Boa Hancock falls
For some reason, this is a controversial topic: suggesting Boa Hancock will lose her battle is a sure way to get downvotes around here. Most opinions I see, even from YouTubers, seem convinced that there’s no way Hancock will lose. And, yet, I feel it’s inevitable. Let’s delve into it:
The Marines aren’t playing around
People seem to think that what we were shown in Chapter 956 is all that there is to know about those marine fleets. They think that Koby is the strongest guy leading the attack on Amazon Lily, and often talk as if Mihawk and Weevil were being hunted only by nameless mooks.
No, this is all-out war, and the marines are sparing no efforts to bring the Warlords down. In Chapter 957, Sakazuki says it clearly that their forces are too busy with the Warlords to deal with the Emperor Alliance between Big Mom and Kaido. That’s why we have no marine force present in Onigashima: their fleet is, in essence, occupied in four fronts.
Plus, in Chapter 906, we are flat-out told that only the admirals can deal with the Emperors. Kizaru offers himself to go to Wano, even. So, why couldn’t the Admirals go now? My guess is that even they are occupied. I’ll go ahead and say that each Admiral (save Sakazuki) is absent from the headquarters, dealing with an assigned Warlord target.
We saw Fujitora fighting giant sea monsters in Chapter 957. Could he be in the Calm Belt? And which island lies in the Calm Belt?
Koby is not in charge
Another point to discuss is Koby being in the fleet. Because he is there, many readers assume he’s in charge, but that makes no sense. A Buster Call, comprised of ten warships, is led by five vice-admirals and includes a hundred captains, as we saw in Enies Lobby. And Koby is just a captain.
The fleet going for Amazon Lily seems to be way bigger than a Buster Call. In the manga, it’s unclear, but there’s at least six warships arriving in Amazon Lily on a single panel in the last page of Chapter 956. In the anime, it’s shown at least 16 warships around Amazon Lily in the same frame.
In essence, each Warlord is being targetted by a force larger than a Buster Call. There’s no reason to believe there aren’t at least a bunch of vice-admirals there, if not an admiral. And that’s ignoring the possibility that the new SSG weapons, said to rival the power of the Warlords, may be deployed in these attacks.
Given all that, what can Koby do? Even if he discovers that Hancock is a friend of Luffy, how can he save her while an entire marine force is after her? Would he risk his dream of rising up to Admiral just to save a pirate?
I feel Koby’s there as a witness, to relay the events to us readers once it’s over. If he finds out Hancock likes Luffy, it will be too late to do anything about it.
Hancock is not like the other Warlords
Hancock is unique among the Warlords in that she has a place and a people to care for. Mihawk is a loner, he can cut a path through the marines and escape to sea. Weevil only needs to care for his mother, who may be powerful on her own (I believe she has a Devil Fruit, but that’s another theory I won’t delve here). Buggy is willing to sacrifice his followers to escape.
But Hancock can’t abandon Amazon Lily. She’s the Empress of the Kuja tribe, and her pirate crew, which has the only ship in the island (as Marguerite says in Chapter 516), is the source of the nation’s wealth.
We were warned time and time again that it would be very bad for the island if Hancock lost her title: the threat is mentioned and reinforced in chapters 516 (Momonga using it as a bargaining ship), 517 (Nyon reminding there are civilians in the island that can’t fight), 522 (Nyon explaining the threat to Luffy), 581 (Hancock explaining Luffy will be safe in Amazon Lily as long she remains a Warlord), and 591 (Nyon again worrying the marines may come since Rayleigh was able to conclude Luffy was on the island).
That means that, while the other three Warlords can evade capture by going to sea, Hancock and the Kuja need to stay and fight to the bitter end, and that’s a battle they can’t win. Even if they somehow manage to defeat the attacking fleet, the marines have at least thrice the resources to try again. The nation is stationary, Hancock can’t run, and the marines could even attack it while the Kujas are away in some expedition next time.
So, what I think will happen? Hancock will fight with all her power, but, once the hopelessness of the situation becomes evident, she will sacrifice herself for her subjects. Maybe she surrenders in exchange for the women’s lives, or maybe she stays behind while the Kuja hijack marine ships to evacuate the island.
