Having spent much of my life watching anime, it may have been inevitable that I would gain an interest in Japanese mythology. I eventually started to branch out into that after seeing little references sprinkled in some anime/manga that I read. From there, I gained at least a basic understanding of Japanese myths and culture, which I think will be a big help in the Wano Arc for One Piece.
As we saw briefly in the last chapter, Sanji opened a soba noodle stand to help gather allies. At this point, though, he just seems to attract girls, which Robin, Usopp, and Franky note. That changes, though, when three shady looking men that I can only assume are part of Wano’s equivalent to the Yakuza show up.
They demand “protection money” from Sanji to keep running, which is a common tactic of organized crime groups. Sanji refuses, and when they trash his food, he beats the stuffing out of them.
Everyone clears out, except for a little girl named Toko who didn’t get any soba, which Sanji happily gives. The Straw Hats quickly take a liking to her as she runs off to work in the Courtesan’s procession. She is an attendant to the most famous Courtesan in Wano, Komurasaki. They say she is a woman beautiful enough to topple a nation and the perfect woman. We don’t see her face, but if that’s true, the list for the most beautiful women in One Piece may need to be reworked. She’s enough to make all the men fight over her just by passing through.
The procession is headed to a banquet with the Shogun Orochi, and Robin has also been invited. This will go a long way towards helping their rebellion, though I hope that Robin will not be caught.
I fear that the Straw Hats may have attracted more attention to themselves, though. Those Yakuza who Sanji beat up? Their boss decides to contact Queen from the Beast Pirates to send assassins. The chapter ends with the silhouette of Lord Orochi, which depicts an eight-headed serpent, declaring that he will make Komurasaki his.
Now for the mythology, I mentioned coming into play. Orochi is named after the Yamata no Orochi, a legendary serpent from Japanese Mythology with eight heads and eight tails. In the legends, he terrorized a village near the cave he dwelt, forcing a local family to sacrifice one of their eight daughters every year for seven years. Thus, the time has come for them to give up their last and most beautiful daughter, Kushinada-hime.
Then along came a lone warrior on the road: Susanoo, the Japanese god of storms. He had been exiled from the heavens for causing trouble one too many times. When he saw the weeping parents, he promised to slay Orochi in exchange for their daughter’s hand in marriage. Long story short, he did.
I’m bringing this up because it seems like Eichiro Oda is drawing from this and possibly several other Japanese myths. Orochi is, obviously, the eight-headed serpent, but in this case, he’s devouring all of Wano. could Komurasaki be the daughter? That just leaves us with our Susanoo, the one who will slay Orochi. I have no idea yet, but I am certain it will be either Luffy or one of the Kozuki Clan’s retainers. I’m actually interested to see how it turns out. This is shaping up to be a very interesting arc with Oda going all-out.