Now let’s consider Dressrosa, which is another example of these two showcasing themselves as the angel and demon. Pica is literally an obstacle in the way of Luffy’s path to Doflamingo. He was a giant wall, again quite literally. So, what did Zoro do? He got Luffy over the wall, and insured it never blocked his path again. Now, compared to what Sanji did; he was about to sacrifice himself to Doflamingo to ensure the crew’s survival. That’s what they do. It’s who they are. Zoro is always slicing down objects in Luffy’s way, sometimes literally like the sea train that was in rocket mans way on the way to enies lobby, while Sanji is sticking up for the weaker members of the crew to protect them.
Finally, I needed an entire paragraph for this scene because it meant a lot to both characters. Zoro and Sanji’s attempted sacrifice at the end of Thriller Bark.
There are so many good lines here; however, I want to highlight some main ways. Zoro told Kuma, “What good am I if I can’t even save the life of my own Captain. Luffy will be the King of the Pirates.”
Zoro willing to give his life for Luffy’s dream is such a phenomenal scene and a great callback to Zoro saying that Luffy must give his life if he gets in the way of Zoro’s dream. This is their relationship they each believe so fiercely in one another’s dreams they will both give their lives to protect the others. Now as soon as Zoro said this, Sanji spoke up, “What about your dream? What good is dying going to do? Hey Zoro, give everyone my regards, and start looking for a new cook.”
Another strong line, as well as one of the most ironic. Sanji was willing to kill himself after calling Zoro stubborn and stupid for trying the same thing. Sanji wanted to protect both Zoro and Luffy; because Sanji still thinks himself replaceable. This is that dichotomy that I love in both these characters. Zoro willing to give himself up for Luffy; Sanji willing to give himself up because he believes the crew will be fine with any replacement cook.
As I said, I don’t mean to downplay either character. They both serve their purpose well and I believe Oda has drawn connections to Luffy and Zoro as well as Luffy and Sanji to highlight this two different types of leadership. Something else I love, is that the timeskip had both of them sacrificing a piece of themselves. Zoro had to sacrifice his pride to train under Mihawk; Sanji had to sacrifice his masculinity to train under Ivankov.
They’re both amazing characters and I hope people see this and can relate with this characterization.