Theory Bad End Musical is about the will of D, foreshadowing Big Mom’s amnesia and a second timeskip. Part 1


critical mindset


This theory is about Bad End Musical: what I think it all meant and what it entails and portends for the future of the story. Was this just a song to wrap up the arc and therefore in the grand scheme of things holds no significant meaning? Or does it in fact carry condiderable weight and importance that is right there in front of us to discern and to decipher: to pick apart and to learn from? Being a centenary chapter I had hoped for something grande, some epic reveal or turn of events as has been customary for the marking of the past 100:th chapters. Yet at the end of the day there seems to have been nothing particular about the 900th chapter seeing that the Strawhats did escape Whole Cake Island essentially unscathed and the ship, seemingly destroyed by the looks of it in chapter 900, was not significantly damaged at all when it all came down to it. In addition to that the clashes that were portrayed as going to have ominous outcomes for the Vinsmokes against the BM pirates, at the end of the day it didn't seem to faze them after all.

and the Vinsmokes fared well in the next chapter despite the baleful hanging clouds from the chapter before it

What was the point of these essentially non-events then? What was the point behind this cliffhanger, only to fizzle out into a damp squib: a disappointing anticlimax? Those are question that will never be answered unless one understands the deeper significance behind the song in conjunction with the significance of the events in the chapter which are deeply tied with the song and which I will cover in detail in this theory to try to make sense of it all.

As far as centenary or 100th chapters usually mark some great seminal event or something that that greatly advances the plot or the story - this chapter at face value seems to be nothing of note; when the chapter was released we thought the worst for our protagonists (I remember some people even thinking the strawhats were going to be captured) but in hindsight nothing happened to the Strawhats save for maybe Jimbei, and still even that's a maybe as they likely have escaped WCI (and I will later expound upon why I don't think Jimbei nor the Vinsmokes have fared badly or even been taken captive). If anything this was a peculiar chapter, a riddle wrapped up in an enigma starring us right in the face, begging to be studied, unraveled and decoded.

With everything considered the question is simply this: what was the point of chapter 900 and in hindsight what does it all actually mean? What is the symbolic meaning behind all of the events and the accompanying coded language in the song? I intend to answer all of these questions and more to bout and to bring out into the open the truth of what Oda intended to tell us with this chapter - and in the telling of it try to impress upon you the greatness of this chapter and the greatness of (G)Oda's poetic writing! So without any further ado let’s get started!

(1) The symbolism behind it

What obviously stands out in this chapter is Big Mom's song. This we can definitely say looking back as the overall events bear little to no weight at this point (the strawhats are ok, they escaped, the ship is ok, the Vinsmokes seemingly won their respective clashes etc) so I don't think anyone can deny that whatever matters from that chapter the song is what’s relevant and what is of great import, not just because the other events didn’t matter but I think also overall because of the way the song was delivered in close tandem with the events in the chapter which then stands to reason served to buttress and give weight to the song, not the other way round. Thus, I think it’s very important that we correctly understand this song so I've given it considerable thought, the result of which which I'll soon bring to bear. The more I started to look into this song the more I realised that there is far more than meets the eye.

What I could tell from the very get-go - a rather obvious conclusion be that as it may - is that the song is allegorical and symbolical in nature. Big Mom is singing about a 'taste' throughout the song and she and describes it in terms of a wide range of attributes and adjectives: the taste is "risky"; the taste is "sweet, milky and rich/velvety"; the taste can make a 'puppy break into a dance" like in a 'pet cemetery'; it's like 'throwing a bomb into an amusement park'; it's like a 'deal with the devil', etc (and though translations may differ somewhat the overall meaning stands the same). Here is the full transcript of the song in sequential order from the translators on Jaiminsbox

