One Piece Chapter 1097 Review/Recap
The last few chapters of One Piece have been among the most exciting the manga has been since the reveal of Gear Five. After dropping hints about it throughout the current arc, Oda’s finally revealing the backstory of Bartholomew Kuma. Calling it a tear-jerker would be an understatement. From his enslavement by the Celestial Dragons to his meeting of Ivankov and Ginny and their daring escape at God Valley, Kuma has led a difficult life. Yet despite everything, he remained amongst the kindest people in the entire series, using his Paw-Paw Fruit powers to help others. That kindness continues to take center-stage as we see how Kuma and Ginny come to join Dragon as part of his Revolutionary Army, only for a potential tragedy to be on the horizon. On a matter of secondary importance, this chapter also confirms a longstanding fan theory about Dragon.
Eight years have passed since the God Valley Incident, and Kuma has become a well-known pastor in Sorbet Kingdom. Every week, the elderly come visit him and he uses his powers to take their pain away. At night, he takes that pain into himself, much to Ginny’s dismay. For her part, Ginny’s become a locally renowned beauty with plenty of suitor’s, but she only has eyes for Kuma. Yet, when she suggests they get married, he refuses, remembering what happened to his parents.
Meanwhile, life in the Sorbet Kingdom gets worse under their King. In order to meet the Heavenly Tribute, the King splits the Kingdom in two. The half that Kuma and Ginny live in is left to rot, with the two being jailed when they try to fight back. However, they, and the island of Sorbet, are saved by the arrival of an old friend: Emporio Ivankov, and his new associate, a former Marine named Dragon.
Kuma and Ginny eagerly join Ivankov and Dragon, serving as part of their Freedom Fighters, and, later, the Revolutionary Army as they build their power base. Kuma becomes one of Dragon’s most loyal allies, yet he still makes time to visit Sorbet Kingdom to help them, such is his kindness. Then, fourteen years before the present day, Ginny’s eager for the day she can reunite with Kuma’s forces. However, shortly afterward, word reaches Dragon that someone has captured Ginny.
This chapter all but confirms it: Ginny is likely Bonney’s mother! From her love of food to her foul mouth, Bonney is the spitting image of Ginny. The only reason why it might not be the case is because Kuma, at least initially, refused to marry Ginny. Despite it being obvious that the two love each other, Kuma remembers all too well the fight his parents endured, and doesn’t want any family they could have go through that.
If Ginny is Bonney’s mother, then something must have happened between the end of this chapter and the present day that led to Bonney being born. Given how frantic her men’s calls were to Dragon, here’s my theory: the Celestial Dragons captured her as bait to draw out Kuma, and go on to use her as leverage to make him serve them from then on. And later, they do the same with Bonney. The Celestial Dragons are worse than the lowest scum at this point, and I long for the day when either Luffy or Dragon brings them low.
Speaking of Dragon, this chapter confirmed what many fans suspected: Dragon was a former Marine, like his father, Garp. That explains why he’s been so effective fighting the World Government: he’s using the Marines training against them. In addition, it also confirms that Dragon’s a man who believes in a just and fair world. Whereas his father’s content to work for the Marines, though, Dragon actively seeks to make the world a more equitable place. To be honest, with how corrupt the Marines can be, I would likely do the same thing he is.
As for Kuma, he has to be among the kindest people in the entire story; the only other person who could rival his kindness is Queen Otohime. This, of course, only makes his fate all the more unjust, and I’m sure that whatever happens to Ginny will leave fans livid. Before the Straw Hat’s leave Egghead Island, I want to see Kuma beat Saturn to a pulp! That monster deserves it for hurting that kind and gentle soul!