In the new Color Spread of Chapter 1028 Usopp and Nami are playing a fighting game featuring the rest of the Straw Hats as video game characters. The video game itself is reminiscent of the Super Smash Bros. series of fighting games.
I saw someone mention that given Nico Robin is in her demon form here, this cover page could potentially be foreshadowing the power-ups of the Straw Hats and I thought that was interesting so I’m gonna take a shot at it.
Luffy, Sanji and Zoro are the only three left with fights this arc so I’m only gonna be speculating only on them.
This cover page I feel makes it pretty clear who the reincarnation of Nika ‘The Sun God’ is. Ken doesn’t have flaming hair so this is a very obvious reference to Nika.
It’s interesting though that Luffy has flaming fists but I can’t imagine that Luffy would have a flaming form. Luffy can create fire via certain techniques so more likely than not it’s a reference to a technique. It also seems like Luffy is doing a Shoryuken here which is a signature special attack from Ken (with a flaming fist) so my guess will be that Luffy defeats Kaido with a flame technique.
Something similar to Red Hawk & Red Roc. That said, Ken’s Shoryuken technique only has the attacking fist flaming so Luffy having both fists flaming is interesting… maybe a twin pistol or a gattling type flame attack? We’ve seen Red Hawk which is a Gear 2nd technique, Red Roc which is a Gear 3rd technique so reckon we’d get a Gear 4th ‘Red xxx’ technique?
Lastly, it kinda makes sense that Luffy uses a flame attack to defeat Kaido because of Ace and his connection to Wano. Ace intended on coming back to Wano to defeat Kaido but has died unfortunately so is unable to do it but his little brother that has inherited his will has come to do it for him.
Sanji seems to be an Inkling from Splatoon and with him having unlocked his exoskeleton in Chapter 1028, it kinda makes sense why Oda made him an inkling in this cover page.
Inklings seemingly have no bones and respawn after being splattered. It isn’t exactly like for like but this characteristic is very similar to him getting crushed this chapter and then regenerating almost instantly.
Also Inklings seem to be known for their attack speed and combos which is very Sanji-like. That said, what I found the most interesting about them is that they can switch between both their humanoid and squid forms and this attribute I think can be used to counter a major negative of the exoskeleton which it is that you can’t undo it, once it is awakened.
Some pretty obvious problems this presents are:
- Sanji is proud to be human and really dislikes the fact that he is becoming a monster. This power-up is basically being forced upon him against his will and making him what he doesn’t want to be.
- Sanji no longer has any control over whether he can hurt women. For instance, if Sanji awakened his exoskeleton prior to meeting Maria, he won’t have been able to chose not to hurt her and her fist would have shattered as soon as it made contact with his face. This is a big no no with regards to what Sanji’s character stands for and his chivalry is probably the most characteristic ting about him.
So I’m thinking unlike his other siblings, Sanji will have the ability to switch in and out from his human form & his monstrous Germa form.
Zoro is Link from the Legend of Zelda. A skilled swordsman in possession of something called the “Master Sword”.
“The Sword is often seen to choose or accept its master by its own will, always a hero who has gone through great trials that test his courage, wisdom and power to prove him worthy of wielding it. This may be the conscious choice of the sword’s spirit, Fi, who sleeps eternally within the sword and only assists her heroic master”
This characteristic is pretty similar to Enma and how it chose Zoro as it’s master.
Also apparently at some point during the series this sword transforms into a “True Master Sword” so might be a reference to Zoro transforming Enma into a black blade this arc.
With that said I’m done! Pretty short but hope y’all enjoyed the read ^^