KiriNigiri
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  • Chapters 977-978. The Alliance moves in on Onigashima. The spread of the island is breathtaking, taking some cues from inari shrines.
    Chapters 974-976. Almost caught back up to where I left off. The flashback is over and the focus shifts to the start of the big battle.
    KiriNigiri
    KiriNigiri
    Most of the others have cool samurai armor, fitting the ton of the upcoming battle. Sanji's and Brook's designs aren't too different from their usual look, but the gloves are cool. I wonder if some good ol' fashion subterfuge will happen occur? Both are well equipped for the job.
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    KiriNigiri
    Momonosuke's capture was only possible thanks to some CIS. That's ehh, but Momo still has a great character moment. Really, he's consistently had some great character moment. He is the leader of all the samurai. It isn't his place to constantly worry them. He should be a source of inspiration, and he provides a healthy dose of morale before departing.
    KiriNigiri
    KiriNigiri
    And finally, Jinbe's reintroduction. His soliloquy upon return was grin inspiring. The cherry on top was Kid and Law looking speechless, as Luffy just nabbed a "whale--shark" of a new recruit. The big question that comes up is what happened to Jinbe while on WCI. But I say that can wait for when he confronts Linlin. For now, I'm just glad all 10 Strawhats have assembled for battle.
    Chapters 971-973. We more or less conclude the flashback, and I am extremely mixed on its ending.
    An interesting detail I didn't immediately pick up on was during the battle between Oden and Kaido's forces, not one of Kaido's men used devil fruits. Not even King and Queen, his closest and presumably oldest subordinates.
    KiriNigiri
    KiriNigiri
    I get it if a random mook didn't have a devil fruit, but King and Queen give me pause. Sure, it's entirely plausible Kaido ate his fruit way before anyone else on his crew, but when you compound the fact that Kaido's fruit name has yet to be revealed, he has been trying to build a Zoan army, and his dragon design resembles Momo's from an manufactured fruit by Vegapunk.
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    KiriNigiri
    Then there are Linlin's words about being a "thing," regarded as the strongest creature. No other Zoan users are addressed as animals, not even Kaido's subordinates. It calls into question the true nature of Kaido.
    Chapters 968-970. Oden's pirate adventures are over, and the flashback takes a noticeably darker turn. The results of Oden's absence in Wano are shown to us, and the degradation of the country begins.
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    KiriNigiri
    Artistically, these chapters are gorgeous. The best set of pages would be of Oden and his retainers walking over the setting sun over the bridge. It's very akin to something you'd find in an Akira Kurosawa or Hideo Gosha picture. But it loses some luster when you remember most of what came before could've been avoided.
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    KiriNigiri
    Hyogoro suffered most in all this, as he loses his men and wife, who was tacked too last minute as a last minute plot device. Bad case of "women in refrigerator" there, Oda. It could've been lessened if she were introduced much earlier.
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    KiriNigiri
    Tsuru provides a very sweet panel of her and an Origami paper. It happens right after Oden and his retainers lose to Kaido. Origami are sometimes presented after intense violence, as a pacifistic symbol or a way to wish you well. This was notably done after the bombing of Hiroshima. Tsuru definitely knows what happened, likely wishing her husband well. So little, but it warms my heart. I love her character.
    Chapters 966-967. Part 2 of Oden's pirate adventure begins, and it's with the would-be-Pirate King, Roger. Roger benefited even more from this flashback than Newgate. Despite his ever apparent presence in the story, Roger has had very little of his actual character revealed to us at this point.
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    KiriNigiri
    The part I didn't like was how Izo's departure was handled. Izo was but a background figure during Oden's journey with Newgate, and the times he did show up, it was to remind Oden to go back to Wano. I'd have preferred Izo's panel time was used to show us his burgeoning bond with the Whitebeard Pirates. Like hanging out with Marco, or being rescued by Newgate during an attack.
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    KiriNigiri
    The second thing I disliked was Toki speaking on behalf of Oden to his retainers. I feel that should've been reserved for Oden to make that call. Not only to highlight his character flaw that will ultimately cost him his life and country, but because Toki has been too passive a figure for her pleas to mean anything. It could relate to what she knows about the Void Century, but that's hardly elaborated on.
    Momoheechulkabe9000
    Momoheechulkabe9000
    Toki is still a mystery to everyone and she obviously comes from the Void Century. Usually Oda reveals the extent of a DF user abilities when he or she is introduced. The only thing we know is that she can send other people into the future including herself and its the perfect get away vehicle. Its also useful to fake people deaths. Toki looks too much like Hiyori. Oda is planning something funny behind the scenes.
    Chapters 964-965. Oden's journey with the Whitebeard Pirates begins. The comedic, over the top nature of the flashback still continues, as Oden reveals more of his personality. He is a lot more childlike and energetic, which I think do well of undercutting how much he wished to sail.
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    KiriNigiri
    Momo's fear of heights can be a sort of commentary on his own fears of expectations. That everyone thinks so highly of him, and he is afraid of facing them. Because of fear of falling short of them, ie., falling from the skies. He attributes all the good things people say of him to his father and wonders if they'd care if it were just him. Luffy coaches him to live by his own name and pride.
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    KiriNigiri
    Orochi's schemes are in motion. I'm not too pleased with how easily someone like Yasuie bought into all his lies. I'd have hoped for more sleuthing, but these flashback chapters are very compressed, and Oda wastes no time on needless details. He lets us know Yasuie is suspicious and leaves it at that.
