Video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz4Shw8DRkc
THEORY OF THE IMMENSE KINGDOM
Shaka continues from the details from last week by mentioning a certain man who among archeologists spent his life trying to find out about this immense kingdom, as well as how at a certain location, a machine was unearthed that matched the date of manufacture to that period of time, leading to the theory that said Kingdom really did possess advance technology. The question though is if this machine is just a plot device for the sake of proving this theory or if this machine is an item of relevance that will tie later into the story. After all, the person in question is no doubt likely professor Clover from Ohara, who had already mentioned back during Robin’s flashback as how the discovery of the ancient kingdom came from both the poneglyphs as well as some existing documents and other things from that time period.
Shaka continues elaborating details of the Void Century that we already knew about but putting them into better perspective, and also talks about Clover’s past, how in his youth he was someone who researched the world gathering books and information about the Void Century by adventuring throughout the world. He became known as the “World’s Greatest Archeologist”, which is a title that in Japanese is similar to, for example, the “World’s Greatest Swordsman” that Zoro is aiming for, making Clover the greatest in his field. This is a title that I think would be very fitting if it was given to Robin by the end of the series.
Shaka then explains how the scholars managed to save the books from the Library of Ohara, making for a victory by Ohara against the Government, and allowing to let that library live on. Which you are seeing with your own eyes right now! This connects us to the scene where Olvia told Robin how they shouldn’t give up in the future that children like Robin will live in. This is not only perfectly fitting for a futuristic arc like Egghead, but it perfectly encapsulates how understanding the past is the key to building a prosperous future. Robin begins crying from this statement, but the other Straw Hats get angry at Vegapunk for making her cry, with Sanji cursing Shaka and Nami calling him “helmet”, a nickname much like Luffy would.
ELBAF AND THE VOID CENTURY
Vegapunk however mentions how having gone to Ohara on that day 22 years ago, he found out that giants were pulling out books from the lake to escort them to Elbaf. These are actually not just any giants since you might be able to recognize who they are: on the top appears to be Hajrudin, to the right of him Gerd, and below him Goldberg, all members of the New Giant Warrior Pirates who are part of Luffy’s Grand Fleet.
Leading them, as Dragon claims, is a man with bandages covering his entire body, that person seemingly being the man seen later in the chapter who is none other than… Jaguar D. Saul. Now obviously this is a big deal because it means that Saul survived the Ohara incident, but before you go calling this a fake death by Oda, you have to keep in mind how Saul was… never confirmed to have died. In fact, Aokiji entrapped him in what he called an “Ice Time Capsule”. And what is a time capsule? Something that is stored within a capsule to be then accessible again at some point in the future, meaning that the point of the attack was to encase and protect what’s inside for the future. Furthermore, we already saw both Luffy and Robin getting frozen by Aokiji and still surviving after being thawed afterwards, meaning that Saul very much the same way never really died, as Kuzan let him live. However, because of that he had to go into hiding, likely at Elbaf, and couldn’t really meet up with Robin again because she was always on the run, impossible to reach.
Now the interesting thing is that Saul noted how he wasn’t a giant from Elbaf, but perhaps he still was in good enough terms with his fellow tribesmen that he convinced them to help him out. This makes sense since it’s been already implied in the story that the giants were once allies of the immense Kingdom.
After all, they venerate the “Sun God” in their culture, celebrating in their winter solstice the “rebirth of the sun”, which is literally just another way to word out the “Dawn of the World”.
Not to mention how they are not affiliated with the World Government and how they’ve kept all humans away from their island with an isolationist policy for many years, similar to stories like those of the Wano Country or the mink tribe, only allowing people like Carmel in after she helped save so many giants and earned their trust. So it makes sense that being old allies of the Kingdom they would want to preserve the information of Ohara, so they transferred all of those books to Elbaf to allow the Library of Ohara to live on. This makes me wonder perhaps if it could even be possible that the final Road Poneglyph is found on Elbaf, making it the perfect next destination to find out many details about the Void Century, and Saul could perhaps even be the man known as “Fire Scar”, which would explain why so little is known about his whereabouts since he is in hiding. Really the only flaw in that theory is that Saul doesn’t really have any apparent fire scars. Though his body is covered in bandages, he was mostly just injured from bruises and then frozen over, so can it really be said that he bears a fire scar? I guess we’ll see.
DRAGON’S MASTER PLAN
Going back to Ohara though, we see a young Dragon and Vegapunk meeting with each other. As for the former, this is Dragon at age 33, where he was simply known as the Captain of the “Freedom Corps”, which is implied to be a small organization on a much smaller scale than the Revolutionary Army that he was leading before. The most notable feature is the lack of a tattoo on his face, much like in Roger’s execution, though the pattern of his tattoo is found on a band around his leg. He already had the tattoo in Luffy’s flashback ten years later, so he must’ve gotten it during that period, likely during the formation of the Revolutionary Army. His outfit is also almost certainly inspired from that of Fidel Castro, the famous revolutionary of the Cuban revolution, who Oda already confirmed basing part of Dragon’s design from, with even the symbol of the revolution, the star, being visible on his outfit. As for Vegapunk I’d like to talk about him and his design later.
