|We'll talk about that title in a sec, but I just wanna say that's some delicious-looking food, and a very cute panda-shark.|
So this volume is titled "The Crap-Geezer", which is how Sanji refers to Chef Zeff. See, in Japanese, Sanji attaches the word "kuso" to the front of words as a sort of modifier. It translates to "shit", and is supposed to give him the impression of a foul mouth. Keep in mind that swearing in Japanese is kinda different from how it works in English, and Sanji's use of it isn't even conventional. When literally translated into English, and toned town to appease the censors, it becomes stuff like "crap-geezer" and "crap-cooks" and "crap-restaurant". It sounds awkward, isn't cool, and it's no wonder the official translation kinda just stopped using it altogether.
I'm not sure what I would do to localize this, maybe change it to "frickin" in stead? Eh, throwing mild-swears around like that just makes Sanji look like a 12-year old who isn't even edgy enough to use proper cuss words. The problem is that he ought to be referring to Zeff as "the old bastard", other people as just "you bastards", and other things as a "piece of shit". That all fits tonally, without going full Mangastream with the profanity, but I think that would be too much for the sort of mass-marketable localization Viz wants.
|Pearl is really stupid. Dumb design, and he can generate fire from his childhood in the jungle, like Blanka making electricity. It's never explained, and he's mainly just obnoxious.|
Sanji's backstory is pretty heavy stuff, what with Zeff eating his own leg, and both of them nearly starving to death, marooned on a rock in the middle of the ocean. But one part that I never really bought, and still seems iffy to me, is Sanji's dream of finding the All Blue. It seems like such a cribbing of Luffy's dream to find the One Piece and become Pirate King - some fantasy treasure location that people laugh at you for still believing in. It feels like such a flimsy reason for Zeff to risk his life to save Sanji. Fortunately I think the manga builds up a rapport between them with their love of cooking, and Zeff's new dream of an ocean-going restaurant so that no one stranded at sea ever has to go hungry again, but still.
I've read The Life of Pi. I don't need more exposition than this on the horrors of starvation, thanks.
Case in point, there's a bit where Gin is threatening to kill Zeff unless he hands over the Baratie, but Sanji refuses to give in. He can't fight back, or Zeff will die, so Pearl is just beating the tar out of him, but he keeps standing back up, saying that he knows he'll die, but he doesn't want Zeff to lose his dream again because of him. As long as he's alive, the Baratie is still alive. So he's willing to keep it alive even one second longer. But Luffy has other ideas:
|Yeah, there's a limit to mule-headed honor, even in One Piece.|
In the end, Gin and Sanji have to fight, and for a minor enemy, Gin is so damn cool. I thought he was named after the drink at first, turns out it's a hard G, so he's basically named "silver" in Japanese. Still cool! And he has freaking cannonballs on his tonfas, we need more tonfas in manga.
|Cigarette to the eye!|
|Love the camera angles on these.|
I think I like the anime's take more. It's Gin's reaction that really sells it, reminds me of how people react to a Stone Cold Stunner, the same popping motion.
|The first of many Popularity Polls. Luffy tops every one of them, because the Japanese love their main characters. Seems like in the west, nobody's favorite is ever Luffy, or Naruto, or Goku, it's always some supporting or side character, like Zoro, Rock Lee, or Piccolo.|
|Classic pose and line from Sanji here, also ruined in the 4kids version because they changed his cigarette into a lollipop. And probably gave him some corny line about "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!"|