What would ‘One Piece’ be without Sanji, the cook of the Baratie who satisfies Luffy, Zoro, and the rest’s voracious hunger? He was the fifth member to join the crew, dreams of finding the All Blue, and if you receive a kick from him, you might not live to tell the tale. But what if we told you that everything you know about Sanji could be different… starting with his very name?
Family, today we eat
On September 21, 1999, when ‘One Piece’ had already been successful for two years, ‘Naruto‘ premiered in Shonen Jump. Masashi Kishimoto’s manga was an immediate hit, and during its 15 years of publication, it had a fraternal rivalry with Eiichiro Oda’s work as the most beloved by readers. What we didn’t know is that without the ninjas of the Hidden Leaf Village, we would have never had Sanji.
You see, when designing him, Oda intended for Sanji to be like Mr. Pink from ‘Reservoir Dogs‘: a dark-skinned gunslinger who was named, indeed, Naruto. Interestingly, Sanji appeared a year before Kishimoto’s series, but Oda had already been informed that it would begin soon and would be a long-running series, so he decided to be gracious.
Sanji was one of the characters that underwent significant changes when brought to the anime… or at least in the version that 4Kids aired in the United States, where they censored the cigarette he always has in his mouth and replaced it with a lollipop. Eiichiro Oda found this so amusing that years later, when Sanji had a clone, he had him lick a lollipop to differentiate them.
There’s very little time left to see how Sanji behaves in live action in the Netflix series, played by Taz Skylar, but we can’t contain our excitement. Will there be any reference to his original concept as Naruto? Who knows.
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