In Chapter 1035 we see how Sanji vs Queen concludes, with Sanji sending Queen flying to the stratosphere.
We later get a small, but fairly touching moment of Sanji reuniting the mouse with the Courtesan. Fittingly, Sanji calls back to the mouse he used to play with, his first friend. One thing of note about this exchange is that, despite all the lecherous antics or how his code is supposedly a burden on the crew, Sanji is at his core a chivalrous gentleman. His one and only concern were whether Chuji and Osome were alright. And you can see that gentleness through these sequences of panels.
In the meantime the battle between Zoro and King continues. Zoro figures out the mechanics behind King’s resilience and manages to damage him.
King then takes off his mask and his face is fully seen. Learning why he hides his face, we get a sense that King has had to guard himself for years. Merely informing the Government of a Lunarian grants a hefty bounty.
Zoro, now having realized his nature of a king, fights with an ironclad resolve even greater than before. He is in his element. This whole chapter plays as kind of a mirror to Chapter 1033, with Zoro in control of the fight and King now on the back foot reflecting on his past.
King thinks back to his first encounter with Kaido just as Zoro remembered first joining Luffy in Chapter 1033. Kaido was the person to give King a purpose, whilst Zoro was emboldened by Luffy to become the best that he can be.
King seems to take Zoro exuding his Conqueror’s Haki as an affront on Kaido, which is consistent with Kaido’s disdain for too many conquerors. Kaido’s shadow looms over this fight, as King creates a flame construct in the image of an Eastern Dragon, Kaido’s deified state, and a symbol of power and order within Wano. Zoro tears through that symbol of King’s admiration, vowing to make King remember him in defeat. A nod to Ryuma’s legacy of cementing Wano as the land of Samurai, and Zoro is among them. They will no longer be oppressed by the Dragon. Zoro attacks King with a powerful, long range, Haki imbedded attack. Half of King’s right wing is cut off and his sword is broken in half
I, like many others, felt at first that the Zoro and Sanji fights were resolved weirdly quickly after reading the most recent chapters. But when I went back and re-read all of the chapters where the fight took place, I realized each was actually super long with many twists and turns and character moments. What made them feel rushed while reading week-to-week was Oda’s unusual choice to splice them up and ultimately resolve each in one chapter.
I’ve therefore compiled each fight independently so that you can read them from start to finish without any of the cutaways to other storylines.
Interestingly, Sanji vs Queen lasted 48 pages (across 19 chapters) and Zoro vs King lasted 57 pages (across 19 chapters) – not counting any concluding pages to the Zoro vs King fight that might show up in Chapter 1036. That’s equivalent to about 2.8 and 3.4 full chapters respectively, which I’m pretty sure makes them the longest fights for each of them in the entire series.
Did you all initially feel that the fight conclusions felt unusually rushed? Does reading them each continuously like this improve your appreciation for the fight as it did for me?