With the new chapter, the premise and design for Kaido are pretty cool. I don’t think anyone was expecting him to be quite like this, and Oda introduced him in quite an interesting way. I’m not actually making this post to talk about Kaido though. It’s past 4 in the morning and I need to get a little sleep, but I wanted to vent about something that’s disappointed me about the end of Dressrosa: Oda not doing anything with regard to Doflamingo and Law’s characters after Doflamingo’s defeat. It was 5 chapters ago now that Doflamingo was punched out, and nothing been done with them, which has resulted in the climax for the arc feeling super shallow and hollow. Doflamingo and Law are the cornerstones of this entire arc, so I’m bothered a lot that Oda’s neglecting to do anything with them right now.
First, let me set something up here. I don’t think there has been a single villain in the entire story who has been better built up and developed than Doflamingo. A lot of people say that OP villains always have sad backstories, but that is rarely the case. Most OP villains don’t have backstories at all. Arlong turned out to have been hugely motivated by the discrimination that Fishman have had to endure at the hands of humans, but we didn’t find that out until hundreds of chapters later. Buggy, Kuro, Krieg, Mr. 3, Wapol, Crocodile, Enel, Lucci, Moriah, Magellan, Akainu, Hody, Caesar, etc. How many of them had sad backstories as a part of their arc? Hody was the only one of any of them who was developed like that, but the key to his character was the he had never actually experienced humans firsthand and he gets no sympathy for anyone. Moriah also had one line about his previous crew getting killed, but that’s seriously it for the big OP villain’s “sad backstories.” Oda almost never does it.
But Doflamingo? We actually got to see what made him in great depth. We got to see the place he came from, we got to see him go from the top of the world to the bottom, we got to see him get taken in by his executives who raised him to further believe that it was his right to rule over others, we got to see him execute his father and brother, we got to see him conquer Dressrosa, and we got to see him state that his pirate crew is the only true family he has. But what we haven’t seen is what’s going on in his head–the truth behind his words and actions. I’ve believed for most of this arc that Doflamingo does genuinely care about his crew, something I’ve argued for passionately in posts like this one. However, a great deal of people don’t buy it and believe that Doflamingo cares about no one but himself. That’s the interesting thing about Dofalmingo. We don’t know. How does this monster see the world? Were his so called “family” nothing but pawns to him, to be used and thrown away when they were no longer useful? Does he really care about them and believed that the faith and trust they had in him could only be properly be answered by climbing to the top of the world, even if it needed to be done by sacrificing them? Does Doflamingo regret killing Cora and mourn his loss, or did it mean nothing at all to him? Oda did a wonderful job of building up complexity and mystery into Doflamingo’s character. However, at this point he’s failed to actually give us an answer. No matter what Oda decided to go with it would be phenomenal to actually see the truth behind Doflamingo’s eyes (and his literal eyes too). I would have loved so much to see, as Doflamingo lay there in the ground, to just think to himself or say aloud, something to tell us what’s inside him. But instead we’ve gotten silence and it bothers the crap out of me. Oda built up and developed Doflamingo like no other villain in the entire history of One Piece, and then upon his defeat it’s been just “WELP, HE’S DOWN. TIME TO MOVE ON.”
And the same goes for Law too. I remember that prior to the last few chapters, people were making a lot of fanart of stuff like Law’s reaction to Doflamingo’s defeat–him breaking down in tears over finally taking down the monster responsible for killing Cora, or him looking up to the sky and smiling and addressing Cora and hoping that Cora’s looking down on him from above. But like with Doflamingo, we’ve gotten no emotional closure for him. Taking down Doflamingo was Law’s entire purpose in life for the past 13 years, and we didn’t even get any kind of reaction for his defeat except for one panel of Law staring with a blank face and thinking of the line about the “clan of D.” being “god’s natural enemy.” That’s not closure! We probably will get some thing of Law thanking Luffy and saying a word or two about what Doflamingo being defeated means to him within the next couple chapters, but that’s still not going to carry nearly as much impact as if we actually got a momentous, genuine reaction out of Law at the time of Doflamingo’s defeat.
Doflamingo’s climax as a villain and his defeat had absolutely no impact on me. We knew Doflamingo was going to go down, but the hope was that the way in which he did would be interesting, emotional, suspenseful, surprising. But it felt like nothing, because it was over in one predictable hit (heck, it was even announced that Luffy was going to do it in one hit), and then the characters whose thoughts and feelings I cared about seeing were ignored. Instead it was a bunch of far less interesting side characters crying. Fujitora bowing his head to Riku and the stuff with the Gorosei and Akainu and all that was interesting and important, but it could have waited. In the chapter following Doflamingo’s defeat I feel like we should have actually gotten a final, emotionally engaging scene with both Doflamingo and Law. THAT’S what I was waiting for, and that’s what we haven’t gotten.
