One Piece fans are familiar with the concept of Monster Trio, formed by Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji. Within the Strawhat crew, Luffy is the captain and the leader, while Zoro is his right-hand man and the second strongest after him. Below them, Sanji has always been the third strongest individual in the group.
Luffy and Zoro share several strength-related traits, such as being born with the rare Supreme King's Haki and having evolved that power at its advanced stage. Lacking those traits, Sanji can't compete with Luffy and Zoro. However, he is still a powerful fighter in his own right, making him worthy of being part of the Monster Trio.
Jinbe, a mighty fishman and former member of the Seven Warlords, recently joined the Strawhat Pirates. Since Jinbe is an incredibly powerful character, One Piece fans are now debating whether the third strongest member of Strawhats is him or Sanji.
Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1065 and reflects the writer's personal views.
Why Sanji vs Jinbe is a trending debate among One Piece fans
Who is Sanji
Sanji is the cook of the Strawhat Pirates and one of the most prominent members of the crew. His dream is to find the All Blue, a legendary place where all the seas join in a single one.
He is usually a smart individual. However, when in the presence of women, his exaggerated chivalry makes him lose all of his coolness to the point of becoming rather annoying.
One Piece typically features Sanji challenging the third most powerful combatant from the enemy's side. His best traits as a fighter are his Observation Haki and the speed and strength of his kicks.
After awakening his family's genetic enhancements, Sanji noticeably improved his body. He also unlocked the Ifrit Jambe, a further stage of his previous Diable Jambe. Thanks to this power-up, he was able to defeat Queen, a Yonko Commander who ranks as the third strongest warrior in the Beasts Pirates.
Who is Jinbe
Jinbe is the helmsman of the Strawhat Pirates and one of the top fighters in the crew. A whale shark fishman, he is widely considered one of the strongest representatives of his race in the entire One Piece world.
Jinbe is a powerful and influential pirate whose strength was praised even by the Four Emperors. He is the former captain of the Sun Pirates and a former member of the Seven Warlords of the Sea.
A great hand-to-hand combatant, Jinbe is the greatest master of Fishman Karate, a martial art that allows the user to control and manipulate any surrounding water source. His prowess with Armament Haki, added to his natural durability, makes Jinbe a tough individual.
During the Wano arc, Jinbe faced Who's Who, a former CP9 agent and one of the most prominent Beast Pirates' Flying Six members. After some trouble, Jinbe was able to overwhelm his opponent completely.
Was Sanji kicked out of the Monster Trio?
Since joining the Strawhats, Sanji has always been one of the most powerful individuals on the crew. When it comes to strength, he was ranked only below Luffy and Zoro. However, some fans argue that it's hardly believable for Sanji to be stronger than Jinbe, the Strawhat Pirates' newcomer.
Since the start of One Piece's post-time skip narration, Sanji's reputation for strength has constantly been suffering. While Luffy and Zoro received training from two characters among the absolute strongest, Rayleigh and Mihawk, Sanji was trained by Emporio Ivankov.
Despite Ivankov being a Commander-level individual, he can't be compared to Rayleigh, the first mate of Roger Pirates, or Mihawk, the World's Strongest Swordsman. Moreover, in the following arcs, Sanji's showings were rather disappointing compared to his Monster Trio comrades.
During the Punk Hazard arc, Sanji broke his own leg in a clash against Vergo, despite the latter holding back his best techniques and not using his Armament Haki. In the Dressrosa arc, Sanji was brutally defeated by Doflamingo after a short one-sided fight.
Even in the Whole Cake Island arc, Sanji's fighting capabilities were hardly emphasized. Finally, in the Wano arc, he won back some spotlight as a fighter. He received a remarkable power-up that allowed him to defeat Queen, the third strongest member of the Beasts Pirates. However, Sanji's accomplishments still pale in comparison to Luffy and Zoro's.
Luffy was able to unlock both his Advanced Conqueror's Haki and awaken his Devil Fruit to a new stage of power. Unleashing the true powers of his Nika-Nika Fruit, he obtained a transformation called Gear 5. After a tremendous battle, Luffy eventually defeated Kaido, the captain of the Beasts Pirates. This triumph earned him the title of Emperor.
Zoro, along with Luffy, was emphasized in the fight against Kaido and Big Mom. The green-haired pirate's performance against the two Emperors was outstanding since he blocked their combined attack and severely injured Kaido. Later, he unlocked the Advanced Conqueror's Haki, which allowed him to annihilate King, the second strongest member of the Beasts Pirates.
While One Piece author Eiichiro Oda deemed Luffy and Zoro strong enough to prove their value against mighty foes such as the Emperors, Sanji was never considered worthy of a similar challenge. To make matters worse, Jinbe joined the crew.
An influential and experienced pirate, Jinbe was able to survive attacks from Big Mom and even Fleet Admiral Akainu. Many One Piece fans consider these feats to be much better than Sanji's. With the release of the new bounties following the Wano arc, the idea of Sanji being weaker than Jinbe gained further momentum.
Are the new bounties suggesting that Jinbe is stronger than Sanji?
After the Wano arc, the new bounties of the Strawhat Pirates were disclosed. The reward for Sanji's head was not only lower than Luffy and Zoro's but also Jinbe's. With the difference being noticeable (several tens of millions of berries), many fans interpreted this as a hint at Sanji being weaker than Jinbe.
