Why do Zoro and Sanji always fight in One Piece?

Zoro and Sanji seen arguing in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)
Zoro and Sanji seen arguing in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)

The core protagonist group of One Piece are the Straw Hat Pirates, led by fearless pirate Monkey D. Luffy. The group is a tightly-knit crew, all being extremely close friends.

However, one pair of siblings in the Straw Hat family consistently find themselves at odds with one another. Swordsman Zoro and Chef Sanji always seem to bicker with one another, no matter the situation they’re in. Some One Piece fans even feel the two hate each other and are confused as to why they always fight.

This article explains why Zoro and Sanji always fight in One Piece and also explores their conflicting philosophies.

One Piece’s Zoro and Sanji are always at odds for a deeper reason than some may think

Zoro and Sanji’s differing philosophies

At the core of One Piece’s most famous quarrel, the eternal bickering of Zoro and Sanji, are two foundationally different philosophies. The reason for this primarily ties into Zoro’s backstory, particularly his upbringing in Shimotsuki Village.

Growing up, Zoro was nowhere near the prodigy he is in contemporary One Piece. He was far from even being strongest in his dojo, a title that belonged to his friend, Kuina. However, being a woman, she felt she could never truly hold the title of being the strongest swordsman in the world since she was never treated as an equal in battle.

She was always being placed on a pedestal and also told that the title of the world’s strongest swordsman would be unobtainable for her. This ridicule and forced reality of her life drove Kuina to tears, and she even called Zoro lucky for being born a man, despite his lack of skill.


Kuina eventually died, leaving Zoro to chase their shared dream. In other words, he views men and women as equals and feels any differing opinion discredits the struggles of his friend. This, obviously, is where Zoro and Sanji begin to butt heads.

The latter believes, with every fiber of his being, that women should never be hit by men. Even in situations where his own life is at stake, he refuses to strike a woman in any way, shape, or form. Obviously, Zoro and Sanji butt heads over this, since the latter is reminded of the pain such attitudes and morals caused his childhood friend.

Their first fight in the series even stems from Zoro trying to attack Nami, viewing her as an equal and a credible fighter. Sanji, however, feels she should be protected and stops his crewmate from attacking her at that moment. This fight sets the tone for their entire relationship throughout the rest of the series.

Zoro and Sanji’s bickering in summation

While the two do constantly butt heads over their dichotomous philosophies, they do care about each other in their hearts. One Piece clearly establishes this relationship, with a primary example being when Kuma arrives to take Luffy’s head at Thriller Bark.

Some may find it strange that the two butt heads, but as explained above, they have a perfectly good reason to do so. With such staunchly opposed views, it’s understandable why they’re always at odds.

Be sure to keep up with all One Piece anime, manga, film, and live-action news as the year of the series’ 25th anniversary progresses.