Rayleigh Foreshadowed His Eventual Defeat

The following contains spoilers for One Piece Chapter 1059, “The Matter Involving Captain Koby,” by Eiichiro Oda, Stephen Paul and Vanessa Satone, available in English from Viz Media.

In Chapter 1059, “The Matter Involving Captain Koby,” of Eiichiro Oda’s manga One Piece, there were a series of startling events and plot developments concerning Blackbeard and the arrival of a new form of Pacifista, Seraphim. The entire world is in disarray, and it appears that there is a rise in conflict. Boa Hancock, whilst almost taking out all of Blackbeard’s crew with her Devil Fruit power, was defeated by the villainous captain and at his mercy. Before he could land a finishing blow on the Empress, Silvers Rayleigh arrived at the battlefield and put an end to the fighting. The crisis was averted.

Despite all the huge events and revelations that occurred in the chapter, one particular panel with a brief comment from Rayleigh stuck out. When discussing what happened on Amazon Lily and the new threat of the World Government, Rayleigh mentioned that due to the particulars of the situation, he was able to save Boa Hancock, but in reality, he would not have stood a chance of defeating Blackbeard in a head-to-head fight. The Dark King Rayleigh was a force to be reckoned with as the former First Mate of the Roger Pirates, wielding a skill with Haki that many consider to be in the same realm as Red-Haired Shanks. However, as a 78-year-old man, even he could not escape the effects of old age. As members of the past generations are dropping off the map, retiring or dying, did Rayleigh just foreshadow his own end?

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The theme of a new generation surpassing the old is a running trope in anime — Naruto shows this with the rise of the new Shinobi, even if Madara Uchiha returned to try and reclaim his glory, or My Hero Academia with Izuku Midoriya on the path to surpass All Might, or the countless other mediums where the student loses to their mentor and must grow to become stronger. As spring blooms and new life sprouts, the old die and feed the next generation. One Piece has shown this to be the case on many occasions, to the point where the entire show itself is the cause of a previous generation passing on the torch in Gol D. Roger’s announcement of the One Piece.

One of the major events that signified the departure of the old generation was the death of Edward Newgate, better known as Whitebeard. He was repeatedly referred to as a relic of the past and far out of his prime. Even so, he made a stand to save his son, Portgas D. Ace, from the headsman’s block. Regardless of his age, illness and deterioration, he refused to buckle and fought until his last breath to protect the next generation of pirates and who he thought would become the next Pirate King. Other characters have found themselves replaced or retired, such as Fleet Admiral Sengoku being replaced by Sakazuki or Crocus living at Reverse Mountain. These seemingly more passive conclusions make sense when corresponding with the characters’ personalities.

RELATED: One Piece Chapter 1059 Recap & Spoilers: The Matter Involving Captain Koby

On the other hand, Kaidou and Big Mom were staples of a previous generation holding titles from the up-and-comers, acting as gatekeepers to a new generational power. They were defeated in battle and surpassed, replaced by rising powers that will change the direction of the world. Rayleigh has more in common with Whitebeard than any of the others. He played the role of a mentor to Monkey D. Luffy and has repeatedly placed himself in combat situations to help push the new generation forward or protect those who need it. With that personality in mind, it’s unlikely that if a war beyond all wars commences and he believes he could make a difference, Raleigh would simply sit on the sidelines and watch in the same manner as his former crewmate Crocus.

Rayleigh’s comment in Chapter 1059 is likely foreshadowing his defeat, even if not his demise, where he will place himself in harm’s way to fight against the growing threats of the sea — most likely Blackbeard — and find himself unable to compete. One Piece is not a manga where characters die needlessly, and the death of Rayleigh may not benefit the plot unless it directly affects Luffy or the state of the world. Even so, his reputation is still a weight beyond his current capabilities, and if he were defeated in battle, the one responsible would skyrocket in infamy and be recognized as a danger to the world. With the past generation dropping like flies, it is not unimaginable for Rayleigh to take up arms, only to be struck down to make room for a character like Blackbeard to rise even further in fame.

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