Anime

One Piece Chapter 1020: Nico Robin takes on Black Maria

One Piece Chapter 1020, “Robin vs. Black Maria,” opens with the conflict between Kaido and Yamato. Kaido reveals that Yamato ate the Inu Inu no Mi, Model: Okuchi no Makami devil fruit, becoming a “wolf deity.” According to the Yonko, the wolf is the “Guardian Deity of Wano.” To Kaido, Yamato is just another tool, like the country of Wano itself. He wants her to run it as a “weapons factory.”

However, Yamato wishes to “liberate” Wano instead. This is the dream Oden wanted for his country. Yamato releases a mouth blast called Namuji Hyoga, which Kaido counters with Bolo Breath. Kaido says that he will never allow Wano to be liberated. Kurozumi Orochi was successful in exploiting his own people for profit. In one of the previous chapters, Orochi returns. I speculated that Orochi had eight lives but after Kiado and the Nine Red Scabbards killing him he’s down to six.

Nico Robin has faith in Sanji

Kiado is unaware of his survival. Orochi isn’t strong enough to fight Kiado, so I would assume he would plot behind the scenes. Regardless, Orochi would have to be officially killed before Kaido’s plan for Yamato to work. Elsewhere, Nico Robin and Brook face Black Maria, and her subordinates, Nure Onna, Tenjo Kudari, and Number Kunyun. Black Maria fails to trick Robin with the false images of Nico Olvia, Professor Clover, and Jaguar D. Saul. Brook was unharmed as well. He notes that both he and Robin have been “being hurt by illusions.” Oda reminds us what Robin and Brook have suffered. This is important when Black Maria attempts to convince Robin that Sanji betrayed her. The Straw Hats have been through a lot together and with Robin specifically. They have a strong bond.

Throughout all of this, Black Maria wields a polearm with a wanyudo at its end. Wanyudo is a Gifter, with a big head and a body of a small pug dog. He’s made to run along a hamster wheel at the end of Black Maria’s polearm, generating fire. It seems like a terrible life, but Wanyudo is always laughing, seeking pleasure from his masters violence. Black Maria creates a floor of fire that Brook eliminates with Cold Soul. Brook decides to take on Black Maria’s subordinates, leaving Robin to fight Black Maria herself. Like many of the Strawhat’s Robin is underserved, especially when fighting. She prepares to fight using Gigante Fleur, creating a large body with nine arms.

Anime · Manga

The Top 3 revelations from One Piece Manga Chapter 1009

“Naraku”

The Nine Red Scabbards decapitate Orochi in Chapter 1009 of One Piece.
The Nine Red Scabbards decapitate Orochi

Kurozumi Orochi’s has six more lives

We didn’t expect to see Orochi again after he was decapitated by Kiado. Well, he’s back and according to his Fukurokuju, he did die. So how is he alive, well that’s unknown. It does appear that Orochi had one fewer head. If this is accurate then he has seven, well six more lives remaining. He’s going to need them because he’s weak. Not only did Kiado kill him in one blow, but he also didn’t put up much of a fight against the notably weakened Nine Red Scabbards

Kiado and Big Mom’s alliance is going to be a problem

We were already prepared for the two Yonko to cause problems in One Piece, but seeing them fight together is giving us a glimpse of how much. The relationship between Kiado and Big Mom is complicated. Frenemies is probably the most appropriate. However, they fight together well. The pair combine their strength to attack Luffy, Zoro, Kid, Law, and Killer with Hakai. What feels like a casual assault from the two requires significant effort from Zoro. 

The Worst Generation will have to work together

When faced against two Yonko what can even the Worst Generation do? Their best hope is to separate the duo. Law’s Devil Fruit powers are ineffective against the Emperors. Teamwork is all they have. As Luffy battles Kiado head-on, Kid creates a metal box that Law uses to trap Zeus. Zoro cuts Prometheus into pieces using Homura Saki: Rokudo no Tsuji while Killer gets rid of Napolean. Big Mom strikes Kid, slamming him to the ground. Surprisingly, Kid seems fine and uses repel to send Big Mom into the air. Law throws a rock at her knocking her towards the sea. Without Zeus to help she’s helpless. 

