Who will be the next Strawhat

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I can appreciate that you're at least making a distinction here don't worry, but what is odd and what are the little clues? Because currently it looks like either nobody joins or Yamato joins
I gave up an example of odd treatment but here is another: The fact that Carrot was being introduced as special character during 823 is also Odd, not only did Carrot get an REintroduction but she got multiple page of REcharacterization, something she already had before. For such a "background character" in One Piece, this should have never happened.

Concerning the clue to the road to the ship : The fact that Carrot was drawn more than 40 TIMES at the look out post during the entirerity of whole cake is one of the biggest clue to her future integration. Being drawn helping the ship is a thing. One panel helping the crew with the ship would be logical (even tho few character did that in the serie), but being assignated a role of that importance is a completely different thing. It's a major clue.

If that is so compelling to you what makes Carrot any different than Kin'emon, Raizo, Momonosuke or even Law? Even Yokozuna, Pappug, Hatchan, Vivi,
The thing is, Kinemon, Raizo, Momonosuke, Vivi, Hatchan and Law are main arc characters of their own arcs, they matter for a reason. Carrot never was a main arc character. She shouldn't get such a strong treatment. And Pappug and Yokozuna were background character, they never had the treatment Carrot had. Carrot's treatment is odd by essence, it's deralling from her supposed character status, it's Off.

all of them fit in with the crew in a comedic sense
They fit but none of them - beside Momo on a single instance - are characterized humoricly (i don't think that's a word) with the strawhats, it's always on the side.

Carrot's only really been shown getting on well with about half of the crewmates
And it's enough to extrapolate. It wouldve been the same with other member

What about Johnny and Yosaku as well?
Characterized on the side, and with a much less deeper treatment. You need to remember that 888 only is enough to separate Carrot from all those characters in term of treatment. 888, was not only a Sulong chapter, it was a Carrot one! Through the Sulong, Oda deepened Carrot's character, added layers and finalized who Carrot really is. If we count her time on 889 it's almost an entire chapter dedicated to the power of Carrot and to her extraordinary powermove. The mink's relationship to the Sulong coming at the end of that.

That's something not even Vivi had. That's why I call that the "Shining Nakama Action" It's something only the strawhats get. In fact this big action of her comes at night in parrallel with the ones of Jinbe just a few chapters earlier during the day ;"The green Room".

Basically it's a big Shonen Move, that concentrate the focus specifically on a single character and their post on the ship during a long period of time. Another example of that "Shining Nakama Action" is Nami's, predicting a Tornado while being sick on chapter 130. (I explain everything in the article)

Might as well have 40 characters on the crew if that was the only determinant
No, Carrot's treatment is unique at the present moment. Not even Yamato is similar as Yamato follow the straight line of Main arc character with all is components (Being important thematically for the story, focusing on the storyline of the main arc protagonist (Momo, Being shown a lot, showing a strong admiration for Luffy etc.)

Paulie actually played a Bigger role in Water 7
Debatable but he definitely do not compare to what Carrot did on 888.

But even if that was the case, Paulie is still characterized outside the crew, while Carrot is being treated the opposite way (minus what happened on Onigashima where she is characterized through loss outside of the circle of the crew)

Carrot's done next to nothing in Wano. I actually can't remember anything she's done in this arc. There is no way somebody would join the crew without a pivotal part to play in the arc, and Yamato's done plenty and was one of the key reasons Kaido didn't end up nuking Wano
The only thing is, Wano is just a PART of the Yonko Saga, in fact most strawhats did very few in Wano, the story being about Momo, Luffy and the scabbards. When we talk about the Yonko saga, we must take EVERY arc into account or we are just cutting a part of the story.

Carrot was not important in the second, but the FIRST part of the story. When carrot join, it's that part that will hold her candle, not Wano.

- Carrot has no been an arc main character ever since she was introduced
Irrelevant, she can become one later.

- has done nothing of note aside from show off an ability that a new side of our alliance hasnt shown till she did it
Which was a depiction also of her own personnality. In short a BIG characterization moment. So this was something of note.

had no knowledge of the DAWN until Pedro said something about it, even though its the prophecy of her entire race and the reason they are involved in this war in the first place
Which is something that plays in favor of Carrot, not in defavor. A protagonist should always be learning things.

