Timeline and character analysis – a PERSONAL take on what could have happened and when (and why)
For this section, other than time markings scattered throughout the story, Momonosuke’s (biological 8 – actual 28), Yamato’s (28), and Hancock’s (31) ages will also be taken into account for comparison.
It is known that the Rocks Pirates were defeated and subsequently disbanded 38 years before the current time. Also, Kaido was captured, and presumably sentenced to jail, eighteen times; given his reputation and danger, it’s pretty safe to assume that at least one of those nine prison ships he sunk was directed to Impel Down.
Impel Down is actually not that far from Amazon Lily: the journey takes one sailing week with an average ship, while Marine ones can make it in just four days, about half the time, because of the reserved currents. In my opinion, it makes sense thinking that Kaido has sunk a prison ship in the Paradise and somehow ended up in Amazon Lily.
Now, everyone here knows the supreme rule of the Island of Women:
NO. MEN. ALLOWED.
For any reasons.
So, by the laws of the island, he was imprisoned and, just like Luffy, was sentenced to death. But, like the latter pirate did, Kaido defeated/broke/knocked unconscious all the animal/things commonly used for executions on the island, therefore the Empress finally decided to take the matter into her own hands.
I believe the Kuja Empress at the time was Gloriosa. Why?
Well, it was stated that 33 years ago the remnants of the Rocks Pirates sent off to found their own crews, and probably Kaido arrived in Amazon Lily even earlier, between 38 and 33 years ago. As Hancock stated, Gloriosa is actually the former-former-former empress of Amazon Lily: this means that there were two Empresses between her and Hancock; since the latter is stated to have become Empress at the age of 18, 13 years ago, and given that the other two unnamed Empresses died of Love Sickness which probably is more likely to strike the unlucky rulers at a fairly young age, 20-25 years are more than enough for two Empresses to have reigned.
To estimate her actual force at the time, let’s analyse her name a bit.
Like all Kujas, Gloriosa is named after a flower (or a genus of those): Gloriosa is a genus of 12 flower species, widely spread in areas of the world such as Africa, the Arabic Peninsula and tropical parts of Asia. It can reach 3 metres in height and they display showy, vibrant-colored flowers with distinctively shaped petals, earning them the nickname of fire lily.
All Kujas, however, share some characteristics with the one they are named after: for example, Aphelandra squarrosa can reach 2 metres (6,5 ft) of height in the wild and Aphelandra is one of the tallest Kujas; Scaevola aemula (Blue fan) is just 24 cm (0,79 ft) tall and Blue Fan is very short; Sandersonia aurantiaca has wide, bell-shaped flowers and Boa Sandersonia has a large head, and so on.
So, the question arises spontaneously: why is this short, wrinkly old woman named after one of the most beautiful (and tallest) flowers in the world? Given Oda’s attention even for the tiniest details, I highly doubt he chose this name randomly; at least, not for her.
Either she’s a grotesque parody of her own name… or it could be a foreshadow.
Gloriosa is also the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan word meaning ‘glorious’, if the subject it’s related to is feminine and singular. A truly fitting name for a ruler and the wife of a Yonko, isn’t it? And Kaido want his death to be… glorious.
Maybe Gloriosa in her prime was actually even more beautiful and stronger than the current Hancock, to the point where nobody had ever beaten her in combat.
Anyway, you know how the saying goes: if it’s one on one, always bet on Kaido.
Therefore, Gloriosa was defeated for the first time. By a man.
Hancock’s case probably gives us how Empresses fall ill with Love Sickness: it happens when a man catches them off guard by behaving in a totally and positively unexpected way, defying all the previous experiences the rulers have. Hancock fell in love with Luffy because he showed her kindness and didn’t judge her when she told him about her past; Gloriosa got Love Sickness because she fell in love with Kaido for his strength.
Because love… is always like a
Dragon Twister hurricane!
How about Kaido?
It is common knowledge that he respects physical strength, even in his enemies.
That’s probably why he joined the Rocks Pirates in the first place: out of respect for Rocks D. Xebec, because he was actually the first person ever to defeat him in combat.
Just like Zoro with Kuina, or Douglas Bullet with Gol D. Roger (in the Stampede movie).
Gloriosa may have not defeated him in combat, but she surely gave him a very good run for his money, maybe she almost won. And he respected her for that, to the point where he actually accepted to leave Amazon Lily, even if he won. He stayed there for a little more, while a ship for him to sail the sea was being prepared, and lived peacefully (meaning: extensively touched and examined) with the Kujas.; what are the chances that one of his favourite (or least) foods is actually penne with Gorgonzola and Sea King’s meat, the island’s culinary speciality?
When he sat sail, he probably found out that the Empress snuck aboard his ship when he was far away from the island already. He thought of bringing her back, but, after listening to her reasons, he decided to let her stay with him because, let’s face it, Kaido is not Luffy, he actually appreciates the company of women.
The most beautiful woman in the world fell in love with him and contracted a mysterious illness which would have killed her if she didn’t go with him and follow him anywhere?
Oh no! /s
I’ll tell you what, I don’t think that Kaido was actually in love with her at first that much. He surely enjoyed spending passionate nights with her, and was amused by her curiosity due to Gloriosa knowing little to nothing about the external world.
