Chapter 1001 was a very action heavy chapter which didn’t really advance the story in any major way, but there were a lot of fun interactions between the Worst Generation members.
Oda hasn’t spent a lot of time on battles post-time skip and while I prefer the more story heavy chapters, I do think it’s fitting he’s dedicating time to Luffy’s first real fight against an Emperor. In fact, the entire chapter is focused on the battle between Luffy, Zoro, Law, Kid, Killer, and the two Emperors on the roof of Onigashima
The panel where Kaido wonders if Luffy is on par with other pirates strong enough to face him combat was really cool. This list includes Roger, Whitebeard, Oden, Shanks, and Xebec.
I thought Blackbeard’s omission in this panel was pretty interesting. This could simply mean that Kaido and Teach have never crossed paths, but it could also imply he doesn’t consider him a worthy adversary in the same manner as the others pictured here. After all, Teach is not the one Roger is waiting for.
We know Kaido clashed with Shanks on route to Marineford and we saw his battle against Oden. We also know he fought on the opposite side as Roger during the God Valley Incident. At this point, we don’t know when Kaido fought against Whitebeard or Xebec. All three were part of Rocks during the God Valley Incident, so he would certainly be aware of how powerful they both were, but Kaido specifies these are pirates strong enough to fight him, so it would imply they were at one point adversaries.
This is the first time we have seen Xebec since the God Valley Incident was first explained in chapter 957. While his appearance is still silhouetted, we can make out his facial features a little better here. And he still looks a lot like Luffy’s father Monkey D. Dragon. I highly doubt the two are blood related given what we already know about the Monkey family, but it’s still interesting and makes me wonder if there’s a deeper reason Teach targeted Dragon and the Revolutionary Army given that he appears to have inherited Xebec’s will.
I really like the emerging trend of Luffy and Zoro learning new techniques from both allies and opponents. This isn’t entirely new – Luffy says he developed the Gears in response to CP9 for example. But we have recently seen Luffy pick up Katakuri’s Observation Haki and Zoro learn from Kinemon. While I haven’t considered Kinemon a serious candidate to join the Straw Hats, there always seemed to be a small possibility given the prominent role he has played throughout the New World. But Zoro taking Kinemon’s signature technique would seem to cut that potential in half.
I also really liked how closely the panel of Zoro splitting Prometheus matched the panel of Brook cutting Zeus in half. I’d love to see the Straw Hat Pirates fight Big Mom together as a crew – and could imagine a panel where Zoro and Brook simultaneously cut Prometheus and Zeus respectively. I expect Big Mom’s role in the story will extend beyond Wano and we have seen the Straw Hats come face to face with Big Mom more than once, so I do think there’s good reason to believe there will ultimately be some payoff to what Oda seems to be setting up.
I really liked the scene where Law tells Luffy he too wanted to save Kinemon which shows Law has also grown close to Kinemon. Kinemon and Law have both been allies from the start of the New World. They sailed together with the Straw Hats from Punk Hazard to Wano. I recently posted a bar chart race video which ranks all the characters in the series by number of chapter appearances. As expected, the Straw Hats occupy the top 10 spots, but coming in at number 11 and 12 are Law and Kinemon. Over the course of what is now a very long adventure, it seems fitting the two have also become close.