Whatever the case, the end is the same: despite all her strength, Boa Hancock will be captured.
Darkness before dawn
Everytime I talk about Hancock being captured, people say she can’t lose, or else she becomes a joke or a weakling. Hey, I’m the biggest Hancock fan out there, but she’s on the heroes’ side, and heroes face adversities. You can’t have a story about her without exploring and overcoming her weaknesses, and, for that, she needs to face her inner demons.
There’s no one invincible in One Piece. We’ve had whole arcs about Nami, Robin and Sanji in distress, and that didn’t ruin them. We’ve seen Luffy lose several times, and the important part is that he always come back stronger. Kaido’s, the world’s strongest creature, was introduced while referencing he lost several times over his life. How did we first meet Zoro or Jinbe? Imprisoned! A fallen hero picks itself up and returns stronger. That’s the arc that I feel Hancock is headed towards.
What’s the alternative? What happens if she wins the battle? Well, she just stays out of the story. She’s on the other side of the Red Line, bound by her duty to her people. That means she’s out of the main events until she appears as just another extra in the great finale. She becomes a character of unrealised potential, kept aside for the whole saga, one of the few allies without its own moment to shine.
Now, if captured, then her own arc begins. She gets the spotlight, her history is explored in depth, and she will have her redemption and ascension. Even if she does not remain as a protagonist after that, she will at least have had her time as the focus of an arc. And that’s way more important than just keeping her victorious and untouched to “prove” her strength.
Oda teased us that “Sabo will… Vivi will… Hancock will…”. I doubt that last part would be “Hancock will win and remain outside of the story, sorry guys”.
Boa Hancock’s past
Once Hancock is captured, she will be sent to Impel Down, like any criminal of her power would. At this point, the government is oblivious about her past. She’s the Snake Princess of the Kuja, the most beautiful woman in the world, the Pirate Empress. But her secret past will be about to be unveiled.
How that will happen? Oda already gave us the answer, way back in Chapter 526. There, as Hancock herself was escorted (as a prestigious visitor) into Impel Down, she’s explained what happens to all inmates as they arrive.
The baptism bath. All prisoners are stripped naked and dipped into boiling water for sanitization. Strong guys like Crocodile, Ace or Jinbe were said to not even flinch, but Hancock will hesitate. Upon realizing what she’s about to endure, she will prefer death over being exposed. She will fight, even with seastone handcuffs, but will ultimately be subjugated. And then, when her back is exposed to surprised crowd of guards and marines, the news will spread quickly. The newspapers will bring it in big letters: the Pirate Empress was a mere slave.
And the Celestial Dragons will take interest in her. As per their demand, she will be brought to Mary Geoise. As her worst nightmares are about to resume, and she’s in her most vulnerable situation again, the story will explore her past, and reveal there’s much more to Boa Hancock than we were told.
I don’t know if this flashback will happen before or during the next arc, or if it will be told in one go or split into segments. But I’m sure it will happen, and there’s one small evidence of that. Go back to Fishman Island and check out Jinbe’s flashback. There’s one moment in that story that is missing: Fisher Tiger’s rampage in Mary Geoise.
It should be at some point at the end of Chapter 621 or the beginning of Chapter 622. In the former, we see Fisher Tiger returning to Fishman Island and wanting to talk to King Neptune. Then, a few days after that, the news of his feat spread. In the later, as Neptune sees the news, we see a small flashback-within-the-flashback with Tiger meeting him before his feat.
The fact is that freeing the slaves happened between Tiger’s return and the formation of Sun Pirates. It should totally be in that flashback, even if it was just one or two silent pages showing glimpses of his effort.
And yet it didn’t happen. Why was it skipped over? Because, IMO, Oda planned to unveil it later. We will see it in all of its glory, and that will be the climax of Hancock’s flashback.
Boa Hancock rises again
Over the next arc, hopefully, Hancock faces her demons and resurfaces stronger than ever.
