Video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuw7E56Is3U
On the cover page, Chocolat Town has been completely covered in ice. As you might recall, I mentioned several times that we still had no clarification of who the two figures at Chocolat Town were, as we know they were not Ichiji and Reiju. However, this ice can really mean almost only one thing… that Kuzan is here. That is particularly interesting, as we know that for some unknown purpose, Kuzan is now currently allied with Blackbeard. This means that Kuzan could’ve come with another Titanic Captain to invade Totto Land for some purpose. A likely chance of that is the Road Poneglyph Big Mom has in her chateau, though I do wonder why Kuzan would bother freezing over Chocolat Town so far away. Among those frozen, we can also see several citizens who we’ve seen before in the story. By the way, the chapter title follows the common pattern of “adventure in the country of-“ that has been the namesake of many openings to many One Piece arcs.
INTRODUCING THE VEGAPUNKS
As Vegapunk reveals herself, Franky is excited to introduce himself, since he did spend the timeskip going through many of Vegapunk’s designs. As I mentioned previously, there Franky found blueprints for a giant mech that Vegapunk was unable to complete as a young boy. However, Franky made those blueprints come to life during the timeskip, but Vegapunk has already made a much better model.
Vegapunk however reveals that, just as it is elaborated later in the chapter, she is one of several parts of Vegapunk. Now, it was clear something was up about this Vegapunk, but unlike some people thought, this is indeed the real Vegapunk and not someone separate like a daughter or apprentice. However, she is not the only Vegapunk, as there is a total of 7 of them. As Kaku later explains, Vegapunk split his consciousness from his original body into 6 extra bodies to have more hands at work, with them wildly varying in ages and genders. So the woman we see here is very much indeed Vegapunk, just only one of the aspects of their brain, which is why she speaks like an old man.
How he managed to do this isn’t really elaborated upon, but either he quite literally split the consciousness into artificial human life he created (or robotic bodies, though they seem to be very human), or he potentially cloned parts of himself into different bodies. It remains to be seen how much these Vegapunks share a consciousness or if they are quite literally clones of the same exact person but with different free wills, despite all of them being Vegapunk. It also isn’t clear if the Main Unit is still around or if it vanished when splitting into six.
The original Dr. Vegapunk is called the “Stella”, which is the Italian and Latin world for “star”, whereas the other 6 bodies are the “Satellites”. The kanji for “Stella” reads as “hontai”, which means “main unit”, like a computer, making it clear that the “Stella” is the original of the Vegapunks. On the other hand, the “Satellites” are written with the kanji for “cat”. This is because, as Kaku puts it, due to being short on time, Vegapunk would rather “have a cat lend him a hand”, which is a Japanese idiom for getting help, similar to the English proverb “two minds are better than one”. The reason for this naming system is likely the idea that Vegapunk is a star, while all the satellites revolve around him.
In this case, each of the remaining Punks are known by a given name, but each of them have a kanji reading that describes their personality:
- PUNK 01 (正シャカ) is “Shaka”, with the kanji “sei”, which can mean “justice/righteousness”, or the concept of good
- PUNK 02 (悪リリス) is pronounced as “Ririsu”, likely “Lilith”, with the kanji for “aku”, which means “wickedness” or “evil”
- PUNK 03 (想エジソン) is Edison, with the kanji “sou”, which means “thoughts”, or “ideas”
- PUNK 04 (知ピタゴラス) is Pythagoras, with the kanji “chi”, which means “wisdom”, “knowledge”
- PUNK 05 (暴アトラス) is Atlas, with the kanji “bou”, which means “violence”, “aggression”. Though in the chapter Atlas appears to be PUNK 06, so this is likely to be a mistake in the Jump Magazine that will be corrected
- Finally, PUNK 06 (欲ヨーク) is pronounced as “Youku”. This could be Yoke, Yolk, or York (the official translations use “York”, and they usually get their romanizations from Shueisha directly), though it might just be the pronunciation of its kanji, which is simply “yoku”, meaning “desire” or “greed”
These names make it very evident that each of these Vegapunks represent a different aspect of Vegapunk’s brain that has been split into all of these different bodies – his moral just side, his wicked mischievous side, his thinking calculative side, his knowledgeable wise side, his violent instinctual side, and his greedy desiring side. Personalities we clearly see reflected in the three satellites we already met. Given the number and their personalities though, I wonder if there’s also a connection to the seven deadly sins – Lilith could be pride or greed, Atlas could be wrath, and Yoku could be lust or greed, but it’s still too early to really be able to make a proper connection.
