Shokugeki no Sanji: Food Wars! Creators Serve Up Another Delicious One Piece Side Story

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Shokugeki no Sanji, Chapter #2 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki, Yuki Morisaki, Adrienne Beck and Sara Linsley, available in English now from Viz Media.

Before the conclusion of their cooking manga Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma in 2019, writer Yuto Tsukuda, artist Shun Saeki and contributor Yuki Morisaki made a special spinoff chapter for One Piece, appropriately titled Shokugeki no Sanji. The first chapter was a prequel, taking place right before the events of the Baratie Arc when Sanji still works for the aquatic restaurant. Now, to celebrate One Piece's 1,000th chapter, the duo is back with the second installment of Shokugeki no Sanji.

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Instead of having the story set in the present day, Saeki and Tsukuda decided to have this small side story take place during the East Blue Saga after Sanji and Nami have both officially joined the crew. This is a smart decision; since the chapter focuses on Sanji, Zoro and Nami, adding in the rest of the crew would just make it a bit too busy.

After Sanji finishes making a delicious dessert for his lovely Nami and arguing with Zoro, the crew finds a stranded fisherman named Ruibei. They learn that Ruibei's daughter is about to be wed, and so he went fishing for a legendary fish to serve at the reception: the legendary Dragon Salmon. Ruibei managed to catch a barrel of them, but due to his injuries, he can't prepare them for cooking. Luckily, Sanji offers to step in and help the old man, but when he's about to cut open the stomach, its guts all spill out and burst in his face. To remove the Dragon Salmon's stomach, a cook must use one single straight cut, a difficult task considering the salmon's long body and slippery texture.

Interestingly though, when Ruibei is the one who loses faith in Sanji's ability, Zoro is the one who stands up for the curly browed cook. Zoro and Sanji have always butted heads, but occasionally, we do get moments where there's a clear trust between them. As Sanji is contemplated how to cut the Salmon when none of his knives are doing the job, Zoro enters the kitchen. As the two begin to bicker, Zoro leaves behind his Wado Ichimonji katana on the kitchen table. He taunts Sanji, saying Wado would never listen to a "lame playboy who only knows how to goof off." However, Zoro still leaves the sword with him despite his claim.

Wado Ichimonji is Zoro's prized possession. It was Kuina's sword when they were kids, and it's the sword he promised to carry with him when he becomes the World's Strongest Swordman. You could say this sword is more important to him than his own life, so right at this moment, he's trusting Sanji with wielding it. Despite all their arguments, Zoro has never doubted Sanji's resolve as a chef. Out of respect, Sanji spits out his cigarette and tightens his tie. He unsheaths the sword and realizes could perfectly cut the Dragon Salmon. In a single fast motion, Sanji perfectly removes the stomach.

With the salmon prepared and cooked, the chapter jumps ahead to the wedding feast, where the guests and Straw Hats back on the Merry all experience the exquisite Dragon Salmon dishes. Its aroma and tender texture are enough to make Nami feel the currents of Fishman Island as she takes the metaphorical form of a mermaid. Even Zoro compliments the cook on his excellent performance.

Returning to East Blue with this delightful chapter was a real nostalgic voyage. Not only is it great to return to this part of One Piece, but the chapter is also nostalgic for Food Wars! fans -- the high energy cooking and over-the-top reactions to good food make it feel like Food Wars never left.  Nothing's been said about Shokugeki no Sanji ever becoming regularly serialized, but occasionally seeing new side story chapters of our favorite swirly-eyebrow chef would be a welcome addition to Shonen Jump.

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