Character Discussion Some Thoughts on Yamato 4 Nakama

Yamato 4 Nakama?

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𝐀𝐬𝐩𝐒𝐫𝐒𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐜𝐑𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐲 𝐏𝐞𝐭
I give all gratitude to my mistresses Sloth and Procrastination. This essay wouldn't be possible if they didn't make me take time away from my actual job.

Special thanks to @dizzy2341 who nerd sniped me into writing an essay defending Yamato's candidacy. This is just a signal boost of that essay.

This isn't my planned Yamato 4 Nakama thread. I don't know if I'll get around to writing that anytime soon (or if it would even be necessary after this), but it's not this (whatever this is). This began as a reply to @dizzy2341, but became extensively long (since I had already put so much effort into it I felt like it could do with the extra exposure).

I tag a lot of people for my posts. If you want to be removed from my tag lists, let me know. Likewise, if you want to be added.

I think there are two major determinants of whether a given character in an arc is a potential nakama:
  1. Prominence in the arc
    • How big a role do they play in the events of the arc?
    • How memorable a character are they?
  2. Interactions with Luffy
    • Do they like Luffy as a person?
    • Do they want to follow/join Luffy?
    • Did Luffy save them?
    • Did Luffy ask them to join?
    • Did they ask Luffy to let them aboard?

I might add a section refuting some of the common counterarguments later, or I might just make that a separate post in this thread.

Character Prominence
Yamato has been very prominent since Onigashima began. In fact, after Kaido and Linlin, she was by far the most prominent of the Beast Pirate affiliated individuals in Onigashima.

As an example of her prominence, there have been SIX chapters that had titles referencing Yamato.

Chapter 979
The title is: "Family Problem":

The title references Kaido's issues involving Yamato:

Chapter 983
The title is: "Thunder":

The title references Yamato's Thunder Bagua:

I checked the chapter and there's nothing else the "Thunder" could have been about.

Chapter 984
The title is: "My Bible":

The title references Oden's journal becoming Yamato's Bible:

Chapter 994
The title is: "My Other Name is Yamato":

The title references Yamato's self introduction to Momonosuke:

Chapter 999
The title is: "The Sake I Brewed to Drink With You":

The title references Yamato and Ace's camaraderie:

Chapter 1012
The title is: "Itch":

The title references (among other things) Yamato's itching to fight Kaido:

From the very moment Onigashima began, Yamato became a focal point on the island, with chapter after chapter focusing on events involving or related to her.

Even without looking at the chapter titles, her focal role is very apparent:
  • The Tobi Roppo were introduced and tasked with capturing her
    • This setup the Tobi Roppo vs Calamities
    • This setup the meritocratic nature of Kaido's crew
  • Kaido revealed that he had a very important announcement involving her
    • This setup Kaido's declaration of his ambitions with Linlin
    • He intended to make her the Shogun of New Onigashima
  • Her backstory with Ace spanned 2 - 3 chapters
    • She may get yet another one with Kaido on the Rooftop
  • She has been given heavy character development in the arc
    • She went from describing herself as Oden to independently declaring herself as "Yamato".
      • This was the focus of an entire chapter
    • She disowned Kaido
    • She raised arms against the other Beast Pirates
    • She declared her desire to fight Kaido
  • She's heading to the Rooftop right now to confront Kaido

Interactions With Luffy
As for her interactions with Luffy:
  • She rescued Luffy from Ulti:
  • She fought Luffy until he agreed to listen to her:

  • She shared her life story with Luffy:
  • She told Luffy she wanted to fight on his side:
  • She asked Luffy to let her onboard his ship:
  • Luffy freed her from her prison of 20 years:

  • She and Luffy listened to Kaido's New Onigashima announcement together

  • Luffy entrusted her to protect Momonosuke:

  • Luffy gave her a pet nickname:
  • She actually bonded with Luffy. She was shown to be worried about him as the battle proceeded:

Yamato's entire relationship with Ace (something Oda covered over the course of 3 chapters) is just further development with Luffy by proxy.

I'm running into the image limits, so here's an album that has all their scenes together:

To summarise:
  • Yamato fought with Ace
    • He commented that she was too strong to not be the captain
    • The result of the battle was a stalemate
  • They bonded over their shared resentment for their biological parents.
  • Ace helped her to break free of the Shackles Kaido had placed on her heart.
  • They shared drinks together.
  • They became close friends.
  • Ace offered her to go to sea with him, but she had to decline because of the prison shackles.
  • Ace told her about Luffy.
  • She made Ace's Vivre Card.
  • They promised to meet up again.
  • She later learned of Ace's death and of how Luffy became a Great Pirate.
  • She believes that it was fate that brought Luffy to Onigashima.

Now for how Yamato's relationship with Luffy ties into all of this:
  • Since Ace's death she has been waiting for Luffy for two years.
  • She fought Luffy.
    • She told Luffy that he reminds her of Ace.
  • She asked Luffy to let her aboard his ship.
    • She mentioned her meeting Ace to Luffy and how she couldn't sail with Ace because of her shackles.
  • Luffy offered to remove the shackles Kaido had placed on her.
    • Ace removed the shackles Kaido placed on her heart.
    • Luffy removed the shackles Kaido placed on her body.