The real fascinating thing about the names of these satellites however is that they are all in fact connected to a satellite – our most important in fact, the moon. A Shaka Moon is a term used for a full moon, whereas a Lilith Moon is a term used for a dark moon. The former is named after the person who became the Gautama Buddha after reaching the enlightenment of righteousness, whereas the latter is named after a mischievous figure of Judaic mythology, which fits both of their personalities, the logic one and the mischievous one. Furthermore though, Edison and Pythagoras are both clearly named after the famous inventor and mathematician, which fits with the technology setting, but Edison, Pythagoras, and Atlas are all craters of the moon. Really, the only outlier here is Yoku, who is just named after his own kanji rather than having a separate name. Which ties all these Satellites to the satellite that is the Moon, while the original Vegapunk is the sun, the “Stella” or star, since in Japanese the word “star” can refer to either a star or a planet. We’ll have to see if this has any deeper connection with the lore or if this is simply a reference to the science and futuristic association of space, as if Vegapunk already reached beyond space and the stars.
Anyway, during this scene we get a look at Lilith and Shaka, and as outlined before, we get a good look at their personalities. Speaking of the latter, we get to see a look at their design, with a helmet that very much looks almost identical to that of famous artists Daft Punk, which is fitting given the “punk” in their name. At the same time, the helmet also looks strikingly similar to that of the warrior of the sea Sora, which only furthers the connection between Vegapunk and Sora that was already apparent in Lilith’s appearance. Shaka does not seem to have the same speech pattern Lilith has, though they haven’t used their pronouns yet so it’s hard to tell, as well as their gender which is still a mystery. The speech pattern sounds a bit masculine, but it’s hard to really tell.
Lilith manages to surround the Straw Hats with a bunch of weaponized sea beasts, which is an evolution of what Vegapunk had achieved during his youth by weaponizing the animals of Karakuri Island (not to be mistaken with last chapter’s mecha shark, which seemed to be entirely robotic), but now has managed to do so with much bigger animals. Would they be able to weaponize things such as Sea Kings? Sea Beasts are already scary enough on their own, but Sea Kings would put Vegapunk on a power not that far from that of Poseidon, if a bit more limited. Each of the Straw Hats is reacting differently to Vegapunk, with Franky fanboying, Sanji falling in love, Usopp freaking out, Nami hugging onto Robin out of fear, and Robin and Zoro ready to strike Vegapunk. Zoro particularly asks her if he can make a request. What this is we don’t know, but I feel a good guess would be if Vegapunk can undo the effects of SMILE fruits that Caesar has caused, which is no doubt something they should be able to do. Given how Zoro felt very enraged by what Orochi and Caesar did with the SMILEs, it would make sense he would want to help turn people like those of Okobore back to normal.
BONNEY AND KUMA
Back on Bonney’s side, Bonney reveals that Kuma is indeed her father. As I mentioned before, Bonney’s vivre card in 2018 included a note that said “Wants to make Vegapunk restore her father”, though it wasn’t known if this was an accidental slip up or a scrapped idea. However this confirms this was indeed accidentally revealed, as she is in fact Kuma’s daughter, which makes her the princess of the Sorbet Kingdom and likely Connie’s daughter or granddaughter. This would make her the new “princess” of the arc as is usual with Oda. Her saying she wants to restore Kuma indicates that he can likely be reverted, which indicates Kuma was likely another fake death that can result in him coming back to normal if his personality was backed up somewhere or is hidden somewhere inside him. Bonney also mentions how she had been to Egghead in the past and how she knew Vegapunk, which makes me wonder just how exactly she went from the East Blue to the Grand Line only to then go back, and why exactly Kuma met with Vegapunk together with Bonney there.
The group walks into the inside of Egghead, only to be greeted by a surreal futuristic theme park. There’s a lot to break down here, so let’s go structure by structure: on the left there is something that looks like a giant Famicom controller, with what look like stacks of jenga-like blocks above it. To the right is a dome with rocket-shaped houses and its own weather inside, with the writings “Vega Punk” on it. The space between them makes me wonder if that’s how Vega Punk’s name is meant to be written or if it’s just for the sake of this writing. There’s also the use of star symbology, which again is very similar to the one Franky uses. Above them are a giant mech and alien-looking kaijuu (lasers and all), though even more weirdly above them under the dome are a set of flying fish, including a whale, just floating in the air: likely more holograms like the two giant creatures. And if you look behind them, you can spot the writing “SSG”, which stands for “Special Science Group”, Vegapunk’s research unit – which now makes me wonder if the entire unit really just consists of the seven Vegapunks, since she later comments how all engineers are unreliable and only themselves can build such creations, which is likely why Vegapunk decided to split to begin with.
