So in the most recent chapter we have been faced with the return of Kozuki Oden the single image of which has given rise to countless theories. However there is one very likely theory that I’ve seen nobody post which ties in many of the themes of Wano and would do a lot to tie the whole arc together.
This theory begins in truth a few chapters ago when we were introduced to the sacred trees of Onigashima. The tree itself is decorated with traditional japanese Shimenawa a very sacred object. Shimenawa are thought to act as a barrier against evil spirits and are thus often tied to Yorishiro, objects which are considered to be able to house spirits (or alternatively attract them) mostly these Yorishiro are identified as trees. Most importantly cutting these trees is thought to be terrible luck.
So it seems pretty clear that these trees are in the image of traditional Japanese Yorishiro and thus in a fantasy world we might believe that these trees actually contain genuine spirits.
If that is true then Big Mom has brought terrible luck to her side and potentially freed several spirits as she cut down the trees with her attack early in the raid.
This theme of spirits and ghosts is also reflected in the ongoing fire festival, which before the Kozuki were overthrown was a festival meant to honour the dead with it being said that the grander the celebration then the more their emotions will reach the dead.
So the theory itself is actually quite simple, Oden’s spirit was kept interred within the sacred trees of Onigashima, when the trees were cut he and potentially Toki were released and are now able to return to the world. It is only because of the festivities of the fire festival that he is able to appear so strongly which would also explain why he has never appeared before. Oden has been liberated and with the success of the raid Oden will appear before the people of the fire festival before disappearing, showing the truth of the purpose of the festival and restoring its original purpose.
Some last pieces of evidence are mostly circumstantial but go a long way to corroborate this theory. Why does Oden lack scarring or injuries? Cause he’s a ghost. Why would someone like Kanjuro even draw a picture of Oden or alternatively why would Catarina Devon take his form? Well they didn’t. Why hasn’t Oden appeared before? The fire festival couldn’t summon his spirit mixed with the fact he was bound to the trees.
Personally I think this theory ties many plot threads and themes together to explain why Oden has returned and might give a hint to the direction the rest of the raid will take. Lemme know what you all think.
*Theory by froucks