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It is clearly Big Mam. She was already shown the be having a confrontation with Luffy, and the other three Yonkou make no sense. Blackbeard is the final villain, Shanks and Luffy won't fight, and Kaido hasn't been even introduced into the story yet.
Knowing Oda it probably could turn out to be Shanks, but il go with the logical choice of it being Big Mam. I dont understand who gets the title Yonkou after, Luffy or Law? Say they both defeat her...
But I think it'll be one of the rookies that'll take the place and judging by where we are in the story I'd say it's Law, Kidd, Hawinks or Apoo, I don't see Luffy becoming one, but I do see him keep Fishman Island under his control.
Luffy being proclaimed a Yonkou is an important, high impact, series changing event. An event with such wide ranging implications must happen at the right time, in order to maximize it's impact. Luffy being proclaimed a Yonkou after defeating a Yonkou would be such a moment. The events leading to his being proclaimed a power would be fresh in the audiences mind, and the proclamation would be most relevant to current events. It would be anticlimactic if the proclamation were to wait for some later date, revealed as news during some unrelated arc, and otherwise irrelevant to the story. The audience would have less of a reason to care, the proclamation would be reduced near to trivia, like bounties.
From audience perspective, it did not take long at all for Blackbeard to be proclaimed a Yonkou. Jinbe broke the news near the end of the Fishman Island arc, only one arc after Whitebeard had died. The situation was also quite different in that Blackbeard was no longer a featured character, it may be years before he makes another significant appearance. This was information relevant to the situation in the New World, and important for Luffy to know before entering the sea. That is why Oda chose that exact moment to reveal Blackbeard's new position. Their different situations should also be factored in. Whitebeard died before Blackbeard entered the New World. Blackbeard still had made no name there. He also did not defeat Whitebeard, only attacked him after he was mortally wounded by the Marine. Luffy will have already saved Fishman Island from Hodi Jones, disrupted the SAD trade at Punk Hazard, and defeated Doflamingo before ever engaging the Big Mam pirates. Fishman Island will also have proclaimed him their protector, giving him at least one allied island.
IMO, Luffy being a Yonkou could cautivate an audience that doesn't understand the character of Luffy, and in the end the whole manga. The story doesn't work that way neither. Luffy is not after a Yonkou position, and if he would be proclamed a Yonkou, the best chapter following that event would be Luffy forgetting about it or showing that that is completely irrelevant to his enterprise. He wants to be the King of Pirates, and he is not a tactician like Law or Doflamingo who could think like: "first I will get this and then that will make me able to get that...". He's just going for what is exiting to him, and in the end for the One Piece (remember the way he chose to arrive to Punk Hazard). That really would be so One Piece and so Luffy.
Would you care to explain what you mean by "don't understand the character"? One Piece is a children's comic, and not terribly complicated. This is not exactly Proust. I do think it quite rude to say that anyone who thinks Luffy will become a Yonkou has little understanding of his character. Not only would that be untrue, but demonstrate an almost total lack of understanding for everything that has happened since Hodi Jones was defeated.
Luffy does not have to seek to become a Yonkou, or make plans. Quite the opposite. His path towards the position seems to be following the usual haphazard path. He declared war on Big Mam with little thought ofthe consequences, proclaimed himself protector of Fishman Island, stumbled upon Punk Hazard, where he was reunited with Law, forming an alliance to defeat one of the Yonkou. Without any plans, Luffy has triggered a series of events that will lead him to fight, and defeat one of the Yonkou. All by whim, all with a total disregard for planning and tactics. The title of Yonkou seems to be given by popular acclaim. Luffy need not care whether he gets the title or not, it will simply be given to him. Luffy is not so dumb as to forget something as important as becoming a Yonkou. Nor will forgetting be possible. After becoming a Yonkou the world will not let him forget.