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    KiriNigiri
    Orochi refers to himself as Oden's brother. I can only think of Claudius from Hamlet. His plot to become Shogun even begins in the same chapter Momo is born, as if the comparisons weren't any clearer. The true heir meant for greatness and the false heir built on lies.
    Chapters 960-963. The flashback begins, and we get our formal introduction to Oden. Oda has sowed our expectations for Oden long before his proper intro, and adds an extra dose of perception just before the face reveal.
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    KiriNigiri
    where the melodrama is always high.
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    KiriNigiri
    Last bit but my favorite: The montage of all the vassals training and studying to be better samurai for Oden is easily one of my favorite moments all of Wano, and possibly post timeskip in general. The Scabbards at this point of the flashback, aside from Kin, aren't terribly well developed, but it's clear from most of them Oden is a man who provided them an opportunity to be better than where they started.
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    KiriNigiri
    They are mess ups, clowns, dregs of Wano, but are driven by nothing more than to be the best for their lord. This theme of fealty is very key to Wano's overall narrative, and is an integral concept of the manga too. Yasuie's words over the misfits to become Wano's "guardian deities" rings true for the Strawhats, who must be the best pirate crew, if they hope to make their captain the king of them all.
    Chapters 956-959. The big intermission chapters begin and conclude, as we head into Act 3.
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    KiriNigiri
    They're being witheld, I imagine, because they are with Vegapunk. I still have faith they are coming to Wano because of Vegapunk's connections with the country. Plus they seem like perfect candidates on relaying events from the outside world to the Strawhats. News doesn't reach Wano, after all. Therefore it must come from those who have been in contact with the outside world.
    Momoheechulkabe9000
    Momoheechulkabe9000
    We are in the middle of the battle but we still have no cure for the people of Ebisu. Kaido intends to enslave the Flower capital. The fox thief needs to have some payback for assembling the weapons and protecting the graves. Oda clearly teased a Zoro FB and very likely an Ace FB. In addition, last chapter should be literally renamed "Tempting Fate".
    KiriNigiri
    KiriNigiri
    Well, Tsuru and co were last seen in danger from Holdem and his men, plus Orochi and Kaido still have some troops station on Wano mainland. The Alliance is stuck on Onigashima, so the helpless citizens need someone to help them. I'd be over the moon if Tashigi rescues Tsuru. It'd even parallel how Zoro helped Kin'emon back on Punk Hazard.
    Hiyori is definitely getting popular in Japan. Do you think the marketing team or the editor would try to persuade Oda to replace Tashigi as Zoro's love interest ?
    Why don't you just do the thing you do on your profile in form of "Wano arc Act 1,2,3" recap thread? It would be so cool for a lot of people I think.
    Ok, Act 2 overview. With Act 1, I mentioned how it was a microcosm of the overall Wano narrative and conflict. Act 2 serves to set up the true conflict.
    KiriNigiri
    KiriNigiri
    It then shifts to the banquet where Robin receives the lionshare of focus. She learns a lot about Orochi and his paranoia, as well as confronted by Orochi's direct guards, the Oniwaban. Finally, Oda hands the reigns to Zoro, who dominates this side of the plot for the remainder of Act 2.
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    KiriNigiri
    Act 2 presents the aftermath of the battle the Kozuki clan had with Kaido. Power and supplies are concentrated towards the Capital and where the Shogun resides. The Shogun himself is outed as a hedonistic, cowardly, loathsome figure. He inspires none of his men, who only follow him out of fear of retribution.
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    KiriNigiri
    Udon houses several samurai who survived but lost in their encounter against Kaido. Hyogoro serving as the prime example. Luffy had just suffered a defeat against Kaido. He serves as a shining beacon to these broken men, that surrender is not the way. That they should stand up for the land. Luffy also shows his true resolve towards this battle. His leadership skills shine through to the broken samurai.
    Chapters 953-955. Act 2 is over, but before I even start the overview of it, I want to talk about a few things from the last few.
    I'm grateful for your presence on this forum.
    950-952. The epilogue phase of Act 2 begins, as the main events, Yasu's execution and the Udon plot, have concluded. We get updates on all the major players, and resolution for some run on subplots.
    Chapters 946-949. The dreaded Udon chapters...are not as bad as some readers claim. At least in one go.
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    KiriNigiri
    It has me believe Oda hadn't finalized a design for Kawamatsu by the arc's beginning. I recall some shots of his silhouette depicting him with a beak more akin to the kappa's, the mythical creature he takes inspiration from. If that's the case, no point dwelling on it too hard. It was only really annoying while the chapters were releasing.
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    KiriNigiri
    The samurai prisoners regaining their spirit happened a little too fast. More accurately, I'd like to have seen more of their hopelessness before Luffy rallied them. But that aside, Luffy's leadership was on full display, and it was glorious. He doesn't believe in surrender, and is willing to make the pain of Wano his own. This was the first big declaration this arc that Luffy will wage war on Kaido.
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    KiriNigiri
    Before, it seemed more like a task he and the others had to follow, but this chapter makes it clear this is something he wants to do. Not just to beat the emperor Kaido, but free Wano. Arguably, he wants the latter more, based on his speech to the prisoners.
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