For example, Trell drew a really cool/emotional alternative ending to the arc that actually carries an impact with it (here). And what Oda could have done wouldn’t even have to have been anything that brutal. It just needed to be something. Law saying something to Cora and showing a real reaction to his quest being over, or Doflamingo thinking some final thoughts to himself as he falls unconscious about his regrets, or Law confronting Doflamingo and saying something to him about Cora. Just something! Anything that carried some weight with it that gave respect and fulfillment to the development of their characters. As it went though, Doflamingo’s final stand as a villain, the final blow happening with Law just watching from the sidelines, and the lack of closure following Doflamingo’s defeat for both of them–all of it was pretty disappointing for me. Dressrosa started off as such an amazingly interesting and fantastic arc, but its actual ending fell very far short of that for me.
I dont get the claim that sanjis misoginistic. misogyny is the hatred of women an thats not sanji. also I have to point out that refusal to hit a woman could be described as sexist against men but it could be described as sexist against men. since it would be giving women special treatment an saying that women are too good to be hit etc. like lots of men would rather not get beat up
I never said Sanji’s
misoginistic. Sexism and misogyny are two different things. If you’re misogynistic then you’re also sexist, but not everyone who is sexist is misogynistic. Sexism doesn’t mean you hate women. Sanji’s sexist in that he treats women differently–he doesn’t treat them how they deserve to be treated based on their actions. Rather, he treats women like wonderful, precious, fragile, angels who need to be protected by him (unless they’re unattractive, and then he insults them, though he will still stick up for them if they’re attacked). Kalifa, a highly skilled government assassin? Nope, can’t fight her to save Robin’s life. Monet, a pirate who helps murder children? Men can’t hurt her either. Viola, who at the time appeared to be a cruel pirate in Doflamingo’s crew working to kill all of his friends? Nope, she must just be a poor, helpless victim of Dofalmingo (and much to my disdain the story validated Sanji’s BS).
There’s no problem with Sanji being sexist toward men because Sanji treats men like people. If a man is hungry he’ll feed him. If a man is evil Sanji will kick him in the face. If a man is kind Sanji will respect him. If a man is doing something completely stupid in a situation that is serious Sanji will wack him on the head and tell him to stop messing around. Sanji doesn’t run around beating the crap out of men who don’t deserve it because he hates men. There is no problem here like that. Sanji actually treats men like people. Sanji is often gruff and rude with men, but he does the exact same thing with women he finds unattractive
(And he was way more rude and insulting to Kokoro–practically throwing up over how disgusted he was that she was a mermaid and insisting that she couldn’t be one.)
And that doesn’t make Sanji sexist toward men. It just makes him a rude person as a general matter.
In the world of One Piece, there are cruel, horrible people–villains who need to be defeated. People who, if not fought, will murder innocent people. And it is absolutely sexist against women to refuse to fight women who are such people. On what basis can’t you fight them? They are people who NEED to be stopped. To refuse to do so because they are a woman is to treat women as though they’re not people–that they’re something else instead. Some fragile and pure that can’t be muddied with the same treatment that men deserve. And that’s limiting. It limits women from being the full range of what humanity is. Women can’t be soldiers or police, women can’t box or do martial arts, women can’t be construction workers, can’t do dirty hands-on jobs, can’t do work that’s physical labor, can’t do work that’s too “unladylike”. Again, it’s limiting and disrespectful. Imagine in a political debate between a man and a woman–what if the man acted like Sanji and said, “I cannot debate against this woman. As a man, it would be wrong of me to fight her. It’s not for women to dirty themselves with the dirty business of politics. Women are too pure for it.” Would you argue that that is somehow sexist against men? Even though the rhetoric is framed as glorifying and praising women, the end result is that women are excluded. And that’s what Sanji does. He refuses to see women as people, and instead sees them through a clouded, distorted lens and refuses to treat them according to their actions. Sexism isn’t limited to hating and insulting women. Glorifying them in a way that ignores the people they are in favor looking at them in blanket terms and excluding them from areas for the world and human treatment is sexist too.
And this isn’t just Sanji’s problem. This applies to Zoro too, and Oda brings it in all the time in the story by having a variety of men refuse to fight female villains, and it also shows by Oda just not having many female villains and fighters in the first place. And the narrative of the story validates all this. I’ve talked about this in other places plenty of times before, such as here, here, here, and here. And to top it all off, all Sanji’s efforts toward not fighting women feels all the more messed up when contrasted with the way he disrespects them for his own enjoyment.