One Piece: A Surprise Clash With Whitebeard Helps Oden Hit the High Seas (Literally)

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Episode 963, "Oden's Determination! Whitebeard's Test!" now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

If there's anything One Piece fans are used to -- it's a protagonist who knows the right time to quit is never, and Oden Kozuki of Wano is no exception. In Episode 963, "Oden's Determination! Whitebeard's Test!" Oden spends the majority of his time trying to convince the famous Pirate Captain to take him aboard -- and while he doesn't quite succeed in that sense, Whitebeard is able to help drag Oden away from Wano for the first time... behind the Moby Dick, that is.

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Within moments of hearing that pirates have landed at the port, Oden rushes out to meet them, eager to fulfill his dream of seeing the world, much to his vassals' dismay. However, in his own signature Oden style, rather than simply asking if he can join the crew or even tag along as a sightseer -- Oden instead makes the rather unwise decision to attack Whitebeard. While there is an argument to be made for the "fight-first, questions later" method, as it had worked for him in the past, Whitebeard is still Whitebeard, and understandably, the fight ends in Oden's apparent defeat.

But, rather than discouraging the Daimyo, Oden only becomes even more excited by the prospect of growing stronger in the wide world. And so, he begins to beg Whitebeard relentlessly to join the pirates. However, even if Whitebeard had wanted to take on the lively Daimyo, he reveals that his crew has been essentially shipwrecked by the journey, to which, Oden of course, immediately volunteers all the manpower and resources he has to repair it quickly.

As repairs get underway, Oden and his vassals have some time to get to know the pirates. While Oden constantly asks to join Whitebeard, Whitebeard correctly notes Oden's rebellious nature, even saying "you're not the type to serve under someone," which clashes heavily with the "no man gets left behind" mentality of the Whitebeard Pirates.

Despite the others trying to butter him up by flaunting his importance as Daimyo of Kuri, Oden quickly decides that the best course of action is to take things into his own hands. Refusing to give up, he plans his escape until, at last, the Moby Dick is seaworthy once more. Anticipating their midnight departure, Oden sneaks out from under the watchful eye of the Nine Red Scabbards, manages to get a chain around the ship's mast and dives in after them.

Shocked by the sheer lengths that Oden was willing to go to for his dream, the pirates have almost no time to process this development before they are thrown over the waterfall that leads to Wano. Yet Oden holds on. Still reluctant to take him on, fearing putting his "family" in jeopardy, Whitebeard gives Oden's persistence one last trial: he must hold onto that chain, dragged by the ship through the waters for three days straight. For Oden, after a lifetime of waiting, what's three days more? So the ship goes through the Grand Line's many various ecosystems as Oden's trial advances. He holds on through stormy seas, getting pummeled (and almost eaten) by giant goldfish and smashed up against icebergs until his face is almost unrecognizable.

Yet it is with only one hour to go that Oden shows his true colors. Despite everything he's done to see the world, despite two days and twenty-three hours of holding onto a metal chain in the waters and despite growing fond of Whitebeard specifically -- he gives it all up in an instant when they pass by an island and he hears a woman cry for help. Even with his wounds and swollen body, the Daimyo of Kuri can't help but rescue those in need with his own signature flair. As someone who felt so restricted for most of his life, he values freedom immensely, and thus seeks it for others as well, coming to aid of Toki Amatsuki at the expense of his life's dream.

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