Meanwhile, behind them, Jinbe is being a gentleman and helping Bonney out of the hatch. Bonney also very briefly mentions how she met with Sabo, which isn’t an unlikely scenario, since the two had the same objective to rescue Kuma, so they undoubtedly crossed paths with each other.
The group however spots a giant parfait, and the three leap towards it to devour it. Chopper quickly hands his hat to Jinbe so he can dive straight into the food. However, much like the kaijuu, the food is a hologram, which as Bonney explains is basically just 3D projection of light, though it only exists in fiction, as we’ve never really seen it before in the series, until Vegapunk was able to make it a reality. Luffy is so devastated by the lack of parfait that he almost enters Gear 5th mode for a moment, with even some slight conqueror’s haki sparks being visible.
VEGAPUNK VIOLENCE ATLAS
PUNK 06 -Violence Atlas- appears, explaining how, just as we speculated, Vegapunk managed to master the island heating system he wanted to develop as a child, allowing for a tropical island despite the nearby winter waters. She describes it as quite literally the island’s “aircon”, or air conditioning. Vegapunk Atlas herself has a really peculiar design, with bi-colored hair similar to Uta’s, what seem like sheep-like ears and wool around her neck. In later shots we can also spot what looks like a tail. She also has the same boots Lilith has, and rocket engines on her back, which allow her to fly like a jetpack. She also possesses photonic gloves, which let her interact with light and do things like punch holograms. Her speech pattern is also quite childish, sounding like a little child prone to anger swings. She’s also big to boot, as Luffy says she’s about Kaido’s size. Luffy at first thinks she’s a hologram, so he calls her a “horo horo”, in reference to hologram, or “horoguramu” in Japanese. However, this could be a reference to Perona, since her “horo horo fruit” allowed her and her ghosts to phase through anything like holograms, where Luffy was unable to touch them just like he can’t here, so he might be making an intentional reference.
Atlas’s design is most likely referencing that of Astro Boy. Though not as known in a lot of the West, Astro Boy (or Tetsuwan Atom) is an icon in Japan, being one of the most famous characters made by legendary mangaka Osamu Tezuka. The reference becomes very apparent in her design, but becomes more obvious when rearranging the kana in Atlas’s name in Japanese, A-to-ra-su, into A-su-to-ra, which sounds incredibly close to “Astro”. Even “Atom” is very similar to “Atlas”.
Atlas ends up punching Luffy into the vending machine, which has the settings “East”, “West”, “South”, and “North”, which results in a fast food set: burger, fries and cola, or rather, Vega-cola, the latter bearing a star symbol and a stripe similar to that of the Vega Force.
Atlas introduces herself properly as Dr. Vegapunk, using the same statement Lilith used, being a humble hired genius scientist. Luffy is shocked as he mentions that Koby told him about Vegapunk, which references Chapter 433 when Vegapunk was first mentioned by name. However, despite this shocking revelation, the sound effects in the background still read as “umee”, or “delicious”, since Luffy and Chopper are still stuffing themselves despite the shock.
We cut to outside waters, where in a Government ship Lucci, Kaku, and Stussy are heading to Egghead. This alone is a very exciting prospect, since it means Lucci could meet again with Luffy or even someone like Robin. On the table we can spot three masks, including Lucci’s and what are most likely Kaku and Stussy’s. Behind Lucci is a set of drinks, since brandy is his favorite food. And of course, behind them is the massive Kuma Seraphim, once again bearing the star pattern we’ve seen on so many things from Vegapunk. Though oddly enough, despite having dark skin and black wings, this Seraphim does not seem to have white hair, and I can’t really seem to see fire either. Is there a reason for it?
