There’re no proper words to
describe how adorable and pure little Sanji is when he’s happy that someone
enjoyed his cooking. That’s why I was a bit alarmed when I saw the following
Can you believe
that this is the same kind and sweet child who cooked for his sick mother and
little mouse friend? Although Sanji’s scared out of his wits, there is also deep hatred in his eyes as he points the dagger at his own father (though I really hate to call
him his dad) and I must say, children don’t usually go to such length if they’re not extremely abused. The damage Judge has
inflicted upon Sanji’s childhood innocence is almost palpable here.
Do you remember just how many times Sanji said the word ‘kill’ in his flashback of how he met Zeff? The panels above are only a selected few out of many. I think this shows that Judge brainwashed his children to believe that in real life situation, it’s either you kill first or get killed. But maybe Sanji’s case is a bit different from his brothers; his kind soul might not have been so drawn toward the idea of killing at first despite his father’s constant brainwashing, but after enduring severe emotional and physical abuse in that cell and escaping, he lost his childlike innocence and finally embraced the idea of killing. Note how he points the knife at Zeff just like how he pointed the dagger at Judge. Even when you consider the fact that Sanji was out of his mind after prolonged starving, that chilling look on his face as he readies himself to kill Zeff is definitely a cruel legacy of the Vinsmokes.
Of course, Sanji’s impossibly strong will to survive no matter what and find All Blue also played a huge role in his fear of getting killed and ensuing determination to strike out first. Sanji’s desire to survive and see his dream come true is much more understandable now that we know his past with the Vinsmokes; he finally escaped his nightmare and got a chance to start anew, so he just couldn’t let anything take away his opportunity, be it the shitty pirates, the storm or the starvation.
As much as we can sympathize with the reason why Sanji clung so desperately to dear life, don’t you think his desperation could’ve ended up in a terribly wrong way? He clearly said he’ll survive no matter what, meaning he didn’t care about killing Zeff to take his food. You commit a murder once and then? Slipperly slope. Once you kill someone and damage your soul, it’s not difficult to kill twice, thrice, and many more times. It makes my heart shudder to think that had Zeff not saved Sanji’s poor soul by sacrificing for him, Sanji could’ve ended up just like the Vinsmokes, putting survival above anything else and turning a blind eye to others’ suffering.
…But thanks to Zeff, even after all that hardship Sanji still remained the sweetest cinnamon roll ever, always too excited about cooking and serving his food to people ;_; His smile here is exactly the same as when he smiled at his mother and his mouse friend… and I can’t thank Zeff enough for restoring his kind soul and innocence ;_;
Another distressing chapter, but also a little heartwarming. Now that the flashback is over, I hope we never see anything of Sanji’s past with his family again, I couldn’t stomach it. I’m the first who asks for more of her favorite’s suffering so that he can shine later in much more glory, but the last chapters really left me emptied and sad.
As I said previously. Oda’s been putting unusual focus on his past and current pains. I wouldn’t have expected the flashback to last for so long, nor for Oda to unveil him so slowly - since we already got hints of it in 833. Now the picture is crystalline clear.
Sanji’s mother, a beautiful lady, very resemblant to Reiju, - except for the eyebrows, and at this point they must come either from Judge’s side or from the prenatal modification of the siblings - is dead: Judge is said to have “mistresses”, so we can assume he didn’t care much about her, but not so little to “dispose” of Sanji while she was still alive, as we learnt last chapter. Sanji asked the guard not to tell to his father about his visit and his mother said Judge would get angry: in all likelihood sees her just as a useless child-bearer or thinks that her weakness may influence negatively the children. Given the kind of guy he is, at least….
The scene of little Sanji facing all the hardships of the storm, plus a dog and a maid, to meet his mom, was especially touching. It reminded me of a little Hugo Cabret for some reason, and I cried fountains other that movie. Summed with the scene where he eats alone while his father embraces the other siblings…
To think that such a man could even feel affection for other human beings is contradictory to me. But who am I to judge? - no pun intended.
His passion for cooking was born out of the sweetest thing: the only thing he was appreciated for, by the only person who appreciated him - and died, cause Oda doesn’t like alive mothers apparently. So, even in his solitary confinement, he held on to it. His mother was the only good thing about his life, so of course she was gone.
His dream of cooking was a dream of personal-improvement, his dream of All Blue was longing for freedom.
Reiju says it clearly, as Oda quotes himself back to chapter 394:
Something along the lines of: the sea is an incredible place, of dreams, of men. This is a very common issue in One Piece
“The dreams of men will never die!” - Blackbeard
Or, if not their dreams, at least their salvation, which can come by sea. So Sanji escaped and found himself in yet another danger. Zeff clearly says the opposite of Blackbeard and Reiju and Saul:
something along the lines of: The sea is way too big and too cruel, it harbors men’s dream but shatters them mercilessly along with their lives.
Now this makes it even more cruel that the sea would be both his salvation and yet another threat to his life.
On a side note, the goodbye with Reiju was very emotional. The little girl really was wishing him the best, though in all likelihood didn’t hope he’d actually make it. She’s the only one left in the family who at least is not “rotten to the core”, and I hope she still isn’t, because her words to him in the last panel were quite cold.
I am thinking more and more of Zoro lately, since when you think of San in One Piece, you automatically think of Zo. When he was a kid, he was essentially a shrunken version of his future self: stern, determined, strong both in mind and body… but Sanji’s the complete opposite. Yes, he has maintaned his good-heart -and honestly I’ll never believe how he could grow up good in such an enviroment -, his mercy, but he is also very different: much more hardened, no naive at all, logical, cold in reasoning, self-sacrifical … His child-self resembles much more a Usopp or a Chopper or even a Brook, I dare say. Yet unlike Zoro, he hasn’t overcome the most of his traumas, something we could have hardly said before this saga: who would have expected to see him trembling, one of the top fighters? And I appreciate this majestic character development.
At the end, Oda gives a big tissue to his fans in pain by giving them a Luffy who ate Cracker’s soldiers.
I think will sooner lose it ouf of impatience than phisically lose. The battle has been going on all night long and maybe Nami already obtained the loyalty of the Seducing Woods - they really need it.
Yet another important life lesson: always eat at your fullest for the sake of your friends.
Not only is Oda making Sanji’s backstory sadder and sadder, he’s also making it the combination of all the other strawhats’s pasts. Oh boy, this chapter had me cry for the third week in a row. This chapter felt really short, but I severly enjoyed it. And Sanji was so incredibly cute in it!!!<3
My review for chapter 840 - “To the East Blue” is under the cut. It’s a quite long post which also contains some pieces of character analysis.