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The Return of Oden – Exploring every possible Scenario

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Considering we’re about to enter a break, and considering the final page of Chapter 1007, discussions will be incendiary.

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The purpose of this thread is one and only one; discuss the ending of chapter 1007 without headcanon, without shouring for the end of times, without entering panic mode or just throw out random names for the sake of it.
Oda is a damn tease, and often a troll, and we need to take into consideration every single detail he left on our path to this moment, before we make our assumptions.

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  • We will not consider meta-narrative into the discussion. What this means is not adding things like “Oda would never do this” or “Oda usually does this, so we can expect…” or “This can’t happen, otherwise the story would…” and so on as hard-proof or evidence for any of our deductions. At the end of the day, meta-narrative is just a fancy way to say “very well thought-out headcanon”. Actually pushing theories based exclusively on meta-narrative not only doesn’t really bring much anywhere at all, but puts you in risk to be embarassed together with your whole deep analysis. One example of this is the very common and widespread theory that “Jack will be defeated by Luffy because Luffy has said he wanted to”, believing that, since Luffy saying something usually means it will happen, it must happen this time as well. Another big theory – that I subscribe to as well, but that I will never defend – is the 5 act structure that everyone is expecting. Again, there’s no proof this is actually going to be the case, and for all we know, it could be a 3 acts structure, but people are waiting with bathed breaths something tragic to happen – something that might very well never do. So yeah, while making all our assumptions and deductions, we will IGNORE every and all headcanon and meta-narrative;
  • We will not make any sort of judgment on any of the possibilities. What this means is; we’re not going to say “If this happens, this is garbage” or “This would be so trash”. Every single consideration must be taken into account, even if we think it would be a very poor narrative decision on Oda’s part. We’re not here to panic, to throw tantrums and – as usual – to be quick to judge when as we all know Oda will literally pull the rug from under us a couple of chapters later. One example of this would be how people reacted when Oda first introduced “time-travel”, and people started speculating about going into the past to save Ace and all this stuff, only for Oda to literally come out of the page next week to tell us “No guys, don’t worry, you can only move forward in time, not backwards, no shenanigans here”. But during that week – or was it two? – people were literally throwing tantrums believing time-travel would be the end of OnePiece and the worst choice ever made by Oda;
  • We will take into consideration exclusively what we know from the manga. The anime should not be considered in any way canon when it comes to theorycrafting, even though it will most likely never come up in this specific discussion, and info from interviews or vivre cards are often misleading;
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So with all of this out of the way, let’s go into the meat of this theorycrafting session.

First off, we will list all the details Oda has given us in these latest chapters.

  • DETAIL N.1 – The Toki-Toki no Mi can only send people into the future (ch. 920; 964): As stated in chapter 920 by Toki herself, the power of her Devil Fruit only lets her send people – and herself – to the future, there’s no way for anyone to go to the past. In chapter 964, when cornered by human traffickers, her only way to save herself is to jump forward in time, and she never considers once to jump backwards. There are still chances that she lied to the Scabbards about it, so we will keep this in mind; but as of right now, the manga has told us – and shown us with Toki’s thoughts – that she can only move people in the future;
  • DETAIL N.2 – Toki is sure Oden will survive the ordeal, but breaks in tears once the Kozuki attendant tells her Oden died (ch. 970; 971; 972): While Toki behaves like there’s no way Oden could possibily die during his execution, the moment she receives news of his death she tears up the letter Oden sent her – a letter in which he told her what she should do after his death – and cries by herself, right before steeling her resolution;
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  • DETAIL N.3 – Oden burns his whole body to a crisp, gets shot in the head, and then falls into the boiling oil with his whole body, head included, after thinking about his family and telling his Scabbards to keep his dream alive and that he would die during the execution. Also, he gives Kaido an interesting message (ch. 971-972): Oden’s death is seen in full display, but before it happens Oden first tells his retainers that he will die, and therefore he needs them to accomplish his dream for him. After that, he saves their lives and tells Kaido that his spirit will “live on”. He then gets shot in the head and smiles as he gets swallowed by the boiling oil;
  • DETAIL N.4 – A shadow is trying to save the Scabbards’ life (ch. 1004; 1007): At the end of chapter 1004, Bao Huang tells us – and sees – that someone is trying to save the Scabbards’ life, and that someone needs to go there asap to deal the final blow. We see the body build of the mystery character, and the the silhouette of half a face. From what we can gather, the person is much smaller than Kinemon, has a long strand of hair, has a very feminine profile – that looks very similar to Toki’s as seen in chapter 973 while she rides the horse and to Hiyori’s – and is crying as she’s attempting to treat them;
  • DETAIL N.5 – Oden suddenly breaks in…? (ch. 1007): As they say this, Oden suddenly opens the door from the outside;
  • DETAIL N.6 – Oden makes fun of the Scabbards because of their age and their wounds (ch.1007): In typical Oden fashion, Oden makes fun of the Scabbards, telling them they ALL got old and they look like someone beat them up;
  • DETAIL N.7 – Oden is happy to meet the Scabbards (ch. 1007): Oden greets the Scabbards telling them he’s happy their paths crossed once again, just as he had hoped;
  • DETAIL N.8 – Oden has 2 swords with him, but they are not Enma and Ame-no-Habakiri (ch. 1007): While the sheath seem to have the same color as his original 2 blades’, the hilts are completely different;
  • DETAIL N.9 – Oden literally looks like he looked 20 years ago, without any damage or visible scar either (ch. 1007): He’s literally the same; he even has the same clothes – and yes, he used to wear the long kimono as well as seen many times during his flashback. He doesn’t appear to have any sign of burns or anything else on him. Oh and yeah, he has his late years beard;

