- In Taoism it is believed that our cosmos consists of the 5 phases: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water. This concept, also known as Wuxing, was later applied in many different fields such as Chinese astrology.
- Among the ancient Chinese constellations there are 4 mythical creatures, also known as the Four Guardians/Gods:
As you can see there is a 5th mythical creature, The Yellow Dragon of the Center to be specific, and that is due to only some Chinese versions having it…
- Also, as you can see, Chinese astrology knows these 5 Heavenly Beasts as symbols for the earlier mentioned 5 elements but also cardinal directions and seasons. The 5 phases all have corresponding traits like color and temperament that go way beyond just that but they are not necessary for now.
- If we look at the Four Guardians specifically the 2 (cardinal-direction-wise) opposite ones are polar opposites & enemies, yet interconnected & interdependent (basically yin & yang since it is based on that lol; yin & yang are the primordial energies that produce the 5 elements/phases).
Azure Dragon & White Tiger
- The Azure Dragon of the East is said to embody the color blue/green, strength, vitality and power like no other being. It represents the forces of the (new) yang and thus is masculine.
- Kaido is an azure-colored dragon, masculine asf and literally called the strongest creature in the world…
- The White Tiger of the West is said to embody the color white, fall, harvest and evening. It represents the forces of the (new) yin and thus is feminine.
- Yamato has white hair, so the appearance part fits. Yamato also has blue shades tho…just like the white-furred White Tiger is depicted engulfed in blue flames.
- The White Tiger represents things coming to an end (fall, harvest, evening, etc.), which in this case could be Kaido’s rule over Wano. Just like the sun (=Kaido the Azure Dragon of the East) rises in the east and has to set/come to an end in the west (=Yamato the White Tiger of the West) at some point.
- Also, the White Tiger is said to be proud and rather a loner.
- Additionally, in Feng Shui a tiger symbolizes power, strong will and danger but is also known for its gentle and caring side toward its babies (*cough*Momo*cough*).
- According to the legend, the White Tiger only shows up when a kind and just ruler sits on the throne (imma say that’s Momonosuke because in my opinion Luffy plays another role in these in-lore dynamics). The White Tiger is known as the King of the Beasts as well…
- It just might as well be the Kirin.
- The Four Guardians have been culturally important across many countries in East Asia and have been part of many different spiritual and religious beliefs. This, in combination with changes over the course of the Chinese history, lead to several different versions (such as the Japanese one called Onmyōdō).
- In some depictions there is the Yellow Dragon of the Center as the 5th guardian, as earlier mentioned, in some there is no 5th one and others have the Kirin as the 5th one.
- Supposedly, before it were 5, it were 4 and long before the mystical creatures got even associated with the sky and thus Chinese astrology, they were 3: Loong (Dragon), Fenghuang (Phoenix) & Qilin/Kirin. It was later that the Phoenix & Kirin got replaced by the Bird & Tiger.
- Despite that, in religion the Kirin still is often used instead of the White Tiger, while in fiction the Kirin is regularly used to replace the Yellow Dragon to make the 5 beasts more distinct (because of the already other Dragon; but in Azure).
- Whatever, the Kirin is a hooved chimerical creature (the Japanese version depicts it deer-like + Kirin in Japanese is used to refer to giraffes as well) and shares its color scheme and many of its character traits, such as waiting for the arrival of an illustrious ruler, with its successor – the White Tiger.
- An interesting fact, considering the whole gender debate around Yamato, is that the female is called lin (麟) and the male qi (麒)…”qilin” is used to refer to the whole species. However, “lin” alone often carries the same generic meaning.
Black Warrior & Vermillion Bird
- The Black Warrior of the North is said to embody the color black, winter and the night. It represents the forces of the (old) yin and thus is feminine.
- Blackbeard has the Dark-Dark Fruit and is always up at night…also, there is a high possibility that he was born on a winter island.
- Already back in Drum Island (the same arc Blackbeard’s name was dropped for the first time), when Luffy and Sanji climbed that mountain to save Nami, they had a convo about how the people from the snowy countries supposedly never sleep.
- Sanji & Blackbeard are the only characters, we know of, to have read the Devil Fruit book. Sanji’s father experimented with Vegapunk. Vegapunk & his team experimented on devil fruits & body modifications. Vegapunk is from a snowy island (the one Franky was on during the timeskip).
- So what if Blackbeard’s parents were scientists on Vegapunk’s team? It would explain how Blackbeard had access to the Devil Fruit book, why his parents abandoned him (they were too obsessed with their research that they neglected BB and he maybe even ran away) & why Blackberad is said to have a weird body, even before the Yami Yami no Mi (because his parents maybe experimented the body modifications on their own son, just like Judge did on his).
- Anyways, I somehow got off-topic trying to prove a point…but I went off on that tangent because the Black Tortoise has to particularly be Blackbeard to fit its counterpart – the Vermillion Bird.
- The Vermillion Bird of the South is said to embody the color red, virtue, duty, ritually correct behavior, humanity and reliability. It represents the forces of the (old) yang and thus is masculine.
- I first thought it to be Marco since the Vermillion Bird is also sometimes referenced as a Phoenix…but Marco is blue + I can’t imagine a “Payback War reloaded”-thingy and Marco playing that huge of a role anymore.
- The Vermillion Bird probably is Luffy, since narratively speaking and considering the in-lore dynamics between opposite mythical beasts (the “so similar yet so different”-part), it makes more sense him to be it than Marco. And guess who has attacks that are red and titled after bird names such as “Hawk” & “Roc”…
*Theory by asapabri