On the cover page, Cracker, who was dispatched to fight the two figures at Chocolatown like we saw in a previous cover page, has been frozen over by the ice powers, likely that being Kuzan. According to Brûlée, it would seem like Pudding has been kidnapped by the two figures, which given the end of this chapter actually has some really horrible implications, as it means Blackbeard may now have access to someone who can read the poneglyphs.
Going back to Atlas from last chapter, this chapter Atlas actually uses a first person pronoun, being the common masculine pronoun “ore”. As we mentioned, Atlas has a rather childish short-tempered dialogue speech, on top of what sounds like words from Kansai dialect, or likely Harima dialect to be more specific. At first I assumed that Atlas was female given the skirt-like outfit, but given how Luffy wears a similar one this chapter, I wonder if Atlas is perhaps a boy given the young age. While we have had female characters like Big Mom using the pronoun “ore”, to denote more assertiveness and masculinity, it is still predominantly used for males, so it’s hard to pin down Atlas’s gender so far to be precise since it’s not specified and the look is a little bit androgynous.
While I’m at it, the fact that Atlas has bovine-like ears makes me wonder if they’re meant to be themed after a cow, hence why they have white and black hair, as the ear even seems pinched like cattle would. This might also explain why Atlas runs amuck, just like a raging bull.
Society of Egghead
The Straw Hats, with what is basically honorary Bonney, observe the people of Egghead moving about the island. As the drawings and the sound effects seem to depict, they are moving in a very robotic manner, so it’s possible that they may perhaps all be robots, especially since some of them look like actual robots, which brings into question how many living hominids there are on the island besides Vegapunk. It’s also worth noting how some of these robots appear to be very small, basically automata-sized… which might tie more deeply into how a scientist from Vegapunk’s homeland was able to create automata despite them having been originally invented on the Moon, which only strengthens the connections between Vegapunk and the Moon.
Interestingly, we see several writings on them, which likely have to do with their specializations: these include “Linguistics, Petrology (the study of stones and minerals), History, and Civil. One of them also appears to be carrying what looks like a guitar case, which might suggest a study of music, potentially indicating that on Egghead all types of sciences and arts are researched. Another neat detail is how the ground beneath them appears to look like the matrix of a computer, giving the island that much more of a futuristic feel. The look of it is very similar to that of other sci-fi landscapes like the Grid from the TRON series, which might’ve served as an inspiration for Oda given the similarity in the design of the clothes.
Speaking of which, Bonney wonders how all these citizens can live in such a tropical climate with such heavy outfits, but as Luffy gets dressed by the automatic dressing machine, he realizes how these clothes have been designed to look heavy yet feel light and ventilated. On them we can spot the writing SSG, of course standing for “Special Science Group”, and on his arm is the writing “Vega”. Chopper similarly gets “SSG” on his outfit, whereas Bonney gets VP, or Vega Punk. Speaking of the Fashion machine, you can also spot SSG written on the side of it, as well as “CAUTION” written on the doors, to advise citizens to be careful not to get stuck in the automatic doors.
Luffy however warns the group that Kuma is coming up, with the others mistaking it for an actual kuma, or wild bear, approaching them. This Kuma, being a modified pacifista (obviously not the original since it should be found in Kamabakka at the moment), has a police outfit as very clearly written on the chest, paired with a classic cop hat and sunglasses. On the hat the star with stripes symbol can be seen again, and there’s another star on the belt, interestingly with two wings by its sides. On its arm it has the writing SSG, while on its neck it has the writing “PX”, standing for Pacifista.
Luffy peers into the future and sees it charging at them, accusing them of not paying for the clothing and food. This explains how law enforcement works on the island, as robots like the Pacifista help patrol the streets, but of course these leads to flaws as it couldn’t tell how Atlas was treating the Straw Hats, so it automatically identifies them as criminals.
Bonney reveals that Kuma is the father she was talking about, as she didn’t specify last chapter, shocking the rest. Luffy actually calls her Bonney, since he learned after she corrected him last chapter, and tries to rescue her from the pacifista. We get a small glimpse into Bonney’s childhood, where we interestingly see a very young Kuma: he appears to wear a lab coat and professor-like glasses, which would perhaps hint at the fact that he too was a scientist. This would explain a lot of things, as it would suggest that Kuma perhaps was also a scientist with MADS, since his coat looks just like those other MADS scientists have worn.
