One Piece: Luffy Helps an Unlikely Ally Find Their Courage

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece Episode 950, Warriors' Dream! Luffy's Conquer of Udon! now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

With Udon’s prison mine liberated, the former prisoners are thankful to Luffy and his allies for the role they played, but the Straw Hats aren’t out of the woods yet. Luffy is quickly succumbing to the effects of Queen’s Excite Bullets, and the prisoners, upon learning that Luffy is a notorious pirate, feel like they can’t comfortably trust him. In response, Luffy, in true Luffy fashion, challenges the only person capable of uniting them to be brave: Kozuki Momonosuke.

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When the prisoners realize that Momonosuke, son of the legendary Kozuki Oden, is alive, Momo has the perfect opportunity to step up and remind the people what they are fighting for both through their survival and their combat. The pressure is on: Momo is young and inexperienced, and the entirety of the Kozuki Rebellion hinges on his ability to step up.

The Prison Mine Aftermath

With Queen hauling Big Mom off to Onigashima and the Prison Mine uprising completed, the prisoners turn their attention to the next big issue: Luffy is a pirate, and pirates don’t really sit well with the people of Wano. Understandably, after everything that Kaido has done, the people of Wano don’t have much of a reason to trust anyone that calls themselves a pirate.

Luffy's allies do their best to plead their case on his behalf. Raizo knows that Luffy isn't like the pirates Wano is familiar with, and Boss Hyogoro insists that Luffy is a crucial part of defeating Kaido. Their pleas, however, fall on deaf ears to these people that wouldn't dare put their trust in pirates after all they've been through. Boss Hyogoro realizes that one very important aspect is holding the people back from uniting to rise up.

Elsewhere, Chopper races to come up with a vaccine for the Mummy virus that’s plaguing Luffy, while Luffy himself does something unexpected. As Momonosuke acknowledges Luffy’s ability, Luffy responds to him with a series of insults. These verbal jabs, and eventually a well-tossed boulder, force Momo out into the open and in front of all the prisoners who are both shocked and relieved to see him alive.

Heir To The Daimyo, Kozuki Momonosuke

Despite the excitement over his survival, Momo is stricken with fear. It’s unsurprising, as Momo has never done anything like this before. He doesn’t know how to lead, and being thrust in front of people that were imprisoned for believing in his father’s cause is nothing short of daunting. In fact, Momo is initially convinced that the people don’t actually see him -- all they see is his father. The fear is overwhelming, and it’s clear that he wants to run.

Despite his fear, though, Momo steels himself and delivers a rousing speech, moving the prisoners to tears once more. He asserts that Luffy is an ally that he could not have made it this far without and reminds the people of the dream they all share: to take back their country.

This Momo is different from any version that fans had seen before. Since meeting him on Punk Hazard, he has been meek despite his royal upbringing, and by no means a character that viewers would peg as a leader. But here, in front of all these prisoners, he asserts himself and cements his position not as a reflection of Oden, but as Oden’s rightful heir. While a number of factors certainly play into this character growth, it’s Luffy, withering away due to the effects of the virus, who still manages to give Momo that extra push he needed to become the spark that truly ignites the impending revolution.

shota aizawa
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