The battle between Luffy and Kaido officially ended and the fate of the Yonko proves that a popular fans’ theory was right and wrong at the same time.
Warning: Contains spoilers for One Piece chapter #1050
The strongest antagonist in the history of One Piece, Kaido of the Beasts, has finally been defeated. The way the powerful Yonko meets his fate proves that a theory circulating among fans in recent weeks is true, but not in the way they expected.
When Kaido made his debut in the manga, in 2015, the author Eiichiro Oda said that One Piece hero Luffy could not defeat a powerful character like Kaido yet. In fact, Kaido’s peculiarity has been the visible effort that the author put into hyping up his incredible strength. Until the very moment of his defeat, Kaido still seemed able to overpower Luffy and win the battle. In 2016, Oda followed up his previous declaration in an interview, saying that he still did not know how Luffy could defeat Kaido: “Probably my audience will not be satisfied if the reason for defeating Kaidou is just because Luffy’s punch is so strong. Luffy and I have to find a solution somehow.” After the manga showed that Luffy’s final attack in that epic fight was, in fact, a giant punch, many fans speculated that, based on Oda’s declaration, the battle was not over and Kaido would get up again.
Chapter #1050 proved that this theory was right and wrong at the same time. Luffy’s colossal punch destroyed Kaido’s Flaming Bagua form and punched him so hard that the Yonko was driven into the ground of Wano Island, traveling all the way into a big magma lake at the core of it (the same fate One Piece gave to Big Mom some chapters earlier). Wano does have a volcanic mountain (similar to Mt. Fuji, as the island is inspired by Japan’s geography), so it makes sense that there is magma underneath it, even if it was a detail most fans forgot. The fierce battles, however, damaged the land so much that some fissures opened between the underground magma pool and the ocean surrounding the island. When the cold ocean waters meet the magma, the result is a massive explosion that seals the fate of the two Yonko forever (if they somehow managed to survive the magma).
Technically, then, it was not Luffy’s punch that ended Kaido, but the natural forces of Wano, which is absolutely perfect and poetic. Kaido oppressed Wano for twenty years, turning its inhabitants into starving slaves, so the explosion represents Wano itself taking its revenge on Kaido. It’s also interesting to notice that the Yonko dies in the same way as Kozuki Oden, the last rightful Shogun of Wano, who Kaido executed by boiling him alive. The whole Wano story, then, comes full circle, and Kaido’s defeat is rich with symbolism. Oda was able to find the solution he was looking for, and fans could not ask for a better one.
The part of the theory regarding a Kaido comeback, however, is proven wrong. The tag announcing Luffy as the winner of the “decisive battle in the sky” was put on the panel showing the big explosion, meaning that this time the fight is really over. Kaido will probably remain the greatest villain in One Piece (unless Oda is capable of outdoing himself in the future): his defeat did not ruin his mystique as the “strongest creature in the world” and at the same time it perfectly represented the conclusion of the longest and most intense arc in the history of the manga.
Look for the latest chapter of One Piece when it’s available on Viz Media’s Shonen Jump App.
Source: One Piece Great Newspaper Vol. 2
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