One Piece 1066 blessed fans with the long-awaited reveal of Dr. Vegapunk's true appearance, as well as a flashback involving the scientist and Monkey D. Dragon, the founder and leader of the Revolutionary Army. At the end of the chapter, returning to the current story, Vegapunk met Luffy.
However, there's more to come. One Piece 1066 also revealed to readers that Jaguar D. Saul, the kind giant who sacrificed himself to protect Nico Robin during the destruction of Ohara, is still alive.
Following the revelation, fans immediately started speculating that Saul could be the mysterious "man marked by flames" who Eustass Kid was talking about in the previous chapters. Follow this thread to find out more.
Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1066 and reflects the writer's personal views.
After One Piece 1066 revealed that Saul is alive, fans started speculating that he could be relevant in the future
Who is Jaguar D. Saul?
A giant who possessed the rare trait of the initial D. in his name, Saul was a Marine Vice Admiral who was introduced in Nico Robin's flashback. He seemingly died while protecting her from the Buster Call that destroyed Ohara.
Saul was loyal to the Marines. However, he followed Moral Justice over Absolute Justice. After seeing the Marines' evil acts against the Ohara scholars and citizens, he started questioning their orders.
At one point, Saul was informed that he was chosen to be one of the five officers to lead a Buster Call against Ohara. The task was to destroy the island because of its inhabitants' crime of deciphering the Poneglyphs and studying the Void Century as well as the Ancient Kingdom.
Disgusted with the World Government's brutal intentions, Saul rejected the orders and reneged on the organization. He went to Ohara and promised Nico Olvia that he would ensure the safety of her daughter, Nico Robin.
Saul taught and encouraged Robin to laugh whenever she was sad, even if it hurt. Before his apparent death, Saul told Robin that her mother was an honorable woman, and that Ohara valiantly stood against the entire world. He also told her that someday she would find true friends she could live with.
A few moments later, Saul seemingly died, frozen by Aokiji's Devil Fruit powers. Even during what appeared to be his final moments, Saul smiled at Robin, a typical behavior of those who carry the Will of D. trait. Those who had faith in their will to be inherited accepted their mortality and entrusted their dreams to the people of the next era.
The big revelation in One Piece 1066
After being frozen by Aokiji, Saul appeared to have died. Even Nico Robin mourned his death. However, the latest installment of the series has highlighted a very different outcome for the former Vice Admiral.
One Piece 1066 revealed that the Ohara scholars managed to hide their books. After the Buster Call, a group of giants retrieved the books from the ocean and carried them to Elbaf. The group was led by a giant with bandages covering his entire body. This individual was later confirmed to be none other than Jaguar D. Saul.
It's yet to be ascertained whether Aokiji let Saul live, or if he simply managed to survive by chance. Admittedly, Aokiji is not a killer like Akainu. He allowed Robin to flee and was deeply disappointed by what occurred in the Ohara incident. Moreover, he and Saul were good friends.
How did Saul survive Aokiji's freezing?
Aokiji and Saul shared the same ideals - they both believed in Moral Justice. It's unclear if their friendship was enough for the former to spare the latter's life. However, it's certain that Aokiji allowed Robin to live several times. These acts of mercy were implied to be a favor to Saul, with the intent of checking if the latter was right.
Given their friendship, it wouldn't be surprising if Aokiji truly spared Saul. Moreover, it wouldn't be the first time prominent Marines have disobeyed their orders to capture or kill criminals wanted by the World Government. For instance, this happened with Garp and Ace, as well as with Sengoku and Law.
One Piece author Eiichiro Oda depicted Aokiji as a complex character who plays the role of a "reluctant antagonist". A testament to this, during the Paramount War he intervened against Luffy, acting as if he was going to kill him as ruthlessly as Akainu would. Instead of executing the pirate, Aokiji started to monolog about his debt to his grandfather Garp.
Aokiji's "Lazy Justice" is a part of his compassion. While he is capable of merciless acts, he often doesn't see the need to perform them. Despite being a living weapon of mass destruction for the World Government, he doesn't approve of their methods. Lacking the conviction to do his job, he spares the lives of his supposed targets.
Some fans also noticed that the attack that Aokiji used on Saul was called "Ice Time Capsule". The name of this technique seems to hint that it preserves whatever it freezes, meaning that Aokiji intended for Saul to survive his freeze.
