One Piece 1×05 “Eat at Baratie!” introduces the new love of my life in this wonderful world: Sanji. He’s a creative flirt who looks slick in a suit and knows the importance of creating experiences through food. Basically, he’s the whole package and I can’t wait to see how his presence changes things. Because every character on this show matters, and 1×05 didn’t disappoint.
The Introduction of Sanji
While some people are Zoro girlies (Lizzie) and others are Luffy babes, I definitely know that I am a Sanji girlie through and through. First of all, look at that man. Is that our man? Yes, he is. And usually, this doesn’t work for me, the whole lanky white boy thing. But Taz Skylar works as Sanji because of his charm and his dreams; something that has become very prominent in One Piece as a whole. Everyone on this cast has a dream and they join Luffy’s crew as a means of achieving that dream. Right now, Sanji has dreams that go beyond the kitchen that he’s stuck in and where the head chef won’t let him experiment with new things or flavors.
For Sanji, he’s also an obvious flirt. He flirted with Nami like nothing to the point where it weirded her out. But he seems like the kind of guy who is comfortable with his sexuality and would flirt with Zoro like nothing too. And that’s the kind of guy that I like to see on my screen. Someone who just finds joy in life and wants to connect with others on that same level. But that’s not all that this guy is about. He also connects really well with Luffy for the fact that the latter takes unapologetic risks that he wants to take as well. But he hasn’t had the opportunity like Luffy has had to chase his dreams. The arrival of the Straw Hat Pirates changes everything.
Another important thing to know about Sanji is that he craves validation. You could tell that his relationship with the head chef was one born out of mutual respect. They might yell at each other. But that’s love right there when you want to protect someone and guide them in the right direction. Keeping that in mind, Sanji craves for someone to tell him he did a good job. And right now the head chef isn’t doing that. But Luffy does. Luffy sees his vision and that he’s a dreamer. Of course, he’s going to want that on his team and to just help Sanji in the first place. Because Luffy wants to nurture Sanji’s dream in a way that his dreams were never given the time to shine.
And we can’t wait to see what comes next as that ending was woah and hopefully, it will lead to more Sanji.
Then There’s Zoro Fighting
As someone who isn’t in the running to become the world’s greatest swordsmen…a part of me doesn’t get why Zoro challenged Mihawk. But then I remember that kid we got in the flashbacks. That kid was absolutely sure of who he was. And that person always thought he could take on any challenge and conquer it. While that’s admirable, it’s also ignorant of one’s own limitations. Sometimes you aren’t the best or you’re not in the place in your life to be your best. And the best thing that you can do is admit that and work on getting better.
On a huge positive note, you can tell that Zoro is becoming so comfortable with his crew. When he commits he really commits. These are his people and he’s okay with showing who he is while around them in a way that he probably hasn’t done in years because he’s been hunting pirates. And if that means he teases Nami for getting called “ma’am” then he’s going to do it. It makes me think back to when he was teasing Nami about him only being the one allowed to wear black before their fancy dinner with Kaya. He’s starting to feel at home just like the rest of them.
A quick swerve back to something I’m worrying about when it comes to Zoro. Being comfortable with people that you consider your found family also means that you have to listen to them. Maybe not agree with them 100% of the time, but you have to give them an opportunity to plead their case because they care for you as much as you care for them. Unfortunately, Zoro had already made up his mind from the moment that he saw Mihawk. And that left no room for discussion with the people that he’s bonding with. My hope is that he recovers and becomes a little bit more receptive to listening and taking it in in the moments that matter.
Nami Trying to Stop Zoro vs Running
“Eat at Baratie!” was more blatant in the way that Nami is struggling between a past that she has always known and this new family on The Going Merry. She books travel to get off of this floating restaurant. Clearly, she has someone else that she’s working with that she’s getting the map for. And she doesn’t have to explain her motivations or her intentions to these people that she barely knows. But I think she’s finally letting herself accept the fact that this crew cares for her. And not just in a way where they are adding anybody to increase the ship numbers. They are all dreamers. And I know that something inside of her wants to be part of them.
