This is an in-depth analysis of the possibility that Shiki is Oda’s “Lurking Legend”
Here is my basic list that leads me to this belief, in the order of most-least convincing:
1-Oda intended on Shiki being a strictly canon manga character… or at least that’s what he says. After Wano (which I think we mostly all agree will be the longest arc yet), I imagine that the story is going to speed up quite a bit and I don’t see a more plausible place for Shiki to fit in the story. There was also the cover story of Crocus having a drink with a man who bares incredible resemblance to Shiki.
2-Shiki IS a LURKING LEGEND – Not many characters thus far fit this description, Shiki being Roger’s rival makes him quite the Legend, while being a canon (again, Oda’s words) character that we have yet to see beyond Chapter 0 is certainly lurking. And in his own words, he planned to “lay low for a while”.
3-Floating things – First we have Bege’s ship in chapter 594 in an anonymous area of the New World. This is amidst a section of 594-595 where Oda deliberately shows various Supernovas in the New World, most of whom seem to be in deliberately anonymous but important locations. Each one of these will of course be touched upon in Oda fashion, and it seems likely that Oda has used this scene to foreshadow the important locations of the New World. I have seen convincing theories that the island on which Apoo is running from giant boars and finds himself walking on air is actually Elbaf, and it seems very plausible that Bege was approaching Wano. Bege’s floating ship could only be explained by two possible powers that we know of thus far: either Shiki or Fujitora’s devil fruit abilities. Similarly although less convincing, recently we have repeatedly seen a floating rood in the center of Bakura town.
4-Shiki has many similar attributes to Wano – For one, Shiki plans on using animals for his world domination. Second, after escaping Impel Down we know that Shiki escaped to some place where the Government has yet to catch him (Wano is too perfect for this) and is plotting his take over. Lastly, Kinjishi no Shiki has a japanese name and aesthetic. Oda himself said that Shiki has a typical appearance of a Shogun, which I think simply gives him a traditional Japanese appearance. I don’t believe he is the new Shogun of Wano because I don’t think the revealed name Kurozumi Orochi fits well with Shiki’s character (black snake =/= gold lion), but also I don’t believe he is the shogun because I believe Oda dropped a very subtle hint in chapter 913…
5-Perhaps Hawkins is simply referring to Kaido here. But it seems very plausible that he is actually referring to someone a step ABOVE Kaido that no one knows of. Of course, Oda playfully distracts this thought with the next scene, in which Luffy, just like the viewer, may be a bit overexcited about believing they know a hidden secret when they actually have only scratched the surface of mystery behind Wano. So now I am suggesting that Shiki is a puppet master beyond the powers of this new Shogun AND a Yonkou?…
6-Yes, and it is in line with both Kaido and Shiki’s desires/claims – I am extremely confident in Shiki’s appearance at some point in the story, and if so then he has been plotting for 20+ years. While Strong World is not canon, Chapter 0 still shows him devising a plan involving animals, and Kaido’s Beast Pirates are (sorta) animals! Kaido has been shown talking about starting a war the world has never seen, while Shiki wants to take over the world… not too different if you ask me.
7-The Lurking Legend is probably the captain of the “Rokkusu” – This statement is bold and very controversial, but the scene with Garp in the Reverie arc certainly sets up a “lurking legend”, and as I said earlier there are not many of those in the One Piece story thus far. So… could Shiki be this character? The captain of the Rokkusu? Captain of both Kaido and Big Mom? Garp’s claim to fame as the hero of the Marines?? This one makes the issue the most intriguing because in this question I see both the most convincing evidence and yet the biggest threat to the whole theory. Let’s look at Garp and Hina’s talk:
- So the biggest problem is that Shiki has EXPLICITLY STATED that he and Roger are of the same generation, and that doesn’t quite add up with what clearly seems to be a reference to a pirate from BEFORE Roger’s era. Then again perhaps Shiki was simply referring to their physical age, and we do know that Roger’s career as a pirate (and hence his era) was actually quite short-lived due to his disease. As Rayleigh put it, Roger’s crew was “hasty” in finding the truth. Perhaps Shiki had been the ruler of the seas for some time with Roger around, but Roger didn’t accelerate toward Pirate King until the end of his career.
- In Chapter 0 we saw that Garp and Sengoku were the ones to capture Shiki after the execution of Roger. This might suggest this is what Hina is referring to, but that would NOT be an event that occurred over 40 years ago, and is also a team effort between Garp and Sengoku, so it seems weird that Garp would be the sole hero from that story.
- “Rokkusu” has still not been translated, although most of the community has seemed to adopt the translation “Rocks”… but it could also just as likely be “Locks”… like locks of hair… Goldilocks… SHIKI!!! I think you get my stupid point.
- Hina states that while they lost their captain, the crew is still growing. Now clearly Kaido and Big Mom are no longer crewmates, so she can’t be referring to the entirety of the 40 year old crew since Big Mom has her own crew and her own motives. We also can safely presume that Shakki (and probably Bakkin) were once affiliated with this crew. So the crew Hina is referring to is just a broken fragment of the original crew, and thus Kaido and the Beast Pirates are a good candidate for the current crew that she is referring to.
- Shakki has proven to be a truly important and mysterious character now that we realize that she was a pirate chased by Garp during the same time as this “Rokkusu”. I think it’s safe to say she was a member of this crew, and I can’t deny the fact that Shiki and Shakki have such similar names, it feels Oda is completely teasing us with the names alone. So why does she live with Rayleigh? In chapter 0 when the news of Shiki’s escape from Impel Down was released, Rayleigh was already staying at Shakki’s place on Sabody. The only answer I have for this is that Shiki and Roger’s relationship must not have been so hateful. Just like it seems that Crocus was happy to have a drink with Shiki, perhaps it was easy for Shakki (a potentially significant member of “Rokkusu”) to befriend Rayleigh.
That about wraps it up, there are a lot of arrows pointing in this direction in my opinion, but there could also be some red flags.
*Theory by Sakkeru