Is Kaido Dead in One Piece?

Kaido is presumed dead in the One Piece narrative, but readers are convinced this is one of Oda’s many fake-outs, and he’ll return to the story.

kaido

SUMMARY

 Fans are skeptical about Kaido’s death due to his durability and Oda’s pattern of fake-out deaths in One Piece.
 One Piece’s physics may suggest Kaido survived his direct exposure to a volcanic explosion.
 Considerations for Kaido’s potential return in the final saga include unrevealed promises, story placement, and flashbacks.

One Piece’s Kaido of the Four Emperors was one of the most durable opponents for Luffy to defeat. His introduction was all about how indestructible he was and how bored he’d gotten with a world where he couldn’t even kill himself if he tried. Even if his first fight was a foregone conclusion, it took him four more tries and three more power-ups to finally get the win against the King of the Beasts. The victory was ensured when Kaido’s unconscious body fell into a pool of magma and got caught in a volcanic eruption. Something like this would kill an ordinary man, but most people consider Kaido to be inhuman.

The One Piece community is hesitant to declare Kaido’s apparent death in Wano as the end of him. Between his durability, Oda’s unwillingness to kill off characters, and several other factors, it seems safer to assume that the Emperor miraculously survived his brush with death (if it can be called that) and will someday return to the story to terrorize Luffy and his friends again. With that in mind, it’s necessary to analyze the facts, the trends, and everything else that can be used to determine whether Kaido is alive or dead.

Readers Are Expected to Believe Kaido Is Dead

Kaido angrily holds a weapon in the One Piece manga. Kaido in his Dragon Form commands his crew in One Piece manga Luffy versus Kaido in One Piece Chapter 1050 Pages 14-15 Luffy defeats Kaido in One Piece Chapter 1050 Hiyori Momonosuke is presented as the New Shogan of Wano in One Piece Chapter 1050Kaido angrily holds a weapon in the One Piece manga. Kaido in his Dragon Form commands his crew in One Piece manga
Luffy versus Kaido in One Piece Chapter 1050 Pages 14-15 Luffy defeats Kaido in One Piece Chapter 1050 Hiyori Momonosuke is presented as the New Shogan of Wano in One Piece Chapter 1050A collage of Dracule Mihawk from the One Piece anime and from the One Piece manga

One Piece manga creator Eiichiro Oda teases Mihawk’s backstory in Volume 108, suggesting more to the World’s Strongest Swordsman than meets the eye.

The last time anyone saw Kaido in person was at the climax of the Raid on Onigashima. He was struck by Luffy’s Gum-Gum Bajrang Gun so hard that it knocked him out and drove him deep into the ground. He eventually fell deep enough to hit a magma chamber beneath Wano; incidentally, Bog Mom was sent into this chamber following her battle with Eustass Kid and Trafalgar Law. The two emperors were eventually caught up in an underwater volcanic eruption.

Their bodies weren’t shown after this, but the narrator confirmed this marked the end of the fight and Luffy’s victory. At first, many fans were unsure this would be the end of the fight, much less Kaido. The King of the Beasts was expected to survive the explosion and return for another round. However, as the Raid ended and the Wano Arc wound down, it became increasingly apparent that the narrator’s judgment of the fight was conclusive.

Kaido’s fate could be further assessed through Big Mom’s. She, too, was a highly durable Emperor who was caught in the same explosion as Kaido. If one died, then the same could be said for the other. Much of what can be said about Kaido applies to Big Mom. She failed to recover from the volcanic explosion and has been presumed dead by the One Piece world. This fate was further discussed in Chapter 1064, “Egghead Labophase.” Charlotte Pudding tried to brag about her mother, but a Blackbeard Pirate assured her the Emperor was dead and not coming back. While the words of a random underling aren’t as reliable as the narrator’s, they give an idea of what the audience is expected to assume about the Emperors. Even if they are somehow still alive, they won’t be returning to the story any time soon.

Fans Remain Skeptical About Kaido’s Death

Luffy defeats Kaido in One Piece Episode 1076. One Piece's Pell preparing to use a sword attack while in his human-falcon hybrid form Pound moments before defeat in One Piece Whitebeard versus Admiral Akainu in One Piece mangaLuffy defeats Kaido in One Piece Episode 1076. One Piece's Pell preparing to use a sword attack while in his human-falcon hybrid form Pound moments before defeat in One Piece Whitebeard versus Admiral Akainu in One Piece mangaOne Piece's Luffy with a confused expression against a collage of anime scenes

Released on March 4, 2024, the new One Piece Volume 108 includes an updated instruction to fans, banning the submission of AI-generated artwork.

