Back in chapter 505, in Sabaody, Bepo got namecalled and hence inofficially introduced.
Bepo, besides Jean Bart are the only new pirate side characters that were introduced besides the heavier focussed Supernovas. At this point Oda did it to set us up to like the Heart Pirates and their members by slowly introducing their characters to us. Bepo is a special one as he is very loyal and even related to the minks. Bepo makes a portrayal next to Sanji, this doesn't mean Bepo is as strong as him, but it means that Bepo shares screentime with a protagonist, hence making him very appealing towards the readers. Oda planted the seeds for Bepo, a fun character, being loved and progressing slowly into the story following Law. The irony of this chapter: the chapter is called "Kuma", which literally means bear...what a perfect opportunity to indirectly introduce Bepo and give him screentime after sneak peaking previously into his character and design.
Following Oda's seeds, they lead up to the Summit War and the Heart Pirate's participation.
Here Bepo participated in rescuing Luffy. At this point it was clear that Luffy forms a bond with the Heart Pirates, atleast he owes them one, which later ended up in an alliance and even deeper bond with Law and Luffy, through the D.
Now bonding to a character is one thing, but Oda is extending this topic just to make the Heart Pirates and hence Bepo even more connected to the storyline.
On the Sunny on their way to Dressrosa, Kine'mon and Law talked about Zou, in which Law mentioned that his crew is there, which is automatically turn his crew into a plot device to set up an addition reason for and plant the next arcs, even Bepo became a meme, remembering us a good fellow we all like. Oda doesn't let us forget about them.
In an SBS Oda revealed the names of the Law's other relevant crewmembers, Penguin and Shachi, with the purpose of introducing us even more to the Heart Pirates.
Bepo's destiny as a mink:
Going into the Zou arc, Oda wraps up the prespoiled plot of the Heart Pirates. We get reintroduced to them as a connecting dot to the Zou-plot, to Usopp and Robin, Law reveals that Bepo is a mink and their navigator. This is proving a good feat of Bepo and the others:
Going back to the Summit War, Bepo was participating in taking care of Luffy, while they still managed to navigate the Polar Tang (their submarine) out of Marineford!
This again sets up the importance of Bepo he has to Law. If Oda wouldn't focus on Bepo, then we wouldn't even be able to bond with the Heart Pirates and meet other characters as Shachi and Penguin.
While Luffy was fighting the guardians, Bepo arrived to stop the fight. He was standing up for Luffy, but at that point he was pretty much unheard and ignored.
After Wanda and Carrot stopped the fight, Luffy finally recognized Bep and the other Heart Pirates. This meeting wasn't important back then right? For us it was an euphoric scene, but there is more to it:
Oda officially gives Bepo his first introduction box, but the funny thing is that Luffy is simply bonding with them in a nakama-way. They talk, they have fun and even the alliance is mentioned and the past events (Summit War) were mentioned. Enough to recap from zero to now.
Bepo is not just a simple side-character, Bepo is a character that Oda built up since we saw him the very first time, as a background character, sneaking into the scene, then showing himself fully, to the point that character meets Luffy and the rest. They bond and reunion and everything is clear: The target is Kaido. You can't avoid it at that point, that Bepo's destiny is almost the same as the mink-tribe's one:
Joining the alliance with the pirates and Wano and crushing Kaido's reign!
Law reunites with Bepo during Zour, we learn more about the minks and their purpose in the story and their links to Wano. An alliance is formed and it makes it very moves now!
The Heart Pirates are served for Wano, they make their move, this makes sense as conflicting them with Big Mom at this point would be too much, Oda was setting up so much for Wano and this included the Heart Pirates.
We dive into WCI...it's arc is not letting us forget about the minks and especially Bepo!
Zepo and Bepo:
On WCI we learned more about Pedro's past and his journey as Nox Pirate, Oda showed us that one for it's importance connected to the "Dawn" of the world, which was foreshadowed previously and is strongly tied to the minks plotline.
In this past of Pedro's we got introduced to Zepo:
IN a later SBS Oda reveald that Bepo is actually Zepo's younger brother. With that Oda might point towards Bepo's destiny as a mink, fighting for the Dawn of the world, same as Pedro and Zepo did. Why else would Oda have the character "Zepo" participate in that flashback? Oda cleverly builds up all characters for the future including Bepo, so he has to save explanation afterwards. And it makes sense the more we go into the future...
Current events on Wano - Heart Pirates and the War:
At this point my recent theory about Law and his marine interference becomes relevant.
