Attention: Contains spoilers for Chapter One Piece No. 1055.
After months of debate that split the fandom in two, One Piece has finally settled the question of who will be the next and last member of the Straw Hat Pirates. Despite Yamato’s statement about wanting to join Luffy’s team, many readers still believed that they would stay in Vano, but chapter #1055 put an end to the controversy once and for all.
In the very first chapter of the series, right after he went on his grand adventure, Luffy announced that he would get a pirate team of 10 people. For 25 years, One Piece author Eiichiro Oda remained true to this statement and gradually introduced nine characters who joined Luffy’s Straw Hat Pirates. There was one more place left to fill, and it seemed natural that the last contestant would be recruited in Vano, the setting of the most important arc in the manga to date. There were several candidates, but Yamato, the daughter of Kaido, the most powerful villain who has appeared in the series so far, stood out the most. Yamato is also incredibly strong, and their strongest desire was to free themselves from their tyrannical father and explore the world, so she seemed perfect. However, many fans still doubted this and believed that Yamato would stay in Vano to take over the duties of the shogun, and the rightful ruler Momonosuke might join the team.
Despite Yamato’s announcement that they would join the Straw Hat Pirates in Chapter #1051, some readers still argued that they needed to stay away to protect the country from external enemies (especially the World Government), now that Kaido was gone. However, in Chapter #1055, during a battle with the Admiral of the Ryokugyu Sea Patrol, who invaded Vano in the hope of taking Luffy’s head, Momonosuke and his servants stand up to protect the Straw Hat Pirates. Momo bluntly tells Yamato not to interfere in the fight and that he will handle it to prove that Vano is really protected. Yamato has been imprisoned in Kaido Fortress for many years, and this is their chance for freedom, so Momo wants to give them a decent send-off. Samurai Vano and his Shogun will defend the country from now on.
This exchange proves without a doubt that Momonosuke will stay and act as the real ruler of Vano, while Yamato will sail with the Straw Hat Pirates. It’s true that Luffy still has to give his consent, but mostly it’s a formality. Yamato worships Kozuki Oden (Momo’s father) as a hero to the point that they call themselves Auden and use male pronouns. Auden joined the former Pirate King, Gol D. Roger is on his journey, so it’s only natural that Yamato will join whoever she thinks will be the next Pirate King, Luffy. In addition, it is quite logical for Momonosuke’s story that he remains on the sidelines. He proved that he grew up thanks to his hardships, and now he can take his father’s place and give Vano the ruler he deserves after twenty years of slavery to Kaido. Yamato and Momo represent two different sides of Oden, an adventurous explorer and a beloved ruler, and each of them will go their own special way.
Yamato will definitely be a great addition to the Straw Hat Pirates. Her powerful Devil Fruit and Khaki Conqueror abilities make her one of the strongest fighters on the team, and her silly and often ridiculous personality makes her a perfect match for Straw Hat Pirates. One Piece fans who didn’t want to see this will have to come to terms with the fact that the dispute is settled and Yamato is the last member of the Straw Hat Pirates.