Zoro and Tashigi have a relationship that could be best described as “on-again, off-again”. As in they spend their time either as teammates or mortal enemies, and could easily switch from one to the other at a moment’s notice. I’m aware that Oda will never put actual romance into One Piece, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look forward to other kinds of relationships. Just from this chapter, I feel like these two hide a certain level of respect for each other. Even after two years have passed, Tashigi still remembers how Zoro thinks and is not too proud to ask for his assistance. Zoro himself sounds like he’s trying to coach Tashigi through her fight, and only intervenes when things start to go south for her. I can understand how he would want his future opponent to be a tougher challenge for him, but the fact that he even considers her a potential challenger is a good sign for her.
What fascinated me about this chapter the most was the way in which Monet got defeated. With Haki getting hyped up so much for some time now, I would have expected this fight to be a good opportunity for Zoro to introduce some new technique. As it turns out, the very existence of Haki as a concept can be used as a weapon by itself. I always knew Zoro would be a stronger fighter than Monet, but attacking and cutting through her intangible form in such a brutal fashion made that so clear to her that she lost the will to go on. It’s an interesting type of psychological warfare that I never knew Zoro was capable of. Considering that he spent the last two years around Perona, I like to think there was even a logical reason for him to pick up these skills.
Well that’s one enemy down. As good as this arc has been, I think it’s about time we wrapped things up on Punk Hazard. Of course before we can do that we need to deal with Vergo and Caesar Clown, which I suspect the next chapter will be focused on. Luffy still has to track down Caesar (…again…), but I’m sure one or two chapters should be all it takes for the Vergo fight to conclude.