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One Piece: Shokugeki no Sanji Manga Review


Publisher Summary

See what Straw Hat chef Sanji dishes up in his battle to win over the bellies and hearts of all he feeds, man or woman, friend or foe. This one-shot spinoff rolls all six original story chapters into one collection, concocted and served up to you by the creators of Food Wars!


Based on Eiichiro Oda's One Piece

Story by Yuto Tsukuda

Art by Shun Saeki

Assistance by Yuki Morisaki


Translated by Adrienne Beck

Letterer: Eve Grant


I received One Piece: Shokugeki no Sanji Manga as an Advanced Review Copy from Viz Media in exchange for an honest review.



 

Background


One Piece Shokugeki no Sanji originally started off as a one shot titled Shokugeki no Sanji: The Dawn of Adventure Approaches. This stand alone chapter was created by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki, who created Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma to celebrate One Piece's 21st anniversary, and was released in Weekly Shonen Jump 2018 Issue 34. The duo went on to create five more spin-off stories around Sanji, commemorating different milestones the One Piece manga had accomplished.


Shokugeki no Sanji: Sanji, Banquet Assistant was released in Weekly Shonen Jump 2021 Issue 5/6 to celebrate the release of Chapter 1000 of the One Piece Manga.


Shokugeki no Sanji: A Beautiful Dessert was released in Weekly Shonen Jump 2021 Issue 33/34 to celebrate the 24th anniversary of One Piece.


Shokugeki no Sanji: A Peach-Colored Queendom was released in Weekly Shonen Jump 2021 Issue 40 to celebrate the release of volume 100 of the One Piece Manga.


Shokugeki no Sanji: Crooked Cooks, Soba Salvation was released in Weekly Shonen Jump 2022 Issue 5/6 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of One Piece.


Shokugeki no Sanji: Second in Command was released in Weekly Shonen Jump 2022 Issue 34 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of One Piece


Source: In page 227 of the Volume, there's a timeline that shows each chapter release


On the English side, Viz Media announced in their English edition of Shonen Jump issue #33 that it will publish "Shokugeki no Sanji," digitally on July 16th, 2018. Since then, Viz has simulpub'd each one shot digitally on their Shonen Jump Website.


On July 9th, 2023: Viz Media announced it'll be publishing One Piece: Shokugeki no Sanji in English for a physical/digital release.


 

Review


Our first story takes us to a floating restaurant called Baratie. This restaurant is widely known for its world-renown food and staff. We're introduced to a food critic named Saravin, or "The Tongue that Spans the Seas." The legend goes that Saravin is a big deal within the foodie community, from writing reviews on various restaurants that capture the attention of everyone throughout the grand line to event planning and recruiting chefs for various royal families. It's said that bad reviews have spelled doom for those on the receiving end.





We're then introduced to a well-dressed waiter named Sanji, who notices that Saravin is asking for the head chef of the Baratie. When he inquires as to why, he notices that Saravin hasn't finished the food in front of her. Sanji then questions Saravin, which sends her into an outrage, threatening to write a review so terrible that it would doom the restaurant from ever operating again. Taken aback by her threat, the crew of the Baratie begs her to give them one more chance to prepare a dish that will impress her. She agrees, but mocks the owner for considering "a cheap rundown excuse of a restaurant" to be world-class. Angered by this, Sanji takes up the mantle and proclaims to Saravin that it will leave her speechless. On the condition that she finishes what he has cooked. When she agrees to the terms, he asks the crew if the latest catch has been purged and is ready to be served.

We're then met with a very similar-feeling montage of Sanji preparing different ingredients to create his ultimate dish. The owner of the Baratie, named Zeff, comes back to find the restaurant in disarray but notices Sanji making something in the kitchen. The other chefs try to explain what's going on to defuse the situation. Zeff silences them and tells them to leave Sanji alone as he's cooking. So what dish did Sanji make to impress the infamous "The Tongue that Spans the Seas"?


I think it's better to let the manga explain this one



Saravin looks skeptical, but takes a single bite out of the Tomahawk Lobster and is immediately impressed. She exclaims that many restaurants she's tried before have had difficulty preparing this dish, as it's one of the most difficult shellfish to prepare. Sanji then reveals himself as the sous chef of the restaurant and explains what the baratie stands for. He explains that the purpose of this restaurant is to serve anyone who arrives with an empty stomach. When he's done, he notices that Saravin has only taken a single bite of his dish and calls out her for not upholding her end of the deal.


Saravin relucts Sanji calling her out, but continues to eat the dish. Then, in another familiar sequence of events, Each bite she takes of Sanji's Tomahawk lobster sends her into a state where she becomes overwhelmed by the intensity of the dish, to the point where she passes out on the table. When the dust settles, Sanji is contemptuous of the result and asks the staff to escort her out the door.




As the chapter ends, we cut to Zeff being impressed with Sanji's ability, and the crew was relieved that they survived another day. As they're cleaning up the mess, one of them notices a pirate ship with a very weird-looking straw hat flag coming its way to the baratie.



While each chapter in this collection is "technically" it's own stand alone story. Each chapter does take place either in-between or is a prelude to the main story of one piece. Chapter 1: The Dawn of Adventure Approaches takes place between chapters 42 and 43


• Chapter 2: Sanji, Banquet Assistant takes place between chapters 95 and 96 Chapter 3: A Beautiful Dessert takes places during the events of Chapter 213


•Chapter 4: A Peach-Colored Queendom takes place between chapters 597 and 598


• Chapter 5: Crooked Cooks, Soba Salvation takes place between 925 and 926


• Chapter 6: Second in Command is the earliest taking place before chapter 1 before Sanji was introduced in the main story Despite taking place at different points in Sanji's part of the main one-piece story, they all work in tangent to create an engaging narrative that shines the spotlight on Sanji's character. For fans of One Piece, Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki really respected the source material and created something that those who love Sanji will feel very satisfied with the creative liberties they've taken. For those who've never read one piece before, while you might miss some of the context and name drops of certain characters you'll find throughout each of these stories, you can read the whole volume and not miss out on the main story beats presented here, and you might even be compelled to read the manga or watch the recent Netflix live-action adaptation.


 

Final Thoughts


Let's get the obvious out of the way: For fans of One Piece, this is an easy recommendation, as Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki's work really enhances Sanji's depth as a character. I appreciate nods and references to the main one-piece story, and I enjoyed the bits of lore we got from Sanji before we saw him get introduced into the main story. Plus, the artwork for each of the dishes Sanji makes is 10/10.


For those who have never read one piece and want to read this as a stand-alone, you can still enjoy this story as is, and you're not going to feel lost as you go through each chapter. But this story will make you appreciate Sanji more if you have read the main story, as there are subtle references and nods that fans will certainly enjoy.



Final Verdict: Buy it


One Piece: Shokugeki no Sanji from Viz Media is now available at all retailers



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