Everyone’s Freaking Out Over Blackbeard’s ‘One Piece’ Manga Opponent
And also nervous as all hell for our beautiful best boy
One Piece has spent the last several years specifically focused on two of the four Yonko: Kaido and Big Mom. Then Red came around and made us all think about / pine for Shanks. The only one of that group we’ve not really hung out with recently is Blackbeard. That fact is even more glaring considering that he’s one of the Worst Generation along with Luffy, Law, and Kid. The question was always when Blackbeard would appear again. Well, if you’re reading the manga, he’s back in the main story in a major way. And everyone’s freaking out over who his opponent is.
[Spoilers for One Piece Manga Chapters 1063 and 1064 ahead!]
When Luffy and Law parted ways in Wano, I was worried we wouldn’t see my shining, sparkling serious boy for a long, long time. Law even went out of his way to point out to Luffy that they’re enemies now, which crushed my heart. Fortunately, my concerns about whether I would have place a picture of Law in a heart-shaped frame and schedule time to put my head in my heads and stare at it longingly were for naught. Unfortunately, Law reappeared in the manga so soon because he’s fighting Blackbeard for possession of the final Road Poneglyph.
Chapters 1063 and 1064 have both been absolute bangers. For one, chapter 1063 gave Law an epic entry while the whole Heart Pirate crew was hit with Blackbeard underling Doc Q’s “Feminization Disease,” which gave us a Lady Law. Considering there has been a sexy figure of Law as a woman on the market for quite some time, this struck me as hilarious. We all love Lady Law.
Also, considering what site we’re on, a quick aside about the “Feminization Disease.” I see that name as more of a signal of Doc Q’s stupidity and incompetency than anything else. Law was clearly unfazed. Doc Q has the Sick-Sick Fruit, which means he can create diseases at a rate Queen could only dream up, and the best he could come up with was something that did not weaken his opponent in any way? What a loser! All he did was gift us in the fan community with beautiful fan art opportunities.
Anyway. Beyond the glory of Lady Law, there are quite a few reasons to be concerned for Law in this moment. For one, Blackbeard has a formidable history of beating absurdly strong foes, like Whitebeard and Ace. Granted, Whitebeard was in terrible shape when Blackbeard got to him. But is Law stronger than Whitebeard? Maybe, now that his Devil Fruit power is awakened! I believe in my beautiful boy, but I am scared.
The other reason everyone is nervous is that the Heart Pirates heretofore have been very much a one-man show. While we’ve hung out with my best friend Bepo and other members like Penguin, Shachi, and Jean Bart, no one except Law himself has had a notable on-screen fight. Which leads to the natural conclusion that they’re not exactly the strongest fighters. In fact, 1063 very much made it seem like Law was going to face off against the higher-ups of the Blackbeard Pirates.
1064, thankfully, gave us a little hope that the fight ahead may not really be Law v. Everyone. Turns out, Shachi can counteract some formidable attacks and Jean Bart is strong enough to break Van Augur’s shots head-on. Just maybe, this trajectory means we’ll finally get to see Bepo, Law’s second-in-command and a Mink, turn Sulong. Or, at the very least, we’ll get to see Bepo kick some ass in the foreground of a shot.
But 1064 was a relief for reasons even beyond the sudden realization that the members of the Heart Pirates are actually capable. Indeed, if the Reverie Arc taught us anything, it’s that Oda is developing a penchant for allowing major events, and even deaths, to happen off-screen. Or, in the very recent case of Sabo and the Reverie / Lulusia, making it very much seem like a character has died and not exploring it further for a long-ass time. The One Piece universe and character repertoire, at this point, is incredibly huge, and showing everything “on-screen” would take ages. But fans—very much including myself—were incredibly concerned at the end of 1063 that the Blackbeard v. Law fight would happen off-screen and that we would find out the results in a year or two, whenever the Straw Hats leave Egghead Island.
Fortunately, 1064 opened with the fight. And then proceeded to make it seem like Law was kicking Blackbeard’s ass. Granted, Oda could still offscreen the fight at some point. But this is a good indicator that we’ll at least get a healthy portion of it before he does, if he does.
Still, Blackbeard getting his ass handed to him in the beginning of a fight and then winning anyway seems depressingly familiar. But maybe Law can win?! Law has found Blackbeard’s crew’s disadvantages, like the sea and Haki, and his crew is already fighting with those advantages in mind. Plus, remember, Blackbeard is very susceptible to physical damage, and Law is very good at ranged attacks, which he needs in order to keep Blackbeard from gobbling up his Devil Fruit power. Maybe… it’s… fine?
What makes me the most concerned about the outcome of this fight is, honestly, Oda’s intricate plot-crafting skills. This fight is over the final Road Poneglyph, which means that the winner can ostensibly find the One Piece as long as they can find a way to read it. That, friends, is a huge signifier that we’re in End Game Territory. And the whole narrative of One Piece has felt like it’s building up to a confrontation between Blackbeard and Luffy since even before the time skip. If that fight happens because Blackbeard killed Law, and Luffy his now avenging both his brother and his fallen friend, I am going to scream. I am going to scream in an ugly, screechy way that will make dogs upset, and I will run outside and uproot every mailbox with the sheer force of my anger and sadness and toss them into the street.
Oda, if you’re listening, please don’t kill my wonderful boy or his beautiful bear. Thank you.
Image credit: Toei Animation
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