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Recap / One Piece: Wano Country Arc

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With Sanji back in tow, Luffy and his group (Nami, Chopper, Brook and Carrot) head to their designated meeting spot of Wano to both rejoin their crew and help Momosuke and his retainers, Kin'emon, Kanjuro and Raizo, to retake the throne from the current emperor of the nation who ousted his father. However, complicating matters is the fact that Wano is affiliated with Kaido, one of the four Pirate Emperors, who's still miffed at Luffy for the loss of his SMILE Fruit operation in Dressrosa. After barely escaping Big Mom's grasp, can the crew prevail against another equally strong and feared big named pirate?

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This arc contains examples of:

  • Accidental Public Confession: When Big Mom finds the pot of o-shiruko empty, Luffy comments that he understands why she's sad, saying he thought it was delicious, which unfortunately makes everyone realize that he was the one who ate all of Queen's o-shiruko. In a rare moment of clarity, he realizes Did I Just Say That Out Loud?.
  • Accidental Truth:
    • In order to stop Kaido's drunken rampage, Hawkins tells him that Luffy and Law are hiding in the ruins of Oden's castle. When Jack asks if it's true, Hawkins reveals that, though it was a lie to stop Kaido, he did hear rumors of suspicious lights being seen from the top of the mountain. Unbeknownst to Hawkins, that is where Luffy and Law were until just moments before that, and their allies are still there, so Kaido attacking the ruins actually does put said allies in danger.
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    • To lure her to Udon, Chopper tells an amnesiac Big Mom that there are shiruko there, while silently hoping she won't go through a Hunger Pain attack when she learns there aren't any. Cut to Udon Prison, where it's revealed that Queen has tons of shirukonote .
  • All for Nothing:
    • The good deeds Luffy did in the first act of the arc—namely, saving Tama from the Beast Pirates and stealing a treasure ship of food to give to Leftover Town—backfire almost immediately. The Atamayama Thieves steal the food Luffy gave Leftover Town, and while trying to get away, Tama ends up encountering Kaido, leaving her badly injured. What's more, Luffy's acts put the alliance to bring down Kaido in danger when Kaido goes on a rampage searching for him and blasts the ruins of Oden Castle, where half the Straw Hats and a bunch of their allies are hiding, to smithereens, followed closely by giving Luffy a One Hit Curb-Stomp Battle. Talk about No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
    • Franky joined a carpenter's guild in hopes of getting the blueprints for Kaido mansion from the guild head, Minatomo, who built the place. After weeks of labor, Minatomo tells Franky...he pawned the blueprints years ago, meaning Franky's efforts to please Minatomo were for nothing.
    • Averted with Robin's mission to infiltrate Orochi's castle. At first, it looks like she got caught by the Orochi Oniwabanshu before she could learn anything, with her, Nami, Brook, and Shinobu forced to flee from the Flower Capital. Upon taking shelter in the Northern Cemetery, Robin reveals she gathered more than enough info for the Alliance's plan, but was disappointed she didn't get everything.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: To younger readers not incredibly knowledgeable with Japanese history, Usopp selling toad oil would likely seem to be just nonsense. In actuality, toad oil was used as an actual ointment during the Edo period, and Usopp's speech is a reference to a common description used by merchants and street performers of the time.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Komurasaki delivers one to the shogun himself to stop him from murdering Toko, much to the shock and horror of the entire present court.
  • Asshole Victim: Bingoh, Bungo, and Bongo, the three men we've seen (Bingoh especially) that Komurasaki scammed out of their money. In addition to immediately learning that at least Bingoh (and likely the other two as well) sold his family into slavery to get money for Komurasaki, it's later revealed that the three were criminals working together in the Flower Capital, bribing officials to make sure they wouldn't be caught: Bungo was an arsonist who set fire to homes and buildings, Bongo was a lumber store owner who profited from it by selling lumber to those who needed it to repair the buildings, and Bingoh was a priest and mortician who provided services for those killed at very high prices. Nami theorizes that Komurasaki knew this all along when she conned them.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Just like most of the New World, Wano's hydrography runs on nonsensoleum. The sea currents actually flow into the country like some sort of reverse river, and yet the Straw Hats come across a waterfall that brings fresh water into the sea just like a traditional river. This all happens in the same water stream. The whole thing gets lampshaded.
  • Badass in Distress / Distressed Dude: Downplayed with Luffy, who spends a large chunk of Act 2 imprisoned in the prisoner mines in Udon. He did end up there by being beaten up and captured, is weakened or limited to some degree throughout his time there (either by seastone handcuffs or a neck brace that'll decapitate him if he steps outside the arena he's forced to fight in), and his friends and allies do try to help him escape, with Raizo infiltrating the prison to free him and Chopper, Momo, Kiku, and Tama launching a rescue attempt. On the other hand, Luffy's friends notably aren't too worried about him and feel sure that he'll be okay, and Luffy himself doesn't take his imprisonment badly at all, and instead of remaining idle in captivity, he uses it as an opportunity to train and become stronger, all while remaining a Defiant Captive who is still more than capable of defending himself from prison guards despite his seastone restraints.
  • Bad Liar: Luffy, as per usual, combined with Blatant Lies. First he tries to claim that he's not actually hungry after Tama tells him she doesn't have any more food left when he asked for seconds, and again when he tries to claim that he was just kidding and doesn't actually know who's secretly controlling Wano after stating only a moment before that he knows it's Kaido.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Despite the Zou Arc strongly suggesting Marco would join The Alliance, he declines Cat Viper's offer due to believing that it's better he stay in Whitebeard's homeland, especially given the danger of Weevil attacking. He does give Cat Viper a message to deliver to Luffy, however.
    • When Luffy arrives the ruins of Oden Castle, Law makes some vaguely creepy comments that suggest Kin'emon is a ghost, leading into Kin'emon slowly appearing behind them...only for the following page to reveal he's just suffering from severe diarrhea, and Law just failed to explain it properly.
  • The Beastmaster: Tama has the ability to pull "millet dumplings" (kibi dangos) out from her cheeks which can tame any animal that eats them. With these, she has been able to tame powerful wild beasts. The dumplings furthermore don't work on humans, as explained by Tama herself; however, much to her own shock, she was able to instantly tame Speed the moment the SMILE user ate one. Luffy reasons that this worked because Speed is half horse.
  • Belly Mouth: Thanks to the SMILE Devil Fruit Holdem ate, he has a lion's head complete with fangs and all coming out of his stomach.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Kaido and Orochi, who allied with each other at some point in the past. Orochi is responsible for most of Wano's suffering and is the nemesis to Momonosuke and Kin'emon, whereas Kaido is his benefactor who is also after the Straw Hats, has a poneglyph and was a Greater-Scope Villain in the Punk Hazard, Dressrosa and Zou Arcs. Big Mom's arrival in Chapter 930 would make it a Big-Bad Ensemble as she is enemies with Kaido, but then she loses all her memories...
  • Big Damn Heroes: Zoro and Sanji save Toko when Orochi spots her running to the body of her father.
  • Blessed with Suck: The SMILE fruits seem to do this to many of their users, some more than others.
    • Gazelleman is a Gazelle SMILE user capable of running incredible speeds thanks to the gazelle legs the SMILE Devil Fruit he ate provides. He however doesn't have the physical constitution of a gazelle to match his speed and as a result, winds up incredibly tired after running for a long distance.
    • Holdem is a Lion SMILE user whose SMILE powers most prominently manifest in a lion coming out of his stomach. The lion however has a will of its own and is constantly pissed at Holdem. As a result, Holdem is at constant odds with his disrespectful stomach lion with scuffles like Holdem smacking the lion's head around or the lion swiping at Holdem's crotch, which incidentally is also the lion's.
    • Dobon, a vice jailer of Kaido's prison mines, has a Hippo Smile Devil Fruit. However it not only left him in an hybrid state, but likewise formed a full hippo from his waist and around him. Not only does the hippo keep closing it's mouth over him, but it likewise constantly needs to be fed large qualities of food.
    • One of the guards in Kaido's prison mines is a crab SMILE user. While his artificial Devil Fruit gives him crab claws to use, it also gave him crab legs. These made him capable of only walking sideways like an actual crab. As such, he was unable to stop Raizo from stealing a key he was guarding.
  • Brick Joke: In the very beginning of the arc, Usopp is selling a "miraculous" toad oil that can heal sword wounds instantly. When Zoro gets stabbed later on, Hiyori and Toko use some of this oil to treat him, unaware that it's completely useless.
