Vinsmoke Sanji is best known as the cook of the Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece. He is the fifth member of the crew and the fourth to join, doing so at the end of the Baratie Arc. Now, Sanji is an indispensable part of Luffy’s crew, and throughout the decades, he has shown some amazing powers and abilities. But we’re not going to talk about them here. This article’s topic will be Sanji and whatever happened to him during the Zou Island Arc of the One Piece manga.
Initially, Sanji enjoyed his time on Zou Island, flirting with the female Minks he encountered there, but the situation changed after an encounter with Capone Bege. He was captured, with some of his friends, and then told that he was invited to Big Mom’s Tea Party, where he would get married to her daughter, Charlotte Pudding. Sanji initially refused, but after Vito told him something, he was shocked and forcibly accepted,
The rest of this article will focus on the character of Sanji and the Zou Island Arc of One Piece. We will tell you the story of the Zou Island Arc and what happened to Sanji, i.e., where he was during the events of this small but important narrative arc. This article might contain a smaller number of spoilers, so do be careful while you’re reading.
What happened to Sanji on Zou Island?
In Chapter 806, Luffy finds Nami. Happy to see them again, Luffy asks them if they’re okay. Nami immediately replies in tears: “I’m sorry for what happened to Sanji.” Namely, Sanji left a letter for his crewmates, but the content of that letter is unknown at the time, as the story goes back in time to explain what has happened to Sanji and why Nami is so sad at this moment.
In a flashback, Sanji is seen fending off the cannonballs from Big Mom’s ship. Thanks to Nami, they could outrun the Emperor’s Queen, Mama Chanter. They arrive near the island of Zou and realize that it is actually a titanic Naitamie-Norida Elephant. They use Caesar Clown to climb the pachyderm’s huge paw. When they arrive, they realize that the site is covered in toxic gas. They come across Sheepshead and Gin Rummy, who are looking for Raizou.
Sanji manages to beat Sheepshead, although this scene was only shown during the Dressrosa arc, thus confirming that Sanji and the others really did reach Zou Island, which was a point of debate for some time. They note with horror the spectacle that Jack has left on the people of the Minks. At Pedro’s request, they release the two governors of Zou: Nekomamushi and Inuarashi. They are treated as heroes by the Minks, and the female Minks adore Sanji.
That’s when Big Mom’s ship also picked up its tracks and headed towards Zou Island. Pekoms and Capone Bege landed on Zou Island. Caesar then offered Sanji to assassinate Big Mom’s two men. Sanji nevertheless prefers to parley with the two pirates. Pekoms thanks him for saving his people, and he is ready to spare the lives of the Straw Hats. Bege then shoots the Lion Mink for letting his feelings get in the way of his mission.
His crew captures Nami, Chopper, Brook, and Caesar. Inside his body, Bege announces that Sanji is invited to Big Mom’s Tea Party. He will have to marry Charlotte Pudding, the 35th daughter of the Charlotte Family, who will thus become the wife of the 3rd son of the Vinsmoke Family. Sanji is stunned to learn this. He refuses to marry a woman he does not know, but Vito, the adviser of the Firetank Crew, blackmails him with a piece of information that shocks Sanji so much that he eventually agrees to do it; initially, it was not revealed that piece of information was.
But, we later found out that Vito told Sanji that Big Mom would kill everyone Sanji comes into contact with, namely Zeff and the rest of the Baratie and Kedetrav’s men. Knowing that Big Mom, vile as she was, was not bluffing, Sanji was thus forced to accept the agreement, although he was aware that something was happening in the background and that Big Mom had other plans with the wedding.
Nevertheless, before leaving, he manages to free Nami and the others from Bege’s body, who are then reunited with Luffy and the others not much later. Sanji also wrote a letter saying that he would return but did not specify any details. He then takes César Clown hostage and reminds Bege’s men that his wanted notice says “Only Alive,” that is to say, that they must keep him alive, as he would be useless to them if he were to die.
And this is, in short, Sanji’s whole story from the Zou Island Arc. The Zou Arc was very short in the story, but it played an important role in the upcoming Whole Cake Island Saga, which saw part of the Straw Hats engage Big Mom on her territory to free Sanji, while the other part went to Wano Country, where they would then meet with the liberated Sanji and the others. Now, the Sanji rescue mission was no piece of cake (pun intended), but Luffy and the others – of course – managed to free him while – at the same time – discovering Big Moma’s true intentions of killing the whole Vinsmoke family.
Sanji, thus, never married Charlotte Pudding and after securing the safety of his friends, returned to the crew, who went to meet the others in Wano Country. The crew would face off against Big Mom once again in Wano Country, but the evil Empress was finally defeated in Wano, with her fate still unclear at this moment, like Kaido’s; the two seemingly perished in Wano, but this was not officially confirmed so we’ll have to wait and see.