Law and Kid’s accomplishment against Big Mom is certainly monumental. As I said last week, this is more directly representative of the rise of the new generation than it is the fall of Big Mom. In fact, this week’s chapter seemingly reinforces just how powerful the Emperors still are relative to their challengers from the Worst Generation. They realized their attacks weren’t powerful enough to keep Big Mom down. Thus, Law’s plan was to entirely remove Big Mom from the battlefield to prevent her recovery. Notably, this particular strategy was only possible because they’re fighting on an island in the sky.
This week’s chapter makes it even more clear that though Law and Kid can claim victory in this particular battle, they still have plenty of room to grow before they can truly match the Emperors in terms of strength. We learn at the start of this week’s chapter that Big Mom remains relatively unharmed from Kid’s ultimate rail gun attack – making it even more clear that their attacks alone are not enough to knock her unconscious.
I loved the scene where Law, inspired by Rocinante’s power, locked Big Mom in a sound-proof sphere as it signifies Law’s victory comes not through strength alone, but is built on the will inherited from his mentor. I also loved the double page spread depicting Big Mom’s descent through Onigashima and ‘m glad Oda spent another full chapter on Big Mom’s downfall.
There wasn’t much in the way of plot progression, but the extra panel time was needed to fully emphasize the gravity of this event. The Emperors each control vast territories and a massive fighting force. Unless someone like Blackbeard has ransacked Totto Land in Big Mom’s absence, losing a fight to Law and Kid won’t be enough to strip her of her Emperor status. In Chapter 1039 Big Mom asserted that the Emperors have reigned for decades – and what this battle signifies is that their authority is no longer uncontested. The Worst Generation is on the rise and the Emperor’s grip on the New World is no longer absolute.
Even if Law and Kid individually are nowhere near as powerful as Big Mom, they were still able to claim victory in this battle because strength alone is only a piece of the puzzle. They devised a strategy that both took advantage of their current high-altitude situation and negated Big Mom’s overwhelming Devil Fruit powers. The victory here is unquestionably theirs, made clear by the narration boxes at the conclusion of the chapter, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. I’m very happy to see Law and Kid rise to become much more serious rivals to Luffy in the future, but it’s equally important to remember that though the threat of Big Mom has been neutralized for the time being, she will live to fight another day.
Oda very rarely includes thought bubbles, so I really appreciate the fact that he here grants us insight into Big Mom’s internal monologue. With her voice unheard, she laments Roger’s act of starting the Great Era of Piracy. His final words inspired the Worst Generation now on the rise – sowing the seeds for Big Mom and Kaido’s destruction.
However, she most bitterly resents the fact that he took the secret of the treasure One Piece to his grave. We here see the stark contrast between Luffy, who insisted Rayleigh not divulge any details about the treasure on Sabaody, and Big Mom, who wishes Roger had told the pirates of his generation about the secret contained on the final island. This exemplifies the reason Luffy is the one Roger and Joy Boy have been waiting for and why pirates like Big Mom, Kaido, and Teach are unfit to ascend to the Pirate King’s empty throne.