One Piece Retrospective #2: Enter Sanji: The Passionate Chef

On the last One Piece retrospective, we kicked off the series with a rather extensive look at the first nineteen episodes of the show. From that we've gained four major characters: Luffy, Roronoa Zoro, Nami, and Usopp as well as a decent ship called the Going Merry. We faced enemies like clowns and cats along the way, and gained some knowledge about, at least, the men of the Straw Hat crew. Today, we continue the trend as we look at the arc that started my entire interest in One Piece, as well as my biggest anime crush. Be prepared for some fan girling today, folks.

Enter Sanji: The Passionate Chef
(ep. 20-30, 19-29 [4Kids])

So just a two second recap of where we left off from the previous article: Luffy and our crew are sailing along in their new ship, the Going Merry, until a mystery person climbs onboard and starts breaking everything. Luffy manages to stop him, but before the mystery man begins to fight, Zoro calls out to the man in a familiar tone of voice....
Zoro: "What are you doing here, Johnny?"
Yup, it turns out that Zoro actually knows this party crasher, and he's not the only one hanging around because Johnny tells Zoro about his partner Yosaku who's lying around sick on their small boat.
Johnny explains to the boys that Yosaku had been fine up until a few days ago when he started fainting, losing his teeth, reopening old wounds, etc. In order to get some rest, Johnny had taken Yosaku to a small nearby island, but, wouldn't you know it....
It's the exact same island that Usopp blew up during cannon firing practice during Zoro's exposition episode we discussed about last time. As Johnny asks Zoro if Yosaku is going to die, Nami examines him, and then demands Luffy and Usopp to quickly grab some limes from storage.
"He's got scurvy... If we weren't too late, he'll be just fine in a few days."
Nami: "Please, don't call me that. It sounds so dumb...."
"...Besides, I'm not a magician. This used to be a hopeless disease that plagued
sailors and we just know how to deal with it now... This is caused by deficiency
of plant derived nutrients like vitamin C. Back in the old days, they couldn't carry
fresh fruits and vegetables because they couldn't store them. We know better now."
Luffy and Usopp are impressed by how smart she is, but Nami quickly berates their lack of basic knowledge until....
Yosaku makes a full and extremely quick recovery. The pair introduce themselves as Johnny and Yosaku, the baddest pirate bounty hunters ever who used to be partnered with Zoro. As our swordsman steps forward to properly greet his old comrades....
*face palm* Knew that recovery was too good to be true...
While Yosaku rests in one of the cabins on deck, the remainder of the group discuss their need for a cook in order to remain in healthy condition after experiencing the negative effects first hand. Johnny tells the group of the perfect place to find one as well as informs Zoro of the rumors of a "certain hawk eyed man" being in the nearby area. They set a course for the sea restaurant known as the Baratie.
Just as the Merry arrives at it's destination, a Marine ship has also arrived. The man in charge introduces himself as Fullbody, a lieutenant. He first insults Luffy and the crew since they are pirates he's never heard of before, and then insults our bounty hunting pair as a duo that only goes after the small bounties and that has finally gotten caught by pirates. Johnny becomes so upset he tosses some bounties he'd been carrying.
"You think small type bounty hunters would go after these guys?!?" 
Incoming foreshadowing, folks...
Nami takes an interest in the posters, grabbing one in particular. As Johnny explains what they are, we seem to notice Nami shaking as she looks at the one poster she had grabbed. However, there's no time to ask questions as Fullbody has ordered his men to sink the Going Merry.
Luffy's quick thinking and rubbery self saves the ship from getting hit by cannon fire... However, he loses his grip slightly and accidentally sends the cannon ball right for the Baratie.... The result is damage to the restaurant and a rather unconscious head chef who was in his room at the time. This is where we get introduced to Zeff, head chef of the Baratie.
He has a thing for tall hats, apparently.
Luffy gets his butt dragged into Zeff's room after being caught be other Baratie chefs. When Luffy spots Zeff's peg leg he kinda freaks out, but it's explained to him that Zeff lost his leg long ago. Zeff tells the straw hat that he is, however, going to have to pay for some medical expenses as well as damages to the ship. When Luffy proclaims that he's broke, Zeff tells him he's going to have to work in order to pay off his debt.... For a year.
"A year? Did you just say a year? A WHOLE YEAR?!?!?"
Luffy tries to bargin with the old man to lessen his work sentence. But, Zeff isn't having any of that and he kicks the living daylights out of Luffy. Our young captain tells him that he's waited long enough to become a pirate and that he's sure he'll find a way to be let off the hook within a week. Since Zeff is a good negotiator, he offers to let Luffy off the hook...
"It'll cost you a leg, my boy."
And the two fight it out for the rest of the episode. We quickly cut to Johnny and Yosaku, who have finished repairs to the Merry, as Zoro, Nami, and Usopp decide to board the Baratie.
Meanwhile, Fullbody and his date have climbed on board the Baratie for their lunch reservation. Mind you this is another simultaneous bit with the Luffy and Zeff scenes, but, just like the Kuro arc, I'm not going to play that back and forth game. After being served wine by their waiter, Fullbody begins to... well...
"This flavor. And, yes, the aroma. It is the unmistakeable scent from the soil
of Micquo, the North land. Bitter with plenty of body, and just a tad bit sour.
This wine must be the famous Iturutz Burger Stein. Tell me waiter! Am I right?"
"Uh uh. Not even close, sir."
Welp, that was a failed attempt at showing off in front of your date. As our waiter walks off, he corrects Fullbody on one other mistake he's made.
"And, sir, my name is Sanji. I'm the Sous Chef. All the waiters ran off as of yesterday."
As other patrons quietly laugh amongst themselves, Fullbody becomes upset because he had ordered the Burger Stein specifically with this reservation. So, he decides to attempt to get back at Sanji by placing a bug in his soup. When called over, Sanji casually flirts with Fullbody's date until the marine points out the bug.
"Sorry, sir, don't know really. Looks like he's floating. Then again, it kinda
looks like he's drowning, but it's hard to say for sure."
Lesson number one when dealing with Sanji: the man is a smooth mother f**ker. Obviously, this causes laughter among the restaurant, causing Fullbody to get pissed and break the table. But, now, he's not the only one upset.
"You could have eaten it if you'd just taken the bug out. It would have
been wonderful. It took three full days of hard cooking to prepare
that soup for you and you wasted it."
After a hissy fit from Fullbody and finally seeing Sanji's face for the first time...
*gushing* Oh hi there...
Sanji goes and kicks the ever loving crap out of Fullbody. Almost like Zeff did to Luffy not so long ago..... As Zoro, Nami, and Usopp enter the restaurant, we finally get all our ducks in a row as Sanji has won his fight and gives Fullbody some advice.
Sanji: "Don't ever waste food around me again..."
"...At sea, if you ever provoke your cook, you're signing your
own death warrant. Remember that."
After a quick trip to the potty to be introduced to another character, Patty, he returns to the main dining area to see Sanji causing problems once again... Yeah, this isn't the first time Sanji has caused trouble. Patty gets Sanji to release Fullbody and the marine threatens to shut the Baratie down. Of course, this causes Sanji to become infuriated and as he's being held back by other cooks and kept away from Fullbody....
In comes Luffy and Zeff, crashing through the ceiling. The other cooks ask for help dealing with Sanji and Zeff gives the lad a kick to the face.
And then he proceeds to kick Fullbody out by.... kicking him in the face.
Suddenly, one Fullbody's men enters the restaurant to tell his lieutenant that their prisoner, one of Kreig's men, had escaped from their hold. As he continues to make his report, the marine is shot in the back by the escaped prisoner. As Fullbody quietly makes his escape, the starving man takes a seat in the restaurant and demands food. Patty decides to approach him and inquires him about his form of payment.
"Will a bullet be enough?
Patty: "So you don't have any money then."
Zeff: "That dumbass, Patty, broke another chair."
As Patty tosses the poor man out of the Baratie, Sanji leaves and returns to the kitchen, beginning to prep some food while Zeff watches from outside.
Luffy heads outside to see if this mystery pirate is ok, when Sanji joins them and places a plate of food in front of the hungry man. The man refuses Sanji's generosity, but the plate isn't taken away. Instead, Sanji just sits with him and smoke his cigarette.
"It's amazing how beautiful and cruel this ocean can be. How it's almost a death
