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Why I Think SPOILER Will Bounce Back From ‘One Piece’ Chapter 1081

Luffy and Vegapunk from One Piece on the cover of Weekly Shounen Jump

I have been living the past three weeks in a state of fear and dread. I tried as best I could to forget, live my life. But every time I remembered the existence of Sunday, which meant a new One Piece, the anxiety returned anew. And there was one Sunday in there with no new One Piece. Rough times for me.

Related: The 10 Best One Piece Characters on Attack of the Fanboy

Immediate spoilers ahead for One Piece chapter 1081 and the Egghead arc! We’re diving right in, folks.

You see, three weeks ago, Shanks one-shotted Kid, quite possibly killing him. The Giant Warrior Pirates added insult to injury by dooming the entire crew and their ship. The Kid Pirate’s entire career went up in smoke in a matter of panels. Kid’s crew had even handed over their Road Poneglyphs voluntarily. Eiichiro Oda deemed them “destroyed.”

Right before that happened, we saw Blackbeard’s ship approaching Egghead Island—or, at least, a ship under Blackbeard’s command. If it was Blackbeard’s ship proper, that was horrifying to me, because Blackbeard was supposed to be engaged in battle with my grumpy king, my beautiful and shining stick in the mud, Trafalgar Law. If Blackbeard was at Egghead, then Law lost. Series creator Eiichiro Oda proceeded to immediately show just how merciless—and seemingly fatal—a loss can be in One Piece‘s final saga.

And so, I spent three weeks terrified that one of my favorite characters was going to die in the next chapter (I’ve never been so mad to see Koby, incidentally), and chapter 1081 finally gave me the scene I’d be dreading and anticipating. We see that the Blackbeard Pirates have sunk the Heart Pirates’ ship—which is a submarine, so sinking it would not actually be that impressive, except that it’s also rent in two.

Several of Law’s crew are sinking along with their ship. Law and his first mate, Bepo, are bleeding out on the ground, at the mercy of Blackbeard and his men.

But you know what? I think Law’s going to be okay. Honestly. Let me tell you why.

All hail Bepo, the other best boy

Beppo and Law from the One Piece Red teaser

One Piece has given us heart-rending images of both the Heart Pirates’ and Kid Pirates’ ships in pieces and sinking into the depths of the ocean, with members potentially unconscious and drowning alongside. but there’s some big differences between how Law’s and Kid’s defeats play out. These differences make me more hopeful that Law’s going to have a comeback, but they unfortunately also sink in (pun intended) exactly how deeply Kid is screwed.

The difference all stems from the first mate. Law’s backed by Bepo, a big furry ball of fun and affection who’s the absolute perfect foil to the no-nonsense attitude Law loves to put on. Kid’s backed by Killer, who is notably the only non-captain—other than Zoro—who’s counted among the elite members of the Worst Generation. Before Chapters 1079 and 1081, if you were to predict whether Bepo or Killer would be the one to successfully protect their captain from a member of the Four Emperors, almost everyone would’ve said Killer. And they would have been wrong.

Killer tries to block Kid from Shanks’ attack, but he fails to save Kid from harm. Not only that, but Shanks’ attack—and the blowback of Kid’s own attack, which it triggers—grievously wounds Killer, as well. On the other hand, as Blackbeard is cockily standing over horribly wounded Law, taunting him, Bepo decides to take a huge gamble on a desperate last stand. Because of course our lovely gentleman Tony Tony Chopper made Bepo a Sulong Rumble Ball off-camera! Bepo uses his sudden and powerful transformation to smack the shit out of Blackbeard while he’s still villain monologuing and successfully run away with Law.

There’s absolutely luck at play here. Bepo was able use the element of surprise at the Moment of Truth. Because he’d never tried the Rumble Ball before, he had no way of knowing it would actually work—it would’ve been far too risky to pull out in the middle of battle. Bepo was in a now-or-never situation, and luck was on his side. But, because I have also been watching BLUELOCK, I have learned that the manipulation of luck in situations where you think you can win is, in fact, a skill. Thanks, BLUELOCK!

There’s a difference in opponent, too. Bepo caught him at the perfect time. Blackbeard is vain as hell. He’s calculating, but also kind of foolish. Do you think Shanks would be caught off guard like that? With his Color Of Observation Haki? Hell no. We have now seen how terrifying Shanks is when he really means business. The whole situation raises the question of whether Shanks is stronger than Blackbeard. Otherwise, the question becomes whether Kid is weaker than Law (sorry).

In any case: Thank you, my best bear boy.

What’s in a word?

The fact that Law is able to make a successful escape, thanks to Bepo’s valiant efforts, stands in stark contrast to Killer and Kid sinking into the sea together after receiving the same possibly-fatal wound. But what really makes me think Law’s going to be okay, and that Kid might really not be, is the different wording chosen by Oda in the final panels of chapters 1079 and 1081. The Heart Pirates were “defeated.” The Kid Pirates were “destroyed.”

The difference is even more apparent when you look at the Japanese (thanks to Greg, who’s worked as a One Piece translator, for pointing this out). Law gets a “敗北” (read haiboku), which means “defeat; loss; reverse; setback.” On the other hand, Kid suffers a “壊滅” (read kaimetsu) translates as “destruction; annihilation; devastation; catastrophe”—a “setback” versus an “annihilation.” Yikes.

We’ve seen a “defeat” in One Piece before—and in instances where the character ultimately ends up victorious or rebounding in some fashion. Hell, Luffy got pinged with a defeat against Kaido, but no one’s gotten “destroyed” before, not even when Kuma scattered the Straw Hats at Sabaody. In that moment, the Straw Hats were “disbanded,” which is a far cry from “destroyed.”

Given that we’ve seen very dire-looking “defeats” before in One Piece, I have hope that Law is going to come out on the other side of this. In fact, I think he will. He even has Bepo to look after him (pending Bepo suffering no side effects from the Rumble Ball…??). The scene ends with a lot of fear and concern for the future of Law and his crew, but Bepo explicitly provides us with things to hope for: for the crew to be united, for everyone to find each other again, for Law not to die.

No one’s conscious to provide hope for Kid. Everyone on that crew is seen sinking, when Kid himself was already actively dying. Compared to Law’s escape … I’m less certain than ever that Kid’s going to be okay.

(featured image: Eiichiro Oda/Shounen Jump)

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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.