  • Brutal Honesty: Luffy, upon hearing that Tama is waiting for Ace to return, instantly tells her that Ace is dead. Tama does not take it well.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • This arc sees the return of the rest of the Straw Hats (Zoro, Usopp, Robin and Franky), who haven't appeared in 86 chapters and over two years of real time. We also get a return for Marco, and later for Basil Hawkins, Trafalgar Law, and his Heart Pirates. We also get a return for Jack as well.
    • Despite being declared dead by the World Government following the war at Marineford, Moria returns and makes his first proper post-timeskip appearance in the interlude between acts 1 and 2 of the arc.
    • Several members of the Worst Generation have re-appeared after a long absence; in addition to the aforementioned Law and Hawkins, Eustass Kid and X Drake reappear, and Blackbeard also returns properly, following his voice-only appearances in the Dressrosa arc.
    • Last seen in his coverstory wherein he was dragged away by Drake, Caribou makes his return as one of the prisoners kept along with Luffy and Kid.
  • Bus Crash: Absalom, Moria's crewmate, was completely absent after the Thriller Bark arc. However, the Blackbeard pirates reveal that they killed him offscreen and stole his Clear-Clear Fruit powers.
  • Call-Back:
    • The chapter in which Sanji's half of the Straw Hats reappeared after a long absence in the Dressrosa arc (chapter 795) was called "Suicide". The first chapter of Wano, in which Zoro's half of the Straw Hats reappear after their long absence from the Whole Cake Island arc, is called "Seppuku", which is a Japanese ritual suicide.
    • Also an awesome subtle one to Mihawk vs Zoro long ago where Mihawk used merely a small dagger to defeat Zoro, proving that indeed, any sword, even the littlest one, can be a dangerous and powerful weapon with enough willpower.
    • Way back during the Marineford arc, it's mentioned in Little Oars Jr's flashback that Ace learned to weave the giant's Japanese hat in Wano. The first local Luffy befriends in Wano is Tama who mentions that her profession is weaving hats and her home, Amigasa village, is named after a type of Japanese woven hat. As it turns out, Tama had been an acquaintance of Ace when he was in Wano.
    • Luffy meets the descendant of Kotetsu, the man who forged the cursed Kitetsu blades. He is also the current holder of Nidai Kitetsu, the sword made directly before Sandai Kitetsu, the one Zoro presently has. This sword also has a curse.
    • When Zoro and Luffy arrive in the Village of Leftovers, they meet Kiku, a woman who is quite tall. Zoro only appears to come up to her chest. When he casually mentions the woman's height, Luffy chimes in that Big Mom was larger.
    • When Kin'emon is telling the the Straw Hats the story of how he, Momonosuke, Kanjuro, and Raizo left Wano and eventually all became separated, he concludes it with a How We Got Here recapping what we and the Straw Hats already knew about that: their separation from Raizo and promising to meet him on Zou; the remaining three washing up on Dressrosa and Kanjuro becoming separated from them while Momo and Kin accidentally went to Punk Hazard; and Law cutting Kin into pieces on Punk Hazard.
    • Kin'emon remarked that he hated dragons. Why? His worst enemy BECOMES one.
    • Chapter 936 sees the return of the Happiness Punch from the Alabasta arc; except it's accidental this time. Nonetheless, Sanji calls out the name of the "attack" as he's nosebleeding.
    • Grandpa Hyou mentions that Wano warriors have their own analogue to Haki and uses the "Cut steel but not paper" analogy Zoro's swordsmanship teacher used in the Alabasta Arc.
    • The name SMILE for the aritifical Devil Fruits made by Ceasar Clown and Doflamingo comes from a side effect of the imperfect fruit, in which nine out of ten people will end up becoming a Perpetual Smiler. Furthermore, the loss of sadness references the name of Ceasar's formula SAD.
    • Luffy rips off Hyogoro's neck collar similar to how Silvers Rayleigh freed Camie in Sabaody arc.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Kaido could easily kill anyone with his strength, but he keeps his more worthy opponents alive so he can make them work for him, including Luffy.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The entrance to Whitebeard's hometown is hidden behind a waterfall.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Toko and Tonoyasu's Stepford Smiler's tendency are later revealed to be a side effects of the artificial devil fruit Smiles, which Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul.
  • Character Development: Sanji has gone through this - in the Totto Land arc, Sanji displayed a burning hatred for his family, the Vinsmokes, for all the abuse they inflicted on him for being "weak" (except for Reiju, who helped him behind the others' backs). And in the Reverie arc, when Sanji discovers that Niji slipped him a Raid Suit out of goodwill, he angrily proceeds to denounce Germa's technology and refuses to use it, despite knowing one of his crewmates relies on technology as the basis of her attacks. However, by Chapter 930 he seems to have gotten over it, as he prepares to use it in order to fight Page One despite knowing he'll end up exposing himself as a full-blooded Vinsmoke to Kaido's men.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hawkins makes it clear to Luffy and Zoro that he has no intention of making it a fair fight. He will stack his deck as much as he can.
  • Connected All Along:
    • Tonoyasu, the savior of Ebisu Town, and Toko, the sweet little girl that the Straw Hats meet who is an attendant to the courtesan Komurasaki, are father and daughter. Furthermore, Yasu is also both the Witching Hour Boy and a former fellow daimyo and ally of Oden's. But then he reveals he isn't the Witching Hour Boy and only said he was to get the whole country's attention before he's executed.
    • Komurasaki, Wano's famous courtesan and Toko's boss, is actually Kozuki Hiyori, Oden's daughter and Momo's sister, giving her a familial connection to the alliance to take down Kaido.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Just after arriving in Wano, Luffy meets a girl whom Ace owned a promise to and gets himself a cursed sword related to the one Zoro owns. Taken a step further when he ends up running into Zoro not long after, and then encounters Kiku and Tsuru, respectively another retainer of the Kozuki Clan, and Kin'emon's wife.
    • While heading towards the Udon prison, Big Mom starts obsessing over o-shiruko which worries Chopper because if they get to the prison and there's no o-shiruko there, her hunger pang will trigger which might also trigger back her memories and Luffy will be in danger. Luckily, Queen just happened to bring a huge amount of his favorite food to the prison which happens to be o-shiruko.
    • Raizo tries to steal the key for Luffy's handcuffs and after getting the key he discovers that the key he took wasn't for Luffy but it was for Caribou.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower:
    • Law attacks Hawkins in disguise, but when the former starts using his Op-Op powers, Hawkins instantly figures out who it is.
    • Acknowledged by Sanji in Chapter 930, who prepares to fight Page One with his Raid Suit despite knowing it'll expose him as a Vinsmoke.
  • Crapsack World: Life outside of Wano's capital is not happy to say the least.
  • Crisis Makes Perfect: The collars that Luffy and Hyogoro are wearing threaten to cut their heads off after an angry, amnesiac Big Mom sends them flying out of the ring. Luffy desperately tries to save Hyo and somehow uses his Armament Haki to remove both of their collars in a manner similar to how Rayleigh freed Camie back in the Sabaody Arc. Hyogoro then attempts to invoke this again by refusing to flee from Big Mom, forcing Luffy to save him by attempting to repeat this feat.
  • Cry Laughing: A dark example when Tonoyasu gets executed. The citizens are saddened, but almost all of them, including his daughter, bursts out laughing when he gets shot. Zoro is enraged by this, but Hiyori reveals that the citizens, although just as genuinely sad as she is, are incapable of expressing any other expression than smiling, because of the SMILE fruits Kaido brought to Wano.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Luffy vs. Urashima in their sumo match. The only time Luffy is in remote danger of not winning is at the beginning of their fight when they match blows and both of them almost fall out of the arena; once they recover, Luffy dodges every single one of Urashima's blows (including some that are highly illegal in sumo wrestling), then completely defeats him in one powerful hit.
    • Luffy vs. Holdem. He was originally going to avoid fighting anyone else and leave Bakura Town, but when he learns that Holdem hurt Tama, Luffy furiously defeats Holdem in one hit with his Red Hawk attack.
    • Luffy vs. Kaido. Literally the only reasons Luffy gets to land any hits on Kaido is because the latter was intoxicated. The moment Kaido sobers up, Luffy gets taken out in a single strike.
    • Luffy and Kid vs. Dobon. While in the prison mine, Luffy and Kid are confronted by Dobon and are swallowed by his large hippo mouth. Inside, they easily knock him out and are applauded by the other prisoners for it.