In this theory I talk about the possibility of Trafalgar Law's removal of the story through Smoker or maybe some other person, he won't die, but he will be taken out for good, to save his life and save him for future arcs.
Besides of that we have to make several explanations: What happens to the Heart Pirates? How do you justify them splitting up?
With their reintroduction they were shown observing the Strawhats, due to it's portrayal someone can say that it portrays their shared alignment. Oda shows them being read to interrupt and assist the Strawhats in a positive way, because they care for them. Also Bepo is standing out potrayalwise. Oda solved it well.
The Wano plot evolves to give us a hard a strike:
They were captured and this is just a minor panel.
A minor incident that snowballs up quite quickly:
- Law argues with Shinobu and hence the debate trigger Law doing his own job.
- It should affect the reader showing empathy towards the characters.
Especially the thematic of empathy becomes important:
This scene solely offers the purpose of Nami and Usopp showing empathy towards Bepo, Shachi and Penguin who were captured. Another plotpoint that bonds both Strawhats and Heart Pirates.
Law is now doing his own thing, but what if he and his crew will be splitted again? What if something bad happens to Law? What if it's too dangerous for Bepo and the others?
We have a look into the possibilities to see what Oda reserves:
The Pirate King theory:
Since the Summit War, Luffy is changing the pirate world in a certain way. Mihawk mentioned it already: The ability to make people follow him, even if rival or enemy!
After the Summit War, Luffy recruited Law and Dressrosa followed up, testing this ability on a new scale: The Grand Fleet was born out of the Collosseum Events and liberating Dressrosa.
This is taken further to the point of Whole Cake Island, where we see the premiere of Luffy using this attribute against a Yonko crew:
Pudding...Chiffon...Katakuri, Luffy made them look up to him and see an optimistic future regarding Luffy's dream of being Pirate King.
This is why also the Heart Pirates are having a bond with the Strawhat Pirates. It is obvious that this crew would have the hardest time fighting the Strawhats, so continuing a rivality between the Heart Pirates and Strawhat will never make sense again.
The lethal night:
On WCI Oda gave us a pretaste on the minks full potential. Even Pekoms, another named mink had his showdown in this arc, his faith was offpaneled sadly.
Oda is holding back alot for the sake of Wano, an arc where the mink tribe including their leadership is making their move. Time passes and the minks hold back their fighting forces, also Oda right now holds back the minks.
We can find one reasoning for this here:
Nekomamushi is still on his way to Wano, once he and Inuarashi are united, it would give the best opportunity for the minks to start their great fight. Ironically Nekomamushi would arrive to the moment the full moon might have a role.
With the increasing relevance of the moon and the ammount of named minks collected in Wano, we can heavily assume seeing most of them going into Sulong in order to fight some overpowered enemies. It mostly thrives towards the battle of Onigashima and the final liberation of Wano.
Yet in the future we have to fulfill the Dawn of the world, and Zepo and Pedro's sacrifices shouldn't be for nothing, their will has to continue within the minks, and that is why Oda sets up this little folk to have a fight in this relevant arc.
Bepo is a named mink, and Bepo was shown to function without Law, even if heartbreak and tearfall might happen, the Strawhats bonded with the Heart Pirates, and Bepo is always bonded towards Zou and the minks, which highly suggests that Bepo will fight for the minks in case Law is taken out of the game. If Bepo can handle the full moon? And what part the SHP's will play? We will find out for sure. Here is a fanmade picture to hype you up with a potential Sulong Bepo, which is justified more than enough with this theory:
Oda planted the seeds for Bepo to become a relevant character for the alliance, relevant in a sense of him following the fate of the minks and the fate of the alliances captains, the D clan members Trafalger D Water Law and Monkey D Luffy. Throughout the New Worlds plot, even since the Summit War, Bepo sneaked into the narrative, bonded with the fans and the Strawhat pirates, and he was even used as plotdevice to foreshadow future events, like the meet up on Zou. Many factors are speaking towards the possibility of Bepo alternatively following the SHP in Wano to follow their goals together in Wano.
WCI did not forget about Bepo and gave him even more relevance, we can for sure await more from Bepo in the future, especially him fighting along side his fellow minks and him tearfully conflicting with Law's fate.
The fate of Shachi and Pengun is unclear, but my previous theory explains on how Law might be taken out of the Wano arc. Even if Law is there or not, if the full moon will happen, we might see some pages of Bepo going into action, performing great to our fullest joy and make us loving him even more than before, at this point: The hype is justified!
Thank you everyone for reading and until the next theory!
- Related Theories & Content: