Character Discussion On Sanji, Black Maria and "a scientific wizard did it".

#1
Welcome, Worstgen, and share with me a disgusting cup of horchata as I discuss something I'm personally worried about. My text may be long but I believe it's interesting enough for me to share it and for you to share your opinions on it. To summarize, it's on Oda forcing unnecessary explanations and justifications on his own artistic choices, and how this could harm the romantic vibe of his story.

Let's begin, shall we?

In Volume 100 SBS we found out that Black Maria’s abnormal hybrid is the result of her taking “some drugs” and that’s it. The situation here is obvious: Oda wanted to put Jorogumo, a famous Japanese yokai, in Wano; yet the changes in his own rules required to do so lead many people to be confused at why Maria’s hybrid looked like a SMILE. His answer? “A drug did it”.

This isn’t an answer, let’s get that right, but the modern reinvention of the infamous “a wizard did it” that fits modern standards better. Contemporaneous tastes are spoiled so they need a tangible and feelingly (albeit not truly) logical explanation for everything, and this is sufficiently provided by anything sounding scientific enough even though, at the end of the day, is as empty as an explanation as the wizard’s doing.

One of the most aberrant manifestations of this bias happens when seemingly magic events, difficult to explain by reason yet very powerful from a literary standpoint, are repudiated by readers who need “explanations”. This phenomenon famously reached its peak when George Lucas butchered his own mythos as he felt the urge to “explain” the Force, an essentially spiritual concept, through vague pseudoscience in the form of midichlorians. Just one scene: that’s all it took for Star Wars to lose the scaffold that supported its wise, ancient, transcendent-feeling universe. Contrary to Lucas’s mistake, a writer’s ability to play with non-rational elements and elevate the rhetorical strength of their story is to be praised; this can be noted throughout masterpieces going from epic fantasy (such as Tolkien’s Tom Bombadil and the author’s overall liking for leaving things unexplained) to more down-to-earth genres (see magic realism, with exquisite authors like Gabo and their mastery on putting impossible things in realistic settings and making them work perfectly to improve the whole work).

If we focus on One Piece, I have the feeling Oda is turning to a dangerous route of unnecessary explanations and fake justifications. Black Maria’s hybrid made no sense but eventually worked as her whole context fully merged with Japanese folklore, and when the author tried to justify it he just opened more questions: who created such drug? Why no one paid attention to Chopper’s transformations if it’s something the Beasts Pirates are familiar with? How is it that such powerful science was limited to one of their fighters (maybe Jack’s centaur too?) even though so many of them could improve their fruits by using it? It all feels like Oda saying: “Oh, yeah, it’s… Let me check my ‘sounds scientific’ list… A drug! That’s it; a drug did it, now forget about it”.

Another recent discovering, which is Onimaru, suffers from this too to some degree. From my point of view, it really helped Wano’s enchanted atmosphere (expected for this kind of tale) to have a fox that turned human without any explicit justification given. This mystery is actually the reason why his subplot delivers a strong final punch when both the monk and the pet are revealed to be the same, but Oda decided to conceive an unnecessary mythical model of the Hito Hito to explain how a fox becomes a big man, a mythical that may never have a significant enough role to justify it and decreases the scarcity of such powers said to be rarer than Logia. Onimaru's shapeshifting remaining unexplained wouldn't mean that no explanation existed, but rather that it was up to your own imagination —which is exactly why it worked so well in the folkloric context of the feudal Japan that Wano is.

That said, let’s take on my big personal fear: Sanji, and more specifically his genetics. For years we’ve had readers repudiating Sanji’s fire powers as they thought them to make no sense and come out of the blue without a “rational explanation” behind. These people found support on the possibility of Sanji being genetically altered which would apparently explain his abilities; a train of reasoning that got new focus with Queen’s comments on lunarians and how normal people can’t produce fire.

My fear here therefore comes from the chances of Oda actually following this route and turning Sanji’s fire into another genetic modification, another experiment. And I fear it because it would brutally destroy Sanji’s character even more than it’s already destroyed. To make it clear, I was perfectly fine with Diable Jambe and Hell Memories lacking “rational explanations” because every justification we received was quite strong from a rhetorical standpoint; even then, the spinning explanation worked perfectly as not only did we see him doing so, but he was likely inspired by Wanze's roller skates (which produced fire with friction).

But let's clarify some points:

—First, as he stated back in Baratie, no cook fears fire. Additionally, chefs are well known to resists very high temperatures as they dominate fire and heat for a living.

