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This is the End of Big Mom’s Reign?

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I really enjoyed the back-and-forth banter between Law and Kid this week as neither wanted to take orders from the other, despite the effectiveness of their teamwork.

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Most impressive was the one-two punch which seemingly brings an end to this battle, at least for the time being. Now, I don’t need to tell you how monumental the implications of this chapter potentially are as this could mean the downfall of one of the Four Emperors, representing an epochal shift in the One Piece world. But before getting too far ahead of ourselves in celebrating the end of Big Mom’s reign, let’s back up and consider all the angles here.

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So first, I do believe this is the end of Law & Kid’s battle against Big Mom and that they have indeed emerged victorious, which is in itself huge, and elevates both to become much more serious rivals to Luffy moving forward. I’ve been skeptical about Law and Kid defeating Big Mom, so I can’t say I predicted this outcome at the start of the raid, but I’m also not entirely surprised. Over the past 20 chapters, the tone of the story suggested the tides were turning and that we would indeed see the New Generation rise and triumph over the old. Much of the dialogue in this week’s chapter highlighted these same ideas. Big Mom asserts that the Emperors have reigned supreme in the New World for decades while Law and Kid counter that the times they are a-changin’.

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Now, as impressive as Law and Kid both were in this week’s chapter, I don’t think this is the end for Big Mom entirely. The Supernovas delivered on their promise by preventing her from reaching the roof, but importantly, even Law understood that their attacks alone aren’t powerful enough to keep her down for long – and his strategy was designed to mitigate risk of her recovery. We saw Big Mom recover several times at the expense of using up a portion of her lifespan. As a quick aside, we don’t know if Big Mom’s lifespan is fixed. Her Devil Fruit allows her to steal and transfer other people’s lifespans, but it’s not clear whether she can add years to her own life.

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So, barring the possibility Linlin can regain the years she lost, it’s notable just how far she was pushed by Law and Kid and what this battle has already cost her. But back to the main point of discussion, Law’s plan was not only to knock out Big Mom, but to entirely remove her from the battlefield in order to prevent her recovery. He punctured a hole straight through to the mainland below and it seems Kid’s attack was intended to push her through. Perhaps unconscious, she won’t be able to direct Prometheus or Hera to rescue her like last time, causing her to fall into he crater carved in the bedrock..

In that sense, I do believe this is the end of Law and Kid’s battle with Big Mom and that the Worst Generation can be declared the victors, but at the same time, I don’t think this is the end of the line for Big Mom. She may not recover fast enough to re-enter the battle and her reputation may be damaged, but her story remains unfinished. She still has narrative ties to Elbaf and an unresolved grudge against the Straw Hat Pirates. Law and Kid asserted that Big Mom’s reign is at an end, but what does it really mean to depose an Emperor of the Sea? It’s important here to remember that their being called Emperors is only partially based on their strenght. The Emperors also each reign over vast territories and command a massive fighting force.

Here Law and Kid have managed to topple Big Mom, demonstrating the Emperor’s hold on the New World is no longer uncontested, but unless she’s somehow arrested and imprisoned or someone else like Blackbeard swept through Totto Land while Big Mom was preoccupied on Wano, I’m not convinced she will lose her Emperor status. After all, Kaido was defeated as a Pirate seven times and still rules Wano as the so-called King of Beasts.

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