Hey! Sorry for a slightly later Chapter Secrets this week. Because of this, I don’t have a video version this week, but I’ll be working on a video during the break so please do consider checking my channel then.
Law vs Blackbeard
As Blackbeard prepares to strike, Law’s crew gets into action. We see members such as Shachi, or Orca, Penguin, Bepo, and Jean Bart, but we also get the name of a new member, being the masked fellow Hakugan. This refers to the snow goose, a bird known for growing in cold climates, much like most of the animal-themed Heart Pirates like polar bear Bepo, Penguin, and Shachi (or orca/killer whale), with other background crewmates also being named after other polar sea animals such as sea slugs, sea urchins, and narwhals. Hakugan appears to be the helmsman of the Heart Pirates since he has been seen navigating the ship before.
Doc Q throws a basket of apples at the crew, which explode just like those that he gave to Luffy at Mock Town, if you remember. Shachi however fights back by spitting water, which might seem like an odd power, but the fact that he is submerged in water makes it clear this is not a devil fruit. This is because orcas are known to spit water at high pressure, so Shachi is doing the same after having mastered this technique. Similarly, Jean Bart has such a resilient body that he can shield Law from Van Augur’s shots, which no doubt are reinforced with haki, with just his torso.
Law uses his awakened powers and uses R-Room, which unlike his normal Rooms which are situated around himself, R-Rooms are attached to a remote target, as a remote room. The thing is that if this R-Room is silent like the one he used against Big Mom, then that might completely negate Blackbeard’s shockwaves, since shockwaves require the same waves as sound to propagate. This makes Law the perfect foil to Blackbeard’s Gura Gura no Mi powers, but unfortunately for Law, that is not Blackbeard’s only devil fruit. True enough, after Law uses Shock Wille, Blackbeard resorts to using Kurouzu, or Black Vortex, to draw in Law. As you likely know this move negates devil fruit abilities, so for someone like Law who relies so much on his fruit, this may very well be the ace Blackbeard needs to win this fight and defeat Law. Also, it’s interesting to mention that now that Blackbeard has kidnapped Koby, the three leading figures of the Rocky Port Incident may all be coming together.
Meanwhile, on that same ship Pudding has been captured, with the cover confirming finally that the two figures were indeed Kuzan and Augur, with Pudding being their key to reading the Road Poneglyphs. Augur is already here, meaning this cover took place briefly before the events going on at the moment, but it makes me wonder where Kuzan is right now and if they did bother getting the poneglyphs at Whole Cake Chateau.
A really cool detail about Pudding herself though is how she is currently unafraid and confident to show her third eye. Maybe it’s just due to the circumstance or they forced her to, but after Sanji complimented her third eye, it seems she isn’t ashamed to show it anymore.
Meanwhile, at Marine Headquarters, someone is informing Sakazuki of what is happening through den den mushi, with the latter frustrated that they can’t do anything but observe another Yonko-level duel going on given the circumstances. Interestingly, the island is referred to as “Winner Island”, with the kanji also reading as the Japanese word for “winner”. This is of course just an elaborate pun though, as it’s meant to sound like “wiener island”, since al the mountains that dot the island specifically look like in the shape of Japanese wieners, which split at the top into smaller pieces as seen here. But at the same time, it also marks how whoever survives here will emerge as the winner in a very decisive battle.
Hints about Kuma’s Past
Back on Egghead, the Straw Hats manage to escape from the Pacifista thanks to Bonney’s powers, making them unrecognizable to the robot due to having different physical ages, but Luffy has been turned into a frail 70 year old. This is partially referencing a drawing Oda made of Luffy in an SBS where he showed how he would look like in the future at age 60, 10 years before this current Luffy, both in a good future as well as a future where things went wrong, which seems to have inspired his design here, as the text indicates this is just one of his possible futures.
