One Piece: [SPOILER] Finally Shines With a Daring Sanji Rescue Mission

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for One Piece, Chapter #1,005 by Eiichiro Oda, Stephen Paul and Vanessa Satone, available in English now from Viz Media.

While Chapter #1,004 of One Piece focused primarily on the mutiny started by the young kunoichi, O-Tama, the end of the chapter alluded to what would become the focus of Chapter #1,005: Sanji's capture by the terrifying arachnid Tobiroppo, Black Maria. Yet, in the chapter itself, what begins as a bleak situation for the chef ends with a triumphant rescue by one of the most underutilized Straw Hat Pirates of late.

Due to Sanji's refusal to fight a woman, it's easy for Black Maria to trap him in her webs; however, he is not the Beast Pirate's true target. They're really after Nico Robin, the only living person who can read the ancient text on the Poneglyphs. Given that the four red Poneglyphs point towards the location of the One Piece, capturing the last survivor of Ohara and using her to find the Pirate King's treasure is also necessary for Kaido and Big Mom to achieve their goal.

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Black Maria begins by violently beating the young chef so that his voice can be broadcasted through the "eye paper" maidens, or MARYS. We're lead to believe Sanji would never willingly lead one of his Nakama into a trap to save his own life, but to our surprise, the cook does indeed call out Robin's name. His voice is carried out through the multitude of MARYS wearing these eye parchments over their face, scattered all across the island, and, as various friends and foes react to Sanji's cry for help, and there's no doubt for any of them that this is clearly a trap.

When Sanji demands to be freed, Black Maria reveals she plans to keep the young chef as one of her web-covered pets, revealing them to be an assortment of other broken men who have fallen for her. Her assault is stopped, however, when a massive hand appears out of nowhere to slap her. That hand could only come from one source: the Hana-Hana no Mi Devil Fruit user, Nico Robin.

Sanji is relieved and Robin warns Black Maria that when her friends are mistreated, that's when her "demon" side starts to show. Following behind her, Brook appears in a flash to cut the webs that have Sanji trapped. It turns out that Black Maria's webs are useless once Brook manages to freeze them over with Soul Solid. Realizing he can not fight Black Maria, Sanji makes a quick retreat so he can go protect Kin'emon and the other scabbards in the treasure repository, but not before Robin thanks her fellow Straw Hat for relying on her.

Chapter #1,005 ends on a foreboding page as Black Maria takes a shirtless battle stance, revealing her intimidating back tattoo, which feels right out of the Yakuza games. The arachnid woman assures Robin in the end she will belong to Kaido, but the archeologist confidently retorts, "No thanks. I'd rather be dead."

A reverse damsel in distress situation with Sanji and Robin is exactly what the doctor ordered for this installment of One Piece. For a while, Sanji's absurd chivalry has got in the way of him, but this time, we see him putting his trust in his Nakama over that chivalry. He has no doubt that Robin will not fall for such an easy trap, and it pays off. Conversely, it feels as though Robin has been sidelined for so much of the series, post-timeskip, so the way this chapter ends -- setting her up fight alongside another underutilized Straw Hat, Brook -- is a perfect note to end on.

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