The end of the Wano Country arc that started all the way in 2018 and took four years and 149 chapters marked the end of an era for fans. With Luffy finally becoming one of the Yonko, awakening his fruit, and gaining another road poneglyph, it was finally time for the beginning of the end.
But many fans claim that the ending of Wano arc was rushed and did not live up to the hype that Oda and mostly the fan base had created. While there are always unsatisfied readers, it is still worth taking a look at what might’ve gone wrong in the telling of this grand story.
Table of Contents
With the Whole Cake Island arc centered around Sanji, many fans thought that Wano would finally be a Zoro centric arc. And to some extent, it was. The possibilities were endless, and Oda led us on, only to leave us hanging at the last moment.
With Wano being the land of Samurai, many, including me, expected some newly named swords to be revealed, along with more details about Shusui and possibly Zoro’s origins too. We hoped to see Zoro finally replace his Sandai Kitetsu for the Nidai. It would also have been interesting if Zoro had found more insights about creating black blades.
Naysayers would argue that Whole Cake was probably not an arc which was as full blown as Wano or Dressrosa, in which the whole crew is involved. And in such cases, Oda always goes for the tried and tested method of Luffy landing the final blow to the big bad villain.
All those theories about Zoro killing Kaido just vanished into thin air.
Apart from Zoro, there are many smaller parts of the story that were hinted on earlier but never saw the light of day. One such plot point is that of the SMILE fruits.
Throughout the previous arcs we see how cruel and dangerous the SMILE fruits are and in Wano we get an emotional side of it. Yet with 3 of the “world’s best doctors” being Chopper , Law and Marco , present in Wano , none of them even try to cure the affected citizens.
There’s a lot to nitpick on here.
Furthermore, we never know what exactly happened to Kaido, Big Mom and various other characters like King and Queen. Are they still alive or did they die?? While some deaths were unexpected others weren’t fully revealing showing that the writing might’ve been rushed towards the end.
More importantly, what happened to remaining members of the pirate crews. They are too strong to be just ignored. I’m pretty sure Oda might tie up the loose ends as we move further, however, purely from a Wano perspective, there seemed to be a lot missed opportunities.
Also, since we talked about Kaido and Big Mom’s status, there’s something else I need to point out.
Unsatisfactory character deaths:
Over the course of the Onigashima Raid, many characters took serious beatings, and many more succumbed to them. Out of these, the ones that stood out the most were – Kinemon and Kiku.
With Kinemon being abused by Kaido multiple times, and once even with what seems to be a conquerors’ haki-infused strike, Kinemon still manages to survive the Raid without any permanent damage from the battle.
Similarly, in Kiku’s case, she had her arm sliced off and was stabbed through her body by Kanjuro, but she still managed to survive.
On the flip side, stronger veterans like Ashura and Izou died during the battles in Wano. While Ashura had certainly taken far too much damage to escape the night unscathed, Izou, unfortunately, was killed while fighting 2 CP0 agents.
This is something that took me by shock while reading. As a former Whitebeard Pirates commander who had fought countless battles and survived the Paramount War, it felt very unexpected for him to die that simply.
Kinemon’s death seemed right around the corner, and Kiku even spoke what seemed like fitting last words. The only way I can try to explain their survival is by assuming that Kinemon and Kiku’s physical age is much lesser (in the 30s) compared to Ashura and Izou, who weren’t sent forward in time.
The Zoro situation:
The whole Zoro situation just left a lot of plotholes for me in the story. While Zoro tanking massive amounts of damage on the rooftop and being sent away to recover made perfect sense, his returning back to fight with some conveniently introduced Wonder Drug made no sense whatsoever to me.
The main issue being the Wonder Drug can now be a one-stop recovery potion that can be brought in any time it’s required.
Furthermore, the medicine is said to heal someone temporarily but they will suffer twice the damage at the end. With atleast 20-30 bones broken, the side-effects of the medicine should be devastating. Yet we see nothing happen to Zoro, other than a mysterious reaper like figure that was never explained.