    • Sanji and Franky vs. the members of the Kyoshiro gang who try to extort money from Sanji and spill his food on the ground. Unfortunately, though, this results in the gang sending assassins (Drake and Page One) after him.
    • Luffy again, vs. several large groups of Kaido's lower-ranked men during the prison battle. He knocks the entire first set out with just Conqueror's Haki, and easily defeats another entire group offscreen.
    • Queen vs O-Lin (aka Big Mom). Queen got his face stomped to the ground after transforming into a massive brachiosaurus.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Played With when Luffy defeats the undefeated and renowned yokozuna Urashima in a sumo match.
  • Defiant Captive: Luffy and Kid are both this throughout their time in Udon Prison, talking back to the guards and attacking them in self-defense, and not giving any shits at all that they can have their limbs cut off and/or be executed for doing so.
  • Delicious Distraction: The fan-requested cover for Chapter 930 has Charlotte Cracker beating Urouge in a water race by throwing biscuits to distract Urouge's dolphin.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Or bitch-slap Cthulhu, in this case. Komurasaki does so to Orochi, the shogun himself, when he was trying to kill her attendant, Toko, who's just a young girl. When present members of Orochi's court frantically urge her to beg his forgiveness on her knees, she flatly refuses, stating that she will not back down if she knows that she's in the right.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Kamijiro, Holdem's lion stomach, got angry with him and gave him a Groin Attack at one point. Unfortunately, since Kamijiro shares Holdemm's body, he also felt the manhood pain.
    • When Kidd saw Kamazo being taken to Udon, he recognized him (thanks to his laugh) as Killer and attempted to attack the guards escorting him, forgetting that he had a Seastone shackle on his arm and couldn't use his Devil Fruit powers, resulting in him being recaptured.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: X Drake, Page One, and Queen ate Zoan Devil Fruits that allow them to transform into dinosaurs. There's as well King who ate a Devil Fruit that allows him to transform into a pteranodon. The Devil Fruits these four ate are identified as being different ancient type models of the Dragon Dragon Fruit line. Thus, the prehistoric reptiles these four turn into are classified under as different dragon subspecies.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Speaking ill of the current rule of the island or mentioning the previous ruler has the guards instantly attacking the naysayer to keep rebellion from stirring. At worst, they kidnap them to be slaves somewhere. And at best, they kill the offender outright.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • When reading the newspaper, Sanji delusionally wonders if the princesses he knows are obsessively talking about him, but in reality they were all talking about Luffy.
    • When Tama hears from Luffy that Ace is dead and never coming back for her, she undergoes a Heroic BSoD and says that Luffy doesn't know what a nice person Ace is or understand her hardships... since Luffy didn't tell her that Ace was his brother whom he grew up with and who died in his arms.
    • This arc gives a subtle one to Zou arc and Momo's statement that he met Roger. Gold Roger is obviously long dead, seemingly making it impossible for an 8-year-old Momo to have met him, with Usopp stating that he must be lying. But with the revelation that Kin'emon's group traveled through time, Momo was most likely telling the truth.
    • Momo gaining a dragon form from the SMILE he ate—the same form as Kaido—is seen as this In-Universe and out. Kiku even lampshaded this.
    • In order to get an amnesiac Big Mom into attacking the Udon prison, Chopper's group tells Linlin that they have shiruko, which she's craving. Of course, Chopper is scared spitless over how Big Mom will react when she learns they lied, unaware that there is shiruko...and Luffy just ate it all.
  • Driven to Suicide: It's implied in one panel that a mother in Okobore was about to kill her baby and then hang herself due to being unable to provide food for the both of them. Thankfully this was averted in the nick of time as Luffy just then came in with a whole ship filled with food to give to the starving civilians of the leftover town.
  • Easily Forgiven: After Raizo unlocks his handcuffs, Caribou begs Luffy to take him with him and that he has turned over a new leaf. When Luffy believes what he said and forgives him, Caribou is so shocked by it that he wonders if it's a trap and he's even more afraid of Luffy now.
  • Edible Theme Naming:
    • Certain names within the Kozuki clan are named after food. Kozuki Oden and his father, Kozuki Sukiyaki are named after Japanese soup dishes, Oden and Sukiyaki respectively. With the various allusions to Momotarō, Kozuki Momosuke is obviously named after the titular hero whose name translates to "Peach Boy". The family name, Kozuki means moonlight but if the "o" sound is shortened, it can mean red bean. The Nine Scabbards that serve the family are called Akazaya in the original Japanese and does indeed mean red scabbard/sheath. However, there is also a type of food called Akazaya Mochi, which is red bean paste in baked mochi.
    • Five of the six major regions in Wano: Ringo, Kibi, Kuri, Hakumai, and Udon, are all named after food. They are however spelt slightly differently in Japanese in order to sound more like locations.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Buckin and Weevil plan to attack Whitebeard's village in hopes for raiding the treasure Whitebeard left behind. It turns out that the village is Whitebeard's treasure all along, having spent all of his money to renovate and develop it behind the scenes. Marco sighs that Whitebeard doesn't have any 'treasure' left for them after all.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: X Drake, Page One, and Queen are capable of turning into dinosaurs via the Devil Fruits they ate. The species of dinosaur that X Drake turns into is finally clarified in this arc as an allosaurus. Meanwhile, the dinosaurs that Page One and Queen transform into are a spinosaurus and brachiosaurus respectively. There's also King who ate a Devil Fruit that allows him to turn into a pteranodon.
  • Face Fault: Franky, Robin, and Usopp get this after reading how brutally Luffy was defeated by Kaido. Here are the face faults.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While heading to Wano, the Straw Hats failed to notice that a large octopus boarded their ship in background and was even standing next to Nami and Brook. They finally noticed it when it started making noises.
  • Faking the Dead: May overlap with Death Faked for You depending on how much Kyoshiro turns out to be involved, but after Komurasaki slapped Orochi to protect Toko, Kyoshiro seemingly cut her down and killed her as punishment in an apparent show of loyalty to the shogun. It's later revealed that not only is Komurasaki still alive (unbeknownst to the rest of the country), she's actually the grown-up Hiyori, Momo's little sister.
  • Fanservice: Both Nami and Robin get some gorgeous clothing and a bath scene together.
  • Fetch Quest: After learning that Minatomo had pawned the blueprints for Kaido's mansion years ago, Franky races around the Flower Capital to track down the blueprints, the search getting more convoluted as the blueprints kept trading hands. He's forced to give up the search when the trail went cold after an unidentified man stole the plans.
  • Fisher King: The country was said to be prosperous during the rule of Momosuke's family. But once Orochi took over he allowed Kaido to build his SMILE factories there which devastated the land and practically destroyed the majority of the surrounding villages due to the poisonous runoff seeping into the waters. Both making it unfit to drink or hunt wildlife due to the animals likewise being poisoned from drinking said water. The only thriving area on the island is, unsurprisingly, the city where Orochi rules from, the Flower Capital.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Before The Reveal that Momo and his retainers traveled forward in time by 20 years, there are some hints dropped that something's off with the apparent timeline that we and the Straw Hats in-universe had been led to believe:
      • Back in Zou, Momonosuke commented that he had met Gol D. Roger before, with Usopp assuming he had to be lying or mistaking it for someone else because Roger should have been dead by the time that Momo, an 8-year-old boy, was born.
      • Momo also clearly remembered his parents dying and Kaido taking over, which would imply that it only happened a few years ago at most. However, Tsuru and Kiku tell Luffy and Zoro that Oden Castle stood on the mountaintop 20 years ago, and that Bakura Town was a peaceful place until Orochi and his men came in and took over the houses there 20 years ago.
      • Momo still remembers when Dogstorm and Cat Viper were best friends, despite it later being stated that their falling out happened when Pedro and Wanda (who are in their early 30s) were still children.
      • We see a Wham Shot of graves for Momo, Kin'emon, Kanjuro, and Raizo, among others, in the ruins of Oden Castle. These graves look far too old for them to have faked their deaths anytime recently.
      • A subtle hint shows up right at the beginning of the arc, where it's stated that Ryuma's corpse and Shusui were stolen 20 years ago. Both were in the possession of Gekko Moria, who lost his crew to Kaido not long after Roger's death.
    • In a few scenes, Kin'emon expresses a distaste for dragons, even complaining when Kanjuro creates one to scale Zou. This turns out to be a big hint as to Kaido's powers.