Manga

One Piece Chapter 1007: Manga Recap and Review

Cover of One Piece chapter 1007 - Caesar giving penguin children gas-filled balloons.
Cover of One Piece chapter 1007

Chopper Saves the day

I have complained in the past that many of the characters outside of Zoro, Luffy, and Sanji aren’t getting much attention. I understand it’s difficult to balance such a large cast of characters, but Oda forgets the rest of the Strawhat crew. Chopper develops a counter virus to Queen’s Ice Oni disease. This arc had set the alliance against Kaido’s Beast pirates, who clearly out numbers them. I wondered how Oda would change that deficit. When Queen’s subordinates ask “why they have to suffer from his virus.” The All-Star berates them. Queen tells them to “shut up.” He explains that they “gambled” for power and “failed.” Queen says that they’re only useful dying. Oda uses this cruelty to justify the Beast Pirates switching sides.

Queen tries to turn the samurai against the Strawhat’s. He tells them that pirates are corrupt and Chopper will probably betray them. One Piece has blurred the boundaries between who we expect to be good or bad. Pirates in One Piece are neither good nor bad by default, their behavior determines the perception. Oda doesn’t fail at much, but I think he’s unsuccessful at establishing that Wano’s society thinks of Pirates. So when Queen says that “backstabbing is part of the pirate lifestyle,” I don’t think that anyone is going to believe it. The samurai don’t buy it. They’re certain in Chopper’s honesty and are not disappointed. Chopper cures Hyogoro of the Ice Oni and releases the antibodies into the air.

Enraged, Queen demands to know why Chopper would cure his subordinates. A doctor, Chopper believes that “viruses aren’t meant to be weaponized.” Queen attacks Chopper but is blocked by the Pleasures. They have sided with their savior, Chopper. Marco grabs Queen by the neck and Chopper transforms into his Monster Point form. He draws blood from Queen, as he reminds people he’s a “Tanuki.”

The Artificial Devil Fruit

The side story in this chapter focuses on Momonosuke. He feels unworthy of the praise he receives. Momonosuke considers himself to be weak. After he transforms into his dragon form, we pivot to the CP-0’s room. Here they discuss the Artificial Devil Fruit that was derived from Kaido’s DNA. The leader hopes they destroyed it. Momonosuke is still a child, so it’s unreasonable for him to think he should be stronger than he is. Regardless, considering the Artificial Devil Fruit was created by Vegapunk and taken from Kaido, it must be a powerhouse devil fruit. I’m curious what makes up a “failure” by Vegapunks standard. The ultimate shocker is the return of Kozuki Oden. I’m not buying Oden being alive, but you never know right.

Manga

One Piece Chapter 1000: Recap and Review

Luffy joins Law, Zoro, Killer, and Kid to face Yonko's Kaido and Big Mom in the milestone chapter 1000 of One Piece.
Luffy joins Law, Zoro, Killer, and Kid to face Yonko’s Kaido and Big Mom

Chapter 1000 – “Straw Hat Luffy”

One Piece chapter 1000 won’t be released until Jan 4th, 2021. However, those of us that don’t want to wait can find it on mangafreak now. Anyway, after over twenty years, 450 million copies sold, and 97 volumes One Piece has reached its 1000 chapter. I’ll admit I expected more from this chapter, but I’m not disappointed. On the fifth floor, the Inuarashi Musketeer Squad has cleared the way for Luffy to get to the roof. Shishilian tells Luffy that he’s never forgotten that Luffy risked his life for Raizo. Luffy heads upstairs. Elsewhere, Marco grapples King and Queen, as he throws Roronoa Zoro threw a hole in the roof. Yamato reveals more about Ace and Lord Oden’s journal to Momonosuke and Shinobu. She claims that the emergence of a “young and powerful” pirate generation was predicted decades ago.

In a flashback, Ace tells Yamato that Luffy “believes that he can achieve it.” It’s not made clear what he means, but I think we can all figure it out. According to Yamato, Oden described a future when the next generation leads a new era and defeats Kaido. As she says this, we see that Luffy has made it to the roof, joining Zoro, Trafalgar D. Law, Eustass Kid, and Killer. With Kaido and Big Mom standing side by side, Luffy walks between them. Kiado challenges Luffy to “say it one more time.” Luffy ignores him, going to Kin’emon. Bloody and defeated, the Nine Red Scabbards survive.

