Kawamatsu introduced a relationship between SWORDS and SOULS in Wano.
As you can probably tell this concept sounds like a Wano roundabout way of discussing INHERITED WILL with SOULS as a stand in for the WILL passed on through the action of welding the fallen’s SWORD.
After Kawamatsu discussing this, we get ourselves a direct example of this concept in practice.
Oden proclaims that his SOUL will live on and then he passes his SWORDS onto his children.
On the topic of Inherited will though, Oda does EXPLICITLY talk about Oden’s retainers inheriting Oden’s will but this thread is about the metaphor of SWORDS and SOULS so I will focus on that.
Now outside of Oda setting up this clever metaphor to repeat one of the oldest themes in the story, Oda still has to make a story out of this metaphor. And a story needs conflict.
Our first source of conflict though is resolved rather quickly at least for Zoro.
Zoro is given the choice to decide between Enma and Shusui and after a rather short conversation, the conflict is resolved when Zoro chooses to respect the Memory of Ryuma and trade Shusui for Enma.
Hiyori on the other hand is the one who actually goes through a reasonable amount of conflict here but i’ts done in the background of Zoro showing off his cutting skills. Hiyori is the one who INHERITED her father’s WILL through the sword and has to make a choice to give up something that means a lot to her to a person who just wants a sword for the sake of having one. Ultimately though after observing him closely, Zoro’s character and cutting skills and affiliation with the rebellion convince her enough that he’s worth being the next INHERITOR and she bows down to pass on her father’s WILL.
Notice that this is slightly reminiscent of the time Momonosuke bowed down to Luffy also passing on the WILL of his father to Luffy.
Interestingly, this creates the SECOND time Zoro has INHERITED the WILL of a lady (Kuina and Hiyori) through SWORDS as Oda even lightly points out.
It’s even pointed out again that Zoro having trained with Wado Ichimonji for years let’s him have a better grasp on Enma than normal which emphasizes Zoro’s accumulated strength and effort to that point is what makes him able to use Enma so well and Hiyori noticed all this in the background to make her choice.
For the second conflict presented by our SOULS and SWORDS metaphor, we have Momonosuke INHERITING Ame no Habakiri.
This conflict as we can see hasn’t been resolved since Momonosuke doesn’t feel himself worthy yet.
We can see Momonosuke feels that people see his father’s SOUL and not him when the see him and he feels he has to live up to it before he can INHERIT it through the SWORD.
The question now would be how will this conflict of Momonosuke not feeling up to the task be resolved. The answer presented to us as of now is Momonosuke is training to get strong enough to do something and to close off the thematic loop, it’s revealed Momo is being trained by Zoro, the other INHERITOR.
Though to create the seeds for a real character arc with Momonosuke, he must also grow as a person on top of gaining phycial strength as highlighted by Luffy in Zou and by Zoro here.
This little bit dialogue sets up the fact that Momonosuke hasn’t fully grasped the situation every one else has been facing including his sister and he expects that she’s the same to an extent after all this time.
We know because of Hiyori’s dealing with Kyoshiro/Denjiro and her trists as Komurasaki that there’s a number of things below the surface with her and Momonosuke will have to empathise with her situation even if she’s not the same person he knew or could be doing things he doesn’t agree with.
Finally we have ourselves a thematically resonate story with Zoro as a mentor figure who was naturally worthy of the burden of INHERITING this WILL while Momonosuke looks up to him hoping to gain the strength to be worthy of his father’s SOUL in his SWORD but has to mature to see his sister’s and everyone’s perspective on this tragedy as highlighted by Zoro.
That’s it for my analysis of this metaphor of SWORDS and SAMURAI SOULS as presented in Wano so far.
*Theory by ImmaIvanoM