But which arc will it be? IMO, there are two possibilities: Mary Geoise, which I consider more likely, and Vegapunk’s arc. In the later, Hancock is sent to be subjected to the same procedure as Kuma, turning her into a mindless “perfect slave” for the Celestial Dragons. However, I find it a weaker story than going to Mary Geoise directly. I think a Vegapunk arc will surely happen, but as a follow-up to Mary Geoise, and focused on Kuma and Bonney.
So, I’ll delve deeper into the Mary Geoise idea, and why it’s important to happen now, not later, in the story.
Why Mary Geoise?
Whenever I say Mary Geoise is the next arc, there’s always someone to point out it can’t be, because it’s supposed to be where the “final war” happens. I disagree.
I don’t think a story about pirates will end with a massive battle on the mountains. Plus, if One Piece does end with the undoing of the Red Line, destroying both Mary Geoise and Fishman Island in the process, then we don’t need to be in Mary Geoise at all. No, wherever it happens, I believe the last battle will be at sea level, with huge fleets of allies and enemies present.
I feel a Mary Geoise arc is necessary to show us what the World Government truly is. We know next to nothing about it beyond the marines, we need to gauge the scope of what we are fighting against. Given all the momentum of the reverie and the recent Onigashima revelations, this is the perfect time for us to explore Mary Geoise in depth.
To be clear: I don’t see Mary Geoise as the next “Marineford War”. Instead, it’s another infiltration arc, and a fairly shorter one, more like Punk Hazard in length. This is what an arc like that could provide:
It would continue the Sabo/Vivi/Hancock storylines. After all, “Sabo will… Vivi will… Hancock will…”
It would allow the Straw Hats to meet the Revolutionaries and/or Bonney, leading us to Vegapunk next.
It would get Jinbe and Robin a chance to shine and advance their stories, much like Zoro and Sanji got special attention recently (later, in Vegapunk’s arc, it would be the turn for Franky and Chopper).
It could give us the chance to see some less explored characters, like Commander-in-chief Kong, CP-0, maybe even the potential reveal of Admiral Ryokugyu/Green Bull and/or a preview of the new SSG weapons. It will further reveal secrets of the endgame while not showing the full picture yet, and potentially reveal who Im is, or at least give us more hints about him/her.
Because it would require the crew to go back to the Red Line, we could potentially visit Raijin Island, a location we skipped despite it being foreshadowed pre-timeskip, on the way to or from it. Roger visited that island despite already having the location of the Road Poneglyphs at the time, so maybe we need to visit it as well (my guess is that it’s the location Big Mom’s Road Poneglyph points to, so we need to go there to make an Eternal Pose).
Mary Geoise wouldn’t be the swan song of the World Government. By the end of it, its threat and presence will be even stronger. The Celestial Dragons will be angrier than ever, and Im and the Elder Stars will take desperate measures. Meanwhile, our heroes go for Vegapunk next, following the Revolutionary/Bonney storylines.
What about Hancock?
Well, the Mary Geoise arc is not just about her, but she’s one of the main plotlines. Luffy, upon hearing about her capture, would spare no efforts to rescue her. He owes her big, and I believe their link is stronger than people realise.
But Hancock is not helpless. First, I think Salome will be tailing her for the entire way, and she will have a role to play. Second, as I said above, I suspect her former master is Donquixote Mjosgard. This is a wild guessing, but it just provides such a good twist, as their encounter would help both make ammends for their pasts. For her, it would be a surprise that the one that gave her hell and treated her a less than a person is now a humbled man. For him, her eventual forgiveness may be what he truly needs to feel human. And he will help her escape.
As chaos ensues in Mary Geoise, countless slaves are freed, honoring Fisher Tiger’s struggles, and Hancock finally meets and interacts with the Straw Hats (something I’d like to emphasize: even in non-canon material, we never saw her interacting with the Straw Hats, even when they were together near the end of Stampede. I feel their interactions will be pretty amazing).
As the heroes escape from the land of the gods, the Pirate Empress will have faced her past, pardoned the monster that tormented her, and has no more secrets to hide.
She’s truly free.
Theory by Deicide-UH (https://www.reddit.com/user/Deicide-UH)