Kin’emon begs Luffy to “save Wano.” As Kaido prepares to attack Luffy, Law moves the Scabbards with his devil fruit ability. Kaido’s attack misses as Luffy dodges. Using his Gear Third Gomu Gomu no Red Rock, Luffyknocks Kiado to the ground. He proclaims that he is “Monkey D. Luffy” and he “will surpass them” and “become the King of the pirates.”

I don’t know if it will disappoint fans that this chapter didn’t feature a great deal of action, but I think it great chapter. From the first chapter, Luffy had always had the same dream, becoming pirate king. Oda does a wonderful job reminding us how far he’s come and that he’s never lost sight of this dream. Throughout the 1000 chapters of this series, Luffy has had sets backs and disappointments but always overcame them. However, Luffy still has obstacles to his pursuit, the Yonko. I didn’t think Luffy could defeat Kiado and Big Mom, so I it makes sense that Luffy will have support. The image of Kid, Killer, Law, Zoro, and Luffy standing together gave me chills.

This entire chapter had so many subtle elements. The mink tribe and Kin’emon reminding us that despite the power Luffy has, he always is will to sacrifice for others. This puts him in direct contrast with Kaido and Big Mom, who use their strength for selfish ends. In order for anyone to become Pirate King, they need support. Over the series, Luffy has amassed a small army that wants to see him as King. His brothers Ace and Sabo believed in him, Yamato believes in him, and so does his crew. With the battlefield set, all that remains is the battle. One Piece is going to be epic in 2021.

Manga

One Piece Manga Chapter 999: Recap and Review

Beasts All Stars King and Queen attack Marco in chapter 999 of One Piece.
Beasts All Stars King and Queen attack Marco

Chapter 999 – “The Sake I Brewed to Drink With You”

One Piece manga chapter 999, “The Sake I Brewed to Drink With You,” begins with a flashback of when Portgas D. Ace and his Spade Pirates crew came to Wano. Ace announces that he intended to “take the head of Kiado.” However, Kiado and his crew left on an expedition. Yamato tells Ace to leave, as the Whitebeard Pirate notices Yamato is wearing explosive cuffs. Ace and Yamato clash, while Ace asks Yamato why they allow “to chain their wrists, but their heart as well.” Yamato expresses the desire to have an adventure on the sea. Ace is impressed and they share a bottle of sake. Ace tells Yamato of the new pirates making names for themselves. He points out Cavendish, Eustass Kid, Trafalgar Law, Capone Bege, and of course Luffy, who’s a few years from starting his journey.

Yamato is explaining all this to Mononosuke and Shinobu in the present. I think Oda is using Ace to weave Yamato and Tama into the story more. With so many characters, we can forget some and their motivation. Ace was a beloved character for fans and of course Luffy. If he inspired characters like Yamato and Tama, then they will be endeared towards us. The connection with Ace gives us a reason to care about these characters. Elsewhere, Queen orders his men to stop Marco. Confused considering Marco helped save them from the disease Queen expose them to. The Beast Pirates are reluctant. Marco tells Brooke and Robin to head into the castle while he takes flight with Zoro. Marco flashes back to a time when the Whitebeard Pirates considered invading Wano. However, they feared the potential loss of life.

Big Mom and Kaido want the One Piece

In the present, King and Queen transform into their respective dinosaur forms. Queen tells Marco that “he can’t just assume he will fly straight past them.” King says that when “Oden’s son dies,” the battle “will end.” Queen tries to shoot Marco, but in his phoenix form the bullets simply passed through him. At the top of Skull Dome, Big Mom and Kiado wait for Luffy. Big Mom tells Kiado that he can kill all the Strawhat’s except for Nico Robin. Kaido reveals that he’s planning on dropping Onigashima on a castle in the Flower Capital. Kiado expects a lot of civilian deaths as a result, but he simply doesn’t care. Big Mom asks if the Road Poneglyph is in the Capital and Kiado rebuff her.

She responds by reminding him she gave him his Devil Fruit and he owes her. Oda not going to reveal too much until the historic 1000th One Piece chapter, but I think that’s the smart thing to do. I’m interested in seeing more of the past between Kaido and Big Mom. When Luffy arrives, I don’t think he can take on both Big Mom and Kiado, I wonder who will fight Big Mom, Zoro?