Thursday, 22 April 2010

Sanji character essay by hsiuism

a wonderfully written character essay written by hsiuism on the one and only Sanji.

this even tops the one i read 5 years ago by Sabo-chan.

while you can read the whole essay here, below are a few of my favorite parts,

Intelligent, Rational, Curious, Introverted by nature, Theatrical
Sanji demonstrates from a young age that he wants to know about his environment and the world around him. His dream is to find All Blue, the ocean where all the fish from the four known oceans come together in one place. It's not hard to read the symbolism of this dream: unity, origin, all-encompassing knowledge. Sanji likes things to make sense. He'll stick around to hear someone's background story, try to make peace during an argument before it escalates, and call for a moment to figure out a puzzle. Despite how he normally interacts with women, when Nami and Robin - the two most rational, logical members of the crew - are making some serious point, Sanji listens and contributes with equal sincerity, a point that's been played up in the anime (Sanji's interaction with Robin in Movie 7 are especially interesting).

Basically compassionate, Sympathetic, Nurturing, Enjoys feeling part of a team
If the guilt complex makes Sanji critical, it also makes him protective. He looks out for weaker teammates, male and female. Putting aside personal shipping preferences, I like that, in the anime at least, Sanji will shield Nami from heavy winds/waves with his own body, and I liked in the episode when the crew met Brooke, that Nami was hiding behind Sanji's back. I choose to read these scenes not that Nami needs protection, but that even though she finds Sanji to be insincere and a pain, she trusts him as a safe presence during times of danger. One doesn't cling to Luffy because Luffy doesn't feel fear like normal people, and as for Zoro, he sees fear as a weakness. But Sanji will let you have space to be afraid.

He extends this kind of protection, slightly modified, to Usopp and Chopper too. He doesn't coddle them the way Nami tends to coddle Chopper, but he doesn't try to force them into a single ideology of manhood either, the way Zoro does. Sanji lets people have their space, and I think he recognizes you can be a "man" and still have insecurities, and that there are more than one type of valid masculinities.

Sanji expects people to perform according to their abilities, and recognizes that people have different skills. He encourages people to be better, but he doesn't ask them to be what they're not. In Alabasta, he basically threw Chopper to the wolves (pretending to be Mr. Prince), but it was the first time really that Chopper really asserted himself. Sanji supports Nami when none of the other boys will - while Luffy grumbles about the Waver, Sanji cheers Nami on, and it's a nice moment because Nami truly is in her element. Sanji has faith in Robin and follows her onto the Puffing Tom without even knowing the backstory. And he explicitly says to Usopp, "There are things that I can do that you can't, and things that you can do that I can't." That is basically one of the great morals of this series: we need other people because there are some things we can't do on our own. It's ok to not be able to do everything.

I think one reason why it's Sanji who imparts this to Usopp, and not the other way around, is because Sanji comes into the series already knowing and understanding weakness, in a way that Luffy and Zoro do not. He knows how it feels to confine oneself to a location and to get into a habit of staying, like Chopper. He knows how it feels to have a silly dream and have everyone laugh at it, like Usopp. He knows how it feels to hold back, and how it feels to be helpless. Sanji has the physique and athletic ability to compensate for psychological insecurity, but he doesn't scorn or underestimate those who don't.

thank you hsiuism for this great essay!! ^_^.``

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