—Second, he’s a very emotional man, reacting with violence towards Fullbody, stopping Luffy with a kick the moment he suggests on Usopp leaving the crew, having a natural talent to empathize with people and comfort them, the kindness narrative for his character… and, of course, his whole love them. Emotions are what he could kept unlike his siblings thanks to Sora, they are passion, they are heat and fire, which is why it fits so much that Sanji is “naturally burning”, and burning hotter as his emotions are fueled (hence Hell Memories).

—Third, he’s a classy devil. He wears an elegant suit, he has French inspiration, he loves smoking and, on top of this, he follows a “diable” theme (remember, Jabra: the Devil created the spices). All of this carries a strong mysterious and even supernatural vibe that perfectly fits the idea of a seemingly normal human producing fire by himself.

The whole package, therefore, works perfectly with no strong scientific, rational or whatever explanation needed, and more importantly: it works better without it because spirit Sanji and science Sanji don’t mix: science is cold and rational, not hot and emotional; Super Sentai suits are robotic and cheesy, not elegant and classic (and Stealth Black's mask won't let him smoke!); genetics are physical, unlike the spiritual tone of a hellish fire. In other words, Sanji works as good as the Force and doesn’t need his own midichlorians —call them Germa modifications, raid suit or lunarian DNA— because that’s pseudoscience, and pseudoscience kills romance.

Let’s get this right, though: I’m not against mixing science with literature, not even close, and of course I know science can indeed be emotional and approach spiritual areas to provide a better light at them. What I’m talking about here is the rhetorical tone of a piece of literature, and in this case, One Piece has always respected a romantic basis that I now fear to disappear. Imagine, for example, the shadows from Florian Triangle being explained or the Klabautermann losing its folkloric feel —there’s no need to because they work perfectly as they are! But Oda may be his own story’s highest threat, just like Lucas was to Star Wars, and in the same way the richness of his powers is being slowly retconned into vague forms of haki (breath of things, rokushiki, etc.), we could witness Sanji’s devil, among many other things, turning into “a scientific wizard did it”.

And then the romance would be gone.
 

Chrono

Symbol of Despair
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#3
"Muh im so scared Sanji's DJ is genetic modification" of course it is . Your literally the only person who still doesnt think so. No having genetic modifcations wont ruin Sanji's character. Oda has been literally hinting that Sanji himself was a DF from the start of the story. We can already tell Sanji wasnt a normal human from then
Then he started bursting into fire and creating it with ease....and then obvipusly we know that aint normal.

Having no explanation for DJ is retarded. If there is no explanation for it, Oda has free reign to have any other random characters use it. It will stop being unique to Sanji himself and then his character will be ruined even more.
Yes be scared, literally everyone believes DJ is a genetic modification. Stop acting as if your fear is something we all share.....cause it aint.
Post automatically merged:

It being a genetic modifcation doesnt have to mean its from Judge.

We literally know DJ operates on passion. Which comes from emotions.....which was given to him through Sora's drug.
 
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#4
I don’t know if you have to worry about the science shit. It was never about MuHH MyThOloGy, Black Maria was only a hybrid because she’s a woman and making a woman turn into an actual spider a la Onigumo would remove her sex appeal. Oda just rationalised the inconsistency with post hoc bullshit. That’s all.
The mythological element is clearly there since Black Maria's crew is rich on yokai references (arguably the richest out of the Beast Pirates) and herself is obviously inspired on Jorogumo. I'd say he wanted to put Jorogumo inside his story, Jorogumo had to be a beautiful spider centaur (just like most of her popular representations) and Oda faced the issue of needing a strange hybrid for it to work he solved with, as you said, "post hoc bullshit".

But the issue I'm pointing out is how Oda felt the need to rationalize the inconsistency instead of leaving it that way for readers to imagine their preferred explanation, and discussing the extent to which this may become a trend as a writer, leading to an urge to justify Sanji's fire with genetic modifications, Onimaru's transformation with a mythical fruit, reducing many different powers into haki, and so on.

Imagine being so stupid enough to create this thread.

"Muh im so scared Sanji's DJ is genetic modification" of course it is you dumb f. Your literally the only person who still doesnt think so. No having genetic modifcations wont ruin Sanji's character. Oda has been literally hinting that Sanji himself was a DF from the start of the story. We can already tell Sanji wasnt a normal human from then
Then he started bursting into fire and creating it with ease....and then obvipusly we know that aint normal.

