On Whole Cake Island we got to know that Sanji & his brothers were genetically modified to become emotionless super soldiers at birth.
However due to a drug Sora took to prevent her children from becoming emotionless, only Sanji failed to show results of getting genetically modified albeit at the cost of keeping his emotions unlike his brothers. The consequences of this however, were huge as it meant Sanji had to live the majority of his childhood getting discriminated against as a failure and was even locked away in a dungeon and later disowned & discarded by Judge.
Sanji had to go through all of that hardship solely because he was deemed to be a normal human without the same disposition and physical capabilities as his siblings. However, is Sanji really just a normal human? And did his genetic modifications really fail?
The illustration below shows how Sanji compares to his brothers, emphasizing both their differences and similarities:
From the above diagram, from a functionality test perspective, using Judge’s configuration as our test case, it’s abundantly clear that Sanji fails to meet the criteria of Judge’s ideal superhuman. However, even so, you’d notice that Sanji shares a fair bit of similarities with his brothers, most of which are unique to them in the whole verse and even within their family. So even though Sanji doesn’t possess the exact same disposition or characteristics as his brothers, I think these similarities prove that he was also affected by his genetic modifications albeit not in the same way his brothers were.
- Summary of similarities Sanji shares with his brothers
- Intense lust towards beautiful women
- On Whole Cake Island, after the Sanji vs Luffy fight, all of the Vinsmoke royal family members were present at the time however, only Sanji’s brothers expressed lust towards Nami in the same way Sanji usually does.
- Ability to use irregular abilities without a devil fruit.
- It is not normal for characters in one piece to be able to summon fire, light, electricity etc. without having done so via some devil fruit or something.
- Curly eyebrows
- Both Sanji and his brothers’ have curly eyebrows with a shape akin to the patterns that appear on regular fruits when they become cursed (I don’t think it’s far-fetched to infer that the source of this pattern appearing on regular fruits after they get cursed is due to the genetic structure of said fruits having undergone a change)
- Curly eyebrows in the world of one piece are referred to as a taboo & the child that has it is deemed as cursed as was the case with Duval.
- According to what Oda stated in SBS vol. 7, to a response to a question with regards to why Sanji’s eyebrows are curly, Sanji’s eyebrows are not ordinary.
- Intense lust towards beautiful women
Now even with the above similarities Sanji shares with his brothers, I’m sure there are still a few folks that aren’t convinced that Sanji was affected by his genetic modifications and the source of this conflict is most likely as a result of Oda’s answer to a question regarding the vinsmoke siblings hair color in a recent SBS.
Here’s what Oda to say about the Vinsmokes’ hair colour:
Translation: Due to the fact that Sanji didn’t manifest the effects of having his lineage factor manipulated, he retains the same hair color as his parents.
At first glance, this might sound like a confirmation that Sanji didn’t have his lineage factor modified, but I want y’all to think about it for a moment, does having your lineage factor modified automatically give you an exoskeleton or make you void of emotions? The answer to that is no, and Reiju is living proof of that given she has emotions unlike her brothers bar Sanji. If it wasn’t already obvious before, it becomes increasingly clear that said effects were specifically configured by Judge. The unique hair colors of all the Vinsmokes bar Sanji is most likely the same. Now Oda said Sanji didn’t manifest the effects of having his lineage factor manipulated by Judge, but effects of what exactly? Judge’s configuration? If so, then that’s accurate. However, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of Sanji’s genetic modifications having taken a slightly different route from that of his brothers in consequence to the drug Sora took. Sanji keeping his emotions and not having developed an exoskeleton doesn’t necessarily prove that he wasn’t genetically modified, just that he is fundamentally different from his brothers.
A potential hint that Sanji was modified differently from his brothers is the fact that his curly eyebrows take an inverse shape in comparison to his brothers.