sentence to lose your food and water out here. How difficult it is to survive..."
"...I know what it means to go hungry because of the sea more than anyone..."
"...You can die for your pride if you want..."
"...but, listen, if you eat and survive won't that give you the opportunity
to fight for pride truly worth having now and in the future?"
From those touching words, the man takes the plate in front of him and chows on down, crying over the thought of having come close to death. He remarks on how delicious the food is, and Sanji just responds with a smile.
"Of course it is." 
"I think I just found my cook! You're lucky he gave you some food!
You weren't looking so good there. I thought you were a goner..."
"...So listen, Mr. Cook, why don't you leave this boat and join my crew?
I could use a cook like you on my pirate ship!"
Now that Luffy is fully a part of the conversation, Sanji explains that Zeff, Baratie's owner, used to be a pirate as well as many of the other cooks that work there. Apparently, fights between the cooks and visiting pirates is a common occurrence, which explains why all the waiters up and bailed. Unfortunately for Luffy, Sanji refuses to join him, saying he has his reasons for working at the restaurant and he can't leave. But, like always, Luffy won't take no for an answer.
This leads to stereotypical fight, blah blah blah, as our recently fed pirate interrupts the pair and introduces himself as Ghin, a member of Don Krieg's crew. He asks Luffy, since he's a fellow pirate, what's he's after, with Luffy responding with the One Piece.
"Well you can't have been seeking it for long. If you don't even
have a cook yet, your crew can't be all that big." 
Luffy: "Nope, he's only the fifth member."
Ghin advises Luffy to not bother with the Grand Line if he wants to be able to stay alive, and it seems as though Ghin isn't that fierce of a pirate. Luffy then asks who Don Krieg is, but we don't get our answer from Ghin...
Instead we get it from the other cooks as they prep more dishes for their customers. From the stories they've heard, we learn that Krieg commands the largest fleet of pirate ships in the East Blue, making him a rather terrifying man. However, none of this phases Patty as he gets close to fighting another cook, Carne.
Luckily, Zeff steps in to calm them all down, and the cooks get back to work. Meanwhile, Ghin prepares to set back out to sea. He thanks Sanji for helping him and says that he hopes to visit again sometime, with Sanji proclaiming he'll have a seat waiting for him. Then Zeff appears above them looking for chore boy, aka Luffy, and he spots the cleaned off plate nearby them. Ghin apologizes to Sanji, but the cook isn't worried. He takes the empty dishes and drops them into the ocean.
"Now there's not proof, so there's no way for me to get yelled at."
Ghin sets sail, bowing his head to Sanji with gratitude, and Zeff tells his Sous Chef and new Chore Boy to get back to work. But, for Luffy, the life of a chore boy can be rather boring. The other cooks in the kitchen, eventually, make him do dishes and we get to hear a little more about the relationship between Sanji and Zeff. According to the other cooks, Sanji has been working in the restaurant the longest out of anyone even though he causes problems and gets into fights with Zeff much of the time. And yet, Zeff keeps him around for some reason. After breaking some dishes, eating food, and burning his hand on a hot pan, Luffy is banished from the kitchen and sent to wait on tables. But, Luffy spots a few friendly faces among the patrons.
Nami: "Chore boy!"
Luffy: "What are you doing?!"
Usopp: "We heard you had to work here for a whole year!"
Zoro: "Is it ok if we redraw the flag for our ship?"
Luffy, in a tiny fit of jealousy, decides to play a prank by putting a booger into Zoro's water. But....... Zoro isn't having any of that.....
Sanji, who happens to be nearby, comments, sarcastically, on their wonderful noise making in the restaurant. When he spots Nami sitting among the others, laughing...
"Oh dear ocean, thank you for this treasure you have shared from
your depths. Ah yes, my love, I can't bear this hardship of loving
you from afar. It is too difficult..." 
"...I am now prepared to sail to the ends of the earth as a pirate if that
means someone of your rare beauty will be by my side..."
"...To be together, sailing the seas! But how tragic, a great
obstacle blocks our way."
Zeff: "And that great obstacle would be me, right? Sanji?"
Sanji: "Agh, stupid geezer..."
"This is an opportunity you don't want to pass up. Why not join them
and become a pirate? I have no need to keep you here at my restaurant."
While we get this all sorted out, we cut back to Ghin who has rejoined his captain. However, after noting the state of the main ship, Ghin decides to take them all to the Baratie.
Back to the daily lives of Baratie cooks, Zeff tries using words in order to force Sanji to leave. Because he fights with customers, flirts with all the women, cooks terrible meals (according to Zeff, anyway), and the other cooks stay clear away from him, Zeff wants Sanji gone. However, Sanji refuses and comes close to starting a fight with Zeff, until he is thrown at a table. Zeff walks off, and Luffy tries to cheer the guy up by telling he could totally join his crew since his boss says it's fine.
Sanji apologizes to Nami for the trouble he caused and gives her something to drink and a lovely fruit cup. And in comes jealous Usopp demanding an apology as well. When Sanji only offers some tea, Usopp decides to start a fight... Kind of.
Usopp: "Take him out, Zoro!"
Zoro: "You take him out..."
Nami uses Sanji's weakness for pretty girls against him in order to get a free meal, while the guys still have to pay. Then Sanji grabs Luffy and drags him back to work.
Four days pass and the straw hats are becoming bored waiting around for the captain. Luffy tells his friends that he's going to try and make another deal with Zeff, but then notices something off in the distance. It's Don Krieg's pirate crew, however something seems rather off about them...
Ghin helps his captain into the restaurant and Krieg asks for food, offering to pay them. However, no one seems willing to help him. That is, except one person...
"Here's something for your captain."
As Krieg eats his fill, Carne demands that the food be taken from him and tells more about Krieg's dirty tricks in order to succeed in battle such as using a Marine ship in order to raid ports and local villages.
Well, that was advice coming a little too late, Carne...
Ghin urges his captain not to hurt the ship as well as Sanji, the man who saved them both, but Krieg doesn't give a flying f**k and breaks Ghin's arm. As the rest of the patrons quickly abandon the Baratie, Zoro and the others onboard the Merry wonder what's going on inside, so Zoro and Usopp decide to have a look for themselves.
Back inside, Krieg quickly looks around and then proclaims that he's going to take the Baratie. He demands the cooks to get food and water for the remaining 100 crew members on his main vessel. The majority of the cooks, once again, refuse, however, when he sees Ghin on the floor apologizing to him, Sanji stands and begins to head for the kitchen.
"Looks like I'll be cooking a hundred more meals today."
Sanji doesn't' get very far as the rest of the cooks threaten to take him down if he tries to get anywhere near the kitchen.
"Alright. Stop me if you wish. I know it's no secret that
Don Krieg is a terrible, ruthless man..."
"...But that doesn't matter to me. It doesn't matter. After we feed all
these men, who knows what's going to happen..."
"...I am just a simple cook, no more and no less. If someone's going
hungry it's my duty to feed them. That's all I know..."
"...What'da ya say? Is that wrong?"
Apparently Sanji is, according to Patty, as he is knocked down. Patty goes and grabs a secret weapon to combat against Krieg, a mini cannon shaped like a shrimp and fires at the pirate commodore.
However, the man survives and proceeds to attack all the cooks inside using lots and lots of guns.
"You cooks should not have defied me. I am, by far, the world's strongest man!..."
"...Arms made of solid steel; whole steel body armor, impenetrable;
and a diamond fist that can pound this entire world to dust. In addition to
the weapons on my body, I have a fleet with fifty ships and five thousand
pirates. My record is perfect, I have won every single battle
that I have ever been in..."
When I give you slime balls an order, you will follow it down to
the last letter! Don't you ever disobey me!"
As Krieg finishes his long lecture and boasting, Zeff appears and delivers a bag with a hundred meals to be taken to Krieg's remaining crew members. Krieg, however, recognizes the chef almost instantly...
"You're Red Foot Zeff..."
As Zeff walks off, the other cooks begin to question him asking why give them food if they would just attack and take over the Baratie anyway. Zeff, agrees with them, but also makes an interesting observation...
"That would be true, if they still had the will to fight."