Having no explanation for DJ is retarded. If there is no explanation for it, Oda has free reign to have any other random characters use it. It will stop being unique to Sanji himself and then his character will be ruined even more.

Damn your even dumber than the people who said it was friction.

Yes be scared, literally everyone believes DJ is a genetic modification. Stop acting as if your fear is something we all share.....cause it aint.
Post automatically merged:

It being a genetic modifcation doesnt have to mean its from Judge.

We literally know DJ operates on passion. Which comes from emotions.....which was given to him through Sora's drug.
Yeah, the stupid one here is the guy posting some thoughts for relaxed discussion and not the aggressive nobody accusing him of being dumb and scared because whatever absurdity that crossed his mind.

I'm not denying the idea of Diable Jambe being genetic modification, nowhere in the thread I state I don't think it is; good job not comprehending a simple text.

Your boldness at assuring that "having no explanation for DJ is retarded" is unbelievable. As I stated, not only some of the best pieces of literature in history masterfully play with seemingly impossible elements that are perfectly justified in other ways (such as building a compelling character, improving a specific atmosphere, etc.; I mean, feels like you'd label the whole magic realism as retarded because many things lack rational explanation), but One Piece itself is a romantic work that has played before with such magic to good results (Klabautermann is retarded too?). The whole point of the thread is just about discussing the extent to which such rationalization and overexplanation is not only needed but beneficial, and reflecting on whether Sanji really needs what Oda is giving him recently and how it affects the concept of his character, and taking him to elaborate some thoughts on the author's own creative tendencies overall.

I'm not acting as my concerns are shared by everybody, I'm just sharing some thoughts from my experience and ideals as a reader. I understand everything you do, I can notice every hint you can about Sanji's modifications; I mean, this isn't a complicated work to read. So if the only thing you can contribute is thinking you are the smart fella here and I'm the dumb one, I invite you to shut up and go back to threads made by people who won't laugh at your attempt at school bully.
 
#5
What's the explanation for Asura ? Or the way Zoro twisted his swords on Enies Lobby ?

Not all power up needs explanations.

Edit : for clarifications I was responding to Chrono.
 
#6
in a nutshell.. everything has a preemptive suitable build up that oda messes up consequently making it anticlimactic and banal is that it..


I'll take my time a reread your post.. i'd like to request a tag from now on to your posts.. your opinions are very subjectively driven but the concerns are legit..and some of us share them.
 
#7
This is the downside of straight forward power sets.

With Nen, alchemy, chakra, hell even spiritual pressure an author can be more creative with abilities because the power is simply energy that is utilized differnt based on the user. However; Haki is too straightforward.

Devil fruits are less straightforward, but you’re still limited by the power of your fruit and any non devil fruit users all gain odd powers. This is where the “Wizard did it” come from. It’s Odas attempt at being able create more interesting powers without completely destroying pre established rules of his power systems.
 
#8
I kinda agree with you.
I like "base" Sanji waaaaay more than "RS" Sanji. I find the design weird. I dont like the cape. I think it looks terrible with his "kicks only" fighting style.
But I also value chances. And not all changes are "better", but I still find them important.
Btw, we still lack the info on what exactly DJ is.
Is it really result of Judge's work? Is it the result of Sora's drug? Is it something else?
I dont preach some kind of "purity" for diable jambe just because I might not like the explanation. But believe me when I say that there are ways to keep faithful to the character even now.
This "I got power from my evil family" theme is nothing New and usually results on the character coming to terms with his own self, and understanding that he's not bound to the whims of others because of some "power".
There's room for a nice story here. Is Oda gonna deliver it?
Well....... :)
 
#9
I agree somewhat. It’s fine to simply let characters be “built different” without providing explanation. Let Robin turn into a raging demon because she’s cool. Sanji’s leg catches heat because he’s badass and his heart is hot. Luffy’s Red Hawk is because he’s built different

That’s why I liked the Sasaki triceracopter moment. Let dinosaurs fly if they want! One Piece isn’t the regular world.
 

Jew D. Boy

I Can Go Lower
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#10
While I agree that explanations suck the magic out of what’s going on, it’s so apparent that Oda’s limping to the finish line and ruthlessly cutting the fat off of what made OP so wondrous in the first place that even commenting on it is passé at this point. If he was still sweating the details, any of the Flying Six would have shown the Haki they evidently have while showcasing their drug-induced transformations, but he just doesn’t care as much as he used to, expecting better is wishful thinking now.
 
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