It’s the reason why Nami ultimately stayed. And it’s the reason why she fought Zoro so hard when he was going to go and fight Mihawk. She doesn’t want to lose this family that has found her and accepted her for who she is. And it pains her to see someone from her crew putting themselves in mortal danger while the captain watches on. This speaks of great loss in her past and how she’s not willing or ready to ever face that kind of pain again. Nevertheless, she chose to stay and that’s going to bring so much healing but plenty of pain when her contact realizes that the plan isn’t going to go the way they wanted.
And on a huge side note, I absolutely loved the scene at Baratie’s between Nami, Zoro, Usopp, and Luffy in 1×05. They barely know each other and they’re already acting like family. At least my family. Teasing is essential or just knowing how to tell a good joke. Admittedly I still have some work to do on that front. But Nami seems to understand the intention behind their teasing. I would even venture to say that she’s enjoying herself. And that’s something Nami never thought possible. I can feel it in my bones and I’m glad that this crew is making her feel at home.
Usopp Trying to Find What He Wants
Admittedly, Usopp didn’t do a lot in One Piece 1×05. He was “helping” when Garp attacked The Going Merry. But he’s so used to telling fantastical stories instead of actually living them. So it’s going to take him a little bit to get used to this life. But it’s important to note that Usopp is on the road to self-discovery, especially when it comes to whatever dream he wants to achieve. Because he hasn’t pinned that down. He just knows that he has to get out there to find himself. And sure, he’s going to blunder a little bit here and there. But isn’t that what most of us do when we’re trying to find ourselves?
I really appreciate that One Piece is giving Usopp some time. I wish somebody would have told me when I was younger that everything doesn’t just magically fall into place once you decide to step a foot out there into the world. It takes time, people to back you, and a whole lot of luck. And Usopp has taken his first step. If anything this episode allowed him to dabble with the idea of what it means to be a pirate captain surrounded by other pirates. He’s testing out what kind of man he is but also what kind of man he wants to become.
We also have to appreciate the absolute mood that Usopp was in this episode. He looked great and was throwing back those drinks like nothing. And his friends were there to watch him and make sure that everything was okay. They didn’t expect Mihawk but what happened happened. And I don’t blame Usopp for telling Mihawk because he was just having a good time and he does know Luffy. Plus, this is the first time he’s really been out there in the world and, again, he’s going to blunder and mess things up. That’s more than okay. We’re not going anywhere.
Luffy Being Unapologetically a Crew Magnet
Every time I think I can’t love Luffy any more, this young man surprises me. He saw that Sanji had a dream from a mile away. And he nurtured that. Not because he was being malicious. I don’t think Luffy has the ability to be malicious. He’s doing it from the perspective of knowing what it feels like to have your dream denied but also as a means of surrounding himself with people who are on the same trajectory. It’s that whole thing that they teach you as a kid to surround yourself with the people that you want to be like. And Luffy wants to be surrounded by people who make their dreams come true.
I will admit that I did not appreciate the entitlement that I saw displayed in Eat at Baratie! He does continue finding his way out of situation after situation. He doesn’t have money? Well, he just gives an IOU. He doesn’t have a ship? He saves a heiress with the help of his friends and he gets a ship. And even before that, he was in a barrel floating on the ocean before he ended up with a stolen ship and Nami and Zoro at his side. Everything works out for him. And while I love his carefree attitude with life, things don’t come that easy and he’s eventually going to hit a wall where he will face deadly consequences and will have to take responsibility.
Don’t get me wrong on that last bit. I do think that Luffy took some responsibility when he went and did the dishes to pay for their bill in 1×05. But when Zoro was going to fight Mihawk, Luffy didn’t step in. He let his whole “way of life” of letting people achieve their dreams take precedence. And that’s not what a captain does. You support your crew. But you also have the understanding that you are the person in command and you make the hard decisions to keep these people alive. And because Luffy didn’t take his role of captain into consideration when Zoro was going to fight Mihawk, they almost lost Zoro.
But if there was anyone I have faith in, it’s Luffy. Everyone has a learning curve. And that includes him.
One Piece season 1 is available now on Netflix.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, One Piece being covered here wouldn’t exist.