There was a specific moment when he actually fell in love with her.
Have you noticed that, despite being often shirtless, Kaido’s back is never fully uncovered even in his dragon form? He always wears a coat, a shirt, or both.
That hints that Kaido has some kind of mark on his back he wants to hide from public view, just like the Gorgon Sisters. Something must have happened that made him show her said mark, maybe Gloriosa caught a glimpse and asked him to see it. Anyway, Kaido was reclutant at first, but she had the right to know, she was his wife after all.
So he showed it to her, in a way that, when it will be shown in the flashback, might be a callback to when Hancock showed Luffy the Celestial Dragon hoof.
That mark meant that for the world he had and would always have been something inhuman, a failed experiment, a monster; even Big Mom, who has the best spy network in the world, calls him a ‘thing’. But Gloriosa didn’t judge him for said mark, nor she believed he was a monster. For Gloriosa, he was just Kaido, the man who she had fallen in love with.
That’s when Kaido fell for her. And he fell hard, probably to the point of no return.
At some point, the two conceived a child, and that’s when Kaido decided that it was time to move to Wano instead of travelling the world: the pirate life is dangerous for grown people let alone for a child, plus he was one of the most wanted men by the World Government, meaning the child was in danger simply by existing.
But how did Kaido know about Wano?
He probably heard something about the Continent Puller and the ‘country’ he formed about 600 years before but, since it was a closed nation, he probably didn’t know much more until he met someone who escaped from said island: Kurozumi Higurashi.
41 years ago, she told Orochi that she fled the country because of the persecutions against the Kurozumi clan, and because she knew nothing about the outside world, joining pirates was the easier choice. Also, in that way she could have found allies and power for the Kurozumi cause easier.
The Mane Mane no Mi allows the user to create a perfect copy of a person whose face has been touched. She transformed in a woman, who, judging by the color scheme in the anime, is heavily hinted to be Bakkin and a young Shiki, both known members of the Rocks Pirates, so Higurashi may have traveled with said crew for a while. There she met Kaido, who she sensed he could have been a great help for the Kurozumis: big, powerful, and stupid, easy to manipulate.
A closed off country not part of the World Government: a perfect nation for Kaido to reside to ensure the safety of his family (mainly his child, because Gloriosa was more than capable of defending herself) and to use as a base for his operations.
When Oden went with Whitebeard 29 years ago, there were no factories in Wano, but they were there when Toki arrived in Wano with Momonosuke, who was 3 at the time, and Hiyori; so Kaido must have arrived in Wano three years earlier at last.
Gloriosa may not have been the Kuja Empress anymore, but had everything a woman like her could ask for: she was one of the heads of a soon to be powerful army, plus a devoted, loving husband and a child.
Why did she leave it all behind?
I have already talked about the parallels between Gloriosa and turtles in the mythology section, but here’s another one: in Chinese culture, turtle (especially turtle egg) is a very serious insult regarding the morality of one’s mother; that’s why Genbu is called Black Warrior instead of Black Tortoise.
This also expands one of Wano’s most prominent themes: betrayal.
Gloriosa was forced to leave Wano and Yamato behind because she cheated on Kaido. But with who?
Well, the Beast Pirates follow a card games and decks naming theme, and currently there is none named Ace; also, when Oden faced Kaido, Jack was only 8, so my hypothesis is that the third Calamity before him was called Ace. He probably had a crush on Gloriosa and when she went to him for comfort while Kaido was away, probably out to recruit subordinates or captured, he couldn’t resist.
But Kaido caught the two in the act, and was absolutely furious.
He killed Ace, and his position remained vacant for quite some time, until Jack finally took his place in the Calamities; that’s why, in Episode 972, there were only King and Queen along with the fodder.
However, Kaido couldn’t bring himself to kill his wife personally, so he offered her a choice: be dispatched by the hands of King or Queen, or leave and never return.
Gloriosa chose the second option.
She packed her things and left, only to realize she had nowhere to go: Wano obviously was not an option, but she couldn’t just go back to Amazon Lily, not after she betrayed Kujas by abandoning them while she was an Empress. Plus, as a pirate, she was wanted by the Marine. So she lived on the run, continuously assuming new identities and never staying in the same place for too long.
Also, Love Sickness certainly has played its role in weakening her, making her age faster and dramatically decreasing her height in the process.
Taking a look at Hancock’s bed, it’s decisiverly oversized for her: said bed could comfortably fit a laid Boa Hancock together with her Snake Weapon, which is way larger than the others, her sisters, the doctor and Gloriosa, and still have room left for someone else to stand on it.
It is very likely that this bed was the Empress’s for a long time, and, since that position is not inherited, it had to fit Kujas of all sizes. So Gloriosa could have been taller in her youth, maybe a little shorter than Kaido, but still enough to handle him.
Anyway, Gloriosa managed to survive through sheer willpower, the same that allows her to snap out of Hancock’s charm much faster than the others, until her feelings for Kaido eventually faded away, thus healing from said illness.
