One Piece wouldn’t be what it is if it had not shocked us on several occasions during its thousand-episode run. A lot of these shocks were focused on the members of the Straw Hats since they are a group that we thought would not break or go through any shocking situations. But, not only did they have a lot of these situations, they even disbanded at one point and Luffy had to go look for them to bring the team back together. Also, some members left individually over the course of the series. This article is going to be dedicated to one of them, Vinsmoke Sanji, as we are going to bring you the story of how Sanji left and rejoined the Straw Hats in One Piece.
Sanji left the Straw Hats because he was blackmailed by Big Mom into marrying her daughter, Charlotte Pudding, so that she could harm his family. Sanji even tried to push Luffy away, but Luffy knew Sanji and trusted that he would never betray them, which is why he helped him escape the marriage and Big Mom’s captivity without any consequences. The return was completed in Episode 877 of the anime.
The rest of this article is going to be about Sanji. We are going to tell you the circumstances surrounding his captivity Sanji was in and how he managed to escape it, thereby rejoining the Straw Hats. Do be careful if you’re not fully up-to-date with the plot, as this article is going to contain a lot of spoilers.
When and why did Sanji leave the Straw Hats?
At one point during the Zou Arc, Bege’s crew captures Nami, Chopper, Brook, and Caesar. Inside his body, Bege announces that Sanji is invited to Big Mom’s Tea Party. There, he, as the 3rd son of the Vinsmoke Family, will have to marry Charlotte Pudding, the 35th daughter of the Charlotte Family. Sanji is stunned to learn this and explicitly refuses to marry a woman he does not know, but Vito, the adviser of the Firetank Crew, blackmails him into accepting, which he ultimately does.
Namely, Big Mom promised that she will kill everyone Sanji comes into contact with, including Zeff and the rest of the Baratie as well as Kedetrav’s men, if Sanji refuses to marry her daughter. This certainly forced Sanji’s hand and he was forced to reluctantly accept Bege’s request. Nevertheless, after he manages to free Nami and the others from Bege’s body, he writes a letter in which he says he will return, although he does not know when. He takes Caesar 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 Luffy would later find out from Pekoms, Sanji’s marriage to Pudding would automatically lead to Sanji ceasing to be a member of the Straw Hats and becoming a member of the Big Mom Pirates. This shocked Luffy, who could simply not accept it. However, this turned out to be false, as Big Mom’s true intention was not to recruit Sanji, but to assassinate him and the entire Vinsmoke Family during the wedding ceremony.
While the preparations for the wedding were in full swing, Sanji reluctantly met with his former crew members, Luffy and Numi, and was completely disrespectful to them on purpose, attempting to make them leave and give up on getting him back. Knowing him, Luffy did not believe such behavior and, after seeing Sanji’s insincerity, he eventually managed to help him to escape without consequence. Here’s how it all happened.
When and how did Sanji rejoin the crew?
After finding out about Big Mom’s true intentions, Sanji set out to make a plan to save his family and escape Big Mom’s captivity, which included baking a false cake that wouldn’t really harm anyone. Although they had some problems along the way, Sanji and his allies managed to bake the cake, after which Sanji went to meet his friends on the Thousand Sunny because – as he said to “evil” Pudding – they believed in him.
As they approach the Thousand Sunny, Bege promises Sanji not to touch the cake before giving it to Big Mom. Deciding to trust Bege’s words, Sanji leaves the cake with him and continues. Pudding then takes Sanji back to the Thousand Sunny riding on Rabian’s back, while Sanji hides in the folds of it. Back at the Sunny, Sanji is kissed by Nami and Brook.
As they head to Cocoa Island to pick up Luffy, Sanji reveals that Big Mom’s crew knows about their rendezvous point. After revealing that, Sanji takes Pudding as they both leave for Cocoa Island to meet up with Luffy. As she rides Rabian, Sanji thanks Pudding for her help, to which she reacts properly. Sanji swears he will save Luffy.
Once on Cocoa Island, Sanji and Pudding hide as they see the forces of Big Mom’s crew gathering. Sanji tells Pudding that they are going to separate when Luffy returns and tells him that he is glad she is his bride, and Pudding becomes emotional. Before finishing their conversation, Pudding makes a last request to the cook, she then jumps on his neck to kiss him sincerely and erases this memory afterward thanks to his devil fruit.
A few minutes before the meeting time, Sanji contacts the crew on the Thousand Sunny and warns them to not get too close to the fleet waiting on the shore, and adds that he will take Luffy and come back to the ship once all of that is done. After Pekoms leaves the Mirro-World with him and Brûlée captive, Sanji sees Luffy and then warns the group about the Thousand Sunny.
When Raisin attempts to attack Luffy as he tries to run to the nearby buildings, Sanji pushes Raisin back and grabs Luffy. Sanji then tries to escape through the air with Luffy, but they are crushed to the ground by Charlotte Yuen. The arrival of the Germa 66 ultimately saves them. As Sanji’s siblings protect him from bullets, they tell Sanji that he should run away with Luffy. Sanji then orders the people on the Sunny to sail as fast as they can to the port.
After Sanji defeats several Big Mom Pirates, Oven tries to attack him and Luffy. Ichiji pushes Oven away and Sanji flees through the air. Right after, Yuen attempts to assault Sanji again, but Yonji interferes. Several snipers then try to attack and shoot Sanji, and one of them fires a missile, but Niji grabs Sanji before he gets caught in the blast. Niji, simultaneously holding Luffy and Sanji, then moves at high speed and defeats a number of enemies with his sword.
Niji then launches Sanji and Luffy in the direction of their ship, the Thousand Sunny. As the crew of the Sunny goes past the harbor, Sanji tells Luffy that their ship is a sitting duck. The two of them return to the Sunny, but they are surrounded by Charlotte Smoothie’s fleet until Vinsmoke Judge arrives to help them in the situation. As Sunny passes Judge’s castle, Sanji listens in on when Judge asks Luffy why he risked his life to save his son.
Sunny’s group then sees enemy ships approaching and Sanji defends Carrot from Daifuku’s genius. As the situation escalates, they are surprised when Wadatsumi appears and attacks the enemy. The Sun Pirates are then able to create a passage for the Thousand Sunny. But, despite all of these efforts, the Thousand Sunny is stopped and attacked by Queen Mama Chanter, Big Mom’s main ship.
Wadatsumi manages to rescue the Sunny by switching the ship of the Sun Pirates with the Sunny, hiding the latter in its mouth. Wadatsumi attempts to swim away, but Oven assaults him with his heat waves, which forces Wadatsumi to spit the Sunny out of its mouth. As he watches the Sun Pirates hold off Big Mom’s crew, Jinbe decides to remain there to help them and Luffy accepts the decision.
After Jinbe joins his old crew members in combat, Sunny’s group leaves Cacao Island. As they approach the borders of the Totto Land Archipelago, Sanji remembers his meeting with Pedro, he learns of his death and feels guilty. Carrot then arrives to comfort him by telling him that it was Pedro’s choice and that without him, the losses could have been much heavier. She then starts crying and asks Sanji to just thank him. Sanji then offers to cook a meal, which gets the crew excited. Much like Zeff, Sanji says he will never fail to feed those in need.