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I think the content of the message is fairly obvious by now. Stay where you are, get stronger in whatever way you can, lets meet back at a future point in time(whatever that may be).
What I am really interested about though is how exactly would luffy convey that through a picture and an article in a newspaper. I am really curious....
I don't particularly think that the message to the Strawhat's was "get stronger", but rather "let's meet up later", and all the Strawhat's have come to the very real relisation that even Luffy's power will not be enough to get through to the New World.
In a way, Luffy had come to this realisation far earlier in One Piece after his defeat to Aokoji as he realised he needed to grow far more dramatically in order to protect friends (Ussop in particular) who were not his level. This sort of thinking, plus Luffy's run of victories, left the crew with an unwavering belief in Luffy's power.
Shabondy and the WB War shook this belief to the core, and since I believe the message is "See you all a bit later on", the crew have realised that regular back-up isn't enough anymore. I think Ussop put it best with his realisation that he couldn't just sit by and watch Luffy grasp the title of King. This is sort of the realisation I expect they've all discovered.
tl;dr - "Get Stronger" is not in the message, the crew have come to this realisation on their own.
Yeah, the message is probably along the lines of "Forget previous plan, meeting place is compromised" (of that I'm sure) and probably "Stay where you are, I'm coming for you" or "Let's meet at the beginning of next year".
I interpreted the 16 bells as 8 sets of two bells for a funeral. He was saying to each and every one of the crew:
You're dead to me.
The Strawhat crew was utterly wiped out. They can't get back together until they've be "reborn" and are completely new people. The circle and the flowers further accent that he considers it a funeral for his fallen crew. There's probably more to it with the tattoo but I think that was the core of the message.
The tattoo can't be the message, mainly because if you look at the picture that was taken in the article, it makes it way to difficult to see what it say's... If the tattoo was the message then he would have made it more visible in the picture so that his Nakama could see it... That's the main reason that i say the tattoo has nothing to do with the message, i believe that the tattoo is simply a memory of Sabo and Ace, or perhaps just ace... i mean look at everyone else who is guessing on what the tattoo said, no one has a deffinite answer beause they can't read the tattoo clearly...
I normally don't post but i just thought i will post my 2 cents since that no one have mentioned this possibility.
Here is what i understand so far
Luffy rang the bell 16 x instead of 8 which 1 of the marines mentioned (clue 1)
Chopper flew back to his bound island while Robin went to dragon (clue 2)
the Dark King found Luffy easily with the help of Kuma (clue 3) c591 p9
Here is what i got from these clues:
16 instead of 8. there are a total of 10 SH members (including Luffy & sunny). that's leaves 8 recruited members who he lost. what if he rang the bell 16x to recruit them again. This will explain nami's selfish comment.
I know it sounds very painful for us to rewatch this process again but that's why rayleigh & kuma comes in the picture. Kuma gave the location of luffy to rayleigh what if he did the same for his crew mates. The previous chapter was partially flashbacks about the crew mates recruitment process. Is this coincidence? I hardly doubt it
The only SH who are not on their current bound islands are Brooke & Robin. Brooke was forcefully remove and as for Robin, well if your captain is looking for you; wouldn't it be best to meet by 1 of his relatives or make yourslef untouchable and your location well known to others?
In case you guys haven't noticed, all the 10 members of the crew are improving not just the missing cast. Sunny's new coating & luffy will learn a bit more of haki from rayleigh
P.S. There is no way he wants them all to meet in 1 location because there could be alot mishap on their journey to that location. i.e. cp9 sniffing on infos on where they will meet for an ambush or the likes of zorro, sanji and nami creating alot of chaos like getting into fights or stealing to get to the location. is way too risky
But i could always be wrong
it's a shame that you normally don't post, you seem to have a lot of thought in to your theory. I agree with you on them not meeting in one location, it was mentioned by Rayleigh that it wouldn't be best if they met in the same place that they were defeated, and he could have very well have had that idea set from when he said that... But you got to remember that he knew where luffy was BEFORE he went to the war but not after, it was Shakky who told him that Hancock would hide him at the island for him to heal... so your clue number three really means nothing at all as a clue in my honest opinion. As for your 16 bells theory, i'm actually inclined to thin the same but not 100%... I'm thinking that the 16 rings had more then one meaning... It could have had a meeting time, like perhaps at the new year, or maybe on luffy's birthday or any other theories that everyone has for the time factor, and also it could mean exactly what you said. The fact that they were too weak to do anything before meant that they needed to throw there old selves away and get stronger and be new and improved so to speak type of people...
the thing is you guys, i dont beleive that the tatoo is any message at all.....why whould that be the message if there could be the chance that there would have not been a picture taken???
besides, even Rayleigh says it himself, that the strawhats whould get his message if they READ the article.
This is my theory,
in chapter 594, rayleigh states that it is something unlike luffy, for now the only thing that luffy has always stated is that he will be Pirate king, he is so stupid that he actually thinks he can beat everyone, even to the point of going to the all out war to save ace, with the inevitable happening, that luffy actualy failed!!!.
while at first everyone of the Strawhats beleived that thiss must have destroyed luffy´s will and they all wanted to go see him and help him through his ordeal. after reading the article they all returned and started to take their time! heck nami even stated that luffy was the selfish one and not them indicating that the message is something for luffy's sake.
Hence i read the message as follows!
"Guys I now aknowledge my weakness to even save my own brother! i will mourne his loss (buy going back to where he died) but to be able to protect you guys il need to take some time to get stronger! (hence the selfishness comment of Nami) and in order to start this new ERA (the bells)`
as for the length of the time or the place of meeting......I beleive that the comments of shakkie state that it will be awhile and the meeting place will be the Sunny.
please give your comments!
i actualy like your theory, but i have a gut feeling that the bells had two meanings to it, one being what you states and also the other stating the time to meet... The only way i would be inclined to think that my theory to be wrong is if he somehow told them that he would go get them one by one...
That...actually makes a lot of sense. Usopp did say that "Luffy's made his decision" or something like that. So it makes sense to think that Luffy's message was to inform his crew of what he decided to do. The rest of the crew must have realized that they weren't strong enough to support Luffy anymore at this rate. That also makes Nami's "selfish" comment relevant. Luffy's being selfish by putting everything on hold to train.
and it's not like luffy and his crew still wouldn't be able to beat Gol D Rogers record of three year or what ever it was for them to beat the grand line... They should still have ample time to finish the grand line in time...