This leads the others in the restaurant to discover that the reason for Krieg and his crew's poor state is because of the Grand Line. Which now makes much more sense as to Ghin's advice to Luffy before. However, Krieg isn't interested in that part, but rather Zeff himself. Remember how Sanji mentioned to Luffy how Zeff used to be a pirate? Well, it comes up again here as we learn that Zeff formally was the captain AND cook of his crew who had been thought to have died long ago. Using his kicks for combat rather than his hands, he gained the name Red Foot Zeff.
Krieg: "Red Foot referred to his boots, which became soaked with
the blood of his enemies as he kicked them down."
Krieg pities the old man for losing his greatest weapon out to sea, but Zeff doesn't mind at all as long as he's got his hands in order to cook. He asks Krieg to get to his point, and the commodore mentions a log book belonging to Zeff with a year long record of his time sailing the Grand Line. As the only known person to have survived nearly unscathed, Krieg wants the book in order to return there.
"My log book, huh. You're right, I do indeed have a record of my travels.
But I will never hand it over to you. You ignorant brute. That log book is
sacred to me. It's the pride of the crewmen that I sailed with.
It's far too important to give to you."
After Zeff's declaration, Krieg makes one of his own; stating that he'll just take the log book. Then he'll form a new fleet and return to the Grand Line in order to find the One Piece and becoming the ruler of the pirate era.
"Now hold on! It's me who's gonna be King of the Pirates."
Well, here we go again... With Krieg irritated, and Luffy ready for a fight, the two stare each other down until Zoro and Usopp appear on the stairs above them offering their assistance. When Luffy tells them it's not needed, Krieg begins to laugh and asks if that really is his crew.
Luffy: Well, that's not all! I've got two more!"
Krieg takes a moment and then decides to ignore the group for now. Instead, focusing on bringing the food Zeff prepared to his men. He proclaims that all he wants are the log book and ship so everyone can run if they'd like to keep their lives. But he's not against burying them at sea if they stick around, and he leaves.
Back on board the Merry, Johnny and Yosaku observe the restaurant and wonder if everything is going fine. Then they see Nami on another side of the ship, looking at something. The guys ask if she's ok, and she responds to them, hiding the paper behind her back. A wanted poster.
Obvious foreshadowing is obvious... Again....
Back inside the restaurant, Ghin apologizes to Sanji once more for the trouble he's caused, but Zeff tells him not to worry about it as Sanji was doing what any cook would do. This angers the rest of the cooks, placing the blame of their current situation on Sanji. However, Zeff comes to Sanji's defense and has a few choice words for his other cooks.
None of you have any idea what it's like to be on the brink of starvation.
To have no food or water on the open ocean. There is no way you could
possibly understand what a terrifying prospect that is. It's the most difficult
situation a man could ever face..." 
"...The difference between all of you and Sanji, is that Sanji knows."
Zeff then proceeds to tell the others to leave if they plan to continue their grumbling. They all refuse, each claiming the Baratie as their home and their willingness to fight for it. Ghin tries to stop them from fighting against them, however Sanji tells him otherwise. Now that Sanji has followed his personal moral code, and Ghin's comrades are fed, he has no obligation to them, and that he will kill any one who tries to take the Baratie. Luffy, still impressed, tells Zoro and Usopp how much he really wants Sanji to join them, but then turns to Ghin and asks him about the Grand Line since he says he knows nothing, and, yet, he's been there.
"What happened to us on the seventh day of our journey through that cursed sea, I don't know if it was a dream or reality. I saw things that I can't bring myself to believe. I know in my heart that it's impossible for that entire fifty ship fleet to be completely eradicated by a single man... It all happened so fast. As soon as this man appeared, he began to systematically sink our ships one after the other. If that raging storm hadn't come upon us as it did, than that monster would have destroyed our flagship as well. I don't know if a single other ship made it out. It all seems like a terrible nightmare burned into my memory. I just want to forget. His eyes. They were like a hawk's. Sharp and murderous. His gaze alone felt like the cold hand of death."
Zoro (thinking): "What did he just say?"
Zeff: "Well then. That can only be the one known as Hawkeye."
Since Zoro was the first to recognize the description, he's asked if he knows him and we find out that Hawkeye Mihawk is the man that Zoro has been searching for since he first set out to sea. Ghin is then asked if his crew did anything to provoke Hawkeye, and he simply responds no. Although Zeff makes a joke about maybe waking the man from a nap, it turns into some good advice about the Grand Line.
"He probably means that anything can happen there."
Usopp tries to convince Luffy against going to the Grand Line, but all this scary talk has just made the guy even more excited. Then there's Zoro, who's looking forward to finally facing down his rival. Sanji, however, just thinks they're all idiots.
Sanji: "Are you stupid? It's idiots like you guys that end up dead."
Zoro: "That may be true, but lay off the name calling. I devoted my
entire life to becoming the world's greatest swordsman..."
"...I made my choice, so I'm the only one that gets to call me stupid."
"Hey! What about me?!"
Usopp: "Me too, right?! I mean it seems only fair!"
Zoro: "Shut up, stupid."
Sanji: "What morons..."
While Patty brings the dreamers back into reality, we visit the men on Krieg's ship as they recover from their hunger thanks to Zeff's food. Krieg tells his men that he's happy because he'll need a strong crew in order to return to the Grand Line. After shooting one of his men for asking questions, we cut to another small ship sailing along towards the Baratie.
Someone's in trouble....
Before Krieg and his men can even begin their attack, someone cuts Krieg's oversized gallon in half! Zeff orders the anchor to be raised before the Baratie sinks along with Krieg's ship while Luffy and the guys head outside to make sure the Merry, along with Nami, Johnny, and Yosaku, are safe. However, we find Johnny and Yosaku in the ocean swimming towards the Baratie. When they're asked if Nami is ok, the pair give some bad news.
Yosaku: "I don't know how to say this but... She's gone!"
Nami: "See ya! Oh! And make sure to tell them..."
Johnny: "Big Sis, Nami..."
Nami: "...if it's meant to be, I'll see them real soon!"
Yosaku: "...She took all the treasure and sailed away!" 
"SHE DID WHAT?!?!?!?!?"
Johnny and Yosaku explain to the boys what happened. According to their story, Nami tricked the pair into falling overboard, and then took the ship just before Krieg's is cut in half. Zoro and Usopp are rather pissed, but Luffy sees the Merry off in the distance and tells the others to take Johnny and Yosaku's boat and go after it. Zoro isn't interested, however his stubborn captain doesn't want to accept anyone other than Nami as the crew's navigator making the swordsman reluctantly agree. But, before the group can give chase, we have ourselves a little problem. And his name is Hawkeye Mihawk...
He must have been having a damn good nap, Zeff, if he
followed Krieg all the way out here to the East Blue...
Zoro isn't quite ready to sail after Nami, as he, instead, wants to take on Mihawk and claim his title. As he steps forward against Mihawk, the others around him recognize the cocky man as Pirate Hunter Zoro, causing quite the confusion as to why he's among pirates, including Sanji. Mihawk draws his... Uhh...
"It will be more than adequate. After all, you wouldn't kill a fly
with a cannon, would you?"
He makes a good point, but still. Zoro uses his Onigiri attack against Mihawk in order to finish him quickly, however Mihawk proves he's much more than just talk.
"I can't move my swords! What has he done? No one's been able to
defend against that technique, and he stopped it with a pocket
knife! No! This can't be happening! He can't be this much
better than me! There's no way our skills are this far apart!"
Let's face it, Zoro, the show would have ended if you accomplished your goals so quickly... Zoro tries his best to land a hit in against Mihawk, however his memories of Kuina cause him to slowly become unbalanced, giving Mihawk a chance it hit him in the back of the head. Zoro stands, once more, and tries to fight, but ends up missing and falls down.
"What is it, then? What weight do you carry upon your shoulders?
Speak up, weakling!"
Johnny and Yosaku aren't impressed that Mihawk called Zoro a weakling and prepare to attack Mihawk themselves, however Luffy holds them back. He knows perfectly well that this is Zoro's fight and his alone. The swordsman makes one last attempt against Mihawk using his Tiger Trap attack. However....
Mihawk lands a blow to Zoro's chest, causing injury for our resident swordsman. But Zoro just won't back down. And, well, since this is a very memorable scene, I'm just going to let IT do the talking for me.

