Oda's Year of the Dragon color spread for One Piece

‘One Piece’ Chapter 1104 Delivers the Punch Everyone Wanted

If you could tie the myriad events of One Piece‘s Egghead Island arc into one conceptual bow, you could say it’s an arc dedicated to directly reckoning with the series’ past—and, therefore, future.

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Major spoilers for One Piece 1104 and the Egghead arc ahead!

It’s within the contours of this very arc that we learned new things about Alabasta. But nowhere has this theme of reckoning with the past to advance towards the future been more pronounced than the Bartholomew Kuma flashback.

In the Kuma flashback, mangaka Eiichiro Oda took a character who—when he was first introduced in Thriller Bark and at Sabaody—seemed like one of the most intimidating, pernicious villains in the entire series. One Piece has gradually given us ample reason to believe there was much more to Kuma’s story, and revisiting that story meant revisiting some of the most devastating moments from the series’ pre-timeskip era from a different perspective.

Suffice it to say that almost every One Piece fan has developed a soft spot for Kuma (I was quite furious with him for lying to his child, even if it was “for her sake,” but that’s another conversation). His fate is doubly tragic—there’s his the past, where his sacrificed his humanity so his daughter could live, and his present, where he seems unlikely to make it out alive. If he can even be called “alive” anymore in the first place.

Kuma’s tragedy, paired with his daughter Bonney’s grit and hardship, is why I, and One Piece fans around the world, cheered for him in chapter 1104, as he (consciously? subconsciously? automatically?) finally reached his daughter on Egghead and delivered the punch we were waiting for.

F*** him up, Kuma

Another one of Egghead’s major One Piece pivots is that, for the first time ever, one of the Five Elders is actually in the field instead of in his ivory tower in Marijoa. The Five Elders, who are the highest authority in the World Government know to the general public, have always been fascist, uppity assholes. But even considering their reputation, Jaygarcia Saturn has been acting like a capital-v Villain. He was about to stomp on and kill Bonney at the end of chapter 1103, after breaking her (notably indomitable) spirit by confessing he gave her mother—and Bonney, by proxy—their fatal Sapphire Scales disease in an experiment.

But then, as promised at the end of 1103, Kuma makes it. The punch promised in the final panels of the previous chapter is followed through, and it’s one of the most memorable in One Piece‘s 27-year history. (Except arguably for this one.) Oda’s art style is purposely frenetic—a little more messy and chaotic than usual. Gorier, even. This is one hell of a visceral punch. You can almost hear the sound of Kuma cracking Saturn’s skull. When Saturn hits the ground, his prolonged skid causes entire building to fall and crumble.

I literally shouted as I was reading, alone in a room, “Yeah! F*** him up, Kuma!” Shouted.

Kuma punching Saturn in One Piece 1104

Especially from the reactions of the Navy troops who were able to glean what occurred, Oda gives you the sense that a damaging physical attack on one of the Five Elders has never happened. At least to public knowledge. The punch is especially grating once the Navy troops remind you that Kuma is currently regarded by the Government as a slave, who was not-so-long-ago acting like a horse for Celestial Dragons to ride upon.

Of course, the asshole Saturn deserves it—and more. Especially since we discover shortly afterward that he unfortunately has the ability to self-heal.

As Saturn, piece of shit he his, attempts to cut short Bonney’s tear-jerking reunion with her father, we’re reminded of yet another one of Egghead’s major innovations. The Straw Hats are now the crew of one of the four emperors of the sea. We’ve been waiting for Luffy vs. Saturn and/or Luffy vs. Kizaru (and still are, especially in the latter case), but the crew is now at a high enough level that any one of them can at least stall against major, climactic opponents. Once Kizaru was on the scene, Lucci—previously a top boss—was demoted to fighting Zoro, the second mate.

Here, both Sanji and Franky openly attack Saturn. Once I recovered from the nail-biting action, the profundity of that gesture took my breath away. All of the toils of the Straw Hats’ past have slowly been building up to this moment, where any member of the crew can challenge the icon of power of the World Government itself.

That’s Egghead for you.

(featured image: Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha)

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.