Now moving on to the nitty gritty of my theory which is Sanji’s awakening, I’m sure the lot of you guys & girls are familiar with the story of the ugly duckling. If so, you’ve prolly already noticed that Sanji’s backstory shares a lot of similarities with it and I don’t think it’s simply just a coincidence either given the following:
- In SBS vol.20 Oda was asked what animals best represent the SHs and Oda’s choice for Sanji was ‘domesticated duck’ which, I personally think, is a very peculiar choice.
- Taking a look at the cover page for chapter 124, after the events on Whole Cake Island, it becomes abundantly clear that it was a foreshadowing of Sanji’s past. In the image below, Sanji is carrying a box with the word secret and a sticker with the Straw Hats jolly roger on it, indicating that Sanji at the time, was keeping a secret from the Straw Hats. It is also very interesting to note that in the same picture Oda depicts a man at the pier riding a “Swan”.
- Sanji’s pet-name for Nami is Nami~swan!
As pointed out above Sanji character seems to be somewhat tied to Ducks & Swans, so taking the above into consideration, I for one, think it’s very unlikely that the similarities between Sanji’s backstory & the story of the ugly duckling is simply a coincidence.
Now, seeing as the story of the ugly duckling could very well be the template for Sanji’s backstory, I think an awakening is very much on the cards for Sanji. One could argue that Sanji has already found his flock of swans & acceptance in the Straw Hats & Baratie which is true. However like the ugly duckling came to the realization that he’s not actually a duck but a magnificent swan, Sanji is still yet to come to realization that he isn’t a Germa failure but something that might surpass even Judges’ initial configuration for his kids (hypothetically speaking). For example, Sanji is fundamentally different from his brothers in that his emotions intensify/strengthen his fire ab,ilities. Anger in particular increases the intensity of his flames and this phenomenon is what gave birth to one his strongest techniques shown to date in his hell memories. So as opposed to his brothers’, Sanji’s abilities have the potential to evolve whereas his brothers’ remain stagnant due to their lack of emotions.
Now due to the fact that Sanji’s emotions make his fire abilities stronger. There’s a real possibility that Sanji’s flames evolve to even stronger flames like blue or potentially even black sometime further down the line (maybe even as early as Wano) depending how intense his emotions get. Scientifically speaking we know fire changes color the hotter it gets (red -> orange -> white -> blue), so going in line with that Sanji could potentially unlock blue flames. However, due to fact that the lot of Sanji’s epithets have been tied to the color black till now (i.e. Black leg, Stealth black). I won’t be surprised if it ends up being black flames and not blue. Blue/Black flames are pretty extreme, as such it could potential hurt the user themeselves, so maybe that’s why Oda added the fire immunity feature to the Raid Suit?
If something does happen that stimulates Sanji’s emotions enough for his flames to evolve, I don’t think it will end with just that and the reason I say this was something that happened way back on TB pre-timeskip. When Usopp told Sanji that Absalom took a good look at Nami in the shower, he got so angry that he literally combusted and the intensity of his fire kept on rising and he seemed to be transforming into a devil of sorts, to which Zoro commented saying that if the intensity of Sanji’s flames got any higher it seemed as though he could transform into something.
I personally think that the above is a foreshadowing of a potential transformation for Sanji in the future, one which would allow him to bear all the fruits of his genetic modifications which I think, will also include some durability buff of some sorts. Seeing as Sanji’s fire abilities have a lot more potential that his brother’s abilities, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if his exoskeleton equivalent is superior as well. Now, I’m sure some of y’all are wondering why I think Sanji will get a durability buff with his awakening when he already has the Raid Suit and the reason is as follows; although the Raid Suit provides Sanji with a very durable shield in it’s cape to protect him against powerful blows, it doesn’t really up his durability during CQC. To add, Sanji’s forte isn’t Armament (Oda’s has emphasized that a few times already post-timeskip) and he’s going to be fighting against some really durable and powerful fighters from now on so I think a durability upgrade is also on the cards for Sanji.
ps. To those who may think Sanji can’t be awakened because he’s not a devil fruit user, this isn’t a literal devil fruit awakening, it’s more like his modifications are dormant and will be awakened and his true powers will surface.
*Theory by PuckTheGreat