Lava is often a surefire way to kill off any character in a story. The only exceptions are if they avoid being submerged, have an explicit immunity to lava, or survive because of cartoon logic. If none of these apply, it’s safe to assume that the lava melted the character until nothing was left. In any other series, Kaido and Big Mom would have been presumed dead as soon as they fell into the magma chamber, but because this happened in One Piece, audiences are less open to accepting this apparent death as the end-all-be-all. If there were any reason to believe Kaido could survive a volcanic explosion, it would be One Piece’s inherent absurdity.

One Piece constantly has things happen that defy physics without an in-story explanation. In this sense, the series runs on precisely the cartoon physics necessary for a character to survive getting caught up in a volcanic explosion. However, if the series needed a “logical” explanation, it would come from the absurd power of its fighters. Characters like Luffy and Kaido display unbelievable strength and durability feats (even by in-story standards); Kaido’s nigh-invulnerability to external damage lands him squarely in the latter category. Withstanding lav, in general, has also been explored through Akainu’s opponents.

He’s the user of the Mag-Mag Fruit, so his body and attacks are all made of this purported sure-kill substance. His taking a chunk out of Whitebeard, the world’s strongest man, seemed like conclusive evidence that lava is just as deadly in One Piece as in real life. However, between Whitebeard’s sickened state and the other characters who have endured the Admiral’s powers (Jimbei, Bartholomew Kuma, etc.), the effectiveness of magma as a deadly force remains in question. Looking at matters like this, it makes sense to assume the King of the Beasts could have withstood being submerged in magma and caught in an eruption.

The other factor that makes Kaido’s survival more plausible is Oda’s inability to kill off charactersOne Piece is criminally infamous for its fake-out deaths. Characters are constantly put in situations that should result in their demise, no matter how powerful they are. Despite this, they’ll often come back into the story having only suffered minor, recoverable injuries. Examples of this include Pell being caught in a city-leveling explosion, Bon Clay surviving whatever Magellan did to him off-screen, everyone who was poisoned by Land of the Dead, Pound being presumably decapitated, and many more.

According to Oda, he keeps characters alive to maintain a positive tone once an arc concludes and the main characters throw their obligatory party. Because of this, fans will doubt that a character is dead even if there’s a body and several characters say so. Naturally, many are hesitant to assume that Kaido, one of the most durable characters in the series, died off-screen without even seeing a body.

Will Kaido Come Back in One Piece’s Final Saga?

Rocks Pirates posing in the One Piece manga

A few more factors must be considered when discussing Kaido’s potential death, starting with Big Mom’s promise to get revenge on Kid and Law. Before she was defeated, she swore it wouldn’t be the end of her and that she would be back. This was before she was caught in an explosion made up of Onigashima’s weapon storage and the volcanic eruption, but it would be odd for her to fail to follow through on such a promise (if she didn’t, there wouldn’t have been a point to writing it into the story). If she can live to get her revenge, so can the King of the Beasts.

Kaido and Big Mom’s death scene can also be assessed by its place in the story. There was a time when Oda meant for Luffy to fight the Four Emperors much sooner, but many story elements were added that extended the length of the story past its intended duration. One of the most notable additions was the Seven Warlords, many of whom required individual arcs or sagas to handle. If characters like these were left out of the story, the Straw Hat Pirates may have reached significant legs of their journey much faster, and the ‘One Piece’ would be that much closer.

As for the Emperors, Oda likely envisioned them as one-and-done types of enemies who, while significant, would ultimately be taken out of the story once Luffy and his friends defeated them. Those echoes of Oda’s original vision for One Piece may still exist even in the series’ current state. Kaido and Big Mom were likely meant to be killed off at this point in the story and stay dead. Even if they were to be confirmed alive, they might be in a state where they could no longer profoundly influence the narrative.

Of course, the opposite could be true, too. Since One Piece’s projected cast size was much smaller than now, Oda could have planned for the few characters he had in mind to play more significant roles. For the Emperors, this would mean that even after the Emperors “died,” they were always meant to come back and do something else that would influence Luffy’s journey to becoming King of the Pirates. There could come a time when Kaido and Big Mom return for the Final Saga, albeit in less meaningful roles than what they had in the Four Emperors Saga.

It’s also possible that whatever roles they were supposed to be given have since been distributed among the enlarged cast, which would also be a precedent for keeping them dead. Even if Kaido and Big Mom are dead, they can reappear in the Final Saga through flashbacks. They’ve already reappeared in a flashback briefly focusing on the Rocks Pirates’ arrival on God Valley, which is only the tip of the iceberg for that point in One Piece’s timeline. There will likely be more flashbacks for the Rocks Pirates and other characters influenced by these two for the decades they ruled the seas.