One of my favourite anime/manga series is pre-time skip ‘One Piece.’ In addition my favourite character from the series is Sanji. I’ve been watching the anime since my high school days and have even cosplayed the character at two different conventions. And it just so happens that our birthdays are one day apart. Mine was yesterday (March 1st) and Sanji’s is today. Given how slowly manga/anime time passes I am now no longer younger than Sanji. Indeed, I now have several years on him. Still, considering the closeness of our birthdays I thought it would be fun to write about him.
Now, I want to get it out of the way and state that I think of Sanji of a problematic fave. I have favourite characters that are pure evil, potentially rapist, face stealing assholes (like Pavi from ‘Repo! The Genetic Opera) and I would never feel the need to apologise for that. But Sanji is supposed to be the good guy so maybe he shouldn’t have certain traits. Like the fact that he’s actually super sexist. I know in recent chapters we have found out that Sanji doesn’t hit women because Zeff told him not too. But I think its sexist that he doesn’t hit women. Okay, hold up a second there and let me explain. Generally, men shouldn’t hit women. They are physically stronger in the upper body and carry more weight so there’s an advantage there. Also, society encourages aggression in men and weakness in women so men are more likely to know how to properly hit someone. So guys shouldn’t hit chicks. Unless that woman knows how to fight or is trying to murder you. Sanji should have made an exception and fought Kalifa in the Ennies Lobby arc. By not fighting her despite the fact that he needed to get Kalifa’s key in case it unlocked Robin’s handcuffs, Sanji basically endangered Robin’s life and any chance of saving her. And Kalifa is certainly weaker than Sanji but she could have held her own. What she doesn’t have in strength she has in technique and devil fruit powers. I think this problem is seen clearly when you contrast Sanji with Zoro. Zoro knows that it doesn’t matter if someone is a man or a woman. If they truly want something then they should do their best to achieve it. So Zoro was upset that he lost to Kuina so many times because he wanted to best her but he wasn’t upset to be losing to a girl. Because Kuina was better than him despite her gender. Sanji would never fight a woman, even if she wanted to fight just to become a more skilled combatant.
The womanizing doesn’t bother me. Sanji has never sexually harassed anyone, other than being a nuisance, so I don’t care that he acts like a desperate slut. Although it did get uncomfortable when he was mad that Absalom having the invisibility devil fruit made Sanji upset that he would never get to spy on women naked in the bath. There are lines you don’t cross Sanji. Just saying.
Then there’s the whole transphobia problem. I don’t like how Sanji sees MTF trans women as men. But given how he was chased around that bloodly island by a bunch of man-starved he-shes and then forced into a dress and the female gender, it’s hard to blame him. This is more a fault of Oda and the anime team’s writing than it is Sanji. I’ll be skipping the fillers for this part of the show from now on.
But 99% of the time I love this guy. Sanji is fiercely loyal, as seen by the fact that he was willing to give up on his dream of finding All Blue just to see Zeff’s dream of a sea restaurant succeed. This despite the fact that Zeff also believed in All Blue and wanted Sanji to live his own life. And now, in the current chapters, Sanji wants to save his family from Big Mom even though he should hate them.
Sanji is also full of love and concern. He wants to take all of Luffy’s pain and damage in the Thriller Bark arc so that Zoro doesn’t. He doesn’t want to see Zoro die. In the current arc, Sanji leaves the crew to protect them from Big Mom and his family. He’s just as depressed as everyone else when Usopp leaves the crew in the Water 7 arc. Sanji also has a giant martyr complex. Since meeting his father I know understand why Sanji thinks he’s the least important person in a room but it still makes me sad. Also, we all know from previous journal entries that I like depressed/suicidal characters the best.
I love that Sanji is a total dork on top of everything. Most of the time he’s this super cool, impeccably dressed Mr. Prince type of guy that is nothing but leg. And then he whips out the ugliest tropical shirts you ever did see, loses his goddamned mind over insects and spiders (made all the more dorky by the fact that Usopp isn’t bothered at all) and dreams of refrigerators with industrial locks on them. The dude is completely lame. It’s so cute.
Sanji’s hot. I don’t have anything to add to that. Almost all of my favourite characters tend to be good looking males (especially a good looking male villain. Yum.). So that’s probably why I don’t mind that Sanji’s a womanizer. I’m a manizer I guess? Is there a female equivalent to the term womanizer?
I adore his shitty accidental ninja luck. I love how no one knows who he is. Bon Clay was able to copy all the Straw Hats’ faces but Sanji’s so Crocodile and Baroque Works didn’t know to look for him. The lens was still on the camera when the marines were taking photos of the crew for their wanted posters. Sanji’s poster looks like Duval instead. I understand why Sanji’s current wanted poster has his actual (hearts-in-eyes) face on it but it makes me sad that people now know what he looks like. It was super convenient for the Straw Hats to have a crew mate that could go out in public incognito and just get shit done. Then there’s the fact that Sanji always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Case in point: when he saw Robin getting on the train with CP9 so he followed.
And finally: I love how easy it is to ship Sanji with Zoro. I have a tendency to ship male characters with other male characters. This is probably because I usually prefer male characters over female. Or it’s because boys are cute together. I don’t really know why I like it. And I love characters that don’t get along or at least act like they don’t but still have the other’s back. Sanji and Zoro are always arguing- which makes for great sexual tension by the way- and yet care about each other. They both tried to take Luffy’s pain in the Thriller Bark arc. Sanji doesn’t want to see Mihawk kill Zoro during the Baratie arc. Zoro is concerned when Sanji hurts his leg fighting Kuma. They are both extremely skilled at their chosen fighting styles and are equals. They have each other’s backs. I like that.
So happy birthday Sanji. You’re a complicated mess of a human being and I love you for it.
Ps. Leave a comment telling me your favourite One Piece character.
Pss. Still not sold on the time skip story line.