Here are two scenarios in which real Oden is back:

1-Oden survived 20 years ago and is now back to help the Scabbards

Pros: *6; If Oden survived the boiling, he would have either way missed Toki’s actions, meaning that he wouldn’t know that Kinemon, Raizo and Kikunojo never jumped forward in time, making them not age at all since the last time he had seen them. His line about their age would make sense; *7; Oden is happy to see them again, suggesting he missed them; *8; Since he gave both Enma and Ame-no-Habakiri to Toki, and since one is now with Zoro and the other is supposedly with Tenguyama, it makes sense Oden would have different swords;

Cons: *3; Oden is dead, and he didn’t just get shot, he was practically massacred. Even Kaido tells the audience that his body was practically gone. Unfortunately, given Oda’s trackrecord of “plot armor”, he might have survived; *9; Oden is not aged nor is scarred. Given all the wounds and the burns he’s received, even the gun-shot he got in the head, it’s weird he would have nothing to tell the tale. The same goes for his age; he literally looks exactly the same as 20 years ago. Now this would be enough to rule this possibility out, especially since we pretty much have examples in the story that actually prove the contrary; we’ve seen both Rayleigh 25 years ago and in the modern day, hell, we’ve even seen Garp 20-ish years ago and today, and the aging is consistent; even burn wounds tend to remain consistent in the story, just take Luffy, Sabo and even Kuzan. However, Oda is notoriously inconsistent with wounds and age; a big example is Sengoku, who literally didn’t age in 20 years but aged all at once in 2 years; the other is Pell, who literally was burned from head to toe after a massive explosion and is today all fine and well. What this means is that, unfortunately, because of Oda’s inconsistencies, we can’t rule out this possibility completely;

CONCLUSIONS: It’s not very likely. However, it’s hard to rule out because of Oda’s inconsistencies in character’s aging and scars permanence. The real issue here stands out from his motivations; why, if he’s in Onigashima, would he have waited to act? Why didn’t Bao Huang see him and informed the whole island about him? We all know that Oden is not about the stealth life, which means that him running around would be even noisier than Yamato. Not only that; if he’s survived and he’s in complete health, why didn’t he attack Kaido right away? Why hasn’t he demolished every single Tobi Roppo in the castle? There are a lot of issues towards this possibility, but Oda can still find a way to find one that makes sense so again, without hard evidence AGAINST this, we can’t rule it out.

2-Oden was sent 20 years into the future

Pros: *5: Typical Oden thing to do, especially if he has arrived relatively late; *6: Oden has no way to know who was sent forward and who stayed back, so he just thinks all of them stayed behind; *7: Oden is happpy he made it to the conflict and to see they are all alive; *8: Of course he doesn’t have them;

Cons: *1: We have no idea about the full extent of the Toki-Toki no Mi, but if it could cover that distance, why not using it before it? Why wait for the last second, after her husband got shot and his body got literally boiled all around?; *2: Toki’s starting behavoir is extremely suspicious, however it turned out to be exclusively a great deal of faith in her husband; once his death is confirmed, she retires to the balcony and starts crying; *3-9: Oden is dead, burnt to a crisp, shot to the head. But he is now… fine? Without treatment from anyone?

CONCLUSIONS: Oden sent to the future requires a good amount of sense of disbelief. To the issues we had in the first case, here we add the fact that Toki would have known about this, and never said this to anyone. We’ve already seen that, from every action Oden took before getting exectued, he had no certainty he would make it. There’s also a theory that sees Toki use her fruit to see exactly when to send Oden, then somehow created a Dragon Ball Z time loop, in which she went back in time, took a specific Oden, sent him to the future, and then… Well, you try to wrap your heads around that one. Given details n.1 it’s really hard to see something like this happen. Furthermore, as stated by Hiyori herself after Zoro asked her, the reason she wasn’t sent into the future was so that the Kozuki bloodline was guaranteed to have a plan B in case something went wrong with the “future-jump” group. This tells us that Toki didn’t know whether Momo would be safe after the 20 years time jump, so she kept Hiyori in the case Momo would end up dead or captured. We also need to consider that it was Oden who told Toki about the 20 years time frame, so it wasn’t Toki who looked ahead and thought “Yeah, I can see Luffy and the others, perfect timing”, but Oden’s estimate based on whatever he found on Laugh Tale. So again, while still possible, it would require a lot of mental gymnastics, and a lot of plot holes in the way.

Alternative Scenario “AFTERLIFE ODEN”:

Pros: *3; Oden tells Kaido that his soul will live on, in this case it means he meant it literally; *4; The shadow that is trying to save the Scabbards is crying; they might have not been able to save them, especially since Bao Huang said “trying to save them”. We don’t know whether they actually succeeded; *7; Oden is about to give them a “you’ve done well, good job, you can now rest” speech; *9; It makes sense Oden would appear as his own self from the peak of his days; *

Cons: *8; Why is Oden even carrying swords with him, let alone random swords that are not even his signature ones?

CONCLUSIONS: It is an interesting concept, but it’s really hard to find a way to motivate him having 2 random swords. What, you need swords in the afterlife? You don’t get to keep the spirit of your own? Or even just the image? Has he lost the swords because Zoro is now using one? Is this how things work in the afterlife? It would be poetic, however, for this to be the end of the Scabbards, and it would fit the 5 acts structure. HOWEVER, we did say that we cannot take meta-narrative into account. And so, we’re removing this argument, as well as a contrary one, the one that we’ve never even once explored the theme of people actually living in the afterlife in OnePiece. Again, this is all meta-narrative, so we will not take them into consideration. It’s very unlikely, but again, we can’t rule it out.

*Theory by DrKuro

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