(NOTE: Skip to 1:02 and ignore the weird subtitles)

Curtsey of OnePiercer

Johnny and Yosaku quickly dive into the sea to rescue Zoro, while Luffy becomes agitated and uses his Gum Gum powers to launch himself towards Mihawk. This causes Luffy to finally reveal, for the first time, his Devil Fruit powers to Kreig and the Baratie cooks, including Sanji. Mihawk assures Luffy that Zoro will be fine and we see him not too far off in Johnny and Yosaku's arms. The bounty hunting pair quickly take Zoro to their small ship and Usopp helps to fish Zoro out, beginning to treat his injuries. Suddenly, Mihawk makes a surprising proclamation to Zoro.
"It's still far too early for you to die. My name is Hawkeye Mihawk.
You're strong, but there is much for you to learn..."
"...No matter how many years it takes, I will hold this title as the
greatest in the world and wait for you. Until that day,
you must hone your skills..."
"...Then seek me out, Roronoa Zoro!"
Zeff comments on Mihawk's growing respect for Zoro, and our strong swordsman asks Luffy about his ambitions. When he hears that Luffy wants to be the Pirate King, he smiles stating that his goals are even loftier than Zoro's. Usopp cries out that Zoro is alive, and the man makes his own proclamation to his captain.
"I'm sorry for disappointing you. I know you need nothing less than the
greatest swordsman in the world. I've let you down. Please forgive me..." 
"...I solemnly swear from this moment forward that I will never lose again.
Until the day comes when I defeat him and take his title.
I will never, ever, be defeated!..."
Zoro: "...Is that okay, King of the Pirates?"
Luffy: "Yup!"
Mihawk tells Luffy that he and Zoro make a good pair and that he hopes to see them again someday. But before he can make his leave, Krieg is interested in why Mihawk hasn't killed him yet. He did originally go after him, after all. Mihawk says that the thought did cross his mind, but he's had his fun for the day and was more interested in going back home. But.... Krieg just doesn't learn anything and attacks Mihawk, prompting the swordsman to cut apart his gallon even further and escaping during the blast.
Luffy tells Usopp to go on ahead with Zoro and the others in order to find Nami. He agrees and tells Luffy to make sure he gets Sanji to join them and then the five of them can sail the Grand Line together. As the small ship sets sail and the fight is about to begin, Luffy asks Zeff if he can stop working for him if he gets the Krieg pirates out of their hair, to which the head chef agrees. Zeff comments on Luffy's ability to clearly and easily state his goals, while Luffy asks if the old man was interested in becoming the Pirate King when he entered the Grand Line so long ago.
Zeff: "I do my best to forget the past. I'm the owner of Baratie
now, and that's quite enough for me."
Krieg rallies his men before beginning their assault on Baratie, however another crewman asks about the possibility of running into Mihawk once again..... And gets shot for it...... Man, we're down to, what, 98 men now? Geez, Krieg... Anyways, he explains that Mihawk is probably a Devil Fruit user like Luffy is (though there is no proof of that even after hundreds of episodes later), and running into them would be more like a common occurrence. He's under the impression that all the information they will need, including clues to the One Piece's location, are written in Zeff's old log book, and his men prepare their attacks.
But Patty and Carne are ready to take them on! Once they figure out what the heck they're doing. We turn to Sanji who comments on how the Baratie will soon become a battlefield, and we get a small glimpse of when he was a child.
Zeff: "Times like these make you reflect on your life. I think, I was
meant for something else. I think if I can make it out of this alive, I'll
build a restaurant as my final purpose."
Sanji orders one of the cooks to raise fins in order to keep the mess that's about to occur out of the restaurant. Also, so that way Zeff won't be all whiny, according to Sanji. Luffy decides to make the first move against Krieg and launches himself at the band of pirates, knocking several of them into the water. After seeing more of his powers first hand, Zeff tells Sanji to not take his eyes off Luffy and his fight for even a second, telling him to observe how he fights.
The fins of the Baratie are raised, and Sanji is poised in the front, ready to take on the Krieg pirates. We finally get to see what Patty and Carne are up to, as they sail a smaller weaponized vessel out to attack Krieg.
Uhh... Nevermind...
As the little vessel is sent flying for the restaurant, Sanji gives it a good kick and deflects it away from the main building and into one of the raised fins. As Patty and Carne jump out to yell at Sanji for almost killing them, some of Krieg's men have gotten onboard. The cooks try to take them down, but the majority of them are easily bested. But, they aren't down and out just yet as Patty and Carne give a little pep talk, mentioning their feeling of belonging at the Baratie after being kicked out of many jobs and restaurants. The other cooks gain back their fighting spirit and begin holding off the pirates.
At least until this guy swims over to cause problems...
He knocks Patty and Carne down, then introduces himself as Pearl, the impenetrable shield. One of Krieg's men spots Patty's kitchen knife and decides to take it, but Patty just won't let go of it. Infuriated, Sanji goes over to the would be thief and kicks him in the face, knocking several other men in the line of fire straight into Pearl's armor.
"A kitchen knife is a cook's soul! How dare you filthy pirates
try to desecrate one with your grubby little hands!"
He returns the knife to Patty, telling him to stay down and that he'll teach them a lesson. The pirates aren't phased as they attempt to attack Sanji. Notice how I say the word attempt...
He knocks all the pirates onboard down, leaving only Pearl standing off to the side. Pearl doesn't seem all that impressed as Sanji explains that, as a cook, he doesn't want to damage his hands in battle, hence why he uses his feet to fight. A very similar method to Zeff during his own pirate days. As Pearl tries some trash talking and boasting, and while straw hat is distracted, Krieg attacks Luffy and sends him flying.... Right into Pearl.
At least Luffy isn't stuck on a ship's mast anymore...
All the talk about winning his battles unscathed, and now seeing himself bleeding after his run in with Luffy, Pearl, for lack of better words, kinda loses his s**t.
Admittedly, when you listen to this bit, it sounds almost dirty...
And considering who's voicing Pearl in the FUNimation dub,
it makes it even weirder...
Pearl begins to attack anyone and everyone that stands in his way, causing a massive fire onboard the Baratie's fin and quickly spreading. Sanji, in order to prevent the restaurant from burning, jumps into the ring of fire to fight against Pearl. 
"Well, if I was scared of fire, I wouldn't be much of a cook."
In a fit of rage, Pearl unleashes more fire; this time in Zeff's direction. But, the head chef still has some moves left in him as he uses his leg to create a breeze in order to put out the fire from Pearl's attack. Krieg decides to take a cheap shot at Sanji and uses his long chain mace to attack him while he's trapped in the ring of fire. Luffy suddenly jumps in and knocks the attack back at Krieg, saving Sanji in the process and...
...knocking the mast of the destroyed gallon right on Pearl's head.
As Luffy and Sanji look over a fully unconscious Pearl, we suddenly run into a rather unexpected problem. Ghin has taken Zeff hostage at gun point.
Ghin promises to spare Zeff's life, if Sanji just gives up and leave the Baratie. But, Sanji refuses, cracking an insult at Zeff's expense and receives some name calling in response. Sanji suddenly has an outburst, demanding that Zeff stop treating him like a kid. He turns to Ghin, demanding that the gun be pointed at him rather than Zeff. 
Pearl: "Someone's eager to die. Lucky for you, I'd be more than happy
to oblige. Allow me. It would be my pleasure to beat you to a bloody,
lifeless, pulp."
Pearl lands a direct attack on Sanji, after the cook does nothing to dodge his attack. The reason being that, if he evaded it, Ghin would have pulled the trigger on Zeff. Ghin demands to know why Sanji just won't hand the Baratie over, and Sanji's response leads us into something else...
"This restaurant is that old man's life. I've already taken everything
else that man holds dear. His power. His dreams..."
"...So, while I'm around, I'm not going to let anything else get taken from him!"
Pearl uses this chance to attack Sanji from behind, and as we see him fall, we finally learn the story about Sanji and his relationship to Zeff.
On a passenger ship out to sea, little chore boy Sanji proclaims his dream to find the All Blue to the cooks on board. This mythical place is described as a part of the ocean where fish from all four seas (North, South, East, and West Blue) call home, making this place a cook's paradise. However, the cooks tease him because they believe the All Blue to be some kind of fairy tale.
After having served a meal to the passengers on board, Sanji is tossing out some leftovers while the cooks are eating them. While our little blondie finds it gross, one of the cooks mentions that if you choose the life of a cook on the high seas, then you have to be resourceful or else it could be your last mistake. But, before the discussion can continue, there's panic coming from the upper decks. It's a band of pirates, coming to raid the passenger ship. But it's not just any band of pirates...
That's right, folks. It's Zeff's crew as they have just returned from the Grand Line. He orders his men to steal everything aboard the passenger ship, while Sanji looks on in agitation. The little guy decides to attack the pirates in order to defend the ship. But, because you're trying to attack a band of pirates, and they are Zeff's....
