One Piece: How a Costly Mistake Turns Oden’s Vassals Into Wano Legends

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Episode 962, "Changing Destiny! The Whitebeard Pirates Cast Ashore!," now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

While in the present the Red Scabbards have departed to meet their fate and Luffy and the Straw Hats, along with the rest of their allies, are nowhere to be found, One Piece Episode 962 continues the anime's flashback -- sharing the story of Kozuki Oden and his most loyal followers. After his ambition leads him to conquer the lawless Kuri Region, the new Daimyo requires the most skilled samurai as his retainers, and Oden's most trusted band of misfits aren't exactly seasoned warriors.

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When an attempt to steal money goes wrong for the Scabbards, they come face to face with the Daimyo of the Hakumai Region, Shimotsuki Yasuie. Instead of punishing the Scabbards for their attempted thievery, Yasuie allows them to take the money and even offers some more, encouraging Oden's chosen vassals to better themselves for the sake of the man they so admire.

 The Red Scabbards Weren't Exactly Vassal Material

Before the Red Scabbards became known as such, they were more of a motley crew of misfits that Oden encountered after his banishment from the capital. While some had developed reputations as threats to travelers, others joined as mere children, and none of them were quite what traditional vassals were expected to be. Still, Oden had grown to trust his followers, and by his own declaration he preferred they be his vassals rather than having the shogun assign him some "Wise and sober men."

While it speaks to Oden as a leader, as well as the Kuri Region as a whole, the idea that Oden's retainers would be inexperienced ruffians would have reflected poorly on Oden in the eyes of the rest of the country. Kine'mon and the rest of the Scabbards, however, admired, respected and outright loved Oden. Because of this, they were willing to go to extreme lengths for him -- even so far as to be willing to steal from Yasuie, a friend and ally of Oden's.

Even In The Past, Yasuie Supported Oden And His Retainers

One Piece fans will remember Tonoyasu, the always-smiling jester of Ebisu Town. Committed to caring for the poor residents of the town, Tonoyasu, revealed later to be Yasuie, gave his life in an effort to steer the treacherous Orochi off the path of Oden's retainers. If that wasn't enough of an indication of Yasuie's commitment to Oden, his retainers, and to Wano, the flashback certainly reinforces that fact. As the scabbards attempt to resolve some financial distress by stealing from Yasuie, the Daimyo of Hakumai catches them in the act.

Seeing their commitment to Oden in the face of punishment, Yasuie makes a surprising move: he agrees to let the Scabbards take the money they were attempting to steal, as well as offer some of his own. This extra donation is in order for the scabbards to get cleaned up and educated. Yasuie enforces the importance of this in order to support Oden and the ruffians that Oden claimed as his vassals grow into skilled, well-read, noble samurai.

Yasuie's sacrifice has been a major point in the Wano arc; for the Scabbards, it gave them the cover they needed to continue planning their assault on Onigashima, but this flashback shows that Yasuie has been in their corner from very early on. Fans can safely assume that his death is a major motivating factor behind the Scabbards' decision to continue with their raid, despite the fact that their ships have been destroyed, their allies are missing, and the situation is still looking incredibly grim. For the man that helped make them who they are, the risk is more than worth it.

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