‘One Piece’ Manga’s Traitor Has Finally Been Revealed, And I Love Who It Is
Spoilers for One Piece chapter 1078 and the Egghead Arc ahead!
The One Piece manga is currently in the midst of the first arc of its final saga: Egghead Island. One major distinction of this arc is that it’s setting up an unprecedented number of disparate conflicts which involve basically every character in the series. But the focal point is, of course, the Straw Hats. They’re on Egghead Island, the legendary Dr. Vegapunk’s research base. Luffy in particular takes a liking to this weird old man and his six equally-but-differently weird clones, who each embody one aspect of the OG Vegapunk’s personality.
Problem is, the Navy and Cipher Pol are aiming to enact a second Ohara. They want to destroy Vegapunk, his lab, everyone who associates him—even Egghead itself. The second problem is, as soon as the Straw Hats are ready to evacuate the island, everyone gets locked inside Vegapunk’s lab (known as the Labophase). Systems are malfunctioning. Camera feeds are going down. The Seraphim—horrifically powerful bioengineered beings who take orders via an authority hierarchy—are attacking everyone. In horror film parlance, the call is coming from inside the house.
As chapters progress, our suspects get shot down one by one. What I’m trying to say is, One Piece has basically been a giant game of Among Us. And in chapter 1078, “Escape Limit,” we finally found out the Imposter.
The lead-up to finding the Imposter
It’s been clear for a few weeks that the Egghead traitor had to be a Vegapunk. At the very least, there had to be a bigger operation which involved a Vegapunk. The seven Vegapunks are the only ones who can access and alter the Labophase’s security systems. More bizarrely, the Seraphim weren’t listening to any of the Vegapunks, even though they’re second-to-top of the Seraphims’ authority hierarchy.
As in a jolly game of Among Us, One Piece fans have been speculating about who the culprit is. However, every Vegapunk had alibis, and almost every Vegapunk has gotten injured since the Labophase locked everyone in. Shaka was shot in the head last week. Pythagoras got exploded. While he survived, he became a helpless little head with legs (who seemingly got squished this chapter). York and Lilith, on separate occasions, were petrified by the Seraphim S-Snake. Atlas is currently okay, but she had to be fixed after she rushed to attack Cipher Pol before the Labophase lockdown began.
Until recently, Edison was also uninjured. He was heightened as a suspect when Nami, who was in his search party, screamed an off-camera scream which echoed throughout the Labophase. However, in this chapter, we see that Nami screamed for Edison, who appears gravely injured (he’s a robot, so—broken?).
In short, I had no idea where to place my bets. My strongest convictions were twofold. One, it wasn’t Lilith, the “evil” Vegapunk, because that’s way too obvious. Ditto Atlas—despite embodying Vegapunk’s drive towards violence, Atlas is cute and peppy, which is a huge signifier of how unviolent Vegapunk actually is. (The man headed up a pacifist scientist group, remember.)
My second conviction: the funniest possible culprit would be York, the “greedy” Vegapunk. York has only been shown eating, sleeping, and unleashing what I assume to be monstrous poops (the latter has been off-screen, thankfully).
Friends? I got my wish.
Why York is an excellent traitor
The OG Vegapunk, the Stella, is the smartest person in the world. Even though only two of the clones’ personalities specifically relate to “genius qualities”—”the wise” (Pythagoras) and “the thinker” (Edison)—all of them possess this massive intellect. And yet, before chapter 1078, York has seemed kind of dumb. Which feels off, once you think about it. It makes her the perfect underdog.
Also, she’s a clone of the smartest person in the world, but all she does is eat and sleep and poop? Sure, York embodies Vegapunk’s greed, so I’m sure she enjoys eating and sleeping and pooping (who doesn’t?). But there are plenty of examples of smart people whose priorities begin to take a dark turn if they’ve been penned in too long.
We found out this chapter that, three months ago, York called the Five Elders and told them Vegapunk was researching the Void Century. It seems like she did this to gain a bargaining chip with the World Government to become a Celestial Dragon. After all, the Celestial Dragons are the embodiment of greed, aren’t they? The Vegapunks apparently visited Marijoa a few years ago. If you’re fine-tuned for “wanting more,” pine for the highest heights of decadence, and have no moral center whatsoever (leave that to Shaka), the Celestial Dragons are the epitome of good livin’.
This also seems like a good time to point out that York embodies greed, not sloth. She’s been depicted in a pretty sloth-y way until now, hasn’t she? But think about Greed in Fullmetal Alchemist. Greed was arguably the most productive and self-driven of that whole crew. Greed got shit done.
Now, you and I both know that someone can’t just become a Celestial Dragon. They are by definition descended from the royalty who founded the World Government hundreds of years ago. They wouldn’t even take back Donquixote Doflamingo once his family left Marijoa and lived among commoners. But the Five Elders sure as hell aren’t going to correct any misconceptions on York’s part.
What I don’t understand is—why wouldn’t York send the Cipher Pol agents back? Did she just want to make Vegapunk look as guilty as possible? Hmmm.
Are there accomplices?
However, it’s very likely that York has accomplices. At the very least, remember how I said none of the Vegapunks could command the Seraphim anymore? That means that they’re acting on commands coming from the only group in their authority hierarchy higher than the Vegapunks: the Five Elders.
This would explain a key panel in which York sees S-Snake and giggles. “Didn’t Edison order you to stay put earlier? You’re supposed to be waiting out front,” York coos. First of all, in retrospect, this isn’t a failed order—it’s a question followed by a statement of expectation. Pretty clever cover, York. But also, it’s been established by now that the Vegapunks have been superseded on the Seraphims’ authority hierarchy. The only way York would be able to give S-Snake an order is if she’s been made the sixth of the Five Elders. Or, at the very least, if the Elders were able to add her onto their level of the Seraphim’s authority hierarchy. Which is possible.
If York has not been added to the Five Elders’ level in the hierarchy, then she has at least one accomplice who’s also currently in the Labophase. It could be one of the Five Elders themselves. We know for a fact that at least one member of the Five Elders is en route to Egghead, right? It seems far-fetched that another is already there, but enough mayhem has gone down that I can’t place it out of the question.
As chapter 1078 tells us, all of this is merely the day before the Egghead Incident. When the the actual incident occurs and “inflict[s] a kind of shock the world never saw coming”—hang on to your straw hats.
(Featured image: Eiichiro Oda / Shounen Jump)
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