What is this? This dreamy taste.
No, this is beyond my wildest dreams
I can't even find the words to describe it
I don't even have words to describe it.
What is it? What is this taste?!
It's a taste that could even make dead puppy break into a dance
It's a pet cemetery
So sweet, so sweet, and milky, and milky, so velvety, velvety
and risky
Look, that's right. This kind of ruckus
Is like when a bomb is thrown into an amusement park
In my stomach - a big ceremony
Hey mother, can you feel it, this overflowing blissful sweetness
That's right: it's the taste of the happiness from back then
Let's eat again together someday
The sweet, the sweet, the milky, the milky, the velvety, the velvety - and risky
ever so risky
(Hey mother, I can definitely do it right?)
Create a peaceful world where everyone's happy
A place where no race is rejected -
Although if you try to leave I'll kill you
A deal wit the he devil. In the peaceful land of Tontatta
Where everyone is family and ruled by the queen - BIG MOM
That was delicious. Thank you for the meal

Here is another translation from Manganelo


(2) A critical approach and reading of the text

From here on out I want you to follow along with my throught process in deconstructing this text. As a caveat before I delve into my analysis, I'm neither a student in logic nor textual and litterary criticism (I'm studying material science if you really want to know and that's something quite different, lol) so if my methodology used in my attempt to analyse this song is not up to par with what would be considered scientifically 'sound' or correct then by all means I'm happy to be corrected and to learn from my errors and so anyone who would have issues with the way I approach this text I'm happy for any input! So with that out of the way lets get started with the analysis itself.

What one can say is that the song is allegorical as Big a Mom is speaking (or singing rather) in parables. All throughout the song Big Mom is describing the 'taste'. The ‘taste’ is the theme of the song and it is something that is widely described in so many different ways (dreamy taste, something risky, like a bomb into an amusement park, deal with the devil etc) and because the taste is so all-encompassing in it's qualities I make the assumption and formulate the hypothesis that whatever the taste is it is something universal in nature. With that I mean that it must be a thing, theme or concept that has universality or universal properties to it due to the fact that it has such a wide range of applicability, if you will. With that I mean it's not something simple as a car or tree or ship because those things cannot be said to possess all those all-round and general qualities. If it hypothetically were about a car then it, the car, cannot be the object, i.e the taste, in question as a car in itself can’t produce those sensations and qualities: in that example the ‘taste’ would be some feeling or experience that you derive from the car, if that makes any sense.

Hence, in proceeding with my analysis I make the assumption or hypothesis and work from that hypothesis, that the "taste" in the song stands as a symbol and metaphor for some
thing that is, again, universal; with 'working from that hypothesis' I mean that I study the text with that premise and starting-point to see if it works and yields any results in terms of making sense of the text (gladly it did) but if that premise fails then I simply discard that hypothesis. So, with my starting point and hypothesis that the taste is something universal in nature I can proceed from there with my inquiry.

(3) Life versus death juxtaposition

My next step is to look at what the 'taste' is described as in order to try to to infer some properties and qualities to it, Now when Big Mom says "It can even make a dead puppy break into a dance" which then follows up with a pet cemetery, I see the 'death' connotation here not as something to be taken literally (that should go without saying) but rather it functions as a symbol and as a metaphor for something with a much deeper significance; I would also argue that death is also an extremely powerful symbol and that actually matters a lot as that evokes a very powerful, superlative quality to it.

As we have already established, this song is metaphorical, thus I think we can take it that Big Mom is speaking of 'death' here as a metaphor and not as a literal death so as to be speaking of death as in one might say a 'metaphorical death'. It also bears notice that death is also starkly contrasted with the act of 'dancing' here with Big mom saying "it (the taste) can even make a dead puppy break into a dance" which then follows up with us seeing dead plants and animals dancing at a pet cemetery. One could almost say that dance is sort of an expression of life, if you will, through vigorous and dynamic movement and thereby stands in stark contrast and as a juxtaposition to death symbolically speaking. The 'taste' is then something that's the very opposite and antithetical to the death: the 'taste' represents life.