It's also possible that Saul simply survived because of a mere coincidence. Aokiji's freezing doesn't kill people until their insides are frozen as well. By melting the ice with intense heat and taking care not to break off any of the frozen limbs in the process, it's possible to save a victim of the freezing.
This may have occurred with Saul as well. The intense heat of the Buster Call may have melted the ice freezing his body, allowing him to survive and flee from Ohara.
Why Saul could be One Piece's "man marked by flames"
In One Piece 1056, Eustass Kid and his right-hand man Killer, two of the Eleven Supernovas of the Worst Generation, mentioned their intent to go after the "man marked by flames". The true identity of that individual is yet to be revealed.
However, it was implied that he could be a key figure for those who aim to find the One Piece treasure. According to Kid and Killer, finding this individual would allow them to pull ahead of the other contenders in the quest to find the One Piece.
Since then, fans have started speculating who the man may be. After the first leaks of One Piece 1066 came out, many fans assumed that the "man marked by flames" might be none other than Jaguar D. Saul.
Whether he meant to spare him or not, Aokiji left Saul encased in ice. The flames generated by the Buster Call's explosions may have reached where he was and started melting the ice surrounding him. The fire freed him, but also burnt his body. Alternatively, Aokiji's cryostasis left him with frostbite all over his body.
Either way, this would explain why Saul's body was completely covered in bandages. According to the believers of this theory, Saul became a myth as the man who knows all about Ancient Kingdom, after reading the books the Ohara scholars hid.
If Saul really was the "man marked by flames," his importance as a key figure in finding the One Piece would be justified by the fact that he has read the research of Ohara's scholars. Thanks to that knowledge, he could possibly be able to decipher the Poneglyphs, which contain fundamental information to locate the treasure.
If the theory is true, it would mean that Kid, whose intent is to meet the "man marked by flames", is likely going to Elbalf. Given that Blackbeard knew of Big Mom's defeat at the hands of the Supernovas, it's highly possible that the Elbaf people, who considered the former Emperor to be their enemy, will welcome Kid as one of the people who took her down.
It would be pretty interesting if the Kid Pirates received key information from Saul and managed to ally with the giants. Kid's involvement in Elbaf could also tie with the further appearance of Shanks, who is widely theorized to have some sort of connection with the island of the giants.
In the past, Kid tried to fight the Red Hair Pirates, but he was easily defeated and lost one of his arms in the process. Hence, if he were to meet Shanks again, he would likely try to get his revenge on him. Given Kid's hot-headed behavior, this seems to be a highly feasible occurrence.
Together with Professor Clover and her mother Nico Olvia, Saul was one of the main figures in Nico Robin's childhood. Before One Piece 1066 came out, most fans thought that Saul had died protecting Robin.
However, the latest chapter shocked everyone, revealing that the giant is still alive, although his body is covered in bandages. Whether it is due to the flames of Buster Call or the frostbite left by Aokiji's ice, it's clear that Saul got badly burnt.
After reading the books left by the Ohara scholars, he has obtained immense knowledge of the Ancient Kingdom and the Void Century, possibly including instructions on how to decipher the Poneglyphs.
Having his body disfigured by burns and possessing remarkable knowledge on the main secrets of the One Piece world, Saul has all the credentials to be the "man marked by flames" who Kid and Killer were talking about.
Interestingly enough, when Kidd first mentioned that figure, One Piece author Eiichiro Oda chose to focus on Robin, of all people. This made many fans think that the "man marked by flames" would be from Ohara.
After the last chapter, with the reveal of Saul having survived the Buster Call and fled Ohara with a massive amount of knowledge, this possibility seems to be emphasized. If the Strawhat Pirates were to visit Elbaf, they would likely meet Saul. This would lead to a beautiful reunion between him and Nico Robin.
However, with the series having entered its endgame, Eiichiro Oda started speeding up the plot. Hence, it's uncertain if there will be time for Luffy, Zoro and the others to go to Elbaf or if that plot line will be covered by Kid Pirates. In that case, Dr. Vegapunk, who already knows everything Elbalf can reveal, could disclose some information to the Strawhats.
Poll : Do you think Jaguar D. Saul is the "Man Marked By Flames"?