I am not alone in thinking that Blackbeard and Im are the endgame villains of the series.
With Blackbeard being representative of the evils of piracy (total and absolute anarchy) and Im being emblematic of the follies of the World Government (totalitarian control vested in a singular entity), these 2 characters are polar opposites of one another, and what truly astounds me is how Oda chose to introduce them.
As I was reminiscing of Blackbeard’s first appearance in the story, my mind wandered to Im and how he/she was introduced. And then it struck me – there’s an interesting contrast to both scenes.
First of all, I’m not referring to the bar scene where Blackbeard squabbled with Luffy, or the scene where Im stands before a giant straw hat. I’m referring to the scenes that follow these 2 scenes; what is arguably the scene that actually sets these characters up: Blackbead declaring that dreams never end and Im sitting on the Empty Throne.
Now I’d like to draw attention to Blackbeard’s iconic scene. He is sitting on the ground, not necessarily looking bedraggled but not exactly a picture of grace and power. He is loud and boisterous, which earns him the laughter of passersby who openly mock him. It’s a scene with no pomp or fanfare, with no embellishment of any kind and done with little to no buildup.
Consequently, Im’s reveal is done with as much pomp and fanfare as possible. Im takes his/her seat on the Empty Throne, solidifying themselves as the one true ruler of the world, high above the ground. Instead of being mocked, the Five Elder Stars (the supposed highest authority in the world) bow their heads in reverence.
There’s a hush that permeates, and Im chooses not to break the silence, unlike Blackbeard who created a ruckus. Im, despite only being a silhouette, exudes a regal allure. With a large crown atop their head, and a flowing gown whose train drags behind them. The reveal is built up by having the Gorosei leave their chambers for the first time in the story, immediately creating a sense of trepidation.
This contrast fascinates me. One sits on the dirty ground, the other sits atop a throne, high above the world. One is openly mocked, the other is respected and idolized. One speaks spiritedly, the other remains quiet. One looks the part of a king, the other does not. The two possible endgame villains of the story were introduced in completely opposite manners, to represent the dichotomy of the two ideals they represent – Absolute Chaos and Absolute Authority.
*Theory by sarmadqt