(3.1) The puppy that rose from the dead

Hence, my next hypothesis and assumption going forward is that the depiction of dancing and the choice of the word 'dance' in relation to the symbol for death is purposefully denoting this contrast. This contrast simply put is: the 'taste' can make something which is 'dead' "come alive"if you will (the dead puppy is a symbol for something coming alive through dance, i.e. the "taste"). However, seeing that the taste is something universal and thus has universal properties, what one could say then is that whatever effect the taste has on the dead puppy, it stands to reason that the same effect can be said to apply to me (anyone of us) as well owing to the universal nature of the taste; the taste effects me and the metaphorical dead puppy in the same exact way. As a result the 'dead puppy' here is what I would call a 'metaphorical placeholder' in that we can take the place of the dead puppy in this metaphorical illustration; basically what I mean is that the 'taste' can make something about us come alive in the same way that it comes alive in the dead puppy in our very own proverbial 'pet cemetery' (there is a also much deeper reason as to why Oda uses the word 'puppy' but I'll come to later).

Having come thus far that the taste' is the symbol for life then we need to establish what 'death' in the metaphorical sense means in order to make sense of what it’s opposite, i.e. 'life' truly means. So from here we need to think about what could possibly be meant by 'death' in a metaphorical sense. I think we've all heard of the saying "I feel dead inside" as that describes a feeling of one could say a 'spiritual' or 'inner death', if you will. So I started thinking about what this really signifies on a deeper level: what exactly does an 'inner death' really signify and what are the causes of it?

(3.2) The proverbial death and it’s antithesis

When I thought about what an inner death really means at least my idea of it - and I think we can all more or les agree on this - I think is when you have a goal, ambition or dream that you always wanted to do pursue but never fully achieved or accomplished; as a result those dreams still in a metaphysical sense remain inside of you as sort of dead remnant, as sort of an expression of yourself that never got to be. And so I thought to myself, why don't we fully make good on and deliver on our dreams? Is it because we gave it our all and held nothing back but simply set the bar too high? If that were the case, however, I'd argue we'd feel good about ourselves if we indeed managed to pour all our heart, soul and effort into our dreams, holding nothing back even if we 'set the bar too high'; here I thought that it’s not about the goal itself so setting the bar here or there has nothing to do with it but rather it's the very journey and the way in which we handled ourselves along the way that makes the difference.

I'd rather rather think that the reason we don't fully achieve our dreams is because something is stopping us from giving it our very best; the fact of the matter is that the reason we don't fully achieve our goals and dreams is because we do in fact hold back to the point where we don't give it our very all. Well why is that then? I think because we have doubts and we feel uncertainty and hesitancy and that's actually stopping us from going all out and giving it our very all; those things prevents us from actually operating at our very best capacity. I think all those feelings can be summarised by one word and that's fear. So if fear is what's stopping us from fully achieving and living out our dreams I take it that is the symbol for death in the song: i.e. the inner death, is simply fear. The inner death is simply put a symbol for fear.

To then illustrate what the 'taste' signifies as the contrast of death, i.e. life, I devised a method or thought experiment to try to ascertain what the taste can specifically be narrowed down to by means of contrasting the two. If we can establish what the ultimate expression of fear would be then we can juxtapose that with its antithesis, it's very opposite: that would be the ultimate expression of the 'taste'. To clarify what I mean, if we firmly establish what fear represents I thought that it would be best to conceive of what the very ultimate expression of fear would be. When we can come up with an explicit definition of what that ultimate expression of fear is, the clearer and more obvious would be the ultimate expression of life as that would lie at the very opposite end of the spectrum. To avoid blurry and vague answers we need to get to the very heart of the matter; the answer only reveals itself after inquiring into the nature of fear as that is the only way in which to truly inquire into the nature of life.

I think the ultimate expression of fear (and we all have different kinds of fears of course) but I would say across the board and in a general sense the ultimate expression of fear is in fact the fear of death. However, think it's not so much the fear of death itself but rather the fear of dying unfulfilled; to die having lived a life characterised by an inner death in which you held back from living out your dreams. If that - I think we can all agree - is the ultimate expression of fear, then the ultimate expression of the 'taste' would be the very opposite of that: the ultimate expression of life is to hold nothing back and pour everything into achieving and living out your innermost dreams - and in doing so NOT fear death knowing you lived your life to the fullest. That is the very ultimate expression of life as can be established by juxtaposition and contrasting it with the ultimate expression of death. However, to infer more of the qualities of 'life' we have to look at the text to find out more.

