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One Piece Ending – Analysis

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With the recent events taking place it’s pretty obvious that we are nearing the end of Wano. So instead of making yet another post about how I think Wano will end I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about what the future of One Piece hold.

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I will make my predictions based on a couple of statements from Oda himself:

  1. Oda has said that One Piece “will end in 5 years” (September of 2019)
  2. Oda has said that in 2021, “Red-Haired Man is making his move” (December of 2020)
  3. After the release of Chapter 1000, Oda stated that One Piece is in its “final stage” (September 3rd of 2021)

With that out of the way, let me explain.

One Piece Ending in 5 Years (Clarification)

Now, we are all very familiar with the infamous, and endlessly quoted, “announcement” from Oda about One Piece “ending in 5 years”. Of course, 2 years have already passed since this statement in September of 2019 and now we are left with little under 3 years. Can the story wrap up in 3 years considering where we currently are? No, but this is not what Oda said. What he actually meant is that the mystery surrounding One Piece will end, a.k.a. in 3 years we will know what One Piece is (SBS 97).

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Now, the question is, are 3 years enough for us to get the reveal of what One Piece is? Yes…! Kind of…

Let’s say that in those 3 years we get 120 Chapters (40 per year), which is a bit of optimistic but oh well, and let’s say Wano wraps up in 20-30 chapters, we still have 90-100 Chapters for the next arc before the “time-limit” is up. That’s longer than Whole Cake Island Arc and little shorter than Dressrosa. That’s a lot of chapters for story to be told. Plus, Straw Hats already have 2 Road Poneglyphs and after the defeat of Kaido they will have 3. So they are already 75% done with them.

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90-100 Chapters for 1 Road Poneglyph which is also the last one before they reach Laugh Tale and find what the One Piece is? That sounds doable to me. Not to mention all of the unplanned distractors that surely postponed this timeline, like Oda’s 3 week break he took do to his health, or the Global Pandemic delays as well as Oda’s notoriously bad time estimation. I’ll go further into this later.

Red-Haired Man Is Making His Move

In December of 2020, Oda has stated that: “the man with the red hair will make his move in 2021”.

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Of course this is obviously talking about the “Red Hair” Shanks and it makes perfect sense. We are currently at the climax of Wano and the “Four Emperors Saga”. We already witnessed the fall of one Emperor, Big Mom and soon we are to witness the fall of another, Kaido. We are slowly making our way through the Yonko and its only natural the next antagonist will be another one of them.

After all, the 4 Emperors are what the story was originally going to be about. I know some people will point out that this statement was referencing the new One Piece Film: Red which seems to be about Shanks. Oda did say Shanks is making his move in 2021 when the first teaser for the movie came out, but I don’t think this is the case.

  • First, I doubt Oda would make a comment like this in reference of the movie that has nothing to do with the manga, especially now when we got our first trailer of the movie and it seems like Shanks will not be playing a major role but rather will be just a driving force behind one of the characters in it.
  • Second, the time discrepancy does not matter. Oda being off with his prediction is not a first. He also said that Wano will start in 2017 which then turned out to be 2018, and with the global pandemic at work messing things up plus the unexpected 3 week break he took due to health issues it’s not unbelievable Shanks’ move has been delayed for 2022 (if not 2023).

The Final Stage of One Piece

Volume 100 was a massive milestone and with it came a lot of promotion for it. One of which included Oda’s quote about One Piece being in its “final stage”.

This is further hyped up by Oda’s editors mentioning how, if you wanted to re-read One Piece, this would be the perfect time for it. Additionally, Oda has said that after Wano he will draw the biggest War in One Piece’s history.

It seems obvious that the next Saga we get will be One Piece’s final one. How can all of the loose ends be tied in in the most efficient way? When and how will this Biggest War happen? How and where do we go to after Wano? How do we realistically tie in all of the loose ends? It’s actually really simple. Let me explain.Who the Next Arc Will Be About

The focus of the next arc will be Shanks and the Red Hair Pirates.

Not only do we have the word of Oda himself confirming Shanks will make his move but the story is slowly building towards Luffy’s reunion with him. After Whole Cake Island, when Luffy was pronounced the Fifth Emperor we got a shot of Shanks saying it’s almost time for them to meet.

Well, that time will come after Wano when two of the four Emperors will be dealt with, leaving the other two Yonko to be dealt with next. Luffy made a vow with Shanks to return the Straw Hat once he fulfills his promise of becoming a great pirate, greater than even Shanks and after defeating Kaido, I believe Luffy will be ready. They will be ready to meet again. Also, in SBS 101 we got a lot more info about the crew and its workings, most likely in preparation for the next arc focusing on them.

The relationship between Shanks and Luffy is that of a friendly one – of a mentor and his student. As such, I don’t see Luffy having an all-out fight with him and his crew akin to what we saw with Kaido. I see another way they will settle their differences. Around 700 chapters ago we got this small Arc that in hindsight didn’t add much, if anything at all, to the story. It’s the Davy Back Fight with Foxy from the Long Ring Long Land.

Why would Oda introduce this Pirate Game that is apparently absolute law between them just as a throw-away thing? He didn’t. It’s a set up for Straw Hats vs Red-Hair Pirates. So when we finally get it we don’t need any explanation for it. Davy Back Fight is a perfect way for Shanks and Luffy to compete and see who has the better crew without them having to murder each other over it. Additionally, a Davy Back Shooting contest between Usopp and Yasopp will allow Usopp to best his father without having to be stronger than him, since Oda has said Usopp will always be the weakest Straw Hat.

An Apple Shooting Competition perhaps? Off someone’s head? This would be a great callback.

What does the winner get? The last Road Poneglyph, the one that is missing. We saw it used to be on Fishman Island when Roger visited it but it is no longer there when Straw Hats went. So where is it? I think it’s safe to assume that Shanks is the one who took it. He knows its value and its location. He has been on the ship with Roger when they visited Fishman Island. He is doing some shady stuff with Gorosei and the previous 2 Poneglyphs were under 2 Yonko, so the third one being under Shanks makes sense. He is the safest choice to assume to have it. If Straw Hats win, they get the last Road Poneglyph necessary for finding Laugh Tale.

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