Was Zoro hallucinating and seeing Death?
In chapter 1023 – “Spitting Image” , Kawamatsu and Hyogoro compare Zoro to both Shimotsuki Ushimaru and Ryuma , but telling Zoro and Ushimaru’ s sword styles are the same and that both he and Ryuma are one-eyed Samurai.
Unfortunately this remained a loose end in the manga, with readers getting no further explanation whatsoever.
It was only recently in an SBS that Oda revealed Zoro’s family tree revealing that he was the great-nephew of Ushimaru and a descendant of Ryuma. After building up something in the manga , Oda just dropping that whole plot point and explaining it later , shows that Wano might’ve indeed been rushed.
Yamato’s fate and flashback
When first introduced in the series , we were sure that Kaido’s son was going to be a powerhouse who would make things tough for our protagonists. Little did we know she was one of the key contributors to the raid , helping Momonosuke escape and holding-off and injuring Kaido in their fight.
Her close and emotional friendship to Ace made us love this new character and made us feel she was a perfect candidate for the last member of the Straw Hats , and we were all delighted when she made multiple mentions of wanting to join the crew and set sail with the Straw Hats.
So when in the final chapters of Wano , she did a sudden 180 and decided to stay back to “go through Oden’s journey” fans were taken aback. Personally , I would have liked to see her join the crew , sail with the Straw Hats and eventually discover her true self instead of trying to imitate Oden.
Another thing that many fans were waiting for was a proper flashback. A proper flashback that would tell us what Kaido was and why he was doing what he did and how Yamato was born. But what did we get? A tiny flashback that briefly glanced over Kaido’s life. Nothing in detail. Nothing about Yamato and her mother.
What is Robin doing?
Getting straight to the point , why doesn’t Robin tell us what she read in the Wano Poneglyphs? One of the main reasons for the whole raid from the perspective of our pirate crews was to take the poneglyphs to go further in their journey to Raftel.
But unlike all the previous poneglyphs we have seen, Robin does not discuss the contents of this one with the crew. Atleast not on screen.
Furthermore, do we know what is on Big Mom’s poneglyph that Brook successfully recovered in the Whole Cake Island arc? These are some long overdue plot points that could’ve perfectly been incorporated into the ending of Wano.
Another small thing would be the lack of details of Old Wano and the Pluton.
We barely got a few panels about them after all these years and now its going to be further pushed ahead. Of course this can be attributed to Oda having a plan for them in the future, but it will certainly be very sad if these things go unanswered, especially with One Piece entering its final arc and a lot of things still left to be explained.
Same old tropes:
Thanks to twitter user @sandman_AP who translated one of Oda’s interviews from 2016, we know that author didn’t know how to defeat Kaido, and he certainly didn’t want it to be with a strong punch. It was a classic case of making such a strong character that the author had to wrack his brains to come up with a solution to defeat him.
Well fast forward to the end of Wano, many readers like me were waiting for something new to come about and when Luffy used Bajrang Gun, we definitely thought that it wasn’t the end simply because of the above statement.
Well, as good as the climax of the arc was , Oda didn’t manage to find a “non-punchy” way to beat Kaido.
We still don’t know what One Piece is:
Based on other translations from Sandman , Oda once said that when Wano is over the end of One Piece will be in sight. Another tweet by the editor has said Wano is very important to answer the question “What is One Piece?”. From the time the tweets have been made, it has been understood and interpreted in many different ways.
Based on these few tweets , some people have understood the meaning to be that series will end in a few years , while others believe it means that the end of Wano will give us a clear idea of what the One Piece is.
Well, Wano has ended and we are none the wiser. Maybe there is some hidden clue that we just haven’t noticed yet. Maybe the translations and interpretations change the meaning of what was said. All we know for sure is that , the ending of Wano was wrapped up rather quickly, leaving many of year long built up questions unanswered .
Personally , I feel that the ending could have been extended for a few more chapters with a few more questions answered here and there. But One Piece is a master piece and Oda knows what to do best, so we will just wait and let the story unfold.