We actually saw the team not too long ago in Chapter 1028, potentially already on the way to Egghead or preparing to. Interestingly in that chapter, the CP0 agent told Lucci that Momonosuke must have been Vegapunk’s artificial devil fruit, meaning that Vegapunk lied to the Government about the failure of the fruit. That could potentially be why Lucci has been dispatched to erase Vegapunk, since the Government is seeing them as too much of a liability given how they hid the existence of the artificial devil fruit from them. The term “erase” is also fitting given the language that has been used before with it to “erase” the lights King Imu deems inconvenient. Lucci himself interestingly wonders if this has to do with the incident in the Lulusia Kingdom. However Stussy and Kaku tell him not to put his nose where he shouldn’t, since obviously they aren’t meant to know about King Imu’s affairs and while they all likely suspect that something is pulling the strings in the World Government, even just considering the idea could result in serious danger for them.
Still, this is a very interesting connection, because it would explain what happened at the Lulusia Kingdom: the weapon that was unleashed on it might’ve actually been a creation of Vegapunk, which would explain why its shape looked a bit like a UFO, and it shot down lasers, something right up Vegapunk’s futuristic alley. This would make sense too, since it seems more evident now that the past few chapters have not really served much as a post-arc, but more all just set up for Egghead: the Seraphim being unleashed on Amazon Lily, Lulusia getting destroyed, etc. It would also explain why this weapon hadn’t been used previously for things like Ohara, since Vegapunk only developed it recently (though it does bring into question how God Valley’s disappearance happened). It could also be that now that King Imu plans to use this weapon against the world, then perhaps keeping its secrecy might be part of the reason why they want to dispose of Vegapunk. However, this setup makes it only all the more likely that Vegapunk might indeed be an ally like we speculated, with the Straw Hats perhaps facing off against CP0 again or some other threat. Things are already heating up in this arc, so let’s see how this adventure evolves!
So much good in this chapter, I’m foaming at the mouth! Can’t wait to see the rest of Vegapunk’s copy bodies. And we will finaly see Stuffy in action!🥰
Thanks for the chapter analysis Artur!
I also made an immediate connection to the seven deadly sins (not to mention FMA’s homonculi) when I saw the Vegapunks interacting with each other. Assuming that’s a valid connection, I think we can safely lock down 01/Shaka == Pride, 06/York == Greed, and 05/Atlas == Wrath – Shaka and Atlas because their dialogue reads like it’s very forcefully associating them with those emotions, and York because he’s explicitly assigned “greed” as a trait in the Viz translation. That leaves four sins: gluttony, envy, lust, and sloth.
At a guess, I would associate 02/Lilith == Lust. Gluttony also works here, but Lilith as a mythological figure is traditionally associated with lust. I would also cautiously guess 00/Stella == Sloth, because Stella is the one who decided to make the extra bodies in the first place. Even more tentatively, we can guess 03/Edison == Gluttony, on the grounds that the mecha-shark is labelled with a 3 and seems to have a gluttony problem. That leaves 04/Pythagoras == Envy which … sure, why not.
Connecting the shark with Edison also makes me wonder about the numbers we see on a few of Vegapunk’s projects. The shark is labelled “03”, the Vega Force robot is labelled “12”, the tiger-ish Sea Beast is labelled “15”, and Atlas summons a hologram with a “25” label. I wonder if those numbers, instead of being Franky-style serial numbers, represent which Vegapunk units developed the project? So the Vega Force robot would be a Shaka/Lilith collab (fitting since it’s Shaka and Lilith who discuss how it’s being used), that Sea Beast, or maybe Sea Beasts in general, would be Shaka/Atlas collabs, the hologram lady would be Lilith/Atlas, and the mecha shark would perhaps be a Stella/Edison project. Each satellite body would presumably be a collaboration between Stella and that satellite. That would also explain why the “15” project seems to be older than the “03” project.
Maybe this whole comment will turn out to be nonsense by the time the next break rolls around. On the other hand, maybe not!
So Dr. VegaPunk is the Princess of this arc.
There’s also a ? on one of the Tetris blocks to add a Mario reference.
Kuma’s lack of white hair, and Atlas’s dress saying PUNK 06, are both officially acknowledged as mistakes on Jump’s Twitter account now.
I’m not sure about this, but I think the correct reading should be Yolk.
We’re on Egghead Island, so there could be a pun with Egg Yolk.
And as Yolk is associated with Greed and Desire, It could also be a reference to a Golden Egg,
or if it has to do with the cosmos, then a Cosmic Egg, or maybe the Moon itself.
We could also find a link to Albion and the Four Zoas of William Blake, Albion can be represented as a White Egg, before he separated into Four Zoas, and from them four female beings “emanated”.