Sanji gets a kick to the face and is sent flying. But the kid won't give up that easily, and crawls his way over to Zeff in order to bite his leg.
"I'm not gonna die. Not here. I've got to live, so that I can find the All Blue!"
Zeff's men find this rather amusing and begin to laugh, as they are also in the belief that the All Blue doesn't exist. Zeff gives another kick in order to shake the little tike off of him, but Sanji still won't stay down. As Zeff stares at the young one as he rambles, his crewmen suggest leaving since the current storm is growing bigger, and Zeff gives the order to leave. However...
A strong wave washes onto the main deck, dragging Sanji into the ocean. Zeff instantly dives in after the kid in order to try and save him. As he does, another, much larger, wave comes crashing down on both ships, destroying them. As Sanji keeps sinking further and further into the ocean, we see that the ship wreckage has caused Zeff's leg to be trapped. With some quick thinking and an anchor, Zeff manages to free himself and reaches Sanji in time.
Sanji wakes up on a deserted island and sees Zeff sitting towards the edge, looking out to sea. Zeff explains that it's rotten luck to end up on an island with no food on it. And, since the waves have shaped the island, it would be impossible for either of them, as the soul survivors of the wreckage, to climb back onto the island if they were to go in after some fish. He notes a small sack next to Sanji, telling him that's his share of the food that had washed up and that it will last him a while if he rationed it out properly. But Sanji notices something rather off.
Sanji: "Hey wait! Is that bag your share of the food? You got
way more than me, you fat old pig!"
Zeff tells the boy that, since he's a grown man, he needs more food in order to survive unlike "a little rut" like him. He tells Sanji to wait on the other side of the rock they're on and to keep watch over any ships that will pass by, talking to Zeff only if one were to appear rather than wasting a lot of energy. Sanji, while still a little upset, is optimistic that a ship will come before he runs out of food.
Weeks pass by as Sanji eats the last of his food supply, and is in poor condition. While eating, he becomes reminded of his disgust for eating leftovers on the passenger ship and suddenly begins to cry. As he wipes the tears from his eyes, he accidentally drop his last bit of bread into the ocean.
Even more time passes, and we see the little one in an even worse state than before. Wondering if his companion has died, Sanji decides to see if Zeff is still alive. He discovers that he is, as well as he still has a full sack of food lying next to him.
In a fit of hungry desperation, Sanji takes a knife and decides to approach Zeff in order to take his food. As he gets close, Zeff notices his presence and asks why he's here and if he'd seen a ship. Sanji tells him no, and that he is after his food. Then he proceeds to cut the bag open.
Only to find treasure inside of it. Zeff remarks how sad it is that they have all this money and nothing to spend it on, then Sanji approaches him, trying to ask what's going on until...
He finally notices that Zeff's leg is missing, and realizes that it happened when Zeff freed himself from the ship wreckage in order to save Sanji. Not only that, but he also realizes that Zeff had given him all the food he had found and didn't keep any for himself. When asked why he would do what he did, Zeff tells him it's due to a common interest.
Zeff: "Because, for my entire life, I've had the same dream as you."
Sanji: "The All Blue. But, your men said it doesn't exist."
"Of course it does! Never mind them. When the time comes, head
to the Grand Line. That's where the All Blue is sure to be. My days
as a pirate are done, but you have your whole life to find it."
Zeff falls over from fatigue and hunger, and Sanji tries to get him to stay with him. The now former pirate remarks that this isn't the first time he's been in a situation like this and each time he dreams of a restaurant in the middle of the sea. Sanji finds the idea wonderful and even agrees to help Zeff achieve it so long as he doesn't die.
Suddenly, off in the distance, Sanji spots a boat sailing nearby. In a fit of tears, he calls out to the ship for help and this set of backstory slowly fades back to Sanji face down on the Baratie's fin. Then, he begins to stand.
"That old coot. He gave up his leg so that I could live. There's no
way to repay the old geezer for his kindness unless I risk my life for him!"
As Pearl begins even more trash talking, Luffy, after noting Sanji's dedication and determination, sends a Gum Gum Battle Axe right into the Baratie's fin.
Luffy smash......?
After a display of power, everyone minus Krieg is impressed by Luffy's strength. Krieg orders Ghin to shoot Zeff, however there's some hesitation because Ghin is still grateful for the food they had given them all. Luffy decides to proclaim that he's just gonna sink the Baratie anyway so that all the attacking can stop, which, for the devoted Sanji, is a big no no.
Sanji: You bastard! That's what you're doing? You can't sink this ship!"
Luffy: "But if the restaurant's gone, there's no reason to attack them, is there."
Sanji: "NO!..."
"...This ship save my life. I owe everything to her, and
you will not take that away!"
Luffy: "You're gonna die for a dumb old restaurant? Are you stupid?!"
Sanji: "What'd you say?!"
Luffy: "Getting killed? That's how you wanna repay your debt?! The
old man didn't save you so you could kill yourself. He did it so you could
do something with your life, not die like a fool!"
Pearl stands once more and poises himself at the ready to attack the arguing pair. But, before he gets too far, Pearl finally goes down for good by, once again, someone rather unexpected...
"I'm sorry, Pearl, but you're in my way."
Krieg calls out Ghin's traitorous act, receiving an apology in return. Ghin then states that he won't let Sanji die in this manor, instead desiring to give him a proper fight and letting him die while he stands instead of taking cheap shots at him. And, this time, with Ghin's own hands. So now, because of Ghin's actions, Zeff is no longer a hostage and Pearl has finally been taken down for the count (about damn time on the latter of the two...)!
Ghin then challenges both Sanji and Luffy, but Luffy states that he isn't afraid of the Krieg pirates, going and upsetting Krieg's crewmen who mumble that they are the strongest in the East Blue, blah blah blah...
Luffy: "Only cause you out number the other pirates in the East Blue."
Sanji: "Oh boy... Now you've really pissed them off."
Luffy: Guess I was right."
The pirates suddenly storm after Luffy to take him down out of anger, but Krieg orders them to stop, telling them to not give in to their anger. His next order of business is to order Ghin to take down Sanji while Krieg, himself, will take on Luffy. He informs Luffy that he isn't phased by his powers since he's seen it all on the Grand Line (supposedly), and Luffy admits that he's annoyed hearing Krieg talk, telling the man to sit tight and he'll over there to "kick your ass" in a moment.
The fight between Sanji and Ghin begins and the pair match each other blow for blow until Sanji loses his footing and ends up on his back with Ghin's tonfa against his throat. As the cold hearted commander goes in for the kill, Sanji spits his lit cigarette into Ghin's forehead, giving him a little burn and allowing Sanji to escape and give a good kick to Ghin's head. Ghin goes down, but not before giving Sanji a hit to the chest.
The two of them stand, with Sanji not exactly in the best condition. Carne comments that, since he's gone through a lot already, thanks to Pearl, Sanji's ribs must be smashed up by this point. Luffy notices Krieg just sitting around and takes the opportunity to attack him. However, Krieg decides to attack him back. Irritated, Luffy asks if Krieg is going to fight him, but the man doesn't seem to care all that much. Luffy hears someone getting hit and turns back towards Sanji.
As Sanji kneels on the deck in front of him, he tells Ghin that he hits like a girl even though he's clearly done with this fight as he then thinks to himself that Ghin is too strong for him to handle. Ghin goes in for a final attack, however...
"What was that? Your pity? I'm not dead, yet!"
It seems like Ghin went a little easy on him, allowing Sanji to get another hit in. After knocking Ghin down, Sanji feels a sharp pain in his chest and collapses, with Carne and Patty worried that he's going to end up killing himself if he kept fighting. Ghin stands and takes the opportunity to hold Sanji down, once more, for a final attack. But, he hesitates, beginning to cry.
"I can't. I can't obey your order. This man saved my life.
"He treated me with such respect and decency, and kindness. That's
why I can't bring myself to kill him!..."
"...I've always been loyal to you. Up till now, I've believed in
what we've done. I respect and appreciate all that you've given me.
Trusting me as your Chief Commander was the honor of my life..."
"...Until this moment, I have obeyed every single order you have given me
without questioning it. I can't live with myself if I kill this man,
and I cannot break my oath..."
"...Please, I beg you, let me disobey just this one order. Please?"
Ghin asks if they can just leave and let the cooks keep the restaurant for themselves, to which Krieg becomes infuriated. Ghin is stripped of his title, and then Krieg prepares to fire poison gas at the restaurant. As his men put on their gas masks, and Ghin reaches for his own, Krieg tells his now former Chief Commander that he should throw the mask away and die.
"You're no longer worthy to be a Krieg pirate."
