The following article contains spoilers from chapter 999 and the Wano arc of One Piece manga. Read ahead at your own discretion.
In the arc that explores Oden’s past, it is revealed that he was a part of Whitebeard’s crew. Not only was Oden loved by them, but he rose to the position of Second Division commander. He was seen as a brother by none other than Whitebeard himself. The feelings remained even after he left them to join Roger’s crew and then returned to Wano. However, when Oden was deceived and killed, Whitebeard, who is known for the ferocious loyalty he shows his crewmates, never made a move on Wano. Fans of One Piece found this a bit unsettling.
Arguing that Whitebeard was unaware of Oden’s death or Wano’s plight won’t work here because Ace, who later inherited Oden’s role in Whitebeard’s crew, had been to Wano and witnessed the dire situation of the people in the country. If that is the case, then what could have prevented Whitebeard from making a move on Wano? Could this be something that Oda overlooked? It seems not. In chapter 999, we finally get to understand why Whitebeard did not come to Wano and fight Kaido.
Why didn’t Whitebeard go to Wano?
The main reason why Whitebeard did not go to Wano and fight Kaido was because he was not interested in risking the lives of his crewmates for getting revenge. It is revealed in One Piece chapter 999 that Whitebeard and his crew came to know of Oden’s death years after it had happened. Since Wano is a closed country the news obviously took time to reach the outside world.
As expected, Whitebeard considered attacking Wano and Kaido multiple times. But then such a war would have caused a large scale disaster with many lives being lost. The battle between two yonkos is not something that should be taken lightly. Such an event would even cause a huge powershift and may even plunge the seas into dark times. Whitebeard understood this and chose not to risk the life of his crewmates, who he thought as family, for it. He even prevents Ace from going to Wano on his own and keeping his promise to O-Tama and Yamato. Whitebead realised that Ace had no chance of beating Kaido, if Oden wasn’t able to do so.
But then, Whitebeard did go out on a full fledged war with the Marines in order to retrieve Ace from Marineford. If he was one for maintaining balance then why did he launch a full scale war then?
Understanding the difference between Marineford and Wano:
Whitebeard chose to attack Marineford, because there was still a chance to save his crewmate (and his son?) Ace. Unlike Oden, Ace was alive. If things had gone right back then, Ace would still have been alive. He valued the life of his crewmate(son) and decided to take the gamble.
In case of Wano, Oden had already died. There was no option of saving anyone. True, if Whitebeard had chosen to move against Kaido, the situation of the people in Wano might have been different. They could have been freed of their suffering years back. However, Whitebeard saw no reason to risk the life of his crew for a place that was not under his protection. Even if he won the war with Kaido, he would have to pay a heavy price for it
Other than the risk of entering a full blown war, one should understand that Whitebeard was not a hero, he was a pirate. The only people he cared about were his crewmates and the lands under his protection. He had no problems and looting and pillaging. He did not cling to the ideals of saving everyone who was in trouble.
Whitebeard’s behaviour is in line with what we have seen before in One Piece. He was also against Ace going after Blackbeard ini the name of revenge. The same behaviour is exhibited here. But we could of course question why Izo was not as passionate about liberating Wano as Ace, but that is a discussion for another time. Do you think Whitebeard should have gone to Wano? Should he have taken revenge for what Kaido did to Oden? Let us know your opinions in the comments section!