WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Chapter 1041, “Komurasaki,” by Eiichiro Oda, Stephen Paul, and Vanessa Satone, available in English from Viz Media.
As One Piece‘s ”Wano Country” arc hurtles towards its climax, manga author Eiichiro Oda is still continuously raising the stakes. Most of the major players in the alliance are unable to stand following excruciating battles with Kaido’s lead enforcers — as well as against Big Mom — leaving just Luffy and Kaido as they clash atop Onigashima’s roof.
The island itself is on a collision course with Wano’s Flower Capital, with mere minutes to go until the city is crushed beneath the gigantic skull. This ticking clock provides more than enough tension for Luffy and Kaido’s final bout, but not content with leaving it there, Oda has thrown another spanner in the works. There’s the revelation that the World Government’s Five Elders have put a hit on Luffy, and that CP0 are ordered to kill him posthaste.
As CP0’s head officer on Wano noted, this is a baffling order to make, especially at this stage in the game. With Luffy in the thralls of his fight against Kaido, such an order would require CP0 to come between two Emperor-level threats, an action tantamount to suicide. Despite his protests, the CP0 leader is informed that he is to carry out the order in order to prevent ”the worst-case scenario” before the scene cuts away.
It’s a tantalizing note to leave the plot thread on, leading fans to speculate what led to the order being made, and what the so-called “worst-case scenario” could be. Many have noted the likelihood that the order actually comes from above the Five Elders — from the true leader of the World Government, Imu.
Back in Chapter 908, the Five Elders asked Imu which ”light” the leader wished to be ”stricken from history”, with Imu clutching pictures of several characters from the series, including Luffy’s. Two chapters earlier, Imu was seen holding Luffy’s wanted poster in front of the sacred treasure of Marijoa: a giant straw hat. Luffy’s connection to Marijoa’s treasure remains a mystery, but based on these scenes, it’s probable that it pertains to why Imu ordered the hit on the Straw Hat captain.
There’s also the possibility that Luffy’s Gum-Gum Fruit is more significant than initially assumed. In Chapter 1018, former CP9-member Who’s Who revealed that the World Government assigned him to protect the fruit before it was stolen by Shanks’ crew, which Who’s Who was severely punished for. This implied the fruit was vitally important for the World Government.
Later, in Chapter 1037, the Five Elders discussed a mysterious Devil Fruit that they fear will awaken. A fruit that the World Government gave a different name, seemingly to cover up its true nature. While the details are kept deliberately vague, it’s possible that the fruit in question is the Gum-Gum Fruit, which would give sufficient motive for the hit.
Whatever the reason, it’s enough that the World Government seemingly don’t trust Kaido — the world’s strongest creature — to finish the job for them. Luffy has managed to hold his own against the King of the Beasts, even when to the rest of the world his odds were considered insurmountable, which makes it even more noteworthy that the Five Elders have taken matters into their own hands. Whatever intel they have on Luffy, it marks him as a bigger danger than Kaido, the character with the highest known active bounty in the series.
In any case, the hit on Luffy is likely to have huge ramifications for the series going forward. The World Government has long been positioned as the final villas in the series, and with this move, they’ve kicked start a direct conflict with Luffy that will last until the series’ climax.
It also means that the Straw Hat Pirates will be forced to go on the run following the events of Wano. usually, One Piece arcs end with the protagonists celebrating their victory alongside the locals, and while it’s certainly within reason the ”Wano Country” arc will follow suit, the Straw Hats will have to keep the revelry brief if they want to stay one step ahead of the forces of the World Government. Wherever the Straw Hats go next after Wano, they’ll have to do so while avoiding their new pursuers.
The ”Wano” arc already provided a ton of developments for the series moving forward, but the World Government’s hit on Luffy might be the most important to date. It’s a move that will ripple throughout the remainder of the series, and whatever the motive behind it is will surely make for one of the biggest revelations in One Piece‘s history.
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