An Argument From Necessity
Yamato is a character that was designed to become Luffy's crewmate. If Oda did not intend for Yamato to become a nakama, then many components of her character are outright superfluous β€” they can be discarded without affecting her ability to fulfill whatever other role Oda had designed for her post Wano (presumably protecting Momonosuke or Wano itself).

  1. Her imprisonment
    • Yamato has been confined to the island of Onigashima for 20 years and unable to set foot outside it.
    • This underpins her interactions with two major figures in her life: Ace and Luffy.
  2. Her dream
    • Yamato's dream is to see the world. This requires her to leave Onigashima. Luffy offers her an avenue to realise this dream.
  3. Her development with Luffy
    • She asked Luffy to let her aboard his ship.
    • Luffy accepted her offer of assistance.
    • He removed the shackles that were physically restraining her.
    • Luffy gradually grew to trust her more and even entrusted Momonosuke with her.
    • She grew to care about Luffy and regularly asked Momonosuke how he was holding up on the Rooftop.
  4. Her backstory with Ace
    • Ace tried to recruit her since they were such good friends.
    • Ace released the shackles Kaido had placed on her heart.
    • Ace promised to meet up with her again, but he died before he could fulfil his promise.
  5. Ace informing her about Luffy
    • After Ace's death, she began waiting for Luffy β€” and Luffy in particular, not any other pirate β€” to show up on Onigashima.
    • She believes that Momonosuke bringing Luffy to Wano is fate.

The above five components of Yamato's character are not needed if Yamato is not to leave Wano aboard Luffy's ship. If Oda intended for Yamato to become a guardian to Momonosuke and/or Wano he could have simply made her the rebellious daughter of Kaido who idolised Oden.

To give Yamato the dream of seeing the world only to later confine her to Wano after she was imprisoned since childhood would be excessively cruel. Had Oda intended for Yamato to become a guardian to Momo and Wano, he wouldn't have made her a prisoner that longed to be free.

Yamato was literally created to be a nakama. Quite annoyingly, she's a princess that's been locked up in a tower for 20 years, and for the last two years she's been waiting for Luffy (in particular) to come and rescue her as her Prince Charming.

I think that's a very annoying trope, but it is what it is.

This is very important, but if you take a few things alone from this piece, then understand this:
  • After the Yonkou, Yamato has been the most prominent member on the Beast Pirates side with 6 chapters named after her.
  • Yamato had a very fleshed-out character development with Luffy. Most of her dialogue and interactions have been with him.
    • This was very superfluous if Oda intended for her to remain on Onigashima.
  • Yamato had a lengthy backstory with Ace that developed her relationship with Luffy by proxy.
    • Said backstory spanned 3 chapters.
  • For the last 2 years, Yamato has been waiting for Luffy to show up and take her out to sea.
    • Oda created a very prominent character and had them wait for Luffy to come and invite them aboard his ship.
    • Yamato's backstory means that she was designed to be a crewmate. Since before the time skip, Yamato has been waiting for Luffy to take her out a way. Yes this may involve some undesirable tropes (Yamato is the Princess in the Tower waiting for her Prince Charming to come and whisk her away), but it is what Oda did.
    • Do you really think Oda created a character for Luffy to take onboard his ship only for Luffy to reject her after she asks to join?
  • Yamato's character has multiple components that are unnecessary if she wasn't intended to become a nakama:
    • Her imprisonment
    • Her dream
    • Her development with Luffy
    • Her development with Ace
    • Ace informing her about Luffy

Development with Luffy and a desire to join the crew (either on Luffy's part or the character's) are ultimately the major determinants of who becomes the next nakama. Yamato has those in spades.
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The relative interlinkage with Kaido's blood probably, as well as their undeciphered role in the country. Rather than hate, it would most likely be heavy mistrust.
All Momo and Shinobu have to say is β€œI’m only alive because of Yamato” and then bam, everyone in Wano will worship the ground Yamato walks on.


Oda's accuser
All Momo and Shinobu have to say is β€œI’m only alive because of Yamato” and then bam, everyone in Wano will worship the ground Yamato walks on.
I wish so but I don't think it would probably prove so easy. They would probably need to witness their actions by themselves or rely on other better evidence, not because they don't trust Momo and Shinobu, but they are also linked with Oden and so Yamato, so they would expect something fishy about their claims. The Wano people didn't show to be very manouverable when it comes to picking their minds about a subject, unlike common pirates or Marine soldiers can be for example. The most simple minded Wano people would probably accept that nonetheless.

Perhaps if Momo becomes more influent politically, they would trust his words easier.
maybe as an alliance but as a nakama, i dont think so.

carrot might be a better candidate. she might have a sad background story and also untold dream


𝐀𝐬𝐩𝐒𝐫𝐒𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐜𝐑𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐲 𝐏𝐞𝐭