So a big question everyone has is why Aokiji/Kuzan joined up with Blackbeard. Their ideals don’t align at all really, so he’s probably undercover or somehow working against Blackbeard. I’d like to break down all the potential possibilities that I can think of, and hopefully reach some sort of answer.
I think we can rule out that he’s actually loyal to Teach based on what he know about Kuzan and Blackbeard. Kuzan has a lot of respect for Sengoku and Garp, and they both are anti-Blackbeard. Kuzan has spent his entire career fighting against pirates, and it would be strange if he suddenly decided to work with arguably the most dangerous pirate of all.
It’s pretty likely that Aokiji is just keeping tabs on Blackbeard in an effort to keep him in check. If this is the case, who is he really aligned with?
Here are the options I can think of:
Given Kuzan’s relationship with Akainu, I think him working for SWORD is unlikely. Since SWORD is explicitly a Marine force, not a World Government force, I’m inclined to believe they report to Akainu in some capacity. We are told that Aokiji left the Marines because he didn’t want to work under Akainu, so I can’t see him as a SWORD member. Also, this would mean that the World Government is unaware that Kuzan is still secretly a Marine.
Kuzan could be working for the Revolutionary Army but that would be a pretty drastic change of allegiance given that he was an Admiral. Like Garp, Kuzan probably doesn’t think highly of the World Government, but I don’t think he’s that jaded with the system to work with the Revolutionary Army. Also, despite their recent tussle, I don’t think the Revolutionary Army is that concerned with Blackbeard – their focus is tearing down the Celestial Dragons. They wouldn’t waste a talent like Kuzan to spy on Teach. I’ve seen theories that Kuzan was the one who alerted the Revolutionary Army about the incoming attack on Baltigo. Maybe, but I’m more inclined to believe that they were just prepared for any potential attack. Karasu’s crow power has been shown to cover huge distances so he could have alerted them.
The Five Elders explicitly said they don’t know why Kuzan joined Blackbeard, so this one we can definitely rule out.
This is a pretty boring scenario in my opinion so I’m inclined to think that Oda will do something more exciting. Kuzan might be collaborating with Sengoku, we’ve seen Sengoku do this with Corazon so maybe Kuzan is also his spy. However, Sengoku seems pretty happy with his lack of responsibility, and spying on Blackbeard would contradict his new easy-going, no responsibilities vibe.
This is a wildcard but there is a decent chance Kuzan is collaborating with Shanks. We know that Shanks views Blackbeard as a huge threat. He’s also been shown to intervene in situations he isn’t necessarily involved in for the greater good. He told Whitebeard to stop Ace, prevented Kaido from going to Marineford and subsequently ended the war, and more recently his discussion with the Elders. It’s unclear if Blackbeard was the “certain pirate” he wanted to discuss with the Five Elders. But if it was, then maybe he’s working with Kuzan to keep tabs on/impede Blackbeard? Or, maybe the certain pirate is actually Kuzan, since he’s technically a pirate now. Hard to know at this point, but a conflict between Shanks and Teach seems inevitable, and it looks like Kuzan will play a part in that. I think it’s possible that Shanks and Kuzan are collaborating in some capacity with Blackbeard as a common enemy.
*Theory by Adolf_Goochler