Since entering the Grand Line, the entire manga has practically been about the rapid rise in power, prestige, and notoriety of the Straw Hats. First, as unknowns, they defeated a Shichibukai. They then invaded Enes Lobby, defeated a Buster Call, and destroyed the island of justice. Next they defeated a second Shichibukai. Luffy then assaulted a Tenryuubito. He then successfully led a jail break from Ines Lobby, before fighting in the War. In the New World, why would the story suddenly revert to East Blue? He's already challenged Big Mam, and allied with Law to defeat a Yonkou. He will soon defeat Doflamingo, raising his prestige even before he fights Big Mam. Wouldn't the only logical culmination of all this plot development be for Luffy to be proclaimed a Yonkou himself, whether he cares or not? The story could then progress with Luffy now longer the challenger, but a power himself.
I don't think that it will be a logical culmination of all that plot development for Luffy to be a Yonkou. First, since he wants to be the Pirate King, at least being a Yonkou could be a continuation, not a culmination. Besides of it, I don't think it's necesary for him to be a Yonkou in order to become the King of Pirates. Excuse me but the whole actions he has done (no need to recall all of them) forms a way to become a Pirate King: that is the only logical culmination.
About 'don't understand the character': well, Luffy wants meat, fun, to become the Pirate King, to know by his own means what is the One Piece, and his nakamas safe and happy... if I remember well. To make of a character like that a Yonkou would be a menor event in his development nor a major as you pointed, because it simply doesn't fit his goals and his actions. And yes, I think Luffy could forget the very next day that he has been proclemad a Yonkou; but not because of his stupidity, (If I would think that I wouldn't understand his character), but because that is not important to him.
He can't be considered an emperor if he's not actually ruling a significant part of New World. To the pont where WG is scared when Sunny Go decides to move toward any of the other Yonkou. Perhaps it's going to happen eventually. I mean people from different islands could acknowledge Luffy as their protector even if he doesn't care about any of that and with many allies like that, WG could really consider him an emperor, but it can't happen any time soon.
Just look at Blackbeard. It's been 2 years and even though many regard him as emperor, WG still hasn't acknowledged him.
I think we get a pretty clear example of how Luffy'd treat the title of Yonkou if he ever got one. Look at how he treats his bounties now. I don't remember Luffy ever bragging about how big his bounty is, unlike other pirates. If someone started to call him one of Yonkou, he'd probably act the same way towards that title
I'm not sure what your definition of ruling territory is, but so far, no Yonkou has been shown to have any political power. Both Whitebeard and Big Mam have so far been shown to act as allies, agreeing to protect islands. Whitebeard asks only for friendship, Mam wanted payment. It was shown, right after the timeskip, what happens to islands not protected by Yonkou. Whitebeards former territory was immediately overrun by pirates. That is why Fishman Island (and presumably most islands) ally with Yonkou. Jinbe explains it pretty well [url=http://www.mangahere.com/manga/one_piece/v54/c529/4.html]here[/ur], when he tells Ace the story of how FI came to ally themselves with Whitebeard. It would be horribly wrong though, to assume that the Yonkou actually govern islands. If I am wrong please link to pages demonstrating that Yonkou take direct political control of their territory.
What do you actually base this on? Jinbe has alreadysaid Blackbeard is now regarded as one of the Yonkou, and that was the end of it. No more mention has been made. Could you link to whatever led you to believe the World Government does not regard him as a Yonkou? No one from the World Government has even appeared since before the timeskip. Furthermore, why would Oda give fraudulent information to the audience? Jinbe said Blackbeard is a Yonkou, why wouldn't he be a Yonkou?Quote:
first bounty. He was almost as excited when his bounty was raised after Enes Lobby. Clearly Luffy does care about how his bounty. He may well take pride in being called one of the Yonkou, just like he was excited about his bounty.
I personally think its Kaidou. I mean, from what we've seen, Kaidou is a violent and cruel person who, as quoted earlier on, 'would kick a man when he's down'. I'm certain whoever the yonko they seek is, it is undoubtedly the one Doflamingo has a partnership with. When you look at the facts, its obvious Shanks has no interest in an army of monsters nor does such a thing interest Big Mam. Blackbeard already has his crew and probably wouldn't want a large army under his control, leaving only Kaidou behind.
Also, now that the Yonko's SAD is running dry, they're going to get pretty annoyed to say the least. If they were to find out that Law has the only means of producing SAD, they'll probably be at Law's mercy, so it makes sense to go for that one.
But hey. That's just my theory.