Luffy rushes over to try and stop Krieg, but the man attacks Luffy, pushing him back to the Baratie. Luffy then turns to Ghin and tells him not to worry about what Krieg says to him, because he's just going to kick his ass anyway. Ghin thinks otherwise, stating that since he followed his emotions and spared Sanji, he's betrayed his captain and is willing to accept his punishment, throwing his own gas mask into the ocean. Krieg proceeds to fire his poison gas.
As the pirates and cooks take cover away from the blast, Luffy manages to snag two gas masks from Krieg's men and quickly tosses them toward Sanji and Ghin. When he turns around to try and grab one more for himself, there's no one left in the water as the explosion hits the Baratie.
When the smoke has cleared, Luffy somehow managed to find a nearby gas mask in order to save himself. As he hears Sanji telling Ghin to let go of him, Luffy turns toward them.
And sees that Ghin forced a gas mask onto Sanji, but is not wearing one himself. Luffy realizes that the mask he ended up getting in time, was one of the two that Luffy originally tossed over to them. Before Luffy goes to them to help Ghin, Krieg begins to laugh, mocking Ghin for his actions.
"So it seems, Don Krieg was not the right man for you to follow, was he."
Krieg insults the poisoned fellow, saying that it's better that he die now rather than betray him again in the future. This astonishes the rest of Krieg's crew since Ghin has not only been with Krieg the longest, but he's among the most loyal men. We actually learn how Ghin was captured by Fullbody, using himself as a decoy in order for the gallon to escape as the crew had just left the Grand Line.
Zeff, Patty, and Carne appear on the deck again and, under Zeff's suggestion, help Sanji take Ghin inside and upstairs to try and detoxify his lungs in order to save him. Krieg continues to mock their efforts, stating that Ghin will just die within the hour. Luffy has had enough and demands Ghin not to die and to stick around as he beats Krieg to a pulp. Sanji tries to hold him back, saying that a head on attack is just what Krieg wants, however...
"I'm not worried. Go ahead and give it your best shot!"
Luffy charges in after Krieg, but the commodore is ready as he creates a wall of ocean water and then fires his needle machine gun at our hero. Luffy takes a few hits, but continues his attack. Krieg than pulls out his iron net in order to protect himself from Luffy's onslaught.
But Luffy doesn't give a flying f**k and lands a punch on Krieg while damaging his fist from the net in the process. And, yeah, everyone around them felt that hit through the spikes Luffy took in order to land the hit. Luffy then pulls the needles, he was hit with before, out.
"So, is this my funeral or yours? You can't kill me with little spikes..."
"...My funeral will take more than this! You'll have to do better
than that if you want to beat me, ..."
"...because I don't think it's time for me to die just yet."
As everyone observes on, Sanji comments that the guy in front of him is completely nuts. Zeff tells his protege that he's actually seen guys similar to Luffy, ones who would rather die than run from a fight, and that he's glad he's on their side.
Zeff: "I don't care if he wins or loses. I consider it an
honor to be able to watch him."
In the meantime, we cut to Patty and Carne on the upper decks tending to Ghin. They try to see what they can do to help him, but then it turns into an argument between the duo over their cooking skills (as you do on the Baratie). Ghin suddenly stops breathing and the pair begin to have a panic attack and try to wake up him. He eventually wakes on his own, only uttering Krieg's name.
Speaking of, Krieg regains his composure and stands. He attacks Luffy, telling him to go to hell, but Luffy isn't having any of that.
Luffy: "YOU FIRST!"
The onlookers begin to comment on the commodore's state with one side terrified of Luffy/wondering if Krieg really isn't invincible and the other side cheering on their chore boy. But Krieg isn't done and pulls out his battle spear to attack Luffy. Not only is the blade sharp, but every time he hits something with it, it kinda causes explosions.
Luffy manages to remain out of the water, but isn't able to stand due to the loss of too much blood. Krieg attacks him, but before Luffy can fall off of the tiny scrap of ship he's on, he grabs on tight to the battle spear.
"That was really close."
Krieg shakes him off the spear and attacks Luffy while he's flying through the air. Straw Hat prevents the blade of the spear from making contact, however the explosion knocks him down. As Luffy stands, and Krieg mocks him, Sanji is worried that Luffy won't be able to take much more of the attacks. However, Zeff thinks otherwise.
"Even with a hundred, thousand more weapons, our chore boy can
still bring him to his knees. Because he does not know fear."
Krieg hits Luffy again, knocking him down, but the kid stands right back up once again as people continue to look on, with Sanji in utter disbelief.
Zeff: "Stand or fall, life or death. In a struggle for your very existence,
you cannot even have the slightest bit of fear or you will be lost."
Sanji: "What are you talking about?"
Zeff: "That kid out there..." 
"...When he's fighting, he's not afraid of anything..." 
"...Not even death..."
"...Is it just instinct or all a plan? We'll know soon, if he lives."
"What plan? Killing himself?"
Yeah, you're one to talk, Sanji... Anyways, Luffy just won't stay down, frustrating Krieg and causing cheers from the other cooks wading in the ocean. Krieg goes in for another attack, causing yet another explosion.
Zeff: "There is no doubt that Krieg and his pirates are strong, but
chore boy has something that they'll never have..." 
"...Krieg may have more pirates at his command than anyone
else before him..." 
"...He may have terrible weapons that cause mass destruction to
everything in his path. But..."
"...he will never have that kid's heart." 
Welp, Luffy managed to do something about that spear! Neat! You would think that this means Luffy has won and we can all go home now. But, this is Don Krieg we're talking about here and the guy is stubborn as a mule. He makes another attack on Luffy, but the kid dodges it, taking apart a nearby mast and throwing it at Krieg. Using his flamethrower, Krieg burns the mast.
Sanji: "How many weapons does that guy have?!"
I think we'd all like to know the answer to that one, Sanji. Luffy uses his Gum Gum Gatling to punch Krieg's armor, and when he finally stops, Krieg is unharmed. He's mocked at the attempt since the armor makes him invincible, and Luffy gives another punch to it. Sadly, nothing happens, and Krieg sends Luffy flying with what's left of his Battle Spear. As Luffy raises his head and stands, Krieg has suddenly disappeared.
Only to reappear on top of a nearby mast. Luffy charges head on towards Krieg and the two combatants attack each other at the same time. As Luffy's Gum Gum Bazooka sends Krieg flying, the explosion from the Battle Spear has left Luffy in a stand still while small explosives marbles are tossed into the sea around him. As Krieg keeps his trash talking up, asking if that's the best Luffy's got...
There seems to be a crack in that so call invincible armor. However, there's an even bigger problem as the explosive marbles cause a massive explosion surrounding Luffy, with the onlookers getting caught in the shockwave, and Sanji calling out to Luffy just a little too late.
Or not! Luffy suddenly appears in the sky above Krieg and gives one more Bazooka to his armor, this time breaking it entirely. With Luffy gaining the win, the cooks celebrate!
Come ON, can we stop with all the weapons please? You're cheating, at this point... Ugh... Using his net, Krieg traps Luffy in order to drag him down with him to the sea below. This does not phase Luffy in the slightest as he uses the net in order to finish Krieg off for good.
The final attack causes Krieg to crash land on the destroyed Baratie fin, while Luffy falls into the ocean. With the fight finally won, the cooks can really celebrate. In the midst of all the noise around him, Ghin gains conciseness again asking Patty and Carne what happened and the pair tell him of Krieg's defeat, leaving the former commander stunned.
Zeff tells Sanji that he better go on in after Luffy, confusing the young cook. After being explained the nasty side effects of Devil Fruit Powers, Sanji quickly jumps into the ocean to rescue our victorious hero. As he searches for, and eventually frees Luffy from the net, Sanji recalls the words of Luffy and Zoro's will to fight for their ambitions as well as Zeff's words about Luffy's heart. Then, as the cook brings Luffy to the surface, he sees a vision for himself.
"The All Blue..."
While Sanji works his way back to the Baratie, with Luffy in tow, Ghin is still in disbelief over Krieg's defeat. He realizes how foolish he had been for idolizing a man like Krieg and begins to walk off, ignoring Patty and Carne's warnings that if he moves then the poison will set it.
Sanji tries desperately to wake Luffy, demanding that he doesn't die on him. However, after a moment, we realize that Luffy is just fast asleep, causing Sanji to be a little upset, but happy.
"You really are something else." 
THANK YOU! Holy crap...
Ghin orders the other men to set sail in order that they could leave with just the tiniest bit of dignity left in them. He turns to thank Sanji for all he's done for them, and the cook accepts it, also telling him to leave and never come back. Ghin smiles, and asks for one more little favor.
"When the kid wakes up, tell him I'll see him on the Grand Line."
Despite being poisoned and the unknown of exactly when he will die, Ghin doesn't mind in the least. He tells Sanji that, somewhere along the way, Krieg's obsession with the Grand Line became his own and he wants to spend as much time as he can chasing that dream.
"With this poison in my veins, I may only have a few hours to live. But, I feel
