Right when you think Eiichiro Oda will showcase Zoro’s power after finally unleashing his Conqueror’s Haki, he once again shifts his interest elsewhere. It highlights how much is truly happening throughout the Onigashima raid and we’re still uncovering the true potential of our Straw Hat pirates. Sanji once again takes over in his battle against Queen, who may have pushed his buttons one last time in chapter 1034.
Before we get into the ain fight, we catch up quickly with Mononoke, who is still struggling with making use of his newfound dragon powers. He may not be able to make new clouds, but he shows his commitment to saving his country by cleverly pulling the island away from the flower capital. It’s just a brief interlude that helps tie us in on where exactly the raid is heading and also that they have a bit more time to take out the Beast pirates.
Queen’s quite interesting in this. We know he worked with the Vinsmoke’s in the past but seeing him utilize the same abilities as Sanji’s brothers was a clever trick. It makes the fight even more personal and just adds to Sanji’s fury. There’s a perfect irony in Queen wanting to prove he is stronger to his former ally against the one child that wants nothing to do with any of it. Also, the “no such thing as freedom of speech anymore?!” line was a hilarious and clever touch, Oda.
I do love Queen as a character. He’s a terrible person but has some of the funniest reactions. The giant robot dino can go invisible but is shocked when Sanji does it. His face just adds that perfect touch to the comedy. Though I was a bit disappointed that it was Queen all along instead of continuing Sanji’s inner conflict on losing control. It made sense but it still is a bit disappointing not to use it so that our Straw Hat chef strengthens his resolve, which he technically did.
Still, it all built up to that Diable Jambe upgrade now with the fitting name of Ifrit, which might be a name familiar to Final Fantasy and Islamic mythology fans. That final shot feels like the perfect build-up for his attacks, as we get a callback to his fight against Arlong pirate Kuroobi. After an onslaught of attacks, he kicks him with his iconic kick Boeuf Burst with an Ifrit added damage boost. What a way to end the fight against Queen, if it even is the end. Here’ shopping Zoro vs. King returns next.