I’ve seen a lot of people mention that the Raid could succeed, particularly because a lot of plot threads have been resolved now.
The Samurai have been recruited, the Scabbards have been fleshed out, we’ve learned about Oden, we’ve explored the island, and a lot of the stuff that hasn’t been explored yet could be done over the course of the battle (Kaido’s past, Yamato’s role, how the Alliance will win, etc). Plus it’s been mentioned many times that this is the Alliance’s only chance to win against Kaido. They can’t afford to mess this up.
But I still think overall that the Raid will end in failure for many reasons. I still think there are a lot of plot threads that need to be resolved over the course of this arc. Now I’m not saying that the Raid on Onigashima won’t be long, which it could be. But I do think there are a few too many potential plot threads that need to be explored over the course of this arc for it to act as a satisfying conclusion to Oda’s first super saga. Let me preface this by saying that I’m a little more confident in some of these areas than others. They might not all get addressed but I do feel like a lot of these would make sense for this arc.
Wano has been built up for a long time to be a very important arc for Zoro’s character. I don’t think anybody really disagrees with that. Some of the earliest mentions of Wano were during Zoro’s fight against Ryuma to get the legendary sword. Conceptually, Wano should be an important arc for Zoro’s character since it’s a land of sword masters, so this would be a perfect arc for Zoro to test his abilities and show how much he’s grown in the New World. Even the first chapter of Wano had a huge focus on Zoro, when he had that badass fight against the multiple swordsmen with just a small knife.
Now obviously Zoro has had some time to shine in this arc with his fight against Killer, the relationship he built up with Lord Yasuie and the town of Ebisu, and how he received a new sword. But I do think that in order for this arc to be satisfying arc to demonstrate Zoro’s growth in the New World, a lot still needs to happen, and I’m not sure all of it can be addressed over the course of one big battle.
I think Zoro needs to have a major fight (possibly against King), a major conflict to over come for his character (similar to what we’ve seen with Sanji in Whole Cake Island), and a demonstration of him going all out. As many people have pointed out in the past, Zoro hasn’t really had an opportunity to go all out in the New World yet. He had his fight against Monet in Punk Hazard (which was no problem) and his fight against Pica (which was more of a test of figuring out how to cut him rather than a fight to the death), but nothing on par with his fight against say Mr. 1 in Alabasta, or Kaku in Enies Lobby. Both of those were climax arcs to sagas but Zoro wasn’t really a focus in either of them. If Zoro is supposed to have some focus in the conclusion to this major saga, I still think there needs to be a lot more ground work made for the opponent he will fight, and I’m not 100% sure that all of that can be achieved over the course of this one battle. It would make more sense to spread some of this out.
For a character that is supposedly going to be very important this arc, there’s still a lot that we don’t know about Yamato. She was just introduced a few chapters ago and I think it’ll be a while before her purpose in the story becomes clear. It would just seem a little weird to me from a storytelling perspective for Oda to introduce such a crucial player this close to the final battle if they were supposed to play a crucial role in the story. I don’t doubt that Yamato’s character can’t be fleshed out more in a flashback during this battle (maybe even during a Kaido flashback), but I do think that Yamato needs to be around for a lot longer so that Oda has time to sell everybody on Yamato’s character. And another factor that relates to Yamato is…