    • When Zoro first arrives in Ebisu Town, there is a large amount of emphasis placed on the citizens driving to get him to drink their water, as well as a suspicious shot of him looking at the well they're using. This is a big hint towards the true nature of the town's joyful nature.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • What happened to Momonosuke and his retainers (sans Kiku, who stayed behind) when they tried to leave Wano. First they were spotted by the enemy and chased; then shipwrecked due to not having navigational skills, resulting in Raizo being separated from the other three; then they washed up on Dressrosa, Momo got on the wrong ship by mistake, and Kanjuro was captured and left behind; and finally, after the ship Kin'emon and Momo were on arrived at Punk Hazard, Law (an enemy at the time) sliced Kin up into the pieces that the Straw Hats found him in when they came there. Kin'emon mentions that they'd almost given up hope by the time they met the Straw Hats.
    • The secret plans of The Alliance begins to fall apart in this fashion: first Zoro gets arrested and then becomes a wanted man throughout Wano after escaping. Then Zoro, Luffy, and later Law all have their covers blown by Hawkins. Luffy gets defeated, captured, and thrown in prison by Kaido himself. Franky's part of the mission turns out to have been a Wild Goose Chase, since the carpenter he was working for didn't have the blueprints Franky needed in the first place. Then Sanji beating up the members of the Kyoshiro Gang who were trying to intimidate him causes Kyoshiro to send powerful assassins after him, forcing Sanji to risk blowing his cover fighting them while Usopp, Franky, and Law have to flee from the Flower Capital to avoid potentially being exposed as well. Robin finally gets the invitation to Orochi's palace that she needs for her portion of the mission, only to be discovered by Orochi's elite bodyguard squad, the Oniwaban, while searching his palace, and when chaos ensues from Toko laughing at Orochi, it forces Robin, Nami, Shinobu, and Brook to flee the Flower Capital as well. When the three girls return to visit the hot springs, they are spotted by Hawkins and only narrowly escape thanks to Sanji, and to top it off, Bepo, Shachi, and Penguin have been captured to lure Law out, and Kaido's and Orochi's forces have found out about the crescent moon tattoos.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In a poor country, there lived a young orphaned boy who was struggling to survive. That boy would later grow up to be Whitebeard, an Emperor of the sea!
    • In the same vein, Kaido and Big Mom. While Big Mom's own rise was detailed in the last arc, this arc reveals Kaido and Big Mom used to be rookies in a yet unknown crew.
  • Gaia's Lament: Kaido's factories have turned the countryside of Wano into a wasteland where the rivers are poisoned and wild animals roam free in abandoned villages.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: Narrowly averted. When Daifugo was about to kill him, Hyougoro was ready to accept his fate just before Luffy saved him. Shortly after that, Hyougoro reunited with Raizo and learned that the Nine Red Scabbards were still alive, meaning that the spark of rebellion hadn't been extinguished. Hyougoro himself noted that if it hadn't been for Luffy, he would've died without learning there was still hope for the future of the country.
  • Geisha: Robin is disguised as one while in the country, in order to work her way into Orochi's castle.
  • The Glomp: Luffy glomps Zoro in delight when they finally meet up.
  • Going Native: Since the Straw Hats would stick out like sore thumbs if they went into the country in their regular wear, they adapt to the feudal era style of the island in order to blend in with the locals.
  • Good Samaritan: Yasu is this for the town he lives in, Ebisu. He has quite a bit more money coming in than the rest of the people there since his daughter, Toko, works in the capital and sends most of it to him; however, he gives most of it away to the other townspeople to make sure they're taken care of, even at the cost of going hungry himself, and is thus considered a saint by everyone in Ebisu.
  • Good vs. Good: Luffy's fight with Big Mom in Udon is a version of this. Big Mom in her O-Lin persona is genuinely nice and only try to bring back the delicious Oshiruko to the people of Leftovers Town. In her child-like mind, Luffy was the greedy bastard who ate them all.
  • Groin Attack: In retaliation towards Holdem, the lion coming out of Holdem's stomach swipes at his master's crotch. However, as Holdem and the lion share the same body, this hurts both Holdem and the lion.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing:
    • After eating one of Tama's millet dumplings, Speed instantly gets tame and starts obeying Tama, calling the little girl master and such. Although Tama explained shortly before that humans aren't affected by her dumplings, Luffy figures that this worked because the SMILE user is half horse. As for Speed, while she still retains part of her autonomy when dealing with others, she completely follows Tama without any reservations.
    • Big Mom also suffered from a benevolent version of this. After losing her memories, the kindness of O-Tsuru and Wano people turned her good.
  • He Knows Too Much: Why Law (in disguise) decides to attack Hawkins. Since Wano is an isolationist country, most of the citizens there wouldn't know anything about the Straw Hat and Heart Pirates; since Hawkins is one of the few people in Wano who does know who they are, Law plans to take him out.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Upon arriving in the land of samurai, Luffy figures he wants to give swordfighting a try. What follows is Zoro being flabbergasted at his captain's sheer disrespect for the blade: Luffy tosses the scabbard away and merely holds the sword as an accessory for his standard punch attacks.
  • Hidden Buxom: Because of the traditional kimono, which is suited to conceal breasts, most female characters in this arc (most noticeably Robin) do not show their usual bustline. Word of God is that he originally drew them the usual way, but after receiving complaints from kimono experts, he opted for following their advice, giving Wano women this treatment.
  • Hope Spot:
    • The food Luffy distributes to the Leftover Town seems like it will be the end of the hunger issues in Wano. Two chapters later, the Ayamatama Thieves come and raid the village, looting most of the food and putting the town back to square one.
    • Speed tried to flee to center of Wano with Tama to avoid Jack and his legion awaiting them, only to find Kaido approaching them. Kaido immediately blows the defected Speed and Tama away in a single blow.
    • Law and Luffy come up with a plan to get Kaido to come after only them, since Kaido doesn't know about the presence of the rest of the Straw Hats and Heart Pirates in Wano yet. An accidental misdirection later, Kaido destroys the ruins of the Oden Castle in one single attack, with the majority of the alliance in the castle (although, unsurprisingly, it's revealed in the following chapter that they survived).
    • Right after the above-mentioned incident, Luffy goes all out against Kaido, starting with a MASSIVE Elephant Gun and then going Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs in Gear 4, knocking the dragon out of Kaido, with Jack and Hawkins watching with horror and amazement at Luffy's (apparent) victory, with Luffy declaring himself as the Pirate King. Kaido gets up, with none the worse for wear, revealing that he was just toying with Luffy in his bare minimum. Kaido then proceeds to refute Luffy's boast, and knocks him in one single blow.
    • After Robin gets the invitation to enter Orochi's castle, she tries to search for poneglyphs. Unfortunately for her, she's cornered by the Oniwaban.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Nami, Robin and Shinobu are seen together in a bath house.
  • Hypocrite: Orochi is revealed to be one, in multiple ways:
    • The main reason for his execution of Kozuki Oden and Toki was that they wished to open Wano to the world. In his first appearance, we see Orochi dealing with the World Government for money and weapons, even procuring Navy battleships.
    • He becomes murderously angry with Toko and tries to kill her because he believes she's laughing at him. Orochi was the one who purposely took away Toko's and the rest of Ebisu Town's ability to do anything but smile and laugh, thanks to sending them dud SMILE fruits that would take away their ability to show rage and sorrow (and thus, keep them from showing their sadness for their friends and family who starved to death).
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Sanji calls out Chopper cutting out a picture of Kureha in the newspaper...only to do the same thing himself so he can look at beautiful women.
    • Jack, of all people, calling Kaido crazy when he realizes he's drunk while coming to Kurbro in his dragon form.
  • I Have Your Wife: Bepo, Shachi, and Penguin are captured by the enemy with the intent of luring out their captain, Law.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Inverted, Luffy's group find themselves being pull toward one from the bottom of the falls when they enter Wano.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Similar to Tra-guy/Traffy, Luffy also gives a nickname to Kid in this arc: "Jagged-guy"/"Jaggy", presumably referring to Kid's spiky hair.
    • "Yasu" for Tonoyasu. Amusingly, this gets some Accidental Misnaming from Zoro, who calls him "Kasu" (meaning "scum/trash") in Japanese and "Assu" in English.
  • Insult of Endearment: Franky's boss insults him in praise of the quality of his work. Franky thanks and insults him right back.
