Being the chapter right after the Whitebeard War was declared over by Shanks, a well needed transition chapter was needed as the aftereffects of Whitebeard’s death slowly crept over the One Piece world. It appears that the Government’s plan to bring an end to the Great Pirate Era began by Gol D. Roger backfired. The Pirate Era has now been reinvigorated with the confirmation of “One Piece,” bringing in many new upstarts to the field of pirating.
So with Whitebeard dead, it appears the yonkou are now missing a member. Apparently this would mean a sudden struggle for power, though I doubt it’ll be the greed of the other yonkou so much as the newer pirates such as the introduced “Brownbeard”. I thought it was a bit unnecessary to introduce another colorbeard into the mix, but it may have just been a joke. Knowing Oda, he may become an actual threat later on so it’s anyone’s ballgame. There’s also the unmentioned “Gorusei” (the five even higher ranked marines that Doflamingo might have been referring to) that could have other plans for the World Government as the ending pages show Doflamingo trying to kill off Moria. Some have speculated that the WG could possibly have evil ultimatums, which in turn would eventually make some good hearted marines (Garp, Colby, Sengoku?) into revolutionaries. But that is something to be pondered for a while. Luffy on the other hand seems to be making a rather questionable recovery, but seems to have an entire army of reverse transvestites to back him up in the future. That sounds incredibly disturbing when said in English. As charismatic as he is, I’m still jealous of the doting Hebihime-sama… I would gladly give up my dignity to have her boss me around. 😛
What’s interesting is that Luffy once said that if he were to have the knowledge that One Piece exists, he would quit being a pirate. It’s been known how strongly Luffy keeps his word, so let’s hope he never finds out. However, if he were to find out, Luffy might very well join his father as a revolutionary along with any rogue marines to fight against the WG, and the whole One Piece quest may be over as we know it. Oda did confirm that the War was the mid climax of the series, so it wouldn’t be too out of the question to have the goal completely change. There’s also the issue of getting his crew back together in order to continue sailing, so the quest might even be put off until the last 200 or so chapters. Alas, I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen, as it wouldn’t really be “One Piece” anymore… Plus I loved the comedic antics of the crew and their adventures. It’s one of the strongest reasons why I treasure OP so much in the first place.
Note: People have been commenting that Luffy quitting if he knew One Piece existed was false, but I clearly remember it from the anime. Also, as brianwuzhere pointed out, this page clearly shows that Luffy said, “we’re not even asking him whether there is any treasure or not.” Hopefully this clears up any skeptics.