Manga

One Piece Chapter 1059: Blackbeard kidnaps Kody

Marco is dropped off to Whitebeard’s homeland Sphinx by the Red Hair Pirates. Marco tells Shanks that he’s “too old” for babysitting pirates and it up the next generation. In a brief flashback, Luffy finally thanks Marco for saving him during the Summit War. Meanwhile, on Amazon Lily, Boa Hancock and the other Amazon are reeling from being invaded by Marines. We get the first glimpse of the Marines new weapons, the Pacifistas: Seraphim. I’ve been eager to see what the Special Science Group (SSG) and Vegapunk produced and judging from their appearance in this chapter they’re going to be a problem. We only get partial looks at them but it seems like they’re modeled after child versions of the Seven Warlords. Furthermore, according to Blackbeard they resemble Lunarians, an extinct race which King is the last surviving member. King was experimented on by the World Government to test his “endurance.” It’s possible that the Seraphim possess some Lunarian’s DNA.

If the Seraphim weren’t bad enough Blackbeard arrives to steal Hancock’s Mero Mero no Mi devil fruit. Blackbeard blows past the Marines, demanding Hancock show herself. Kody pleads with her to surrender. She refuses, instead confronting both the Marines and Blackbeard pirates herself. However, Blackbeard nullifies her powers but not before Hancock petrifies the Marines, Devon, and Shot. Blackbeard tells her that “he’s had his eye on her Devil Fruit for a long time.” She responds in typical Hancock manner, she says her “beauty is what makes her powers formidable.” Kody witnesses the entire encounter. Hancock tells them that if she’s killed all the petrified people will remain so.

Rayleigh to the rescue

Blackbeard doesn’t trust her word and decides to kill her. Suddenly, Silvers Rayleigh appears saving Hancock from her doom. He tells Blackbeard that he “doesn’t like him.” Rayleigh unsheathes his sword and tells Hancock that “he makes sure nothing de-escalates and that everyone leaves the island.” In the present, Shakuyaku is the former empress of Amazon Lily and former Captain of the Kuja Pirates two generations prior to Boa Hancock. She states that with Vegapunk’s modification of Marine ships the “Calm Belt is no longer safe.” Rayleigh admits that his reputation is what saved them and if he had to fight Blackbeard he would lose due to his age. Apparently, during the conflict Blackbeard kidnapped Kody.

The dynamics in One Piece are shifting between the Marines, the new Yonko, the Revolutionary Army, and the former Warlords. Blackbeard has been on the sideline for a while and now that he’s taken Kody I think he’ll attract conflict with Luffy. However, it’s possible that Garp would interfere and get himself killed in the process, increasing Luffy’s hatred of Blackbeard. While the four major groups have changed they still seem balanced. One Piece continues to reveal some of the events that happened off screen. Apparently, Kody was involved in the Rocky Port Incident, that was caused by Law during the two year time skip. The details aren’t made clear but Blackbeard thanks Kody for his “help.” I’m enjoying the reveals so far.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 18: The tragic life of Daki (Ume) and Gyutaro

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 18 is the final episode of this season. I’ve been eager to see the backstory of Daki and Gyutaro and wondered if would change my view of them. Demon Slayer has a way of redeeming it’s villains. All tragic figures forced to serve Muzan. This arc gave hints at what life was like for the siblings. The consequences from Gyutaro’s explosion wasn’t nearly as devasting as I assumed but it was an opportunity to reveal Nezuko’s new ability to heal with her fiery blood. She rescues both Inosuke and Tengen from probably death. The bulk of this episode centered on the past of the Upper Six demon siblings. Gyutaro and Daki berate each other. She calls him “ugly” and he retorts that she’s “weak.” Daki’s tears up as she does it, giving the impression that she doesn’t mean what she says. It’s a subtle moment that Tanjiro confirms when he stops the two from fight further. He tells them “with all they have done, they will be despised and resented by all in the world without anyone but themselves.”

In the end Gyutaro and Daki will only have each other. Gyutaro and Daki’s whose real name is Ume, were born into the Rashomon Riverbanks, the lowest caste of the Entertainment District. Due to the extreme poverty, children were considered a burden. His mother tried to kill him multiple times, he was constantly berated by the civilians for his appearance, dirtiness, and his voice. However, this changed when the beautiful Ume was born. In the Entertainment District, your value is determined by your looks. This means Ume has a lot of value compared to her brother that had none. With his natural fighting ability, Gyutaro becomes a debt collector. He derived a greater self-worth from his sisters beauty and the effect it had on others. Life was looking good until Ume got on the bad side of a samurai. When returning home one night, Gyutaro finds Ume’s charred body.

Demons are the result of a cruel human society

Ume’s madam and the samurai collude to get revenge on the siblings. The samurai slashes Gyutaro from behind. Enraged, Gyutaro leaps into the air killing the madam. Gyutaro compliments the samurai on his kimono and skin complexion. Gyutaro kills the samurai by slicing his face in half. He carries Ume’s body through the district but no one would help. Suddenly, a Upper Rank Six appears carrying the corpse of a partially eaten woman. He offers to turn the siblings into demons and wonders if the two can “become a Twelve Kizuki demon and rise up like him.” Demon Slayer has made a point of showing how demons take advantage of suffering to fill their ranks. In a weird way, the demon population is fueled by the consequences of a cruel human society. I would argue that if humans treated each other better, it would be difficult for Muzan to recruit. Demons are a product of human society as much as they’re a product of Muzan.

Gyutaro blames himself for Ume’s death and wishes he had never taught her to take from others before they take from her. In the afterworld, Gyutaro and Ume meet again. He tells her to leave him and go into the light. Ume shows that she’s not as vapid as previously characterized. She reminds him of their promise as children to always stay together. The two cling to each other as they walk into the fires of hell together. Demon Slayer balances these moments well. It always clear that the series doesn’t think a tragic childhood excuses future behavior but without such tragedy maybe there’s no destructive future. My view of Ume and Gyutaro didn’t change but my understanding of their relationship was greater.

The rest of this episode serves to set up next season. Obanai Iguro appears a little to late to help and praises Tengen (kinda) for defeating an Upper Six. With his left eye and hand gone, Tengen decides he’s going to retire. Iguro is concerned that with Rengoku’s death another Hashira vacancy is unacceptable. Tengen suggests that Tanjiro would one day reach the potential of Hashira. As the crows spread the news of Tengen, Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke’s triumph a sickly Kagaya Ubuyashiki is excited. An Upper Rank hadn’t been defeated in over a century. He believes this moment is “an omen that fate is taking a dramatic turn,” and that Muzan will fall during this generation. Finally, we get a short scene with Akaza being summoned to the Infinity Castle. The last time this happened it didn’t end well for Muzan’s demons. I don’t think that will be the outcome this time, but as Kagaya states it does mark a dramatic turn. Demon Slayer once again doesn’t disappoint. I can’t wait until next season.