Video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Eo2yEPHDmM
We are finally entering a new arc in One Piece, the Egghead Island Arc, and we are starting off with a bang, as not only do we finally get to see Dr. Vegapunk, but Oda even confirmed himself that during this arc we’ll find out the truth about the origin of devil fruits! Welcome to Chapter Secrets, where we break down all the details in every One Piece chapter. Let’s begin!
The chapter opens up with this massive shark trying to swallow the Sunny whole. Its size is nothing to scoff at, considering that the Sunny is 56 meters tall, making this thing at least a few hundred meters long. What is most notable though is the large writing on its side, being Vegapunk, as well as the Number 3, which much like how Franky categorizes his different bodies, could make it the 3rd version of its line, as seems to be implied later.
The crew makes its way away from the shark with a feature called “Ship Bottom: Rabbit Screw”, which consists of a barrel with rabbit ears that uses a propeller and contrary to what you might first think, no, this is not Oda mocking the Carrot barrel theorists, but a Japanese pun: the kanji for “Rabbit” here reads as “脱兎”, which literally means “running away like a hare”, an expression that refers to when someone makes a quick getaway that it’s comparable to the speed of a hare, hence the rabbit design being used here by Oda.
The shark however locks onto the Sunny and blasts it with torpedoes, capsizing the ship. Now thankfully, because the ship is made of the incredibly resistant Adam Wood, it does not cause any damage to it, but it’s enough for the ship to fall beneath the waves. By the way, you can see in this panel that Franky has “BF” written on his back, which likely stands for “Battle Franky”, the model name for his iron body. As the Straw Hats fall into the water, Zoro holds onto Brook’s hair, while Sanji happily holds onto Robin, as they are both devil fruit users.
However, suddenly, a giant robot appears behind the shark, with the title “Vega Force 1” written on it, as well as the number 12 on the shoulder, again likely indicating the line of this specific model. Interestingly, it has a massive star on its chest as that is fairly similar to the one Franky features on his body, but it’s also similar to the symbol of the US Air Force, which could have served as an inspiration here given how this robot is referred to as the “Vega Force”. Speaking of Franky, this robot also looks awfully similar to the design Oda shared of Franky in the SBS of how he would look like in the future had things gone wrong.
Furthermore, we can also notice how this robot heavily resembles the General Franky in its design and there’s a good reason for it, because in Chapter 636 Franky mentioned how creating a mecha like this was once Vegapunk’s dream, as he found plans for an idea like this in Vegapunk’s laboratory that the scientist was unable to achieve during his youth. However, that was from a time when Vegapunk was younger and unable to complete such a project, but while Franky managed to achieve this on his own during the timeskip, it seems Vegapunk had been able to already do it himself too and created a far bigger and more advanced model to boot. In fact, though not as big as the shark, this mecha is still incredibly massive, yet it can move very easily through even water through the massive propellers on its back.
NEW MARINE FACES
We however briefly cut to G-14, the 14th branch of the Marines found on an island nearby. Given the weather, we can see that the base appears to be in a cold climate frozen over, and its most distinguishing features are the drills used as roofs and what seem to be balloons in the background.
There we see Tashigi with the kids from Punk Hazard, and in case you forgot, Nami entrusted the kids to Tashigi at the end of the arc and she promised she would take them to Dr. Vegapunk alongside Smoker since he might know a way to reverse the experimenting Caesar did on them, which we see right here as Mocha and the others have begun to shrink down.
We’re also introduced to a bunch of new Marines, such as G-14’s commander Vice Admiral Doll, Commander Hibari, and Rear Admiral Prince Groose, the former two being part of SWORD like Koby and Helmeppo. Though Prince Groose is actually someone who we’ve seen before, as you might recall him, as well as his men, from the Bege cover story, when they abducted Lola.
Groose speaks of the Pirate Island like a beehive, saying that if they try and poke it the pirates will come out like bees, given the fact that it’s called Hachinosu, which is the Japanese word for beehive. Hachinosu is also a Japanese expression that refers to someone being pumped full of lead, hence the name in the English translation, making your target look like a beehive with all its holes, something reflected in the island’s design. Blackbeard used this very expression when killing Whitebeard, saying to turn him into a “hachinosu”, or beehive, which is likely an intentional reference.
Groose also mentions that they can’t get in contact with Drake, captain of SWORD, which suggests that either A) he went somewhere after Wano cutting contact from SWORD for some reason, or B) he ended up dying during his talk with Hawkins as the two seemed quite badly wounded.
By the way, Helmeppo and Hibari refer to Groose by the epithet “Ouji”, which is Japanese for “Prince”, just like his name. Speaking of Hibari, she speaks in something that sounds like Hiroshima dialect, which is also used by characters like Akainu. She also refers to Koby as her “senpai” who she owes a lot to for being looked after, and just like Tashigi, she is named after a bird, called the Skylark in English.
