One Piece: Official Viz Media account calls Sanji the Number Four of Strawhat Pirates

Calling Sanji as the Strawhat Pirates
Calling Sanji as the Strawhat Pirates' Number Four, Viz Media really hit a hot topic (image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Throughout One Piece, Sanji ranked only below Luffy and Zoro within the Strawhat Pirates' hierarchy of strength. The three formed the Monster Trio, meaning that they were highlighted as the strongest members of the crew.

With Luffy being the captain and Zoro his right-hand man and Number Two, Sanji has always been the third strongest Strawhat Pirate. After Jinbe entered the crew and was awarded a greater bounty than Sanji, fans started debating who was the third strongest Strawhat among the two.

To add further fuel to the debate, a prominent official Twitter account just posted a tweet that declared Sanji as the Strawhat Pirates' Number Four.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1069 and reflects the writer's personal views.


Official One Piece publisher Viz Media tweets about the Sanji vs Jinbe debate

Viz calling Sanji the Number Four has triggered different reactions

Viz's tweet has brought the Sanji vs Jinbe debate under the spotlight once again (image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Viz's tweet has brought the Sanji vs Jinbe debate under the spotlight once again (image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Viz Media is the leading manga publisher, anime distributor, and entertainment company in North America. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, it was founded in 1986. Throughout the years, Viz has constantly increased its number of publications.

Viz is well known to manga fans due to having published some of the most popular series, including Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Detective Conan, Bleach, and Inuyasha. Viz's success contributed to the growing popularity of manga and anime series.

Viz Media's official Twitter account made a post featuring Zoro and Sanji. While the fact they called the former Number Two didn't surprise anyone, what triggered many fans was that Viz referred to Sanji as Number Four.

The post immediately provoked a reaction from One Piece fans. A testament to this, the tweet received several thousand likes and comments. Unsurprisingly, some readers praised and enjoyed the occurrence, while others appeared greatly annoyed by the content of the post.


Has Sanji been kicked out of Monster Trio by Jinbe?

The idea that the Monster Trio now involves Luffy, Zoro, and Jinbe has gained some momentum (image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
The idea that the Monster Trio now involves Luffy, Zoro, and Jinbe has gained some momentum (image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

When it comes to strength, Sanji has always been ranked only below Luffy and Zoro. However, since the start of One Piece's post-time skip narration, Sanji's reputation in terms of strength has constantly suffered.

While Luffy and Zoro received training from Rayleigh and Mihawk, Sanji was trained by Emporio Ivankov. While Ivankov is a Commander-level individual, he can't be compared to Rayleigh, Roger's right-hand man, or Mihawk, the World's Strongest Swordsman.

In the following arcs, Sanji's showings were disappointing compared to Luffy and Zoro's. Sanji broke his own leg in a clash against Vergo, despite the latter not using his weapon and his Armament Haki. He was also brutally defeated by Doflamingo after a short one-sided fight.

Even in the Whole Cake Island arc, Sanji's fighting capabilities were underwhelming. In the Wano Arc, he obtained a remarkable power-up, which enabled him to defeat Queen, the third strongest member of the Beasts Pirates. However, Sanji's feats still didn't measure up to Luffy and Zoro's.

Luffy unlocked the Advanced Conqueror's Haki and awakened his Devil Fruit to a new stage of power, unleashing a transformation called Gear 5. Luffy managed to defeat Kaido, the captain of the Beasts Pirates, earning himself the title of Emperor.

Zoro fought valiantly against Kaido and Big Mom, blocking their combined attack and severely injuring Kaido. Zoro also unlocked the Advanced Conqueror's Haki, obtaining a new level of swordsmanship, the "King of Hell Style," which allowed him to annihilate King, the second strongest member of the Beasts Pirates.

While One Piece author Eiichiro Oda hyped Luffy and Zoro highlighting them against foes as strong as the Emperors, Sanji was not considered worthy of a similar spotlight. To make matters worse, Jinbe joined the crew and was awarded a bounty higher than Sanji's.

An influential and experienced pirate, Jinbe was able to survive the full brunt of attacks from Big Mom and even Fleet Admiral Akainu. When the reward for Sanji's head was revealed to be not only lower than Luffy and Zoro's but also Jinbe's, by several tens of millions of berries, many fans interpreted this as a hint at Sanji being weaker than Jinbe.