  • Internal Reveal: Apparently due to Wano being such a closed off country, Tama did not learn that Ace had died. Tactlessly, Luffy immediately reveals the horrible truth to her. His indelicate bluntness however is not taken well and thanks to certain circumstances such as the pressing need to help cure Tama and Luffy's own simple-mindedness, he has yet to elaborate further on what happened beyond the simple fact that Ace is dead.
  • Irony:
    • Tama, a girl with the power to create foods, has to live in famine and eats rice only twice a year. This is because the food she makes from her own body doesn't fill her up at all.
    • When Kaido appears and Luffy charges to confront him, Law goes after him while ordering the others to remain hidden in the castle ruins for their own safety, claiming Kaido's only after him and Luffy. Unfortunately, due to an Accidental Truth that Hawkins told Kaido, the Yonko destroys the castle ruins where he believes Luffy and Law are hiding. As such, Luffy and Law end up being spared from the blast while everyone else is at the mercy of Kaido's attack (though it's later shown that Shinobu kept them safe).
    • The raid suit Sanji received from his brother allows him to turn invisible among other things. As such, one of Sanji's more childish dreams was essentially fulfilled by the very science he hated. The irony of this isn't lost on Sanji as he makes a note of it.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Shinobu is a middle-aged woman who, while not a total Gonk, is not particularly attractive in the present day, either. It's revealed that, back in the day, her beauty was on the level of Nami and Robin, and was something she was known for.
  • Jerkass Façade: While it's unknown how much of what she said was real or faked, Hiyori was almost certainly putting this on at least to some degree as the courtesan Komurasaki. In her latter identity, she was aloof to most people at best and downright cold at worst, but when she meets Zoro later after having faked her death as Komurasaki and ditched that identity, and introduces herself as Hiyori, she's much friendlier and more openly upbeat.
  • Kabuki Sounds: The octopus that snuck onto the Straw Hats' ship utters these, banging its head for drum sounds and uttering "Yooooo".
  • Kangaroo Court: Zoro is instantly accused of murdering people just on the assumption because he was holding the Shusui sword. Turns out the magistrate wanted to use him as the Fall Guy for the latter reason for his crimes.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The courtesan Komurasaki is shown to have scammed at least three different men in the past, who sold off everything they had, including their homes, to earn the money to buy her freedom so they could be together...only for her to reveal that she just spent all the money they gave her, leaving them penniless. This would be an ordinary case of Kick the Dog, if it weren't for the fact that at least one of these men, Bingoh (and implied to be the case with the others as well), sold off his family to gain money as well. Considering what we've seen of slavery in Wano, it's hard to argue that these men didn't deserve at least some of what happened to them for knowingly dooming their own families to this fate...just to earn money to get laid by a beautiful woman. This is further driven home when it's later revealed that the three of them ran an arson ring to make money off of grieving people. Since Komurasaki most likely knew about it, this also bleeds into Pay Evil unto Evil.
  • Killed Offscreen: In the interlude between acts 1 and 2 of the arc, it's revealed that the Blackbeard pirates had killed off Absalom and stole his invisibility Devil Fruit powers offscreen some time before Moria came looking for him.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Big Mom ends up losing her memory after being knocked from her ship and washes ashore on Wano.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sanji uses the Power Perversion Potential of his Germa invisibility suit to spy on naked women in the bathhouse, including Nami and Robin. Nami later beats him up for it so badly that his entire face is completely composed of bruises from the beating. Granted that it is Sanji, to him it is Worth It.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Revealed to have been the case for Kin'emon for a long time. He's perverted and likes to flirt with and ogle beautiful women, but he has a wife, Tsuru, and his first thought to himself when he sees her again is that she's still beautiful even after 20 years.
  • Make an Example of Them:
    • Why both Drake and Page One—two of the six strongest Headliners—are sent after "Sangoro" after he beats up members of the Kyoshiro gang.
    • After Luffy attacks one of the wardens for threatening an old man he befriended, Queen decides to execute the both of them by making a showing of it via a sumo ring, placing a collar around their necks that'll cut their necks if they step outside the ring and sending in his men to fight them. He does shows some "fairness" by removing the seastone cuffs from Luffy's hands, but fully expects the numbers to overwhelm Luffy sooner or later.
    • When Yasu is arrested, and turns out to be a former political rival of Orochi, Orochi decides to have his execution televised along with Komurasaki's funeral. It backfires because Yasu uses the event in order to discredit the Shogun and get some heat off the alliance's backs.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Toki, Oden's wife, used her Time Travel powers to send their son Momonosuke and several family retainers into the future, and sent their daughter Hiyori away with another trusted retainer, to save them from being murdered by Kaido and Orochi like she and Oden were (and separates them in the hope that at least one of the two siblings can survive).
    • Komurasaki shows this for her attendant ("kamuro") Toko as well; despite being known as a cruel woman, she clearly has a soft spot for the young girl, and when Shogun Orochi tries to murder Toko simply for (apparently) laughing at him, Komurasaki pleads for her life and then, when that doesn't work, outright bitch-slaps him to protect her. Considering that she is actually Hiyori herself, apparently this runs in the family.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • Almost everyone, including the protagonists, the citizens, and even Kaido's men, have one when Kaido shows up as a dragon to order Jack to capture the Straw Hats.
    • The protagonists get another when Kaido heads towards their hideout in the ruins of Oden Castle and opens fire with a Breath Weapon.
    • Jack, Hawkins and rest of the Beasts Pirates get it when Luffy fights Kaido and makes him go to his normal form. And then Kaido sobers up.
    • Kaido's forces freak out over Big Mom coming to Wano with her children, because they know that she will tear the island apart looking for Luffy. Luckily for them, one of Kaido's Three Disasters, King, swoops in and attacks the ship, knocking Big Mom into the water.
    • All of La Résistance when they discover Orochi's forces have found their crest and are now on the lookout for them, robbing them of their element of surprise.
    • Everyone in Udon Prison (except Hyogoro, who doesn't know who she is) makes an Enel face when Big Mom arrives there.
  • Misplaced Retribution:
    • Law gets frustrated with Zoro for messing up the alliance's plan by causing an incident with Holdem. However, he doesn't realize that Luffy, who wasn't aware of the plan (and probably wouldn't have paid attention to it anyway), was the one who took the Headliner down. Zoro is unfazed by Law's words.
    • Page One rampages through the Flower Capital and destroys all the soba shops looking for "Sangoro" (Sanji). When the shop owners plead for him to stop, Page One just callously tells them that they should call for Sangoro, since he won't stop attacking until the latter appears.
  • Mugging the Monster: Kyoshiro's goons try to intimidate Sanji and extort money from him, but they pushed Sanji's Berserk Button by spilling all his soba noodles on the ground resulting in Sanji and Franky taking them down instantly. After beating them, Sanji shoves all the noodles that were on the ground into the mouth of the goon who spilled it.
  • Multiple Head Case: The powers of the SMILE Devil fruit Holdem ate manifests most prominently with a lion's head and paws coming out of his stomach. The lion however has a will of its own and is often at odds with Holdem.
  • Mythology Gag: In the "Boss Luffy" series of special anime AU episodes where the One Piece characters were living in feudal Japan, Zoro was a ronin (wandering samurai for hire) and Franky was a carpenter, which are the same roles they pretend to play while undercover in Wano.
    • The carpenter Franky is shown speaking with in chapter 909 is Minatomo, a joke character from SBS Volume 7.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: In addition to "Jack the Drought", we get "Queen the Plague" and "King the Conflagration/Wildfire" to round out the Three Disasters.
  • Never Live It Down: Invoked in-universe. When Orochi and Kaido's forces start cracking down on supporters of the plan to attack Onigashima, using the encoded flyer and moon ankle tattoo as evidence, Tonoyasu lets himself be arrested and then claims the markers were just a prank he cooked up as a final "Screw You" to Orochi. This makes it look like Orochi just made a bunch of false arrests out of paranoia, and in turn weakened his standing among his samurai.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Tsuru looks like she stepped out of an Ukiyo-e painting.
  • Nose Bleed: After seeing Nami naked, Sanji gets a massive one! Again.
  • Not So Stoic: Jack was introduced as a No-Nonsense Nemesis who almost eradicated the Minks on a whim (a correct whim, at that), and was steady even when his crew went down by Zuneesha. When Kaido drunkenly rants about killing Luffy and Law, Jack is the one who points out that Kaido is the drunk one, with a Face Fault to boot.
