And the winner is… Bartolomeo the Cannibal! The outcome didn’t come as a huge surprise – I was expecting either Bellamy or Bartolomeo to emerge as the victor all along – but the journey and some of the latest unveilings were certainly more amusing than they appear at first glance. Let’s start with the most obvious – Bartolomeo is indeed a Devil Fruit user and his Paramecia-type ability is one that is exceedingly powerful. The Bari Bari no Mi’s capability is two-fold, not only does it allow the user to create protective force shields, the Super Rookie can also project the barriers offensively from a certain distance to attack his opponents. Even Luffy, who is usually unperturbed by such strong foes, seemed impressed, and it was Bartolomeo’s overwhelming Devil Fruit power that brought forth his swift victory against the likes of Fishman Hack, Bellamy and the King of Prodence Kingdom – whose mighty punch was actually unexpectedly imposing! Speaking of Lucy, it was quite interesting to see the Straw Hat Captain voice his support for Bellamy, a person whom he clearly despised not too long ago. What this means for Bellamy’s future is hard to say – no, I don’t think he’s a potential candidate for the Straw Hat crew – but he is probably going to stick around for a bit in this story arc and perhaps offer some words of advice for Luffy before his upcoming match. If anything, the Hyena’s brief scuffle with Bartolomeo revealed a certain weakness of the Bari Bari no Mi and the fact that it doesn’t render its user completely invulnerable – Bellamy’s spring-like hand was able to have some physical contact with the Super Rookie before his unfortunate downfall. How his power works is a mystery that will stay unanswered for now – whether there’s a time limit or certain requirement for activation – but what we know for certain is that there’s more to Bartolomeo than his big words and trolling antics, and whoever confronts the Cannibal is definitely not going to have it easy!
Then there’s the mysterious Gladiator Ricky – the early favorite for B-Block’s champion – who remained an enigma in all of this and where his ultimate loyalty lies has yet to be determined. Clearly, he shares Rebecca’s vehement hate for Doflamingo and there’s a good chance he might still turn out to be the legendary gladiator Kyros – though the age of years has evidently taken a toll on his fighting capabilities, as Blue Gilly pointed out. Now that the curtains at B-Block have been rung down, it seems like the spotlight will be shifting back to the rest of the Straw Hat crew, starting with Franky’s adventure with the One-Legged Soldier. It appears a coup d’état is in the making over at Dressrosa and without doubt, the huge question mark next to the living-toys is something that has fascinated me for quite some time – what are they and where did they come from? Trafalgar Law has mentioned back in Chapter 705 that the country seemed too peaceable in the face of Doflamingo’s sudden resignation, and there’s obviously something suspicious brewing in the backdrop that has not been made clear. The connection between the SMILE factory and the living-toys could be more crucial than we think and it’s entirely possible that the omacha are in fact, the product of inanimate objects that have been infused with man-made Devil Fruits. Those are just some of the questions that I hope Oda sensei will address in the next few chapters but in any event, it does seem like the bundle of mysteries on Dressrosa is shaping up to be a very intriguing one and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Straw Hats next week!
tl;dr: @SeishunRC – #OnePiece 709: And the winner of B-Block is…! A coup brewing in the backdrop and one that is spearheaded by toys.#Manga