At this moment Dragon speaks of the futile efforts of the Freedom Corps and speaks of wanting to form an Army that will allow him to change the world. This would become later that year the Revolutionary Army, with founding members Dragon, Ivankov, and Kuma. However, what’s interesting is how Vegapunk mentions that Dragon is someone who usually despises warmongering, which gives us better insight into how Dragon is someone who really values peace. This ties with what Oda mentioned of Dragon’s character in his vivre card, explaining how he’s someone who dislikes war and strives for peace, but sees the fighting of the Revolutionary Army as necessary sacrifices, not victories to relish in.
Anyway, as we close the flashback Vegapunk explains how he has inherited all the secrets of the world into his head to progress research, which explains how he was able to develop many of these inventions. He then however decides to take the Straw Hats deeper into the Labo, deep into a chamber to show them a certain “something”. But what could this be? Is it tied to the Kingdom, like an old machine? Or is it perhaps something related to the truth of devil fruits, such as how he has been able to secretly clone many other devil fruits, just like Senor Pink’s fruit we saw in action with the Jinbe Seraphim? Also, as a small detail, Shaka’s outfit bears the kanji “sei” on his back, which stands for his Punk designation “Good”.
DR. VEGAPUNK STELLA
Back at the scrapyard though, Luffy and Chopper try to get the robot to move, calling it Robonosuke or Roboking. However, suddenly a man appears in the middle of the robot, as you can see if you zoom in on the panel. This turns out to be Vegapunk Stella, the original body, who claims to have been testing teleportation technology but ended up getting stuck in the middle of the robot. Luffy manages to pop him out, but Vegapunk actually recognizes him, claiming him to be Dragon’s kid and how he was expecting him. This is likely due to the fact that Kuma told him about Luffy, so Vegapunk was hoping he would come here. Similarly, Bonney recognizes him, and Vegapunk recognizes her back as Kuma’s kid. Vegapunk tells them to pull the lever on their dom shoes to fly, though this sends the group flying into the sky, which might even let them reach the Labophase to regroup with the others. This makes sense as this technology is fairly similar to what Germa uses to fly, which we coincidentally happen to see in the cover story this week as well.
However as they soar through the skies we finally get a good look at Dr. Vegapunk, the original “Stella” body in this case. He’s introduced with the title of Squad Leader of the Special Science Group, or SSG, as his lab coat indicates, as well as the epithet of “Man with the World’s Greatest Brain”, with a title similar to that of Clover or Mihawk as mentioned before. Furthermore, Vegapunk speaks by adding “quasar” at the end of his sentences, which refers to the immense cosmic energy found within black holes. Essentially, think of it as the most immense type of energy there is, something that relates to the research of Albert Einstein.
This is one heck of an Oda design, which is undoubtedly based on that of one of history’s most famous scientists Albert Einstein, with his iconic mustache and the long tongue coming out of his mouth. This in particular is inspired from an iconic picture of Einstein, where he photobombed a picture that was taken of him in a car as he didn’t want to be captured in that moment, but the picture went down to become one of the most iconic photographs ever made. Really though, Vegapunk’s most distinguishing feature is the colossal gigabrain on his head as seen during his youth, as he has become so intelligent his brain just kept growing, which Dragon even mentions how it grew even further than before as he’s grown even wiser and smarter. This stretching has even stretched his forehead to the point that his eyebrows stand much higher than his face, much like Einstein’s picture. This is actually something that we even knew for a very long time, as we could see in Vegapunk’s silhouette back in Punk Hazard his long mustache and the long stretching head.
In the present however, Vegapunk is currently 65 years old. Not only does Vegapunk look even more like Einstein, but the head has been cut completely open too, with instead an apple now being found on top of it. The apple could be a reference to Newton’s apple, a symbol of physics, but I wonder if there’s also some connection with devil fruits. This is likely what happened when he split his mind into six bodies, as his brain literally grew so gigantic that he was able to slice it into six pieces, much like cutting up pieces of an apple, and fit those six pieces of brain into six bodies as fully functioning living beings, with each of them inheriting a different trait of Vegapunk’s personality. Vegapunk himself embodies all of those traits, being wise and intelligent but also wacky and silly.
Not only have we finally met all of the Vegapunks, but we are also beginning to figure out the mysteries of the Void Century that have been preserved by the people of Ohara and we may very well find out more about the truth of devil fruits very soon! The Will of Ohara lives on!
It’s not “fire scar” but “burn scar”, ice can burn too.
Hi Artur! Greetings from Argentina :D, i was thinking about the fire scar name and it came to mind that ice burns do exists and maybe that’s why he has some burns on his body, i mean, when Aokiji turned Luffy and Robin into ice cubes they were just frozen for a little amount of time, and Saul probably were frozen a longer period of time to the point ice burnt his whole body
This could be a coincidence, but Vegapunk memorizing the books from Ohara seems reminiscent of the novel Fahrenheit 451 to me.
What a read. Thanks!
I always thought that silhouette of Vegapunk was him leaning on a cane hahaha.
But yeah, I’m still so blown away by the last few chapters, so stoked to have your chapter secrets back buddy, especially at the most incredible time of the last two decades haha.