Sounds a bit crazy right? But I’ve been thinking, it actually makes perfect sense with the pacing of the story, here’s why.
Quick background first. Oda has been setting up Big Mom and Kaido as being the two biggest obstacles thus far in One Piece Universe. They aren’t as important as Shanks or Blackbeard storyline-wise, but since Oda has introduced them, they need to be addressed and likely cover the most viable option in opening Yonko seats.
Anyway, Oda has been laying the seeds for this conflict ever since the time skip:
– Fishman Island: This was mainly used partial setup to get Luffy on Big Mom’s radar. By the end of the arc, their antagonism towards each other was established.
– Punk Hazard: Sowed the early seeds of Wano’s current predicament and bringing Doflamingo and Kaido into the fold. Law destroying the Smile factories here pissed off Doflamingo and helped notify Jack/Kaido of the situation. Kidnapping Caesar caused Big Mom to take new measures against the Straw Hats.
– Dressrosa: Big Mom chases off half of the Straw Hats crew, Doflamingo is dealt with and was Kaido’s number 1 source for new devil fruit powers to be added to his arsenal. Hurts his power-scope greatly. Kaido is royally pissed off here.
– Zou: Jack failed to claim Raizo, further sets up the plan to initiate a war between the Samurai and the Shogun/Kaido. We learn of the Road Poneglyphs BOTH Big Mom and Kaido have.
– Whole Cake Island: Managed to steal the Road Poneglyph under Big Mom’s nose, ruin much of her forces, causes her to decide she wants to TEAM UP with Kaido to personally dismantle Luffy and his alliance. Additionally, the arc introduced much of Big Mom’s forces, her backstory and more, which is perfect for her future as we don’t need to deal with it anymore. On top of all of this, the arc ended in a very unorthodox way: with several major cliffhangers, as if we are going to see answers to those questions very soon.
So as you can see here, the entire time skip arcs thus far have been primarily Big Mom and Kaido centric, leaving much of Blackbeard’s and Shank’s involvement out of the way, because, let’s face it, they are the endgame.
Thus, I personally think that with all of this setup, Wano is about to become likely the biggest arc One Piece has ever had thus far, likely clearing the 150-200 chapter mark to possibly accommodate the end of two huge pirate crews: The Beast Pirates and the Big Mom Pirates. At this point, its all culminated to here. We now know Kaido and Big Mom have had a shared history, that a team up/flashback regarding them is likely mandatory, and after this point, both may not offer much to the story only to be defeated in the long run.
Now, I was, for the longest time, super skeptical about Kaido being defeated at Wano. I didn’t think Luffy had the strength to take out 1, let alone 2 of these monsters at any point close to now. But there is a reason why this is super important. Luffy can’t beat these characters solo, the plot most certainly won’t dictate it to happen at all now. So…how in the world can 2 Yonkos (and a Shogun) go down in 1 huge arc but still maintain the stakes of Luffy getting stronger to fight the likes of Akainu, Blackbeard, future arc villains (possibly Loki or CP-0) and others like Shanks? The answer lies within the HUGE alliances that have been forming since Fishman Island. It all comes back to here. If we tally up a list, we get:
– Jinbe and the Sun Pirates
– Law and the Heart Pirates
– The Straw Hat Grand Fleet
– The Minks/Nox Pirates
– The Samurai/Ninja
– Likely Kid and Killer, possibly Hawkins, X Drake, and Apoo (Depending on whose side they are on by the end) and their crews; This is going to be super complicated and I’m sure will have some betrayal.
– Possibly Marco/Whitebeard Pirates
– Possibly Germa 66 (though I’m inclined to believe they will be saved for a Vegapunk centric arc or something else in the future).
– Possibly other outliers whom have not been revealed yet (Moriah? Crocodile again? The Lurking Legend? Kizaru? Weevil? Who knows)
Anyway, you can see there is a LARGE list of people whom are probably ready to cause chaos in Wano. A large list of possible things that can come from it, and possibly the end of 2 Yonkos and their regimes. This is far bigger than anything One Piece has had thus far in the series (even bigger than Marineford considering all of the factions involved) and I expect the outcome to be just as massive as the input to the arc.
Now why is this important to Luffy’s growth and keeping stakes for the remainder of the story? Well:
– It allows Luffy to grow (get awakening, another powerup, improved haki, whatever) but not get to an obscene point where he can 1v1 Kaido or Big Mom. Yes, he will fight them. Yes, he may do damage, but I don’t think he will take either of them out alone. It will be a team effort with the massive alliance shown. Both Yonko will end up fighting each other too. It possibly makes sense in the long run.
– It allows Luffy to fight someone else 1v1, because we know it will happen, without it being ridiculous like beating Kaido at this point. Possibly a Calamity (we know Jack is likely the weakest of the 3, as many of Kaido’s crew members have a card-based name, and Jack likely is in reference to Queen and King being other huge forces), similar to how he fought Katakuri, but even stronger.
– It allows the stakes to remain for the rest of the story. This is extremely important. If Luffy beats any of the 2 Yonko solo, who in their right minds is going to challenge him for the rest of the story, especially for those power vacuums that will be exposed when both are defeated? If the combined forces beats them, it allows Luffy and crew to move on to future arcs and still have the opportunity to face off people who aren’t exactly Yonko level (maybe Akainu, other WG operatives, Loki, etc) but are still ridiculously strong.
– The power vacuum itself caused by the war aftermath. If the alliance beats both Yonko, then it allows major things to happen, like the Supernovas (mainly Kid I’m sure) and other pirates to start competing for the 2 open seats. Firstly, it means that Luffy won’t just magically be a Yonko by the end of this arc, he has to fight for it. Second, it possibly means that there will be two open seats, allowing for another player aside from Luffy to cause more complications.
Anyway, that’s most of my thoughts on the matter. We know, according to Oda, One Piece is nearing some sort of end within the next decade (though, never take his words as concrete lol, he is notorious for being extremely wrong in story percentages), so actually removing two Yonkos out of the equation in a massive arc would actually be super beneficial to him actually getting to some sort of endgame.
I personally think Wano is going to be long, brutal, violent and entirely worth the length its likely to be for all of the setup its had for years. We have been consistently learning of Kaido and Big Mom’s backstory and setups to fully flesh out their characters possibly before their downfall. Hell, even the Reverie was teased during Fishman Island and is now being addressed at the same time as this war. Once this is over, there may be 2 open Yonko seats, the abolition of the Shichibukai system and the beginning of the WG’s “cleansing” of the World. Its going to be absolutely huge, and I think Oda has been trying to get to this point for many years now. Yonko seats will be fought over, new and old enemies will start to make their moves, and the One Piece will start to enter its final stages of its story (though it has a long way to go though with Vegapunk, Elbaf, CP-0 and more still lol)
*Theory by Paperchampion23