We get a flashback to Oden giving his wife Toki a letter before he is to go to war. She shows her resolve that she and the family will not be his weakness. Then we flash forward to the Akazaya Nine struggling in the wake of Oden’s death. There is arguing over what to do regarding vengeance, but Kinemon tells them all that he will not allow them to waste their lives. Shinobu also arrives to reinforce this and give them back their blades. In no time they are racing through the woods cutting down beast pirates and trying to make it to safety. The warriors hope to exit the land and make their way to Zou.
We break away to another flashback involving Oden. This time it focuses more on his role as a father to Momonosuke and Hiyori. We see him showing Momo how to swing a sword and praise Hiyori for his shamisen playing.
Back in the present, Kaido breaks into the burning Kozuki castle. He bats aside Toki as she attempts to defend her family and takes Momo in one hand. Kaido holds Momonosuke over the edge of the castle and mocks Oden. As Momo weeps, Kaido tosses him back into the castle and leaves disinterested. Toki reveals that she actually is a time traveller from the past. She resolves to send Momonosuke 20 years forward in time and entrusts Hiyori to Kawamatsu for safety, and then dramatically faces down the beast pirates in front of the burning castle. She makes one last speech and is brutally gunned down before the eyes of the people of Wano.
Perhaps one of the most dramatic revelations in One Piece has finally arrived in the anime.
Toki being a time traveller was certainly a big “wha!?” moment for myself when reading the manga, and it’s great to see it fully realized here in the anime. I for one did not see it coming, but I think even in the space in the greater narrative it represents a rather amazing power. Most of One Piece‘s Devil Fruit abilities have been very “present tense” so to speak – sure, someone like Whitebeard could rock the world around him to its foundation but that feels like small potatoes compared to something like time travel. Toki and Oden both have an almost mythic level of capability in a setting with no slouches in terms of the power department, and that only underscores the tragedy of their respective ends.
And what ends they are. The additional time the Toei team could spend with Oden’s flashbacks and Toki’s dramatic sacrifice really ups the melodrama here in a way the manga simply did not have the space for. The glossy, painful clarity of her final speech and the tearful expressions in the childrens’ eyes as she sent them away – truly heart wrenching stuff. Once again, the team at Toei gets my highest regards for making every moment count and delivering as much in these slower moments as they do in the bombastic action set pieces. A wrinkly Momo or a tearful Hiyori may not make the highlight reels quite like, say, Zoro unleashing a flashy technique, but that craft and care makes a huge difference in how we feel about these characters.
One Piece is currently streaming on
Crunchyroll and Funimation.com. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.