When she finally arrived to Sabaody Archipelago, at least fifteen years ago, she was unrecognisable. Coincidentally, Shakky’s Rip-Off bar was searching for new waiters, and Gloriosa applied because she needed money. The former pirate immediately recognised her.
How is that possible? Feminine intuition!
In chapter 591, she correctly predicted that Hancock would became smitten with Luffy despite not seeing her for thirteen years and every evidence in Hancock’s behaviour pointing out the contrary. (Also in the very same chapter Hancock asks Gloriosa how to have a proper marriage while surrounded by monkeys wearing Wano’s typical hat. Let that sink in).
Shakky understood that Kaido had no interest in her anymore and let her stay with her and Rayleigh, until the Boa sisters arrived and Gloriosa could finally return to Amazon Lily with the excuse of bringing them back home.
On the other hand, Kaido was devastated, to say the least.
Can you blame him? His beloved wife was cheating on him with one of his most trusted subordinates. He needed to forget, to get rid of all those negative feelings overwhelming him: that’s why he started drinking.
However, Kaido isn’t stupid. Okay, he may not be as smart as Benn Beckman, the most intelligent person introduced in the East Blue arc, but he surely has some brains: you don’t reach and mantain high positions within a crew without some smarts, let alone being an Emperor of the Sea. Kaido soon realised that he caught the two relatively easily. Too easily.
Almost if they wanted to get caught in the act.
While Kaido was drinking his sorrow away, someone else was toasting to a risky plan gone smoothly.
The Kurozumi clan.
Higurashi may have lured Kaido into Wano and the alliance with the Kurozumi, but she didn’t predict that he would have arrived with a wife and a child. Gloriosa probably had a great influence on Kaido, who was (and maybe is still) regarded as little more than a muscle head; and the Kurozumis were actually afraid that she may have been plotting something. This impression was confirmed by the Onibanshu who spied the two pirates: probably Gloriosa wasn’t happy about the shogun and suggested her husband some ways to dethronate him.
She was a threat, and they needed to get rid of her as soon as possible.
They sensed that one of Kaido’s top subordinates had feelings for Gloriosa, and they decided to use this fact to their advantage. So Higurashi transformed using her Devil Fruit powers and seduced the crew’s Ace, in a time and a place where she was sure Kaido could see them, while someone else distracted Gloriosa. In the end, everything went according to plan.
However, when Kaido saw the old hag using her powers some time after, he understood everything. But he had no concrete proofs, and certainly wasn’t in the position to kill someone so important to his pawn based only on simple suspects; so he waited, until the perfect moment arrived.
Meanwhile, Kaido kept drinking, to forget his actions and to numb his guilt. At first, a little quantity of alcohol did the trick, but eventually he needed more and more, slowly falling into addiction.
You know, Gloriosas’ beauty is only matched by their toxicity: as proud members of the Colchicaceae family, they contain colchicine, a powerful metabolic toxin; all parts of these plants can be fatal if eaten, even a simple touch can cause skin irritation. Due to this, Gloriosa superba has been used for centuries to commit suicide.
Just like colchicine corrodes the body, alcohol, together with shame, guilt and anger, slowly eroded Kaido’s soul, corrupting him from within.
While Kaido’s original plan for Wano was simply to make the island his operational base, after all that happened he decided to destroy and utterly annihililate it, just like Orochi destroyed his happiness. The shogun was fine with his ally’s devastations and never suspected that Kaido knew. The latter made Orochi believe he wouldn’t touch the Flower Capital, just to completely erase it from the face of Earth once his army would have been powerful enough to fight an all-out war. Revenge is a dish best served cold and then smashed on the forehead.
The rest is history.
Surely Kaido will be defeated, but he will not be completely dealt with in this arc.
Yamato probably got their kind, selfless nature from Gloriosa. The latter would have never approved of the terms of Kaido’s promise to Oden, let alone all the hostages and atrocities done by her husband; since Oden began to dance naked in the streets 25 years ago, probably Gloriosa was already gone at that time.
Because of this, Yamato has little to no memories of their mother, so they will likely ask Kaido about her at the end of the battle. However, Kaido himself doesn’t know her whereabouts because he didn’t send spies after her; at first, because he didn’t care about her anymore. When he realised his mistake, he still didn’t search for her because otherwise it would have shown that she was still important to him. He is not naive, he knows there are spies in his ranks, even at high levels; therefore he wants to avoid attracting unwanted attentions to her.
Plus, Kaido doesn’t even want to know, because Gloriosa probably is dead or has found another person to be with; and he deep down knows that those news would definitely break him.
However, there’s one little detail: Gloriosa’s speech quirk-nyon. Even if her appearance has changed quite a bit, she surely did nyot change her way of talking. Luffy would probably understand Kaido is talking about her because of this, and will tell them that she’s alive and well in Amazon Lily.
It is a known fact that our protagonist either kills the villains’ dreams or changes them: Kaido will change his goal too. He wouldn’t want to die yet, he will probably want to meet Gloriosa again to apologize properly for what he had done to her.
Thus, he will survive the battle and somehow, after almost thirty years, Kaido and Gloriosa will meet again.
Will Gloriosa forgive him? Will she not?
Only Oda will tell.