free somehow. Like now I can live those last few moments on my own terms..."
"...To hell with loyalty to Don Krieg! My devotion to him was
just an escape from forging my own destiny..."
"...Once you're heart is set, and you pursue all your dreams with every
last fiber of what you are, you will never again feel lost or hopeless or afraid..."
"...I learned all that from a brave chore boy."
Sanji, with feelings that seem to mirror Ghin's, tells Patty and Carne to give him a boat that the restaurant uses for grocery shopping. The pair refuse, at first, but after being yelled at by Sanji they reluctantly get it for Ghin and Krieg's men.
This takes clown car to a whole new level!
As Ghin prepares to set sail, Sanji tells him once more to never return, not even to return the boat. Patty and the rest of the cooks stand by, echoing Sanji's words, and Ghin leaves the Baratie for good, with a smile on his face and in high spirits. Meanwhile, we cut to how Nami is doing aboard the Merry. And, by the looks of it, she's rather saddened by what she had done.
"They sure were nice guys, but I wonder... well... I wonder if they would
let me join them again."
"Free... I just wanna be free... Bellemere..."
When Luffy wakes up, he's in one of the rooms inside the Baratie, and begins to panic about where his hat is... You know, as you do. Sanji, who's sitting in the nearby window points out his hat for him and delivers Ghin's message. Luffy, happy to be done with chores, tries to ask Sanji to--
"No, I'm not gonna run away with you and become a pirate."
Nevermind. Sanji tells him that he's not going anywhere until Zeff acknowledges his skills, and Luffy claims to have given up.
Uhh... Luffy?
Sanji continues, telling Luffy that he does plan on going to the Grand Line, but now just isn't the right time. Then, out of curiosity, Sanji asks Luffy a little question...
Sanji: "Say... Have you ever heard of the All Blue?"
Luffy: "Nah uh."
Sanji: "You've got to be kidding me! That sea is a miracle!"
As Sanji, happily, explains to Luffy the All Blue, Zeff is seen above them looking on with a smile, and noting how happy Sanji looks. Soon it becomes meal time for the staff of the Baratie and everyone, including Luffy, joins in for a well deserved meal. At least, Luffy and Sanji try to join in... It just seems, for some reason, that there aren't enough chairs around the tables; so the two grab their food and sit on the floor nearby. Luffy notes that they cooks seem to be acting strange, but Sanji just shrugs it off, believing it to be normal behavior. As the meal commences, Patty tries some soup and then rises out of his seat complaining.
"Hey! What is this? Who prepared the soup this morning?" 
Sanji: "Oh I did! The stuff is pretty good, huh! I think I really outdid myself!"
Patty: "Is that a joke? I can barely hold this slop down!"
Sanji begins to approach Patty in order to defend his dish, but Patty is adamant that it was bad. And, soon enough, the other cooks begin to join in Patty's insults starting with Carne. Noticing something behind the act, Sanji asks what's going on and Patty simply tells it like it is.
Patty: "We're sick of the way you run things. You're a sham of a
sous chef and everybody knows it!"
As more insults are thrown Sanji's way, we suddenly get a response from Zeff stating they still better finish the soup, regardless, since they are seafaring cooks. This surprises everyone in the room, as Zeff finishes the bowl... And then drops the empty dish on the ground, shattering it.
Luffy just eats throughout this entire scene, just so you know...
Zeff calls the soup "stewed garbage" and says the Baratie would go out of business if this was served. Sanji, in a fit of anger, grabs Zeff by the collar and asks how his soup is any different than from what Zeff makes. Not wanting his cooking compared to a kid's, Zeff punches Sanji. You heard me right, he punches him.
Patty: The boss punched him!"
Carne: "He didn't kick him!"
See what I mean? Zeff tells him that's he's been cooking out to sea much longer than Sanji had even been alive. With no comeback of his own, Sanji runs out of the restaurant and, basically, throws a temper tantrum cursing Zeff and saying he's not a brat any longer. Luffy seems to have different thoughts on the soup, compared to the cooks.
Luffy: "What's all the fuss about? This soup's totally awesome!"
Zeff: "All of us know the soup is good..."
"...I know he's an outstanding chef. Everyone here on the Baratie does."
As all of the other cooks begin to praise Sanji and his cooking, we see him walking back towards the door after calming down, and in time to hear something else from Zeff.
"But that thick skulled idiot wouldn't listen to us if we tried to reason with him.
Hey, listen. You were saying you needed a cook for your ship, right?..."
"...Well, this isn't something I wanna be asking anyone but...
would you mind taking that little brat along with you?..." 
"...Take him to the Grand Line. That would be best for
him. The Grand Line is his dream."
Patty and Carne joke around saying that they were worried that Sanji would figure out it was all for show, and the rest of the cooks decide to grab some more of Sanji's soup while Sanji, himself, sits right outside the door in disbelief of what he heard.
"I can hear everything... You dumb asses..."
Luffy says no to Zeff's request, leaving the cooks in a fit of confusion. He explains that since Sanji wants to stay, he doesn't want to take Sanji with him unless Sanji makes that decision himself. Zeff comments that it makes sense, and the other cooks mention Sanji's stubborn streak which would make it difficult for him to change his mind. As Sanji keeps sitting just outside and overhearing everything going on, we get a rather sudden surprise.
We have ourselves a panshark trying to eat a Yosaku! They crash right into Sanji and break the wall of the restaurant, to the surprise of all the cooks inside. Luffy steps forward to greet Yosaku and asks him where the others are and if they had found Nami.
Yosaku explains, kinda, that the group hasn't been able to catch up to Nami but, judging by the direction she's headed, they have a good guess as to where she's going and what she plans to do. Luffy, not understanding the vagueness of Yosaku's words, agrees to go with him to track Nami down. As the two begin to leave, Luffy is stopped.
"Wait. Your dream is foolish. Then again, so's mine. Now's a good a
time as any. Why not start my quest right now?" 
"I'll be joining your little crew on your journey to be King of the
Pirates. You hear me? I wanna be the cook on your ship.
Alright? What'd ya say?"
As Luffy and Yosaku celebrate their newest addition, Sanji turns to the cooks and asks them if they're happy now. Patty remarks that he's upset he can't give Sanji the boot himself, but then the young one tells the cooks, sarcastically, that he's sorry he had to make them resort to bad acting. Surprising them, he tells them that he did, in fact, hear every word they said before. Patty is ready for a fight, but Zeff holds him back, telling Sanji that he's always hated children and that there isn't a day that's gone by that he regretted letting someone useless like Sanji to live.
Sanji: "Fine by me, you rotten old man. Enjoy the rest of
your miserable life."
As the trio make preparations for their journey, Luffy is getting stocked up on food supplies (more specifically, meat) when Zeff approaches him and offers his old log book to Luffy to be used on his journey. But Luffy simply refuses. Zeff apparently knew that was going to be his answer, which makes him laugh and makes me wonder why ask in the first place... But I digress.
We then join Sanji, as he packs up his belongings in his room and takes one final look around the Baratie. As he sits by himself in the dining room, he reminisces about his time spent there including various memories of when it was just him and Zeff starting the restaurant together. But he isn't the only one as Zeff is seen recalling his own memories while in his room. All the while looking out at the sky.
Gotta admit, you could make a nice glass ceiling now that Luffy
put a hole in your roof...
Luffy and Yosaku wait aboard a small ship, belonging to Sanji, as they notice the cook taking longer than they expected as the other Baratie cooks stand on the broken fin and look on. As Sanji appears and takes his final steps away from the restaurant, Patty and Carne try to get their last bit of pay back in. Only for it to blow up in their faces.
"Really, guys? That was just dumb..."
Sanji reaches the ship in silence, and Luffy asks if he really doesn't need to say goodbye. Zeff appears on the deck above them to send his little protege off with a final farewell. But, this farewell causes Sanji to stop and begin to cry as memories of the shipwreck and the deserted island begin to flood his mind. As his memories and emotions begin to overflow, he turns back to Zeff.
"Chef Zeff! Thank, you geezer. I'll never forget your kindness. I owe
my life to you, old man, so thank you!"
As Zeff watches the kid on his knees in front of him, he begins to cry. This soon becomes an even bigger tear fest as Patty, Carne, and all the other Baratie chefs join in. Seeing the other cooks in their tearful state, Sanji seems to realize how much of an impact he truly had on the Baratie and on them.
"Damn wusses. Real men should part without a word, let alone tears."
As Luffy and his small group sets sail, Sanji promises that he will return some day and the little blond bird leaves the nest and a bunch of crying cooks. As Zeff looks on, he firmly believes that Sanji will find the All Blue no matter what it takes for him to make it there. And, as a final order, he tells his cooks to get to work before their customers arrive.
But, before we finish the arc, and this article, Nami has neared another island, one that seems to be taken over by pirates, as she sails the Merry directly for it. DUN DUN DUN!!!

