第68回:Judge of Character



The Boy in the Iron Mask

A fan letter I received back in early September suggested that Sanji wearing the iron mask might be a nod to the so-called ‘Man in the Iron Mask’, a work based on the real-life historical figure, confined in several European prisons in the late 17th century. Well, MW-san, congratulations, looks like you called it! Sanji in an iron mask huh… Wait, haven’t we seen something like this before?

Woah. The shocking (and hilarious) reveal of Duval’s face completed Sanji’s transition into that of a punch-line, one that he would hold for years to come. When first reading this scene, and witnessing Sanji’s flaming rage, it’s impossible to take it as anything other than Oda-sensei’s sweet, sweet (sadistic) handling of Sanji’s meticulously preened self-image. Rereading that story *now* though? Leaves quite a different impression, doesn’t it? No wonder the poor guy was so burned up over it.

Don’t Judge a Book…

Take a close look at some of the reading material Sanji was seen with in this chapter!

A science book! Though, in this scene, Sanji would rather be playing with a turtle than applying himself to studies.

Close inspection of a book from later in the chapter reveals it to be a ‘Science II’ book with the title written in cursive. Being raised by a science genius, these studies were probably forced on him but it’s said that ‘cooking is chemistry’ so maybe it served him well in the long run!

Many fans noticed that Sanji is reading ‘Noland the Liar’ and that the Devil Fruit guidebook, the one from which he famously learned about the Clear Clear Fruit, is lying nearby. But did you notice the other book on the floor?

‘BLUE’!!! Sanji was seen reading a book about All Blue in prison, was this a book about the known oceans of the world?

Making Snail Talk

Haven’t seen this in a while! Oda-sensei’s famous depictions of animals talking and laughing in their own language. Anyone have a clue as to what they’re saying? If you send in an SBS question there’s a good chance Oda-sensei might answer!

Weekly Shonen Jump #43 Ch.840
One Piece Vol.41 Ch.389 SBS
One Piece Vol.51 Ch.494

That’s What the Water Made Me

The extravagant gourmet meal brought to Sanji in prison addresses a potential criticism that might be directed at Sanji’s first flashback, his wasteful and arrogant attitude towards food while onboard The Orbit.

Despite being a kind child, don’t forget that Sanji was raised *as royalty* and, believe it or not, day in and day out of pampering by servants *might* leave an impression on a malleable child! Even locked away to be forgotten, Sanji ate only the finest gourmet dishes and never suffered for want of food. Potential OOC plot-hole: AVERTED!

There’s also an Easter egg here for eagle-eyed fans. Combining these two views of the bottle it may be determined that the label reads:

Mineral Water

Kumamoto is Oda-sensei’s home prefecture located in southwestern Japan which made worldwide headlines when large swathes of the prefecture were devastated by a series of earthquakes in April 2016. It’s probably not just a coincidence that the issue of Shonen Jump in which this chapter was published announced a One Piece-themed campaign, spearheaded by Oda-sensei, aiming to bolster support for reconstruction efforts in Kumamoto. Unsurprisingly, looking up South Aso (Minami Aso) in Kumamoto reveals that it is home to a brand of spring water! So for those of you looking to get even a little bit closer to Sanji, you know where to order your mineral water!

Judge of Character

Sanji’s dad, smart guy, pride-obsessed jerk.

Sanji’s mom, swell gal, contender for ‘Mom of the Year’.

This picture doesn’t add up, does it? How did *she* end up with….*that*!? Was Judge always this big of a #FailDad? Well, we don’t know Judge’s backstory nor do we know everything about how the Vinsmoke children were conceived but Judge appears to have genuinely loved the queen. She was cared for, she didn’t seem to be held against her own volition and after her death she was given an elegant grave. If we trust her as a reliable judge of character (HAH!) then there must be something redeeming she saw in Judge.

Accepting that Sanji’s mother was a kind-hearted character and respectable judge of character, it’s possible that she saw or felt *something* in Judge that allowed her to accept him and perhaps even love him.

As Judge’s character exists in the modern storyline he seems to be a villain whose heart wears blinders called ‘ambition’. This is an excellent foil to someone like Luffy whose heart is free *because* of his ambition. With Judge, we have a villain who isn’t twirling his mustache; instead he feels like a layered villain of raw emotions, the kind of villain that could exist in real life and that’s terrifying.

Curl Power

Sanji’s eyebrows curl to his right.
Ichiji, Niji, and Yonji’s curl to their lefts.

Reiju’s *appear* to curl to her left but this panel suggests that her right eyebrow doesn’t curl to her left.

If we accept that *both* eyebrows curling is a pattern then her right eyebrow should curl to her right. One to the left and one to the right, perfect for a character like her who understands the joys of battle but also feels sympathy and sadness; stuck halfway between Sanji and the other brothers.

If true, this just might reveal something about the eyebrows of the Vinsmoke parents!

We probably won’t get a good look at Judge’s face until that mask is smashed off his face; but before Luffy and company set sail for Wano, I don’t wonder if we’ll see Judge’s left eyebrow curling to his left, and Sanji’s mother’s right eyebrow curling to her right.

Weekly Shonen Jump #43 Ch.840
Weekly Shonen Jump #44 Ch.841
One Piece Vol.7 Ch.56


Before the ‘Drought’

Episode 757 slowed down the satisfying pace of the Zou Arc and gave fans an opportunity to experience an undisturbed morning in the life of the mink.

A series of original scenes in the market of Kurau City gave viewers a sense of the peaceful mink lifestyle which made the jarring and violent appearance of Jack all the more chaotic.

Toei’s creative team also expanded on Oda-sensei’s world-building with the fish monger offering up ‘catches from the day’s first rain-ruption’ in a unique marketplace scene.

The same scene also shows that one of the fish monger’s customers is an opossum which, I believe, is the first time we’ve seen an opossum mink!

An interesting choice that shows what lengths the animation staff is going to in order to track down mammals since opossum’s aren’t quite as easily recognized in Japan as they are in the Western Hemisphere.

TV Anime #757

I Have a Pineapple

When he was originally introduced in the comic, Sicilian’s quirks were entertaining enough but his lack of participation in the main story was more than enough reason for me to question his full-page intro with a name box. He was a likeable, but ultimately unimpressionable, stock character. Believe it or not, I’d forgotten all about him.

But then, in a scene so absurd it could only make sense in the world of One Piece, Sicilian hurled a giant pineapple treehouse at his pupils and he garchu’d his way into my heart.

Instead of simply filling the role of Quirky Mink B, the steady pace of thematically on-point original material and voice actor Eiji Hanawa’s ‘FULL POWER’ delivery made Sicilian’s intro the most memorable of any supporting character since Gambia back in Dressrosa. Like Gambia, we won’t be seeing too much of Sicilian but count me in as a new Sicilian fan and I remain hopeful that he’ll play a larger role in the future.

TV Anime #758