  • Offhand Backhand: A kidnapper spots Luffy on the beach and tries to shoot him with a sleeping dart. Just as he's about to fire, Luffy stretches his arm and punches him without even looking.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Law has one when he's told that Luffy is on the island and rattling the patrols, which will no doubt get the attention of Orochi and eventually Kaido.
    • He has another when he realizes that his plan to take down Kaido has been compromised by Hawkins having already met Luffy in Wano earlier and by the latter taking out Holdem.
    • Kaido gets one when he sees Big Mom and most of her commanders trying to get into Wano. It's not so much out of fear of her, but because he knows that, if she lands on the island, she'll completely rampage through it looking for Luffy, causing a war between her forces and his that will no doubt ruin the last SMILE operation he has.
  • Once More, with Clarity!:
    • Chapter 910 ended with the Sunny going up a fall but suddenly caught in a whirlpool then cuts to Luffy and Sunny on a beach with no sign of the others. 911 reveals Luffy used his balloon form to bounce his group off the ship so Sanji could carry them safely onto the island. Luffy was about to follow after them (promsing to find the Sunny later) but the octopus had grabbed him and prevented Luffy from doing so as the ship was sucked into the whirlpool.
    • Kin'emon's explanation does this for his party, as he details what happened after Oden's wife threw Momo and his retainers to the future, with greater details on Momo's shipment to Punk Hazard, Kanjuro's capture, Raizo's drifting to Zou, and Kin'emon getting slashed to bits by Law.
  • One Steve Limit: Broken with Tsuru, a tea shop owner (who is later revealed to be Kin'emon's wife) unrelated to the Vice-Admiral of the same name. The difference is that Wano's Tsuru's name is written in kanji instead of hiragana.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Speed is a Horse SMILE user whose SMILE powers most prominently manifest in her being a centaur. Unlike the centaurs from Punk Hazard who're humans whose upper torsos are attached to animal bodies via Law's Devil Fruit powers, Speed is a more unconventional looking centaur. Rather than simply a human torso atop a horse body, she retains her human thighs as opposed to how horse front legs and upper bodies would normally look like. The best description of her would be that she has a similar built that the Centaurian Motaro from Mortal Kombat is depicted with. Apart from that, she has horse ears and her face distorts to become more horse-like, teeth jutting out and all, whenever she smiles.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • Momosuke and Kaido both ate Devil Fruits that turn them into Eastern dragons. The Devil Fruit Momo ate was a SMILE made by Vegapunk and the dragon he turns into is a small pink one. Kaido meanwhile ate a regular Devil Fuit and the dragon he turns into is a massive blue one that possesses both Eastern dragon antlers and Kaido's horns.
    • Orochi ate a Devil Fruit that essentially allows him to turn into a literal Orochi. Although classified as a snake due to Orochi's Devil Fruit being identified as a mythical type model of the Snake Snake Fruit line, the creature he turns to is depicted as an eight-headed four-legged Eastern dragon.
    • There are a number of characters that ate Devil Fruits that allow them to turn into prehistoric reptiles. X Drake, Page One, and Queen are capable of turning into dinosaurs, an allosaurus, a spinosaurus, and a brachiosaurus respectively, while King is capable of turning into a pteranodon. Since their Devil Fruits are identified as being different ancient type models of the Dragon Dragon Fruit line, these prehistoric reptiles are classified as dragons.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Kozuki Oden was apparently this towards his son Momonosuke and their family retainers; while it's unknown exactly what happened in the situation, the retainers claim that, despite it being their duty to protect Oden, he instead gave up his life so that they and Momo could escape.
    • Luffy gets a big moment of this towards his crew and allies; when Kaido blows up Oden Castle, where they are currently hiding, Luffy instantly attacks him and punches him in the face in fury, Emperor of the Sea be damned.
    • Luffy shows a mix of this and Big Brother Instinct towards Tama, rushing into Bakura Town to save her after she's kidnapped, immediately going apeshit on Holdem once he discovers that Holdem hurt Tama while he was holding her captive, and showing even more fury towards Kaido than he already had after the above incident after finding out that Kaido attacked her and Speed.
    • Law also shows this towards his crew when Shinobu accuses Bepo, Shachi, and Penguin (who've been captured) of spilling the details of the Alliance's now-leaked plans to the enemy. He furiously insists that his crew would rather die than betray them and that Shinobu shouldn't underestimate them, states that he'll prove this to her after they're rescued, and gives her a massive Death Glare when she states that captured alliance members should just be killed to keep them from talking.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Invoked and deconstructed to hell by the residents of Ebisu Town. They are like this because, like the Pleasures of the Beast Pirates crew, they've consumed dud SMILE fruits that came with no powers and only the drawbacks: in addition to be unable to swim, they are unable to express any emotions and facial expressions except for smiling and laughter, meaning that they are unable to show their sadness, anger, and pain when their friends and family starve to death around them.
    • This tragedy was invoked by Orochi, who insists that Wano is a heavenly paradise and was getting tired of all the tears and sorrow from the Leftover Town's citizens as they starved to death; as a result, he had these failed SMILE fruits sent to the town along with the leftovers to rob these citizens of the ability to do anything but smile. Their (forced) smiling is why the town was eventually named "Ebisu" in the first place, after a Japanese deity who was usually depicted smiling.
  • The Pollyanna: Ultimately subverted. The entire population of Ebisu Town always continue smiling and appearing to be happy despite living in the horrifying, poverty-stricken parts of Wano, but it's later revealed that they were all given failed SMILE fruits that they ate to keep from starving, which forcibly prevents them from expressing any emotions but smiles and laughter.
    • Tonoyasu comes closer to playing it straight, though. He justifies it by noting that humans are the only creatures that can laugh, so they're making the most of it by smiling constantly; after The Reveal, he comes across as making the best of his shitty curse and trying to genuinely be cheerful to go along with his forced smile.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Noting the Raid Suit he got from his brother gives him invisibility, Sanji immediately uses it to fulfill his lecherous dream of peeking into women's baths unnoticed the moment he gets the chance.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Luffy takes advantage of his time in Udon Prison to train, first by doing manual labor while wearing sea prism cuffs, then by using Queen's execution sumo tournament to develop his Armament Haki to the point that he can deflect attacks without touching his opponent like Rayleigh.
  • The Promise: Ace had made one with Tama to allow her to join his crew when she was older and became a kunochi. Sadly it's one he couldn't keep due to the events of the Marineford arc with Tama never even knowing of his fate before Luffy arrived due to the country being sealed off and not receiving outside news.
  • Properly Paranoid: A Dramatic Irony variant, as Orochi is actually justified in his fear of Lady Toki's prophecy coming true.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: Nami and Robin are taking a bath in a hot spring bathhouse of the mixed-bath variety.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Luffy tries to battle Kaido as payback for Kaido trying to blow up his crew and allies and attacking Tama and Speed. While he's able to land a few hits on Kaido due to the latter being drunk, they hardly have any effect, and once Kaido sobers up, he beats Luffy in one hit.
    • "Sangoro" (Sanji) sets up his soba shop on yakuza turf, so when he refuses to pay them the proper "protection fee", they run off his customers and try to intimidate him into shutting it down. When Sanji and Franky beat them up for it (and because they wasted food), Kyoshiro's gang isn't just cowed into dropping the issue; instead, they send assassins (Page One and X Drake) after Sanji to make an example of him for defying the yakuza.
    • Most of the villagers from Ebisu Town have missing teeth, including younger people, likely as a result of malnutrition making their teeth fall out.
    • After saving Hyogoro's life from Dobon, Luffy shares some of his meal tickets with him as an act of kindness, despite sharing being against the rules. Unfortunately, Hyogoro is an old, enfeebled man who has been stuck in the prison camps for decades and thus it is immediately obvious to all the guards he got the tickets illegally, forcing Luffy to assault the guards to save him.
  • Really Royalty Reveal:
    • Komurasaki is actually Hiyori, the daughter of former daimyo Oden and Momonosuke's sister.
    • Tonoyasu is eventually revealed to be Yasu'ie, the former daimyo of Hakumai (just as Oden was the daimyo of Kuri), whom Orochi believed to be dead.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Gazelleman is capable of running at incredible speeds thanks to the SMILE Devil fruit he ate. Unfortunately, while he's capable of doing so, he doesn't have the physical endurance to match his speed. As a result, he's left wheezing greatly with his sides in pain after running a great distance.
  • Retired Badass: Since his defeat at the hands of Blackbeard, Marco has peacefully retired to becoming the doctor to Whitebeard's hometown.
