One Piece chapter 962 gave us new insights about Wano arc. Not only did we learn more about Oden’s life, we also saw how he raised in power and popularity. We also saw Orochi’s innate potential for evil.

One detail that caught my attention however was the introduction of young Izo. After Kinemon and Denjiro, Kikunojo and Izo were Oden’s next followers. Many people may not notice it, but I’m pretty sure Oda will not just introduce Izo for no reason.

Who is Izo?

Izo is the commander of the 16th division of Whitebeard’s grand fleet. We first saw him in chapter 553 in Marineford arc during the war of the best. He is a cross-dressing man wearing a kimono and make up that almost resembles a geisha.

He is one of Whitebeard’s most loyal confidant. Being a commander, it is safe to assume that he was also well-acquainted, if not a close friend of Ace. His presence during the paramount war in Marineford is evidence enough of his solid relationship to Whitebeard and Ace.

Izo is actually a resident of Wano. Although Wano arc was way too far from Marineford arc, I think Oda already hinted Izo’s role.

Izo’s Childhood

Izo is the son of Hanayanagi, a dance master in Ringo. He belonged to a family of traditional dancers and was supposed to be the heir of his father’s dancing school. However, for undisclosed reasons his father was arrested and taken to prison.

His father’s arrest catalyzed a series of unfortunate events with their family. Finally they all split up leaving Izo homeless and the caretaker of his younger brother, Kikunojo. In order to survive, they clung to what they know best and started dancing on the streets for money.

They did not find much success in this trade however, as the people treated them coldly. They ended up begging Oden for food and eventually became Oden’s followers. When Oden was named daimyo, Izo also became one of his retainers.

Izo may show up in Wano for the war

With the current storyline, it is reasonable to speculate that Izo might join the war in Wano. Izo probably came with Oden in Whitebeard’s ship and stayed there when Oden left. Since Wano is a closed country, Izo may have not known about Wano’s current dilemma, or Toki’s prophecy.

So how would Izo know about Wano’s dilemma? Through Marco. When Nekomamushi went to Marco for help he declined because he has to protect Whitebeard’s village. But being Whitebeard’s first division commander, he should know where their crew are now.

Whitebeard pirates split up after the Grudge War with Blackbeard. But it does not mean they don’t communicate. Maybe Marco informed Izo after Nekomamushi’s visit. Or maybe Nekomamushi is fetching Izo whose whereabouts he got from Marco.

Nekomamushi to fetch Izo

After Marco declined to help, Nekomamushi might have asked him Izo’s whereabouts. Remember that when Nekomamushi suggested he would get help from Marco, he already knew Marco might decline. Nevertheless, he continued his journey.

Why would Nekomamushi take a long detour for an unsure ally when he is gravely needed in Wano? Surely, Nekomamushi had a back up plan in mind and I believe it is Izo. My theory is Nekomamushi was late in going to Wano because he had to get Izo first.

Maybe other members of Whitebeard’s crew would come and help out too. It would be thrilling to see Jozu and Vista joining the war too.

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Image credits:Viz Media/ Funimation/ Onepiece.fandom

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Lambert Nathaniel
193 Posts

I am a university teacher who can't get enough of anime and manga. My class' group names are based on my favorite characters, especially from One Piece. I read manga or watch anime every chance I have. I started reading manga just a few years back and I was hooked the first day. I usually follow fan pages and am consistently given a Top Fan Badge. I also love baking and cake decorating and trying to make anime-themed cake designs.

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