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Onigashima is meant to prove that the Straw Hats are finally worthy of being considered the crew of the Next Pirate King!

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Onigashima is not Marineford. I know we all love that arc, 30 chapters of non-stop badass action from characters of all different factions. By the end of it you’re in awe, and you realize that our Crew needs a lot of growing in order to belong with the big dogs. Thus begins our timeskip. Chopper kindly reminded us of that fact this week.

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This raid in Onigashima has provided us with so many moments that highlight our crew’s growth and how they’re ready to be on this stage now. I feel like it’s being a bit under appreciated due to differing expectations.

I have seen a lot of negative reactions in particular about how much of a waste of time the Hyogoro cliffhanger from last week was just because Chopper saved him.

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This might be a symptom of reading week to week but…are y’all crazy?! This has been one of the most satisfying tie-ins to Chopper’s whole story.

First of all, let us look at these two very similarly titled chapters:

  • Chapter 934 “Hyogoro the Flower” – It ends with Old Man Hyo, broken, crying, full of rage and regret as he is about to meet his demise. Him and the rest of the samurai have been beaten and battered over decades, he feels he doesn’t even have tears left to cry.
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  • Chapter 1006 The Honorable Hyogoro the Flower” – It ends with Hyogoro ready to accept his death with a smile and no regrets. The flower was able to bloom one last time before the ice (oni) could wither it, this time at peace.

Now mind you the flower that hyogoro is most associated with is the cherry blossom. The very same flower that Dr. Hiriluk was enamored by and believed could cure the sickness in Man’s heart. He believed this after seeing the most beautiful cherry blossoms, which have been a symbol of Wano.

Now look at the virus that Chopper administered via cannon.

It’s in the same image of the Cherry Blossoms falling he saw as he left his home that Dr. Kureha also shot from a cannon.

Chopper was able to save Hyogoro the Flower by administering a cure that was inspired by his mentor who revered the cherry blossom.

Dr. Hiriluk believed the cherry blossom could cure man’s heart. Now here is Chopper, in battle alongside a nation of Samurai who had all once lost their heart and given up hope and he was able to save them all. It’s the best Chopper moment we’ve had since….ever lol.

And the raid is FILLED with these callbacks to our character’s origins and highlights their growth.

We went through a whole ass arc for Sanji partly because he had a habit of shouldering all of the pain on himself and was unable to ask for help in fear of endangering those he loved.

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The last few chapters are reevaluating what Jack has done so far