Thoughts Thus Far:

First, let me just get this out of the way *clears throat*....


Ok, I'm good. I promise I won't do that again. Just wanted to get that out of the way because, if you haven't noticed previously, I have the biggest crush on Sanji. And I mean biggest... As in since I was a teen and first saw the show. Anyways, yes, we are finally introduced to another male crew member who is just as ambitious and stubborn as the other three. Though, it can possibly be argued that he's the most stubborn of them all based on what this arc shows us. In terms of Sanji's character, he has his odd quirks like how easily he falls for women (because we totally need one of those stereotypes in this show), but he also has some deeper ones that he's gained because of his, rather tragic, backstory. Granted his childhood isn't the most tragic, not in the slightest, but his begins the cycle of heart wrenching childhoods that we will soon see for three Straw Hat pirates in the next several hundred episodes. Perhaps even more, but I have yet to meet two members in my own personal watch (at least with Robin, I am aware that her's is gut wrenching). It's also interesting, for me, to note some of the small things I've picked up on this watch including more technical pieces such as the uses of framing in scenes, with the scene of Sanji and Zeff remembering their time together before Sanji leaves, as an example, and new animation techniques that had yet to be seen in this show... Even if that CGI looking water in the beginning of the arc looked really really wonky compared to the rest of the show. Another thing I picked up more is the subtly, with Fullbody's description of the wine in the early part of the arc the biggest example I can come up with here. Since we had not heard a word, or seen his face entirely, the wine description basically sums up Sanji's personality in a nut shell! I mean, here's how that part goes again:

"This flavor. And, yes, the aroma. It is the unmistakeable scent from the soil
of Micquo, the North land. Bitter with plenty of body, and just a tad bit sour.
This wine must be the famous Iturutz Burger Stein. Tell me waiter! Am I right?"

"Bitter with plenty of body, and just a tad bit sour." Well, Sanji can be rather cold at times, and he does have his moments where he loses his temper rather quickly when insulted. Add the fact that Sanji is originally from an island in the North Blue and we have a rather subtle connection and description before the man even utters a word. Granted, we don't learn about his birth place until around the Skypia arc, but it's something fun I noticed when watching these early episodes once again.

There's a very clear case of foreshadowing going on throughout this arc, as well, and it's coming from Nami. While the posters Johnny and Yosaku were carrying on them began this, her actions throughout the rest of the arc indicate even more, with her sadness over leaving the guys being one of the biggest parts of this.

"Free... I just wanna be free... Bellemere..."

Just from that short scene, and that one sentence, we know the strong woman we've come to know until this point may be only a front in order to hide some kind of pain within her. I bring this, as well as the subtly I've picked up this time, up because the Baratie arc actually has some rather decent writing in order to incorporate these little pieces here and there. Sure, the foreshadowing may been overly obvious at points, but the subtly is rather interesting to me. It's these kinds of moments where I get excited about the writing because, even though most of One Piece is balls to the walls insane, it manages to drop clues to anything and everything while being able to tug on your heart strings because of these likable, or even unlikable, characters.

In terms of voice acting, I'll keep my Eric Vale fan girling down to zero because I did cover Sanji's voices in the introductory article. Instead, I have to bring up a few characters and voices that either were good or could be seen in later arcs. Let's get our bounty hunting pair out of the way first, because they do play a role in the next arc. Christopher Ayres (Johnny) and Josh Martin (Yosaku) are an interesting pair to see here, in order to give us further information and connection to Zoro as a pirate hunter, a piece we haven't seen come into play quite yet. In terms of performances, they make their separation from our pack of pirates, as well as Zoro, rather clear as they do create these bumbling idiots rather well. Meanwhile, I want to bring up Illich Guardiola (Ghin) really quickly because it does fit in line with Ghin's personality and his demeanor, so props to him for it. Then there's Fullbody, voiced by John Burgmeier, and Hawkeye Mihawk, voiced by John Germillion, who we will see jump into the series several more times and whom we get a good performances from. As for Andy Mullins (Krieg) and J. Michael Tatum (Pearl), I bring these two up together because we will be hearing these voice actors again, together, in a later arc... Where a lot of snow is involved....

And, with that, that's for today! On the next One Piece retrospective, we join the boys as we chase down our navigator and take on some mermen in another rather well known arc of the show. We also get to observe one of the more tragic stories of the series as we solve the mystery behind the woman named Nami. I'm hope you're ready to possibly cry.


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