  • The Reveal:
    • Contrary to what the reader is made to think, Wano being conquered by Orochi and Kaido isn't a recent event, but something that occurred 20 years ago. The reason why Momonosuke and his retainers are still young is that they were thrown forward through time by Oden's wife Toki.
    • The reason why Kin'emon hated dragons? The boss of the ones who ruined them is one.
    • Tonoyasu's his true identity is Yasu'ie, the former daimyo of the Hakumai region of Wano, which means he once held the same rank in the country as Oden himself.
    • The SMILE devil fruits only have a 10% success rate when it comes to gaining their powers; the other 90% only come with the drawbacks of being unable to swim or show any emotions besides smiling and laughter. The "Waiters" in the Beast Pirates crew are members who are waiting to get their SMILE fruits, the "Gifters" (and some of the Headliners) are the 10% who got powers, and the "Pleasures" and residents of Ebisu Town consumed the 90% failed fruits, and thus were forcibly made into Perpetual Smilers.
  • Sadistic Choice: The people of Ebisu Town suffered this when Orochi sent them failed SMILE fruits. Either they eat them and lose the ability to show any emotion aside from smiling and laughter, or starve. Their empty stomaches ended up trumping them.
  • Saying Too Much: Big Mom becomes really depressed when she finds the shiruko pot is empty. Luffy sympathizes with her, commenting that he'd want to eat it again. Big Mom then realizes that Luffy ate all the shiruko and becomes enraged with him.
  • The Scapegoat: Zoro turns up in the Wano kingdom with the sword stolen from Ryuma's grave and it isn't long before the authorities understandably pin the crime of grave-robbing on him. However, the guy who oversees Zoro's suicide ritual notes Zoro looks too young to be the actual culprit and believes he likely bought the sword off someone, and still holds him responsible for the crimes of a murderer recently terrorizing the streets of Wano... only for Zoro to respond in turn by cutting the man down, whom he realizes is the actual street murderer.
  • Scenery Porn: Wano Country looks absolutely gorgeous, to say the least. Subverted in a big way though when we see what the country looks like outside the capital, however.
  • Secret Keeper: Komurasaki's attendant, Toko, is one for her, being one of the former's few friends who's aware of her true identity of Kozuki Hiyori.
  • Seppuku: Zoro's first appearance in this arc has him being put through this ceremony for being convicted as a murderer, and having the Shusui sword on his possession. The minute he's given the Seppuku blade, he uses it to cut apart the magistrate charging him and the building.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Momonosuke last saw his little sister Hiyori 20 years ago, when she was just six years old. However, thanks to her not traveling in time, she has aged normally to the present day, and is now such a beautiful young woman that she made a name for herself under the identity of Komurasaki, the most beautiful courtesan in all of Wano.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Luffy and his half of the Straw Hats finally enter Wano, the Sunny sails through a scene that is a direct reference to the famous Japanese woodblock print The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
    • The way Tama is introduced; the pose she's presented in, along with the way she's drawn, are taken directly from one of the most famous Ukiyo-e paintings.
    • One of the Beast Pirates' Gifters is straight-up named Batman.
    • Momonosuke and the retainers traveling twenty years through time brings to mind another time-displaced samurai.
  • Skewed Priorities: Queen invokes this with his henchmen at the prison. Queen tells them to rank them their problems but starting with the third most important problem and going up to the first.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Usopp poses as one for his cover identity in Wano.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Kiku, a very pretty woman who is so tall that even Zoro, who's a fairly tall guy, only comes up to her chest height-wise, which he comments on.
  • Stopped Reading Too Soon: While reading the newspaper, Chopper and Sanji cut out pictures of Kureha and the princesses, respectively, from the newspaper instead of waiting to finish reading the whole paper. By doing this, Nami is unable to read the article that talks about Kaido and Big Mom.
  • Sumo Wrestling: Being based on real life Japan, Sumo wrestling is naturally revered. One of the people that works under Kaido, Urashima, is one such Sumo though abuses his status to get whatever he wants. Later in the story, Luffy, Zoro and Kiku come across a match he's having. But when he goes to kill Kiku for cutting off his topknot (which is very important in sumo culture) Luffy steps in to defend her and they both get into a sumo match. Not surprisingly, Luffy wins with little effort.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Zoro and Luffy introduce themselves to Tsuru and Kiku, Luffy starts to give them his real name, before Zoro interjects with "He's Luffytaro." Without missing a beat, Luffy adds "That's right, I'm Luffytaro!"
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In a flashback, Kin'emon tells the Straw Hats that they best blend in with the rest of the populace and stay out of trouble until the rest of the crew returns and they rouse enough public support to overthrow the Shogun. Immediately after this, we see that Zoro has been arrested by a corrupt magistrate and is forced to fight his way out.
    • The magistrate smirks at Zoro's seppuku, thinking he could get clean after Zoro dies, as he was the true murderer in Wano. Well, Zoro not only frees himself, but also attacks the magistrate showing that he was being framed.
    • Hawkins declares it would be foolish to fight two fellow Supernovas fair and square, but the first card he draws happens to be an upside-down Fool, which magically causes his subordinates to attack each other.
    • The Alliance in Wano Castle makes a solid plan to take down Kaido and Orochi using layouts of Orochi's castle, with Kin'emon optimistic that their operation will be a success. But Jack and Hawkins show up in Leftover Town soon afterwards, and then Kaido reveals his Dragon form, takes out both Speed and Tama in one blow, nukes Oden Castle entirely, and later soundly defeats and captures Luffy.
    • Big Mom arrives in Wano and announces that she's here and ready to take down Luffy and get Zeus back. Her whole ship promptly gets knocked off the waterfall by King.
  • Tengu: One appears as Tama's master/caretaker, complete with red skin and wings.
  • Theme Naming: Continuing a trend that appeared in Zou, many of the Headliners or higher-ups working under Kaido or Jack are named after card games: Ginrummy and Sheepshead in Zou, and we also meet Holdem and Speed in Wano. Hawkins's name itself isn't one, but he fits the "cards" theme with his tarot card ability. And there's also King, Queen and Jack, following the theme by being named after the cards themselves, also allowing X (pronounced Diez, as in ten) Drake to join the club right below them in rank.
  • This Is Unforgivable!:
    • When rescuing Tama, Luffy's and Zoro's original plan was simply to grab her and the food from the Paradise Farm, then flee Bakura Town without fighting any of the Headliners to avoid risking the wrath of Jack the Drought. But when Luffy learns that Holdem hurt Tama by yanking on her cheek with pliers, he decides enough is enough to the point that he immediately stops running away and curb-stomps Holdem in one hit.
    • Luffy does again later on to Kaido himself, delivering a furious Elephant Gun to the Yonko's head after he blasts the ruins of Oden Castle, where half the Straw Hats and a bunch of their allies were hiding.
  • Time Travel:
    • This happened to Momonosuke, Kin'emon, Kanjuro, Raizo, and Kiku. They come from the Wano of 20 years ago, when it was conquered by Kaido and Orochi, and were sent forward in time to the present day by Toki, Momonosuke's mother, via her Devil fruit powers. Thus, to them, the deaths of Oden and his wife, the destruction of Oden Castle, and the conquering of Wano feels like it took place mere months ago rather than two decades.
    • Toki herself was originally born in the far-off distant past. Thanks to the Devil fruit she ate, she was able to travel through time. Her powers though were only limited to sending people forward in time and not backwards.
  • To Be Continued: Surprisingly the arc is structured like a Japanese play with "Acts" in between them. The first act of the arc ends with Luffy captured, taken to the slave mines and thrown into a prison cell that's next to Eustess Kid with both declaring they'll get even with Kaido...right before noticing one another.
  • Toilet Humor: Kin'emon's reintroduction into the story is him coming out after suffering a severe case of diarrhea.
  • Uncertain Doom: Big Mom falls off her ship and into the ocean after King stops the Queen Mama Chanter from entering Wano. Kaido and his men are certain she'll drown, but since this is Big Mom, it's unlikely this would stop her, or her children who decided to accompany her. Sure enough, she washes ashore a chapter later... albeit with no memory of who she is.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Done twice in short order;
    • Yokozuna Urashima, even after his slap blocked, assumes Luffy will be easy fodder and has a match with him. Luffy proceeds to dodge all of Urashima's attacks, then sends him flying with a Giant Sumo Slap.
