People keep saying that we don’t know enough about Yamato yet, or that we need a flashback or something to flesh out the character. I don’t think this is necessary. For one I think we’ve already learned Yamato’s past, and we could learn more after Yamato joins.
- Brook debuted in chapter 442 and joined by chapter 489. That’s 47 chapters.
- Robin debuted in chapter 117, and joined in chapter 218. That’s 101 chapters.
- Franky debuted in chapter 329 and joined in chapter 437. That’s 109 chapters.
- Chopper debuted in chapter 134 and joined in chapter 152. That’s 19 chapters.
- Zoro debuted in chapter 2 and joined in chapter 5. 3 chapters.
- Sanji debuted in chapter 43 and joined in chapter 68. That’s 25 chapters.
- Ussop debuted in 23 and joined in chapter 41. That’s 19 chapters.
- Nami is up for debate. You could say she debuted in chapter 8 and joined in chapter 14 or in 81 or you could say she officially joined in 95. That’s either 6, 73, or 87 chapters.
- Jinbe joined in 528 and it’s also somewhat up for debate, but I don’t think so. I say he joined in 901, but some would say that because of his actual boarding of the ship and the title card that he joined in 976. That’s either 373 or 448 chapters.
- Not counting Jinbe, the average chapter amount for a crew member joining is 41, 49, or 51 chapters depending on how you place Nami.
- Yamato debuted in chapter 971 partially, and fully in chapter 984. The arc is still well underway, and Yamato has now been around for 41 or 28 chapters at this point. Either way, if Wano continues for another 13 chapters, Yamato will have reached the average if you consider 984 the official debut.
Some might say that later additions to the crew took longer and longer to join, so Yamato can’t join sooner than they did. Let’s test that hypothesis. If we go in order for who had the longest time joining it looks like this:
Compared to the order that they joined (*Nami’s position depends on your perspective).
The bottom three should be the longest, in fact if the hypothesis is true, the time list should just be an inverse of the order list, but Brook throws a wrench in that, and depending on how you count Nami, so does she.
You could say that Yamato hasn’t done enough yet, but saving Momonosuke, saving Luffy, saving Franky, and now chaperoning Momonosuke have been pretty big deals I would say.
You could say we still don’t know enough about the character, but I think Yamato has been well characterized at this point. There’s humor, empathy, kindness, loyalty, excitement, quirkiness, and strength within the character. We know Yamato’s motivations. We know that Yamato has a connection to Luffy. I’m not as bothered by the Oden quirk as some of you are, but I think many of us are open to the idea of Yamato shedding this as the arc continues or as it ends.
In terms of role fulfillment
My take is that roles are secondary to a connection to Luffy. I think characters join when they either have a strong connection to Luffy and or have a uniquely useful skill/insight that the current members either don’t have or could be done much better than what the current members can do.
The Straw Hats already had a helmsman and they were doing fine, but Jinbe was also written as a good one well after we got to know what his main abilities are. Plus, Jinbe brings experience and wisdom to the crew, as well as a very, very strong connection to Luffy.
Who knows what kind of things Yamato knows after reading the logbook, and the Straw Hats could have their own logger in Yamato. Yamato also has I think a strong connection to Luffy via Ace and since Luffy is doing Yamato a huge solid right now and because Yamato wants to emulate Oden’s journey and finish what the Roger pirates couldn’t and Luffy is an option for that.