the game, Kaido’s story remains incomplete and will be revisited in the future. Kaido is not finished.
A rare death
With all that said, Oda linked Kaido’s fate with Big Mom’s. Despite being set adrift in a sea of magma underground, as insane as that feat is, even by One Piece standards, we think there’s almost no chance the two emperors fallen are really dead.
It’s very rare for Oda to kill major characters, let alone in such an ambiguous and unceremonious way. It’s remarkable that Oda tied Kaido’s fate to Big Mom, given the likelihood of his storyline continuing.