    • Holdem, whose house was destroyed by Urashima's body, still decides that Luffy must have won through luck and figures he's safe by holding Tama hostage. Luffy rips Tama out of the Belly Mouth so quickly that Holdem didn't notice until after the fact, and then crushed the Headliner with one blow. Which, of course, leads to...
    • Luffy, during his 'fight' with Kaido. He went against Law's fairly simple plan, and charged Kaido headfirst so that the plan to save Wano ends right there. He got whacked by a sober Kaido in his base form for his troubles, that too in Gear 4, after Luffy barely even scratched him.
    • When Queen forces Luffy to take part in a "Sumo Inferno" (Where he has fight a seemingly never-ending wave of armed opponents and if he gets knocked out the special collar he's wearing will chop off his head), most of the guards assume that Luffy, a guy who already proved he could beat someone while wearing seastone, will be easy fodder...and are stunned when Luffy steamrolls his attackers once the seastone comes off. Only Queen is apparently unsurprised by Luffy's fighting spirit, but is willing to let it go on so he can Pass the Popcorn.
  • Undying Loyalty: Much to Kin'emon's surprise, his wife Tsuru didn't remarry in the twenty years he was gone, even to protect herself.
  • Verbal Backspace:
    • A rather hilarious instance during Luffy's and Zoro's confrontation with Basil Hawkins:
      Hawkins: Do you know who actually controls this country from the shadows?
      Zoro: No, I don't!
      Luffy: It's Kaido, right?! I came here to kick that Emperor's ass!
      Zoro: Hey, Luffy! Kin'emon told us not to say that.
      Luffy: I was lying! I actually don't know, either!
    • Sanji does this while testing out the Raid Suit against Page One.
      Sanji: But this power will indeed be useful for the women's ba- I mean, helping my friends!
  • Weredragon: There are a number of characters in this arc that can turn into dragons via the Devil Fruits they've eaten. Momonosuke and Kaido are capable of turning into Eastern dragons. X Drake, Page One, and Queen are capable of turning into dinosaurs while King is capable of turning into a pteranodon however, as their Devil Fruits are identified as being different ancient type models of the Dragon Dragon Fruit line, they also qualify as weredragons.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: In the bathhouse, while putting her hands up in front of Hawkins, Nami's towel falls down. Cue Sanji's massive nosebleed.
  • Wham Episode: Only the third chapter into the arc, we get this when we learn Ace was supposed to come back to Wano to uphold a promise made to young Tama.
    • In Chapter 919, we find that Momonosuke and all his retainers are actually from Wano Country of 20 years ago.
    • Chapter 923 sees Kaido demonstrating his status as "The Worlds Strongest Creature" by taking Luffy out in a single strike.
    • Chapter 930: Big Mom arrives to the island to enact her revenge against Luffy much to Kaido's annoyance. King manages to knock her ship back before it can get up the waterfall to the island, causing Big Mom to fall into the ocean. But that's no guarantee that that stopped her or her family. On the other hand, Sanji finally reveals his Raid Suit that Niji gave him in the previous arc, after previously having serious hang-ups about using Germa technology.
  • Wham Line: Just when you think you know everything about Momonosuke and his retainers, Kin'emon drops this bombshell in Chapter 919:
    Kin'emon: The truth is we came from the Wano County from 20 years ago, by traveling forward in time.
    • A surprising one delivered by Big Mom.
    Big Mom: Who am I?
  • Wham Shot:
    • When Luffy heads out to find someone to treat Tama's illness, he arrives at a completely barren wasteland with factories in the distance. As it turns out, the sheer poverty and pollution outside of Wano's capital is so bad that the land is mostly unable to support living. Given the series propensity for Scenery Porn, the result is unsettling to say the least.
    • The final panel of Chapter 918 features grave-markers for Momonosuke and his retainers.
    • The last spread of Chapter 921 reveals that Kaido's Devil Fruit power enables him to become a dragon.
    • Chapter 922 gives us Kaido shooting a giant beam of heat energy from his mouth to obliterate the ruins of Oden Castle; to Luffy and Law's horror as the Straw Hats and allies were still there. Luffy decides he's had enough and goes on to punch Kaido.
    • Chapter 923 has Kaido one-shotted Gear Fourth Luffy just to show how outclassed Luffy was by the strongest creature in the world.
    • Chapter 925 has an unexpected appearance by the Blackbeard Pirates, and none other than Blackbeard himself, whose bounty has shot up from nothing to the highest known in the series at the time. However, the real shocker is when Shilliew appears using Absalom's Devil Fruit ability and Catarina Devon reveals to Gekko Moria that his cohort has been slain.
    • Chapter 930: Big Mom arrives to the island to enact her revenge against Luffy much to Kaido's annoyance. King knocking her and her crew into the sea as well. Also Sanji pulling out the Raid Suit belt as he prepares to fight Page-One.
    • Chapter 938: A Wham Line along with a map at the end of the chapter, which shows where everyone is at the time, reveals that Hiyori, Momonosuke's little sister, is Komurasaki.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A comedic non-verbal example. When the Sunny is caught in a whirlpool as they enter the island. Luffy bounces everyone off the ship and is about to jump off himself, telling the Sunny he promises to find it. The figurehead actually gives out an expression that pretty much screams this.
  • Whole Plot Reference: As of chapter 920, the arc is one to Momotaro. The Peach Boy (Momonosuke) and his band of companions which included a Monkey (D Luffy) and a Dog (Inuarashi) storming the lair of the evil overlord. Oda even named that lair Onigashima. Given the thread of the retainers of a daimyo getting revenge on his killer in a decisive raid, there's also some elements of The 47 Ronin mixed in as well.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: In addition to not killing Luffy after defeating him and just throwing him in prison, Kaido and Orochi have apparently imprisoned thousands of other dissenters against their rule rather than just having them executed. While it could be argued that they want as many workers as possible in their prisoner mines, this sets the stage for a rebellion from these prisoners once the remnants of the Kozuki clan return after 20 years.
  • Wild Take: Franky, Robin, and Usopp all have one when they read whatever's in the "special edition" newspaper about Luffy. Special mention has to go to Robin's, which is completely unlike any face she's ever made in the manga and is by far her strangest one.
  • The Worf Effect: A rare instance where the protagonist is subject to this: a fully rested Luffy going all out from the start gets defeated by Kaido in a single blow to establish just how much of a threat the latter is.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: As Marco explains, Edward Weevil and his mother are after Whitebeard's fortune as one of the pirate emperors. However Whitebeard didn't have a fortune to inherit. He used every berry he had to look after his hidden hometown. This is also the reason Marco opts to stay rather then go with Cat Viper. Because he knows if Weevil and his mother find the place, they'll raze it to the ground trying to find where they think the "real treasure" is.
  • Written by the Winners: The Kozuki clan are made out to be villains of the land with schools teaching their students that them trying to open the gates to foreigners was a heinous action and that Orochi is considered a "hero" for stopping them.
  • Wutai: The titular setting of the arc, the Wano Country. Wano is just one giant love letter to traditional Japanese culture and heritage. The country is heavily styled after feudal Japan, complete with samurai, ninjas, geishas, and the like. What natural beauty untouched by the ravages of Kaidou resemble the Ukiyo-e genre of Japanese art with gorgeous locations looking like they came straight out of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings. This aesthetic also is prevalent in varying degrees in Wano's people such as Kin'emon and the country's fauna. Additionally, many of the country's native creatures come straight out of traditional Japanese Mythology such as komainu, tanuki, and qilin to just name a few.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: After Kaido nukes Oden Castle, Luffy launches an attack on him. When Law protests, Luffy claims as long as Kaido is beaten, then the plan for the rebels is successful either way. So he goes on a massive onslaught against Kaido, actually managing to knock him out of his dragon form and landing some solid hits on his human form as well. But none of his attacks really do any damage and Kaido ends the fight in one hit once he retaliates.
  • You Have Failed Me: After Kamazo (actually Killer) fails to kill Toko and is defeated by Zoro, he is taken to do Udon prison as punishment.
  • You Remind Me of X: After Luffy uses his Red Hawk on Holdem, Tama remarks that it was just like Ace.
  • You Wake Up on a Beach: After the Thousand Sunny is dragged into a whirpool, Luffy wakes up on a beach with the Thousand Sunny laying on the shore and the rest of the crew nowhere to be seen. The following chapter explains why that happened, though Luffy's still left on his own.

Alternative Title(s): One Piece Wano Arc

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