- shows up to Wano and instead of sticking with the Straw Hats she gets absorbed back into the Minks and only showing up in the background when side characters like Neko shows up
Wrong. She stayed with the strawhat even after being assigned a mission during Wano. She also stayed most of the time with the strawhat on the trip to Onigashima.

And Neko is not a side character.

- gets to Onigashima goes all the way inside and abandons the raid to go all the way back to the entrance for a third party to get revenge for Pedro, which she fails to do
Which is exactly what a good protagonist is supposed to do. Being flawed, thinking that they own the place just to be brought back to earth by the opposition. So instead of a bad thing for Carrot, you are actually mentionning a good thing for her character here.

- spends the entire raid at that entrance, contributing ABSOLUTELY nothing to the raid
Logically, she was beaten up. So that remark is irrelevant.

- doesnt react to nor does she even see Luffy defeat Kaido
The only good remark.

It does lower her chances to join the crew a bit.

And now that the War is over and we are leaving Wano, therefore ending the mink alliance, Carrot has nothing moving her forward except that she wants to go on an adventure
Which is more than enough to climb onto the ship again. So that's not a bad thing as Yamato is exactly the same.

- Gained the trust of the Captain of the crew that she wants to join, which is the only reason he said he doesnt want to let her join
You forget that Carrot already had that trust. So that comparison is IRRELEVANT.

- Has protected the most important person for our side of the alliance (momonosuke)
Just like a good main arc character should. Yeah, nothing surprising and nothing in favor of joining the crew here.

- Held off Kiado giving Luffy time to get back
Good feat, but it doesn't help in her race for the strawhat flag.

- prevented the island from exploding
Just like a good main arc character should. Nothing surprising and nothing in favor of joining the crew here.

But nah Yamato hasnt interacted with the rest of the crew, which I've already shown that some of the crew didnt either until they join
And that's wrong. All the strawhats have interacted with the crew before they joined.

she has to stay in Wano to help Momonosuke protect the country, even though they literally have an army of samurai, the minks and converted Beast Pirates to protect the country
An army of Samurai is not enough. You need strong commanders and the actual scabbard will most probably become Daymos.

But somehow Carrot has more of a chance of joining because she has subtext and hidden messages

Yamato has said she'd leave with Luffy, understands the importance of Luffy's journey and wants to know what the missing pages of Oden's journal were... BUT NO THIS APPARENTLY IS ALL SUBVERSION FOR CARROT

And yes Carrot has said she wants to go on an adventure too but never mentioned anything about the straw hats and only left with them because they were going to rescue the savior of her country
That's because the first part of her voyage is supposed to test her. The point of the first part of a character arc is to show the character that they have NO PLACE in the story. That's what Whole cake and Wano are for Carrot. But a good protagonist must always rise up to the challenge, and that what will happen with Carrot when she accept the danger of the seas as part of the adventure and reembark on the Sunny a second time.

How is it that Carrot is so guarenteed to join when she has done nothing to stand out since Wholecake and even that was to showcase Sulong for the first time
I think the problem is always the same as everyone here:

You are confusing Joining the crew and... being recruted.

Carrot will join the crew but her story is NOT finished. Her real challenge and therefore her real characterization moment will come LATER, after wano. And only THEN will she be recruted. Not before.

here, we are just waiting for Carrot to join the crew, to have enough will to embark again. To sneak on the Sunny a second time. Because of a single little reason:

Carrot's love for adventure won't disappear with Wano.

Imma laugh real hard if Yamato is the one to actually sneak aboard, C4N gonna hate that.
No, I would love for Yamato to join. Didn't you follow what I was saying all this time ?

Eww stay away from me you fuckin creep
What's your problem mate ?

Oda made a mess with Carrot. The way she was included in the story and taken away is bad writing
No, it's only odd. Not Bad.
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Why not? He’s an interesting character with a cool power set, was set up with a good character arc, has a tangible dream, and gets along with the straw hats
I think the power set and the fighting arguments are the exact reason why I can't see him joining. I can't even see Yamato joining for that reason. I genuinely still think Smoker will be the last crew member at this point
I think the power set and the fighting arguments are the exact reason why I can't see him joining. I can't even see Yamato joining for that reason. I genuinely still think Smoker will be the last crew member at this point
I do think Smoker will fight alongside Luffy in the BB arc, but I think he’ll be an uneasy alliance like Luffy and Garp, smoker would never be a pirate imo

Whats wrong with Momos power set?
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