However, contrary to what some might think, bounties aren't power levels. They don't measure the strength of a character, but merely quantify the level of threat the World Government assumes the individual could pose.

Bounties don't just depend on individual strength, but also on the offenses perpetuated against the World Government. Additionally, captains and leaders will always have far higher bounties than subordinates.

One Piece author Eiichiro Oda often creates bounties based on puns and jokes rather than taking into account the characters' feats and fighting capabilities. For instance, Oda defined the digits of Zoro's latest bounty on the basis of the character's birthdate (11/11).

Following his bounty being lower than even Jinbe's, Sanji was ironically declared to be Number Four. However, given how poorly reliable bounties are in terms of strength, Jinbe having a greater bounty than Sanji doesn't necessarily mean that the former is stronger than the latter.


Is Sanji the third or fourth strongest member of the Strawhat Pirates?

Sanji's Ifrit Jambe and Jinbe's Fishman Karate and Armament Haki would make a balanced match (image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
Sanji's Ifrit Jambe and Jinbe's Fishman Karate and Armament Haki would make a balanced match (image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Admittedly, to the present day, Jinbe appears to have better showings than Sanji. The former Warlord proved his toughness by enduring a deadly attack from Admiral Akainu, one of the strongest characters in the series.

Two years later, Jinbe was able to block a named move from Big Mom, even counterattacking and pushing her back. While she wasn't in her best condition and came out unscathed from Jinbe's attack, the feat is still impressive in its own right.

Sanji's current best feat is his victory over Queen, the third-strongest member of the Beasts Pirates. Sanji doesn't seem to be able to replicate Jinbe's performances against Akainu and Big Mom, while it doesn't seem impossible for the former Warlord to defeat Queen, although not without a tough battle.

A hypothetical fight between Jinbe and Sanji would be balanced. Sanji is faster, but if Queen was able to hit him despite never being emphasized as a fast individual, the much more skilled Jinbe will likely be able to keep up.

To overcome Jinbe, Sanji would need to push his maximum speed and his newfound Ifrit Jambe. At the moment, however, Sanji doesn't seem to be able to maintain those abilities for more than a few moments before quickly tiring himself.

Jinbe's natural durability and his Armament Haki proficiency would allow him to soak damage. Haki clashes are a crucial aspect of fights in the One Piece series. With Jinbe having shown far stronger Armament Haki than Sanji, this may prove to be significant.

Using his Fishman Karate attacks, Jinbe can manipulate the water within Sanji's body, bypassing the latter's tough exoskeleton and hitting him from the inside. Combined with Jinbe's superior Armament Haki and great physical strength, these attacks could severely injure Sanji.


Final thoughts

Sooner or later, Sanji will establish his position as the third strongest Strawhat member after Luffy and Zoro (image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Sooner or later, Sanji will establish his position as the third strongest Strawhat member after Luffy and Zoro (image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Throughout the entire One Piece series, no member of the Strawhat Pirates has ever been comparable in strength to Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji. They have always fought the strongest opponents, protecting their weaker comrades.

After Jinbe joined the crew and was awarded a greater bounty than Sanji, One Piece fans started debating who is the third strongest member of the crew among the two. However, bounties aren’t purely a reflection of strength.

Jinbe's bounty could have been inflated by his history as a former member of the Seven Warlords and a former subordinate of the two Emperors. Regardless of such an occurrence, it's interesting that Oda wanted Jinbe's head to be worth a lower price than Zoro's, but higher than Sanji's.

Oda treats Jinbe with respect. The former Warlord always makes a good impression, no matter who he has to face. The same can’t be said for Sanji. Admittedly, before the latest power-up that greatly improved his fighting capabilities, Sanji's reputation for strength had suffered.

Sanji and Jinbe are currently fighters of comparable strength. Sanji has greatly improved, but it remains to be seen if that is enough to beat a more experienced fighter and stronger Armament Haki user such as Jinbe.

However, Jinbe has already peaked and will not improve much in the future, while Sanji has greater potential to achieve. In the future arcs of One Piece, Sanji will certainly surpass Jinbe, establishing the good old Monster Trio once again.

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Edited by Adelle Fernandes
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