It's been a while since I posted anything, but reading the latest chapter (942) made something click for me.
I started reading the Wano arc fully expecting it to follow the Boshin War for the most part. The Boshin War was the conflict in which the Satsuma and Choshu formed an alliance that reinstated the Emperor as the head of state rather than the Shogun. Given the Ninja-Pirate-Mink-Samurai alliance and an oppressive Shogun, it's easy to see why one (well...I, at least) could think that. The twist was that in the Boshin War, the Sat-Cho alliance felt that the Shogunate was being too welcoming of foreigners and that Japan needed to modernize with the intent to be able to fight back and even conquer (taking the ideology to its logical extreme) other countries. The NPMS Alliance, not so much. But that's fine. The plot can still follow the war, right?
Not really. Oda's depiction of the castle was the first flag for me. When Orochi was revealed, the throne room was extremely fantastical. Like really really extremely fantastical. If this arc was to follow the Boshin war, the throne room would be trying to look more Western. Namely the clothes. This seems more in line with pre-Warring States Japan, more than 200 years before the Boshin War. The famine is a lot more in line with that as well. Famine is kind of a constant in feudal societies, but it was particularly bad before the start of the Warring States period. Why was it so bad? Because the capital city had become such a dreamland that they all kind of forgot to care about ruling.
Another big one was Zoro's fight on the bridge. It's very reminiscent of a famous fight between Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Musashibo Benkei. Benkei was this huge guy who fought with seven weapons that he carried on his back. Dude was an upfront guy though. Died standing up buying time for Yoshitsune. Literally any bridge fight in any Japanese media has that fight in mind. There's a reason why the smaller guy ALWAYS lands on the railing at one point.
But just a single panel or fight scene isn't enough evidence for me. I need plot and something more concrete. That's what brings us to chapter 941 and 942. It's clear that the big thing in these two chapters are:
1. the plan being leaked and those with the crescent tattoo being thrown in jail and
2. Yasu's crucifixion
The reason why these chapters were more concrete is that Yasu's entire crucifixion sequence basically straight up happened. It's from Torii Suneemon and the Battle of Nagashino. Torii was a defender of the castle and snuck out across enemy lines to get a message to other warlords (I think it was Nobunaga) for help. He succeeds and tries to sneak back in but gets caught by the enemy and is crucified in front of his allies. At this point, the allies don't know if help is coming and Torii is told by his captors to lie to them or else he'll be killed. So what does he do? He yells out that help is on the way and gets stabbed on the cross.
The scene in chapter 942 plays out almost identically. Yasu is crucified in front of his allies as an example for what happens when you mess with Orochi. In this hour of despair, he shouts out a ruse that exonerates all the imprisoned allies, giving them a chance before he is killed on the cross.
It's a really well known moment in Japanese history. Not just my parents, but my college roommate (he was a huge history buff) knew about this and picked up on it immediately.
So what does this all mean? Oda picking different historical references isn't exactly new or revolutionary. But I bet he'll put his own twist on several other famous events/people. I believe this is an opportunity to guess which events he'll choose. So. To make this a proper prediction post, here we go:
1: Zoro, as a reference to Miyamoto Musashi ,will be stuck with two swords for a while. He might improvise with a wooden oar or carved branch. He'll also fight a duel on an island against another eminent swordsman and he'll be late for it.
2. There will be a betrayal in which a temple will be burned to the ground, with the characters being betrayed still inside. This will reference Oda Nobunaga's assassination.
3. Kaido will be hit by a Gaon Cannon. This will most likely come out of nowhere and readers might criticize it for being out of place as it will be used to reinforce the need for Wano to open its borders to the rest of the world. The tech, you know?
4. Kyoshiro will try to usurp Orochi, in tradition of Gekokujo, which is the underling taking the place of their lord, by succession or betrayal.
5. The final battle will be muddy, rainy, and huge as an analog to the Battle of Sekigahara. Luffy and Co.'s big fight will most likely be separate, but the end of this battle will be the turning point. It will also serve as a nice callback to the giant battle at the climax of the Alabasta arc.
6. It will be revealed that an conflict over succession after Sukiyaki is what resulted in Orochi consolidating his power. This is a reference to the Onin War, which is considered the start of the Warring States period.
7. Gyuukimaru, somehow, will befriend Zoro. If Gyuukimaru dies, he will be shot by arrows and will die standing. Benkei died like this.
8. Here's a wildcard. Luffy and Co. won't fight Kaido. Big Mom will. This isn't historically inspired but whatever.
And that's that. I fully expect most of these to not happen since Oda's clearly demonstrated that he's on another creative level than me, but I still do hope they will. I'd like to successfully predict something for once. I've given up trying to predict major plot direction (Reverie, beyond this arc, etc.) but the details are what I enjoy most about One Piece.
Let me know what you think! Am I full of shit? Are these plausible?