BONNEY AND VEGAPUNK
Cutting back to Luffy’s side, Bonney introduces us to the current island. She mentions that she has come here having business with Vegapunk and this is actually a plot line that was established all the way half the series ago. In Chapter 565, Bonney was seen crying at the events of the Marineford War, and later in Chapter 581 she blamed a certain someone for what happened, vowing to go find them in the New World. Originally, many mistook this to indicate a connection to either Ace or Whitebeard given the events of the war, but we later found out in Chapter 908 how this was actually referring to her connection with Kuma. She was crying because she saw him being a mindless robot in Marineford, and this would imply that the person she wanted to go after was actually Vegapunk for turning Kuma like this, which this chapter finally confirms is indeed the case.
Bonney sailed into the New World but was captured by Blackbeard, who sold her out to the Marines, with Akainu stating that she had once fled the Government, likely tied with her connection to the Sorbet Kingdom. However, while she and her crew were captured, she alone was able to escape from the Marine ship and has been on the run ever since. She sneaked into Mary Geoise supposedly to help Kuma, but now she has come to fulfill her promise to take revenge against Vegapunk.
The island is introduced as being called “Egghead”, said to be 500 years ahead in the future, which is a reference to what Kuma said that Vegapunk is a genius so advanced that his inventions are from 500 years into the future. The name Egghead is also a direct reference to Vegapunk, as “egghead” is a term that refers to someone who is very smart and studious such as Vegapunk, giving the image of an egg-shaped big brain. However, the name is quite literal here, as we see the island has an egg head that has been cracked open. Within the egg appears to be a forest and surrounding it is a bizarre floating ring broken into pieces. Below we can see a bunch of vegetation, though unlike the winter climate nearby, which likely more than anything belonged to the G-14 base island, this place seems to have tropical vegetation. A closer look will show that there is something bizarre among the vegetation, as the foliage isn’t shaded like Oda usually does, suggesting these trees may not be natural, or at least something odd may be going on about them.
DR. VEGAPUNK’S TRUE IDENTITY
We cut back to the giant robot, from where someone appears from within the cockpit. This person takes off her helmet to reveal to be… Dr. Vegapunk?? Now at first glance, you might be a bit confused, because you might’ve thought this whole time that Vegapunk was a man. And you’re not wrong, the manga confirmed several times that Vegapunk was indeed a man. It was mentioned that he grew up as a young boy, has been called a man several times, and even referred to by some as an “old man”.
Furthermore, in the anime, we also heard Vegapunk’s voice 4 years ago during the Punk Hazard incident, which clearly sounded like that of an old man. He tried to capture Caesar for his deranged experiments, but Caesar set off his chemical weapon, in which Vegapunk was caught right in the middle of it. Caesar obviously survived because of his gas fruit, but I always wondered about a certain mystery: how did Vegapunk survive that explosion? Well, this might actually explain it.
Franky got caught in a very similar explosion when he accidentally set off the self-destruction mechanism in Vegapunk’s lab, destroying most of his body in the explosion. This forced Franky to upgrade from his current “Battle Franky 36” to the newer “Battle Franky 37”, in which he overhauled his body to the current appearance we are familiar with today. So could perhaps Vegapunk gone through something similar? After all, on the shirt is the writing “Punk 02”, suggesting this could be Vegapunk’s second body. After the explosion on Punk Hazard, or perhaps some other thing such as becoming too old, Vegapunk completely remodeled his body into the one we see now, and while he was at it, decided to give himself, or rather, herself, a younger and female body. After all, she has cracked the secret to modifying human lineage, so becoming a young girl would hardly pose a struggle for her. There’s also something to be said about the mild resemblance of this body to that of the Vinsmokes, considering that Vegapunk worked on the same team as Judge, though I wonder if that’s just a coincidence.
Of course, it’s possible there could also be some other scenario here, such as this being a remotely controlled robot or something, though I find it weird why she wouldn’t just remotely control the giant robot rather than controlling a small one to operate the big one, but I’m sure we’ll get our answers soon enough. Furthermore, Vegapunk uses the first person pronoun “washi”, which is generally used by older people, especially in manga and anime. It essentially indicates age and experience, and for reference, other characters in One Piece that use it are the likes of Garp or Jinbe. She also ends her sentences with “jya”, which once again makes her sound older. This is likely due to the fact that she actually is fairly old despite this new body, and likely still uses the same pronoun she did before out of habit.
Regardless of what the truth behind this body is, this is indeed Vegapunk, and the fact that we’ve finally seen her is a MASSIVE deal. Vegapunk is single-handedly the longest character in One Piece to appear in the story. She was first mentioned all the way back in Chapter 433 by Koby, literally during the Water 7 Saga back in 2006, 16 years ago. That was 627 chapters ago, literally over half the series!! The closest character to this record was previously Jinbe, who was first mentioned in Chapter 69 and only appeared 459 chapters later, though Vegapunk broke this long ago.
THE TRUTH OF DEVIL FRUITS
The second reason why you should be very excited is because in an SBS Oda implied that when Vegapunk appears in the story, the truth of Devil Fruits will finally be revealed! This was corroborated when Koby mentioned that Vegapunk found out how Devil Fruits worked and how they give people powers, which Law later mentioned has to do with the bloodline elements, suggesting that devil fruits work by modifying your DNA, by either changing it to that of an animal, an element, or other things, though of course the real truth is yet to be seen. I mentioned this a couple chapters ago so I’ll keep it brief, but the bloodline elements are essentially the DNA of the One Piece world, and Vegapunk’s team discovered how to manipulate them. Judge applied this technology to create his clone army and to modify the bodies of his children to become superhuman. Vegapunk similarly used it to understand the truth of devil fruits and even managed to clone a fruit through it. Caesar used this research to created SMILEs; as Oda explained, this was achieved by taking the lineage factor from animals and mixing it in a substance called S.A.D., which when irrigated onto soil, caused trees to sprout artificial devil fruits. Oda however suggested that while Caesar was limited to making flawed Zoan fruits, Vegapunk might’ve been able to create something far more advanced.
On the topic of Vegapunk though, allow me to give you a brief history lesson on the scientist: Vegapunk was born as a boy on Karakuri Island, a winter Island in Paradise. The island suffered from its hostile weather, so Vegapunk sought out to create a heating system that would keep the island warm. Unfortunately, Vegapunk lacked the resources or funding, so the system was never finished, but the villagers were grateful for the efforts, showing that, at least starting off, Vegapunk was a really kind person. Vegapunk also particularly seemed against unethical research, which Caesar branded him a coward with, so while some of the methods can be questioned, Vegapunk might quite likely end up becoming an ally rather than an enemy. Looking at Egghead Island though, is it possible that perhaps the massive egg might’ve been Vegapunk finally discovering how to create the heating method that failed with Karakuri, allowing the island to have a tropical climate despite the nearby cold waters?
Anyway, Vegapunk continued to develop a lot of creations in Karakuri, which Franky later found during the timeskip and became fascinated with, which will no doubt play into their encounter in the following chapters. Later on, over 24 years ago, Vegapunk would come to be part of a clandestine science research group known as “MADS”, which included him, Caesar Clown, Vinsmoke Judge, and Queen. The team made the revolutionary discovery of the bloodline elements, the blueprints of all life, which scared the Government enough that they persecuted and disbanded the team, though Vegapunk and several other members were assimilated to work for the Government in a team called the SSG, or Special Science Group. Vegapunk went on to create a lot of incredible creations, including cyborg-augmented animals, the creation of giants and ancient giants as well as gigantification, and the creation of artificial life. It was mentioned that the Celestial Dragons, as indicated in their name, are obsessed with the fictional dragon creatures, so they asked Vegapunk to create artificial dragons, and likely might’ve also been why they asked him to clone Kaido’s fruit, which originated from a placed where Celestial Dragons resided mind you, being God Valley.
The knowledge of the bloodline elements led to the cloning of this fruit, though Vegapunk deemed the fruit a failure, either to hide its power from the Government or for some other purpose, which later led to the Pacifista project, which evolved into the Seraphim project. In this project Kuma was cybernetically augmented, cloned, and later killed to become a mindless robot. Kuma confirmed to us that he was still working as an agent of the Revolutionary Army and he seemed to be particularly close to Vegapunk, which might suggest that Vegapunk agreed to kill him because of some plan the Revolutionaries had in mind, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough since this arc involves both Vegapunk and Bonney.
We are finally diving into the Vegapunk arc, and we are finally gonna find out more about Kuma and Bonney, Dr. Vegapunk, and of course, the truth behind Devil Fruits! We are finally reaching the finale of One Piece!
thx for this
By the way, the panel where Egghead island is shown? The palm tree on the right side is identical to the one little island Oda has repeatedly drawn, ever since the firsr chapters.
Amazing analysis! I really love this arc introdution and hope Oda gets wild to release info and answer the questions (a lot of them) while we met Vegapunk and Bonney. Talking in the devil, I was really thinking again again and again one thing about Bonney: could she be immortal? I mean, she can get old/young anytime and any age she want. I was thinking, Toki is a time leaper from Void Century, maybe Bonney is another one from Void Century bending time, but now she uses her own age to reach til these days. Is it possible, right?
Thanks for the chapter analysis Artur.^^
Regarding the Rabbit Screw, wasn’t it first seen in the One Piece Film Z-tied episode Glorious Island? I think its another one of those non-canon things that Oda made canon.
As for the woman claiming to be Vegapunk here, your theory of Vegapunk changing his sex is interesting but alongside that I can think of atleast four more reasons; 1) we have another Yamato character here, 2) Vegapunk really was a woman all along, 3) the name Vegapunk is possibly a family name or a title (one supporting possibility could be the number two seen on her clothes), or 4) it could be a robot or a clone, possibly a version of Pacifista or the Seraphim that Vegapunk is working on.
Thanks again Artur and company whom take so much time and effort to be so diligent in breaking down each chapter so that we can better understand what’s going on!
Can’t wait until the next chapter break down 😄