Bonney has turned herself as a kid just like she has in the past as has Jinbe too, making him look like the kid he appeared like in the SBS. Similarly to Luffy however, Chopper has also become really old, with his antlers growing mightier, but his body older and weaker. Chopper briefly apologizes to Bonney since he mentions how Pacifista bring back bad memories for them, referring to that traumatic evening on the Sabaody Archipelago two years ago.
Jinbe finally gives us some much anticipated lore on Kuma, elaborating on his past. As it is known to the public, Kuma was known as the tyrannical king of Sorbet, until an insurrection drove him out of the country by his people, forcing him to become a pirate. Ever since Thriller Bark it was revealed that Kuma’s epithet was “the Tyrant”, but it had never been elaborated upon until now. We now know that he indeed was a Tyrant at Sorbet, became a pirate to escape, and was arrested by the Marines. They found out he had connections to the Revolutionary Army, so they sentenced him for life.
However, Vegapunk was fascinated by Kuma’s body, as just like Bonney clarifies, he was part of a very special race, so in exchange of being able to clone him and modify his body, the Government allowed him to be free again under the form of a Shichibukai. This is actually very similar to what they did with the Seraphim project, as them cloning Lunarians now isn’t that far off from how they cloned Kuma’s unique race. Which does bring into question at just what is this unique race, since it doesn’t seem to be Lunarian, and the only distinguishing traits for Kuma are how tall and bulky he is. This likely ties into what Big Mom spoke of the three missing races of Totto Land, being Giants, Lunarians, and a remaining one, likely Kuma’s race. Given the Lunarians’ connections with the gods, does Kuma’s Bible somehow factor into all this?
Jinbe brings into question why Kuma was considered a Tyrant, with Bonney insisting he was actually a very kind person, as the flashbacks and the Revolutionaries have told us, and how he is someone who hated the Government, likely why he is part of the Revolutionary Army. Bonney also doesn’t understand why Kuma was willing to give up his life for the sake of becoming a mindless robot, and wonders why he might’ve ever accepted to it. And frankly, I think I have a very good theory as to why that might’ve been the case, but I’ll get back to it in just a moment.
Oda continues his love letter to everything sci-fi he loves with this arc in the form of a lightsaber. We’ve already seen references to Tron, Astro Boy, and so much more, so seeing a jedi lightsaber is hardly a surprise, though Oda adds his own twist by making it more flexible, turning into something like a whip. Here’s just hoping we get a cool moment with one with Zoro later this arc.
Future Island Egghead
When talking about the Vega Force 01 previously, I made note of the giant jetpacks on its back, and indeed, we see them in action here as the robot soars through the air. Now it can’t be understated just how absurdly revolutionary this is for the world of One Piece, this is a world where there is practically no method of flight, with the closest being using living flying creatures like Morgans does to fly his news stations. But to have a robot who can freely fly like this with jet propulsors just like actual planes would easily change a lot of the ways the One Piece world works. However, as Vegapunks notes, this is only possible because of the air conditioning unit on the island, so such a jet propulsor would not work outside of Egghead, which limits the potential of such a revolutionary intention. Though Vegapunk hopes that one day they can expand this to anywhere else in the world.
She introduces it as “the island where the future is built”, Future Island Egghead. The island is subdivided into two, with the land on the ground and a sky island above it. The land on the ground is called the “Fabrio Phase” (which comes from Latin “fabrio”, “to create/produce”), or “Factory Layer”, where as the sky island is called the “Labo Phase”, or “Research Layer”. Like in a lot of companies, the location is subdivided between research and fabrication, with new ideas being developed on the sky island, and then being built on the land below. Vegapunk and his researchers work at the laboratory, whereas the assistants and the manufacturers reside in the town below.
Getting a look at the lower island, we see several other writings of Vegapunk plastered along the buildings, as well as what looks like a giant game console like a Game Boy Advance. At the center is a wine bottle that creates smoke, from which the sky island seems to perhaps be created. This one similarly hosts a gigantic egg, with a floating ring suspended by the anti-gravity system created by the island’s aircon, with the writing “Punk Records” on the roof of the egg. I wonder if the writing is meant to be a reference to the famous “Tower Records” billboard found in Shibuya.