4) “Live life without regrets”

In the process of thinking this through I thought for some reason about the D's and why it is that they always die with a smile on their face. This strikes me as a very poignant and meaningful fact and I thought about how it applies to the meaning of the death-vs-life juxtaposition. I remembered what Ace told Luffy when they were kids: "live a life without regrets". So that's when it hit me: the D's live lives without regrets - and I believe they do so by fully conquering their fears, i.e. their 'inner death'. When the D's die with a smile on their face I think it is an expression and an acknowledgement of them having conquered life and in so doing have essentially also conquered death itself. They live life without inner blockages and hindrances: they live lives without regrets which is why they can die happy and can die proud! So, in the song if the cemetery is a metaphor for fear, the corollary of that, i.e. the 'taste' is, is then an allegory and symbol for the quality of the D:s that makes them overcome their inner death.

So, with that established, Big Mom actually explains to us what the 'taste is with many descriptive terms and attributes given to it: from that we can gather more things about D:s.

(4.1) The D's always die with a smile on their face

I then started asking myself: why do the D's not fear death and how do they conquer their inner death completely to the point where they can die with a smile on their face? One thing that is evident and universal with the D's is that they all have overwhelmingly strong dreams and passions, wills and ambitions. Luffy wants to become pirate king and so did Roger and Blackbeard (and Ace likewise had equally strong ambitions as the formers for his captain Whitebeard); Monkey D Garp and his son Monkey D Dragon dream of creating a better and more peaceful world and I think you can lump Jaguar D Saul into this category as well (even though Saul seemed like a pushover at first he showed tremendous courage at the end of his life when he followed his innermost desire of protecting Robin, thereby fulfilling his will and could thereby die happy and proud with a smile on his face); Law had an untiring and relentless drive to take down Doflamingo and (for some yet unknown reason) Kaido; Rouge went above and beyond to save Ace; I think all in all the D's have intensely strong dreams, passions and drives that are almost all-consuming and has an almost herculean quality to it.

(4.2) An intoxicating "sweetness"

This got me thinking that when Big Mom describes the taste in terms of being 'sweet, milky and velvety'..Big mom is describing the taste almost in terms analogous to how you describe alcohol funnily enough.

Alcohol, of course, makes you drunk. Then it hit me: the reason the D's live out their dreams and passions so fully and so fiercely is because - now bear with me and hear me out on this one - I believe their dreams and passions are drunken passions; the D's are so consumed by their dreams and their passions that one could almost say that they're "drunk" on their passions. Consequently, the reason the D's conquer their inner death is because of the 'taste', i.e. their drunken dreams and drunken passions. Their dreams and passions are so strong that they manage to override their fears and hence, the D's manage to fully dedicate and pour all their life, soul and mind to attaining and striving for their goal, their desires and their dreams. The D's are so 'drunk' on their passions that they pursue it with every fiber of their being and every bone in their body! Thats how they manage to follow and live their dreams with such vigour and tour de force: they’re completely and utterly in the state of mind where their dreams and the pursuance of it has gotten the better of whatever internal defence mechanisms and forces there are that would seek to rein in, to stiffle or to bottle up those dreams because of uncertainty, because of hesitancy: because of fear. That ‘inner voice of death’, if you will, for some people it rings louder than for others but I think it exists there within all of us to a more or less degree; hence by that argument we all feel a little ‘dead inside’ and have an ‘inner death’ to contend with. The D's however while being ‘under the influence’ of their passions, their dreams and strong will - that ‘overflowing sweetness’ - they have surpassed and superseded those defence mechanism completely! The ‘taste’ describes the thing that distinguishes the D's from the rest of us. The ‘taste’ is the will of D; the embodiment of a drunken dream and passion to the point that it trumps and conquers one's fears

4.3) The dual nature of the will of D

But why, then, is the taste described as 'risky'' 'deal with a devil' and so on. It's described as an 'overflowing sweetness' on one hand and a 'ruckus that's like throwing a bomb into an amusement park' on the other. There’s obviously more to it and so we have to probe further to part veil and see truth spring forth in the uncovering of it; we have yet more to learn about the nature of the ‘taste’, i.e. about the will of D.