WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for One Piece, Episode 898, "The Headliner! Hawkins the Magician Appears!"
One Piece continues its quest through the Land of Wano in its latest episode. The prior one started with Luffy in search of medical aid for his new companion, O-Tama. Along the way, he ran into Zoro, who was on the run from Kaido's soldiers and police after being falsely convicted of wanton murder (and rightfully accused of slaughtering a magistrate).
However, before either of them could traverse the toxin-poisoned wasteland left by Kaido's manufacturing factories, an enigmatic enforcer of Kaido's emerged, hoping to apprehend the Straw Hats before they could pose a greater threat to his master. Luffy and Zoro gear up, ready to confront the enigmatic Basil Hawkins.
One Piece villains usually have a particular gimmick. With his fortune telling cards and magical aesthetic, Hawkins very is clearly a magician or fortune teller of some sort.
Luffy, being the dope that he is, admits he's after Kaido, the Emperor of the Sea, all while drawing a sword that even Zoro seems in awe of. The two spend most of the early fight bickering over who gets to use it rather than taking Hawkins seriously.
That is until Hawkins sends his legion of soldiers at them. Luffy handles most of them (while barely ever actually using the legendary sword). Zoro spends the vast amount of that time criticizing Luffy's technique while swatting aside the henchmen.
All the while, Hawkins studies his opponents. It's clear that, for him, this is a chance to observe his adversaries before fighting them directly. Of course, at no point do either Zoro or Luffy use a fraction of their full potential. They end the fight against dozens of soldiers without a scratch on them.
THE MAGICIAN ENTERS
Hawkins only enters the fight when a dinosaur is thrown right at him. He impales the incoming monster on a sword that transmutes into straw bristles.
Zoro, seeing the danger, swiftly cuts through Hawkins' skull. This, however, only seems to activate some spell that transfers the damage to one of the henchmen rather than himself.
Before Luffy or Zoro can even understand what transpired, Hawkins disposes of a strawman from his arm. Each strawman is generated thanks to his Straw-Straw Fruit power. He can store ten bodies, meaning if he is "killed" ten times, he actually dies.
HEART OF THE CARDS
Down one with nine left, Hawkins proposes a "game." He transmutes his sword once more into straw, but this time generates a gigantic, spectral fiend of some sort. It spits from his sword, conjures massive nails in each straw fist, and takes a stand behind Hawkins.
Hawkins is not foolish enough to confront Luffy or Zoro in a straight-forward fight. With the strawman warrior standing guard behind him, Hawkins draws a card from his deck: the Reverse Fool. The card, rather than inflict harm on Luffy or Zoro, ends up driving his own men into madness, who cut one of their own down. This kills another of Hawkins' strawmen, proving that this game can very easily turn against its master.
Hawkins readies his next card...
THE CARD OF PURSUIT
Before Hawkins can draw the next card, however, O-Tama's giant dog snatches Luffy and Zoro up in his jaw and sprints off. O-Tama's condition has worsened so they rush off to get medical help.
All the while, Hawkins' men give chase. Luffy manages to knock them down with a barrage of fists. For a little while, it looks as though Luffy might escape.
But then Hawkins draws "a good card." That card is the Reversed Hierophant. The card grants a bat to the straw man monster Hawkins conjured earlier. With it in hand, the demon departs after Luffy and friends, a looming shadow great enough to eclipse the sky in utter darkness.
The episode ends with the fiend in pursuit -- weapon raised with murderous intent.
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