He’s also a scientist king just like Judge, and all this might allow us to peer into the reasons why he might’ve offered himself up as a weapon for the sake of starting the Pacifista project. This would also explain why Bonney knew about Egghead last chapter, as she might’ve potentially grown up there in part when Kuma was working as a scientist there. Again, it’s worth reminding ourselves that in Sabaody Kuma confirmed that he was working as a Shichibukai as an undercover Revolutionary Army agent, so the Pacifista project may yet serve a larger purpose to the Army.
New Devil Fruits of the Blackbeard Pirates
We however quickly shift locations as we instead pop to one of the other three islands of the New World, where the Heart Pirates are suddenly ambushed by the Blackbeard Pirates. Teach himself strikes the water with his Gura Gura no Mi powers. The pressure of the quakes is so powerful that the Heart Pirates have no option but to surface, leaving them no escape despite having a submarine. Furthermore, the crew has been infected by Doc Q’s powers, infected by a disease that turns them into women, turning Law into the female design Oda shared in an old SBS. Law however confirms that devil fruit powers can be negated if the user uses high enough haki, which was already alluded during the battle on the Rooftop when Law couldn’t switch Kaido or Big Mom, but it explains a lot of things on how broken powers can be limited. For example, Sugar’s powerful Hobi Hobi no Mi powers would likely not work on someone like Kaido, stopping her powers from being broken enough to instantly defeat such a powerful enemy.
It’s revealed that this is the power of Doc Q’s devil fruit, the Shiku Shiku no Mi, or Sick Sick Fruit, which allows him to create all types of diseases. Similarly, Van Augur has the Wapu Wapu no Mi, or Warp Warp Fruit, which lets him warp things around pretty freely, and Burgess has the Riki Riki no Mi, or Power Power Fruit, which gives him unimaginable strength capable of lifting an entire mountain. Finally, Doc Q’s horse Stronger seems to have eaten the Uma Uma no Mi (or Horse Horse Fruit) Mythical Type, Model: Pegasus, which allows it to become a winged horse that can fly through the skies, quite similarly to how Gan Fall’s bird Pierre ate the normal model Uma Uma no Mi to turn into a pegasus too. This does bring the question however of if Stronger is a horse who ate the Uma Uma no Mi, much like how Luffy or Sengoku have eaten a mythical type Hito Hito no Mi, or if Stronger was actually a human this whole time who was in transformed form, though I find the former more likely. This does also bring into question on when the other members of the crew got their fruits, but Law seems to suggest that Doc Q, Augur, and Burgess all got theirs recently, leading to an increase in bounties, with Burgess’s case being something we can verify since he didn’t have a fruit yet at Dressrosa, wanting to take Ace’s Mera Mera no Mi instead.
Speaking of which, Burgess’s appearance has changed, now wearing a metal prosthetic, since Sabo ruined his face at the end of Dressrosa during Chapter 792, and we saw he seemingly was very injured by Chapter 803. This is also the first time we see Van Augur post-timeskip, sporting a very classy beard. This leaves Sanjuan Wolf as the last of the Blackbeard Pirates we need to see post-timeskip.
Blackbeard’s Master Plan
This move suddenly puts Blackbeard in a really advantageous position, especially when you tie it with the cover story. As we know Kuzan is now seemingly allied with Blackbeard, maybe even potentially being the currently unknown tenth Titanic Captain, and he likely went to Totland with another Titanic Captain to kidnap Pudding. This is a big deal, since it was said the three-eyed race had the power to hear the voice of all things, and thus be able to read poneglyphs, though because Pudding was only a half-three eye, she had to awaken this power, which she hasn’t yet. This is kind of a big deal, because Robin is the only other person who can read poneglyphs, aside from Sukiyaki (though his existence isn’t known to anyone outside of Wano). So Pudding could be exactly the key that Blackbeard needs to read the Road Poneglyphs, as well as any others he might’ve gotten his hands on, and might also serve as another reason for the Straw Hats to rescue her alongside Koby.
If Blackbeard defeats Law here, he would get access to at the very least the Wano Road Poneglyph and the Zou Road Poneglyph, but it remains to be seen if the Straw Hats lent the Whole Cake Island Road Poneglyph to him as well. Even if they didn’t though, Blackbeard could likely get it from Whole Cake Island through Kuzan right now, though they would have to deal with Katakuri in the way, even if I think Kuzan would ultimately win. This would put Blackbeard to a total of three Road Poneglyphs, but since Law says “same back to you”, would this imply that Blackbeard already possesses some sort of Road Poneglyph? Could he already be this close to Laugh Tale, spurring a final race to the One Piece? The finale is practically at hand!