How could a sky island be here though? Well, as Vegapunk explains, through being able to modify the island’s atmosphere through the aircon, they were able to alternate the density of vapor through the use of pyrobloin. Now maybe that might sound weird to you, but if you have good enough memory, you might recall that in Chapter 240 Pagaya explained what pyrobloin is, being a molecular substance that is propelled into the air by volcanic eruptions. In the Wano Country of old, pyrobloin from Mt. Fuji solidified to become seastone, which led to the production and craftsmanship of the stone to later be spread across the world. However, when pyrobloin is ejected into the sky by volcanoes and comes across with water vapor, then it creates cloud islands, leading to the birth of islands in the sky. Since Vegapunk has likely already figured out a lot about how Seastone is manufactured, it’s no surprised they’ve managed to build a sky island by hand by simply manipulating the atmosphere with pyrobloin.
Lilith leads us to the entrance of the main laboratory, covered with a massive glass pane and the writings Vegapunk and LABO. As a heads up, in Japanese the diminutive of Laboratory is not lab, but rather “labo”, so expect to see “labo” written a lot more commonly than “lab” as you’d expect in English. The crew then gets outfitted to get into the lab in the Trancos, likely a Japanese abbreviation of “Transforming Costumes”.
Dragon and Kuma’s Master Plan
Cutting inside however, Vegapunk, or to be specific Punk 01 Shaka “the Good”, as indicated by the “01” on his helmet, is having a talk with someone. They mention how they believe they are going to die soon, likely referring to the CP0 assassins coming to the island, as Vegapunk has likely caught on to what the Government is thinking. This person they are talking to however turns out to be none other than Monkey D. Dragon!! But why is it?
Well, I think this would explain absolutely everything if we start thinking about it. Thinking back at when Kuma was first properly introduced in Thriller Bark, Moria was very shrewd and saw through Kuma’s plans pretty clearly. He stated that Kuma was the only Shichibukai to be extremely devoted to the Government and trying to earn their favor, but was certain that Kuma had a plan he was plotting for acting so nice and well-behaved, something that Kuma asked him to keep his nose out of, which Moria agreed to since it didn’t really matter to him. Interestingly, Kuma was already a very observant man, as he very well understood that Blackbeard’s promotion to Shichibukai would completely upset the balance of the world, so he’s clearly had a very good grip on the larger situation and has a plan on his own, which is why he acts so nice with the Government.
This means that committing to the Pacifista project was part of some grander plan for Kuma, and that’s likely where Vegapunk ties in with Dragon. Kuma had told Rayleigh that even now, becoming a robot, he was still an undercover agent of the Revolutionary Army, which means that him allowing himself to become like this was likely under a mission for the Revolutionary Army. But if Dragon was in on it and was this close with Vegapunk, then evidently Vegapunk was in on the mission as well, starting the entire Pacifista project for Dragon’s sake. This could also further mean that Vegapunk might’ve backed up Kuma’s consciousness somewhere, be it hidden in his body or in a computer in his labo, which means that Kuma might very well come back to life in some form, leading to an emotional reunion with Bonney.
Still, this is kind of… a massive deal, and it’s something that I, and many others have speculated for years, that the Pacifista project in its entirety might be the Revolutionary Army’s hidden trump card. And what a trump card would it be, because if Vegapunk has found a way to secretly control all the Pacifistas at his behest, then that could very easily turn the cards against the World Government. Think of it like something like what happened in Star Wars but in the opposite way, with Vegapunk pulling an Order 66 and turning all the Pacifistas against the World Government thanks to Kuma, completely destabilizing the power force of the Marines in the Revolutionary Army’s favor, which Fujitora insisted so much that the Government’s power be shifted to the SSG’s Seraphim project. That might be why the Government is becoming more wary of Vegapunk and are trying to kill him, but the Straw Hats being able to protect him might give him enough of an edge to properly execute his plan. The downfall of the Government is almost at hand!