There is Freedom Within, There is Freedom Without

Narutaki pointed out that tweet to me to see my opinion on the matter. It did start making me think of my old post on how I saw One Piece ending all the way back in 2010. There has a been a good deal of story since then so maybe things have changed enough that now my initial theories are wrong or at least not as accurate. Has Doflamingo risen up to be the main antagonist of One Piece? A little less than three years of story can change your perspective.

I still think my initial claim is correct. I think Blackbeard is going to be the final opponent. I have a few reason to back up my theory at this point which I think are still fairly strong.

There are still a lot of little reason for me thinking Blackbeard is the Big Bad of the series.

First of all it would be personal. Doflamingo is sort of this manipulative bastard but he is this manipulative bastard who has tried to screw over the world at large with the Straw Hats being sort of being swept up in it all. In the Punk Hazard Arc and Dressrosa Arc is has gotten a little more personal but Doflamingo seems to be playing far more against Law than anyone else.

But Blackbeard has personally stabbed Luffy in the heart several times. First he tried to capture him in hopes of becoming a Shichibukai. When that failed he captures Ace instead. While Blackbeard does not personally kill Ace his actions lead to his death. A fact that he taunts Luffy with when they meet in Impel Down. He also kills Whitebeard and then steals his devil fruit power. As Whitebeard acted like a father to Ace his murder is almost as powerful as Ace’s.

Plus with Marshall D. Teach now gunning to kill the other three Yonko so it would not be unthinkable for him to be the person to kill Shanks as well. Other than killing a member of his crew there is no one left that could be killed that would cause a great desire for vengeance from Luffy like killing his beloved mentor.

Also Doflamingo has a very defined power that is great for stories about manipulation and will probably make a great fight when he finally has to put his money where his mouth is. But Blackbeard already has two Devil Fruit powers and I’m sure he will gain at least one more before the end of the series. As the only known character with multiple Devil Fruits he makes for a good last boss on powers alone. Someone like that who can not only whip out multiple super powers but also combine them in various ways would make a final battle that would not be topped by anyone else.

My final point is that Doflamingo is opposition to Luffy from without whereas Blackbeard is opposition to Luffy from within.

Doflamingo is the polar opposite of Luffy. He believes in control, fear, scheming, betrayal, might makes right, and the foolishness of dreams. Doflamingo is a calculated schemer who always works in the system to abuse it. He is the perfect representation of the corruption of the World Government and everything Luffy stands against.

Blackbeard is Luffy through a dark mirror. Blackbeard believes in freedom, instinct, making your own path, and the power of dreams. The both have a connection to the Will of the D. as well. They both have a gluttonous and vicarious attitude towards life. But he is a dark reflection if Luffy. While they share many of the same beliefs Blackbeard holds all the same ideology and methods as Luffy but always for cowardly and selfish reasons. He is what would happen if Luffy that went down the wrong path towards darkness.

I think it makes a greater impact to have the hero first face the evil that is their philosophical opposite and then have their final confrontation be an externalized inner conflict. At first battling the demons without but having then having the true showdown being the demons within. While hardly most people’s favorite game in the series we see this same progression in Zelda II. Link first faces the last boss of the final palace but his true final battle is against his shadow self. With someone like Luffy it is not an opposing force that is the most threatening but an equal but opposite force.

Just because I think I’m right hardly means that Typical Manga Fan is necessarily wrong. Despite everything I wrote above I don’t think it is too hard to see how he could still be correct. Doflamingo and Marshall D. Teach are both definitely characters who are not going to go down easily. More than some one arc characters Oda has clearly built them up over the years far too much for them to just be casually fought in some random fight in some minor arc. I see them both as characters who will play major roles in the last arc. I would be a little surprised if that were the case. I think my case is strong but it is hardly bullet proof.

There are lots of theories for the final antagonist that I would place money against. Doflamingo is not one of them. Perhaps the hero can only defeat the true evil that lurks in the world after he has defeated the darkness within himself before the final battle. So it is very well possible that Blackbeard will be the speed bump before taking on Doflamingo in the climax of the story. That is hardly the worst thematic conclusion.

I’m curious who people think the “final boss” of One Piece will be. Do you agree with me? Are you a crazy person like Daryl Surat and think it is going to be Dragon? Do you even think it is a character who has yet to be introduced?

What are you thinking?

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