However, this assumption comes from the wrong perception of what bounties stand for. Contrary to what some might think, bounties aren't power levels and don't measure the strength of characters. The purpose of the bounty is to quantify the level of threat the World Government assumes the individual could pose.
In relation to bounties, strength is not the only factor that comes into play. The amount of the reward also depends on the offenses perpetuated against the World Government. Additionally, leaders and captains will always have far higher bounties than subordinates.
Characters often receive a lower, or occasionally even higher, reward compared to what they would deserve because of their strength. As a matter of fact, bounties are not meant to be power levels. They don't equate to strength, and they may not even necessarily reflect the true threat of a person, possibly overstating or understating.
For example, despite being an impressive sum, Zoro's bounty doesn't give proper value to his status in the Strawhat crew and his outstanding feats in the Wano arc. This is due to One Piece author Eiichiro Oda often creating bounties based on puns and jokes rather than taking into account the characters' feats and fighting capabilities.
A recent instance of this can be found in Zoro's latest bounty, where Oda defined the digits of the prize on the basis of the character's birthdate (11/11). The same went for Sanji's bounty, which was also modeled on his birthday (3/2).
Given how poorly reliable bounties are inherent to power levels, Jinbe having a greater bounty than Sanji doesn't mean the former is stronger than the latter. While the fishman might be more powerful than the latter, there are better arguments to back up that idea. For instance, the former Warlord has better feats than Sanji and is generally portrayed as a more powerful individual than the blond cook throughout the One Piece series.
Sanji's fighting capabilities as compared to Jinbe's
To the present day, Jinbe appears to have better showings than Sanji. The former took part in the Paramount War in Marineford, where he overwhelmed his fellow Warlord Gecko Moriah. On that issue, Jinbe 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 serious attack from Big Mom, even counterattacking and pushing her back. While she wasn't in her best condition and came out unscathed from Jinbe's technique, the feat is still impressive in its own right.
Sanji's best feat to date is his triumph over Queen, the third strongest member of the Beasts Pirates. That said, his victory required the former to give his all. Moreover, the cook was inadvertently favored by Queen, who, in the decisive moment of the battle, got distracted by a girl and lost his focus on his enemy.
At the moment, Sanji doesn't appear to be able to replicate Jinbe's performances against Akainu and Big Mom. Instead, the former Warlord should be able to defeat Queen, although not without a tough battle. While both Queen and Jinbe faced Big Mom, the latter's performance was much better than the former's.
A hypothetical fight between Jinbe and Sanji would turn out to be close and balanced. The latter is faster, but Queen was still able to hit him several times despite being a relatively slow individual. Hence, Jinbe will likely be able to keep up with Sanji's standard speed.
To overcome Jinbe, the blond pirate would need to use his maximum speed and the strongest stage of his kicks, the Ifrit Jambe. However, during the Wano arc, Sanji showed he wasn't able to maintain that technique for more than a few moments before quickly tiring himself.
Hence, Jinbe could rely on his natural durability and his remarkable expertise with Haki to soak damage and outlast Sanji. Haki clashes are a crucial aspect of fights in the One Piece series, and Jinbe has been shown to possess a far stronger Armament Haki than Sanji.
The Vinsmoke's genetically enhanced physique is tough. However, Jinbe has the right tool to damage him since the former Warlord is the greatest master of Fishman Karate.
He can use the martial arts' most powerful attacks to manipulate the water within Sanji's body, bypassing the latter's tough exoskeleton and hitting him from the inside. In combination with Jinbe's superior Armament Haki and great physical strength, these attacks could severely injure the blond pirate.
After unlocking his latest power-up, Sanji's physical strength has greatly improved. A testament to this is when he could overpower Queen. Regardless, it remains to be seen if that is enough to beat a more experienced fighter and stronger Armament Haki user such as Jinbe.
Sanji is indisputably one of the most prominent members of the Strawhat Pirates. Throughout most of the series, he ranked only below Luffy and Zoro within the crew hierarchy of strength.
After Strawhats' newcomer, Jinbe, was awarded a greater bounty than Sanji, One Piece fans started debating who is the third strongest member of the crew among these two.
However, it has been stated several times that 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, Whitebeard and Big Mom.
While Jinbe's background may have inflated his bounty, many fans noticed that, regardless of such an occurrence, One Piece author Eiichiro Oda still had the former Warlord's head worth a lower price than Zoro's. Instead, Oda had Jinbe's reward higher than Sanji's. Admittedly, this could be a compelling point.
When it comes to feats, Oda always treats Jinbe with respect. Every single time the fishman appears on screen, he makes a good impression, no matter who he has to face. However, the same can’t be said for Sanji. The latter just received a noticeable power-up that greatly improved his fighting capabilities.
There’s evidence supporting both sides. Sanji could be slightly stronger than Jinbe, but in a fight between them, he would not win against the fishman with anything less than high difficulty. Given Jinbe's consistently favorable portrayal, it's clear that the One Piece mangaka thinks highly enough of the former Warlord.
Sanji and Jinbe are currently fighters of comparable strength. At best, one of them might be slightly more powerful than the other. While the latter has already peaked and will not improve much in the future, Sanji has greater potential to achieve. In the future arcs of One Piece, the latter will certainly surpass the former Warlord, i.e., if he hasn't already.
Poll : Between Sanji and Jinbe, who do you think is the third most powerful Strawhat currently?