WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Vol. 94, by Eiichiro Oda, Stephen Paul and Vanessa Satone, now available in English from Viz Media.
The latest translated volume of One Piece pulls just ahead of where the anime roughly is at the moment, give or take a couple of chapters worth of material. It also moves at a breakneck pace forward, giving readers plenty to discuss once they put down this installment of Eiichiro Oda’s pirate adventure saga.
The Horror Of Smile Fruit
Over the course of One Piece, we’ve learned about Wano’s artificial Devil Fruits. Earlier arcs revealed that Doflamingo created the artificial fruit under Kaido’s orders, which the Straw Hat Crew destroyed. However, only in Volume 94’s first chapter are readers able to understand the full damage unleashed by the Smile Fruit so many members of Wano had to consume. Only one in 10 Smile Fruits grant those who consume them powers of any kind. Those who gained powers — the Grifters — rule in command over the Pleasures.
The Pleasures suffered the negative consequences of the Devil Fruit, like being unable to swim, with none of the benefits. As an added horror, Pleasures became unable to express horror, sorrow, or rage. Rather, they are only able to laugh and smile as a result of any and all stimuli, including seeing someone they admire get strung up and slain. This turns Wano and Kuri Town into a horrific nightmare world — more so than before — where emotions and feelings are just illusions and masks created to enslave all those beneath those with power.
Ebisu Town’s forever-laughing citizens were tricked into eating several failed Fruits, meaning that Orochi forced an entire town of people into developing permanent, unyielding smiles for his own sick pleasure.
Big Mom Destroys Udon Prison
Luffy continues fighting for his freedom, only now, Eustass Kid and Killer are fated to drown so long as Luffy lives in the gallows beside the sumo ring. We learn that Killer has been manipulated by the Smile Fruit, which distorts his ability to emote, let alone respond to stimuli around him. However, as Luffy uncovers new levels of control over his Haki, finding a way to even pry the cuffs off his and Hyogoro’s necks, a problem arises: Big Mom breaks into jail.
Big Mom came to Wano to attack Kaido and his forces. However, temporarily suffering from amnesia, Big Mom is in search of food to return to the people who were kind to her, such as Chopper and O-tama. However, finding nothing, she breaks through every wall of the prison — under the impression that Luffy stole the food himself. Ultimately, it takes a well-timed headbutt by Queen, transformed into a brontosaurus, to temporarily knock Charlotte Linlin out. They shackle her up, removing her powers while contained, before carrying her off to Kaido.
Once with Kaido, Big Mom and he begin to fight — a battle that creates cyclones and natural disasters that spiral out of control from their clashing of blows.
However, with the prison in disarray and Queen’s crew sailing off through the sand dunes, several prisoners have escaped from their holes; the center of Udon is in chaos and Luffy is free to fight his way free, now understanding how to manipulate his Haki in new, incredible ways. While at first the prisoners actually try to keep Luffy from resisting for fear of Kaido’s wrath, the reveal that Kawamatsu, one of the Akazaya Nine, was freed in Big Mom’s attack alongside the arrival of Raizo and O-kiku (now revealed to be Kikunojo of the Fallen Snow) turns the tide against the prison.
What sinches it, though, is Luffy nearly killing the Warden. The Warden fires bullets through the elephant trunk on his belly, which proves powerful enough to bring Luffy down in his previous escape attempt. However, when the elephant loads a huge load into its trunk, Luffy merely holds the trunk shut, causing the round to backfire and blow the Warden’s flesh apart. From there, the prison is left in shambles, with all the prisoners now unguarded.
However, the Warden, still alive, ends up falling under O-tama’s control, who uses him to convince Queen and Kaido that once Queen left, the Warden brought the riots under control, resulting in no long-term damage or escaped prisoners.
Zoro’s New Sword
Zoro yet again challenges Gyukimaru for possession of Shusui, only to encounter Kawamatsu, who raised both Hiyori and Gyukimaru, who, we learn, is actually a fox spirit devoted and loyal to Ryuma. In the end, Zoro is convinced to return Shusui to the grave of its former owner, as the blade belongs to Wano Country.
In exchange, Hiyori gives Zoro Enma — a blade of equal merit and power that Hiyori inherited from her father, Oden, the former Daimyo of Kuri Town. With this new sword in hand, Zoro returns to his three-sword style, exercising mastery over a set of powerful blades. This, combined with the increasing forces of the rebellion against Kaido, indicates that the conflicts ahead are reaching a climax.