WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Episode 952, “Tension Rises in Onigashima! Two Emperors of the Sea Meet?!” now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
Despite a series of challenges and setbacks, things seem to slowly be falling into place for The Straw Hats and their allies in the One Piece anime. As the various members of the Straw Hats begin to make their moves in preparation for the coming battle, Kin'emon and Inurashi have been successful in convincing their old ally and fellow Red Scabbard Ashura Doji to rejoin their cause. To show that he hasn't been waiting around idly for the past 20 years, Ashura Doji brings his friends to a port to reveal a shocking secret in Episode 952: he has been collecting ships from around the country.
While it may not seem like a big deal at first, Kin'emon instantly recognizes the advantage this will give the Scabbards when the time comes to raid Onigashima as the fortress is completely surrounded by water. After some repairs that Kin'emon plans to ask of the Straw Hat shipwright, Franky, the Scabbards will have means of transporting thousands of soldiers to the fortress, which will be a massive boon to their side.
Ashura Doji's Secret Is 20 Years In The Making
Fans will recall that in earlier episodes, Ashura Doji was proving difficult to convince to once again take up the cause of the supporters of Oden. While initially patient and hopeful, the allies he had amassed after 10 years grew impatient and ultimately tried their hand at attacking Kaido. Their failure and subsequent loss of his allies caused Ashura's faith in Toki's prophecy to wane, and he eventually decided to disregard that plan, initially refusing to support the Kozuki family upon reuniting with Inurashi and Kin'emon.
While it did take some convincing, Ashura has come around. Upon revealing to his allies that he had amassed a number of ships over the years, it becomes clear, likely to viewers and his allies alike, that despite his initially hardened demeanor, he probably maintained at least a small sliver of hope. Even if the ships were procured with a completely different intention in mind, Ashura likely knew that they could be used to their advantage should the prophecy ever actually come true. Now that it has, Ashura's planning can be put to great use.
The Heroes Have a Massive Advantage to Use Against Kaido
Onigashima is Kaido's personal fortress and base of operations. It's an island located in Wano that is incredibly difficult to access due to consistently inclement weather, a dangerous surrounding sea and only one true point of access. If the raid on Onigashima were to only consist of the Nine Red Scabbards, half the battle would be simply getting to Onigashima in the first place. While it's true that having the Straw Hats as allies would more than likely afford the Scabbards access to The Thousand Sunny, the Sunny is still only one ship; hardly enough to lead a raid on the fortress of an Emperor of the Sea.
Instead, having access to multiple ships that can, in turn, transport multiple fighters results in a huge edge for Oden's former retainers. They can now transport an entire fighting force to combat Kaido. This will be huge for them, especially considering that Kaido's own crew is nothing short of impressive itself -- Kin'emon and his allies will certainly want all the help they can get.
As the Onigashima raid grows closer, Ashura's secret checks off a big question mark on the logistical side of making the raid happen. While he may have mentioned that he no longer had any desire to support the Kozuki family initially, it's clear that Ashura still held on to a little bit of faith. Now, it looks like that faith is truly going to pay off.