The End of One Piece’s Wano Arc and Who Should Be a Straw Hat
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After over four years of publication, the Wano Arc of One Piece has finally concluded, with Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirates leaving the troubled kingdom for new adventures across the Grand Line.
Through the many battles against two Emperors of the Sea and their respective pirate forces, the Straw Hats have come out on top once again after helping the heir of Wano, Kozuki Momonosuke, reclaim his throne.
With how dense the material of Wano was – par for the course for a four-year story arc – the very fabric of One Piece’s lore has been reshaped and recontextualised, leaving a massive impact on the story moving forward.
As such, massive debates among fans have erupted on the internet, with many weighing in on the pros and cons of the Wano Arc’s ending. Let’s take a look at the biggest takeaway Wano has left on the fandom as a whole.
Spoilers ahead for those who have not caught up with the One Piece manga.
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The Guardian of Wano
The biggest point of contention with the recent ending of One Piece’s Wano arc is how the one character that was poised to join Luffy and the gang, Yamato, was seemingly snubbed from the position very abruptly in the final chapter of the arc.
Yamato, the child of Kaido, who also serves as the main villain in Wano, was introduced during the Raid of Onigashima. A prisoner of the dreaded island, Yamato made it pretty clear that they opposed Kaido and wished to make their escape.
Several flashbacks also show Yamato’s childhood, where the young heir was thrown into jail by their own father. They were, however, treated well by Kaido’s prisoners, namely a group of noble samurai.
Flashbacks also show that Yamato was friends with Luffy’s older brother, Ace, and the pair planned to sail the world together. With Ace’s death, this was not meant to be, and Yamato has been held captive until Luffy and the gang put an end to Kaido’s reign.
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Princesses of Yore
Throughout Luffy’s adventures, there have been a handful of characters who have joined him on his quest to find the One Piece. For now, there are ten members of the Straw Hat Pirates, excluding so many characters who could have potentially joined the crew.
Whether it was temporary crewmates like Princess Vivi from the Alabasta Saga, to even Mr. 2 Bon Clay, who has more than proven himself as a loyal friend to Luffy, there have been many characters worthy in the eyes of fans to join the crew.
Yamato’s time in the spotlight was just as significant as many other characters throughout the series, whose role falls in line with characters like Shirahoshi and Rebecca, who had similar roles in the Fishman Island and Dressrosa arcs, respectively.
What makes Yamato different from the other characters, however, is their combat prowess, which has been way more formidable than their other royal counterparts. The fact that Yamato has a Devil Fruit makes them stand out just that much more.
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With how Yamato’s wish to leave Wano and travel the world was made so explicitly throughout the arc, it seemed like a no-brainer that they would be the latest crewmate of the Straw Hat Pirates.
But since Luffy and the gang have left Wano, it seems that the Straw Hat Pirates will remain to be a ten-man crew. Thus far, only characters introduced before the mid-series time skip have joined Luffy’s crew, and we have not seen any additions to the crew post-time skip, except the belated addition of the helmsman, Jinbei.
For now, Yamato will stay in Wano for the time being, with many fans seeing this as the arc’s biggest missed opportunity. The same could be said for other characters like Kinnemon and Carrot, who have also been key allies of the Straw Hat Pirates for the past few years.
The way Yamato was treated may have rubbed fans the wrong way, but hopefully, this and many other honourary crewmates will find their way back to Luffy in a future arc. Evidently, it seems that Luffy has more than enough allies to find his way to the One Piece.