So I was reading through the Chapter 992 discussion and I saw this post:
>What worries me is that Luffy is going to find a half-done Kaido to defeat, although all this Kabuki and five acts thing gives a lot of room for discussion. We'll see, I guess.
This post reminded me of an old interview Oda did a few years back (seiryu I can't remember which one but I know you're very familiar with it please link it if you can) where he said that he hadn't worked out a way for Luffy to beat Kaido 1v1 yet. Now, one of the big pieces of that puzzle is the introduction of Ryuo, or advanced Armament Haki that allows Luffy to penetrate Kaido's armour. From what we've seen already, it seems like a massive powerup (he was able to use it to free Yamato from his shackles, which in itself is comparable to the feats of a certain Silvers Rayleigh) but at the same time not enough to put him at Kaido's level just yet. The question is, what else does he need?
The natural answer is "help from someone else". We never expected Luffy to fight alone, but we originally thought that it would be Law to fight alongside him. That still might happen, but the way the war has been written so far, Luffy and Law are so far removed from each other that he's almost an afterthought. Now, that's not to say that I don't think Law will be a factor - I still think it's more likely than not that he and maybe also Kidd will be involved in the final battle. But again, their odds of victory would still be slim at best. Or at least, that was how it felt during all the pre-Wano discussions that have been had over the years.
Now, I've mentioned a particular group of characters in the title of this thread but not in my actual post yet. The Red Scabbards are a group that only really came to prominence at the start of this arc - yes, we knew as early as Zou that they were connected to Oden, but I don't think any of us would have predicted just how pivotal they'd become in this arc, especially with the Kaido fight. As their role in the story has grown, so has our awareness of their obvious strength. We knew Cat and Dog were pretty formidable thanks to their encounter with Jack, but the likes of Kin'emon and Raizo weren't really given much shine in combat, so they ended up feeling like a mixture of the "guide" character (think Conis in Skypeia) and comic relief. But thanks to the Oden flashback, they've been given shine as legitimately strong fighters - they were trained by a guy who could hold his own in a fight with Prime Whitebeard, after all. And them directly fighting Kaido is not a turn any of us expected, but once we got to Onigashima it became clear that they had every intention of going for him and not just being support characters. However, the odds are that their battle is going to end brutally and tragically to pave the way for Luffy - but not without giving us some very important hints about Kaido, and landing some blows that could end up being pivotal in the long run.
We've seen through the Scabbards' co-ordination and skill that Ryuo is all but necessary to inflict any kind of pain on Kaido in his dragon form at the very least. And the damage they've inflicted so far has been very targeted towards the scar on Kaido's chest. As much as it's symbolic in terms of the Scabbards inheritng Oden's will and "reopening old wounds", it's also looking more and more like a weak spot that can be exploited. Now, I don't think Luffy's the type to knowingly exploit a weakness like that, especially given that he's got a massive scar of his own, but if he lands the right shot in the right place then it could well be decisive. And the fight isn't over yet - we could well see more "clues" about any potential weaknesses Kaido has, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.
As much as the Scabbards vs. Kaido feels like an emotional climax to Act 3 of Wano and the events of the Oden flashback, I think it's also a story event that Oda's using to give his readers clues about how Kaido can eventually be taken down, as well as something he's used to figure out his Kaido "problem".
What do you guys think?