If Sanji ever hits a woman, it would probably be a slap. I could see it happening to Pudding. Nothing as drastic as a beat down, but a good slap could convey the message on how he is changing his views.
I could be game for that. But it would be way more hilarious than actually engrossing if he, of all things, slaps someone who is bragging about killing his friends, family, and himself lol.
The thing is, when mentioning Oda's track record, I actually don't remember a female villain ever acting as despicable and evil as Pudding in this chapter. Characters like the female Baroque Agents, Kalifa or Perona were part of an evil villainous group, sure, but they were just flunkies, you certainly never had any strong feelings of hatred towards them. But Pudding just completely betrayed and emotionally manipulated Luffy, Nami and Sanji in particular, and laughed in their faces at the thought of murdering Sanji and the rest of the Strawhats dying. The only other female character in the story who even came close to such a level of evil that I can think of was Monet. Monet was certainly ruthless, feeding little children drugs with a smile on her face. And did she get redeemed? Nope, she got her heart stabbed and was left for dead (I don't think she's actually dead, but still, a rather brutal end). The only chance for Pudding to come out of this arc unscathed would be the whole split personality thing. But if this is really her true character? I just can't see any way that she could be redeemed. She comes across as absolutely remorseless. Luffy even states in this chapter that he'll never forgive her either. I mean, Oda certainly didn't pull any punches in portraying her as a horrible human being this chapter.
And what I personally like about this development is that Oda really appears to me to have been playing with his readership's perceptions about his "track record" as you say. There were plenty of hints that Pudding was hiding something all along ( her hidden eye, for example) and that there was more to her than meets the eye, no pun intended. But the majority of people, me included, was still completely taken by surprise by the reveal in this chapter, and I think one of the reasons for why this twist worked was Oda's usual way of writing women. We had plenty of female characters in the story who seemed evil at first but turned out to be mostly good people (Vivi, Robin and Hancock, for example), but never the other way around. It was just easier to believe that Pudding was as nice and wholesome and boring as she appeared to be, because that just seemed more along the lines of Oda's common portrayal of pretty girls. So yeah, I'd be really disappointed if Oda went back on that. I don't want to Pudding to be redeemed at all, I'd much rather see her trapped in one of Big Moms books as a very rare three-eyed girl for eternity, lol. (Sadistic, I know, but I feel so betrayed by her, too :ninja:)
I understand how a character like Pudding is technically a new thing. But Oda has to eventually at least switch up the villainous personalities of his characters as well as up the ante as the series progresses. So Pudding more "hateable" alone doesn't solely strike me as being irredeemable. And even then, this was Robin's introduction:
It's not as emotionally enticing as Pudding being an established character who we thought could be trusted in such a bleak arc for our antagonists, but Robin's introduction was literally showing up as the murderer of a supporting character we were supposed to like. Of course, as we should have known from oda back then if we had foresight, Igaram showed up alive on Alabasta. But at that moment, Robin sure did seem irredeemable and cold, did she not? And I even remember plenty of people being uncertain about Reiju having redeemable qualities even though I kept saying it was right in their faces with Reiju's introduction having her save Luffy's life and act courteous to Sanji's friends, as well as never verbally supporting her family's prejudicial dogmas.
I do agree with you that I really like how Oda played with our expectations, especially with keeping the third eye a secret to lure in some sort of suspicion and then use it as a visual hook to truly cement how shocking Pudding's betrayal and "true inner self" looks like.
Also, Monet showed absolutely no signs of being friendly towards the heroes or having any redeemable traits. Anybody who did and legitimately supported her as nakama potential was just into her tits and Logia fruit lol.
Luffy's also stated he'll kick Big Mom's ass all over the New World and will take down all four Yonko (despite only holding up three fingers for some weird-ass reason unless that's Oda's "subtle" way of telling us he'll only beat three). Somehow, maybe it's just me, but I doubt either of those statements will come to fruition. For an assortment of substantial reasons.
All in all though, we REALLY shouldn't bank too much on Sanji of all characters having a morally satisfying storyline for either himself or Pudding from oda's established track record, especially with Enies Lobby. If he sticks to his guns with Pudding and actually has Sanji overcome his chivalry for once, that's FREAKING SPECTACULAR. Seriously, it gets me a bit giddy because of how satisfying it would be. But as of right now, it's best to temper expectations and not get too invested off the bat.
Are there any more instances of Pudding and Lola seemingly having a nice and friendly relationship?
Not yet, no. But what sells me on it is the tone of how Oda presented Big Mom in that flashback with how oppressive she was. Pudding and Lola could easily have a tenuous relationship. Maybe even sold her out. But that juxtaposition with both Big Mom treating Pudding solely like a doll and psychologically manipulating her with a shadowy face saying "Just follow my orders and everything will be fine", as if Pudding needs to reassure herself she's doing the right thing, and then going out into the rain are practically flashing neon signs of internal conflict. I do think she is being honest about her betrayal and how she has at least convinced herself to feel about the Straw Hats as of right now. But plenty of developments and tensions could still develop up to the wedding and the chaos surrounding it, to the point where Pudding actually performs a triple cross and maybe even actually falls in love with Sanji. I personally wouldn't care for such a development, but it's still quite possible. There's no narrative purpose to have all of that dark and emotionally visual flashback page if all that character was going to amount to was "Hey, I'm just a horrible person to the end."
You could argue that Pudding might hesitate but still end up choosing a villainous path, which I would love. But Oda tends to write his villains pretty concrete when it comes to moral alignment.
Sanji vs his family plot has to be solved, and locking them in prison seem the worst IMO. besides, with judge's relation with vegapunk, his life blueprint that vegapunk also has, clones, Sora the naval hero and comic stip with evil army, mystery of germa kids creation, superhuman experiment that needs to be explained, curly eyebrows, they are bound to play role in the future, not just lock them now in prison and end with them.
Locking them in prison won't teach them anything or us, they have to learn something that their ways are bad and learn to regret what they did to sanji and appreciate him, that's a good plot end to their family thing, solving their issues. Defeated and locked in prison they would still be some spoiled brats that like Royal status, their would still be in bad relation with the brother they kicked out, and oda bringing sanji's past only in chapter 800 must count for more then just 1 arc only beating them for the sake of action and no family issues solving.
If anything, sora that seems to be vegapunk only shows sanji will play a role in the vegapunk arc.
And with all their problems, sanji does fit with his brothers, they look like a family.
They can all play a role later in the arc or in the future without the Vinsmokes. It would be a bit disappointing if they all didn't get tackled in this arc, but a Vegapunk-centric arc could easily explain all of that. Just like how Haki was a weird random element until getting built-up for it explanation by Rayleigh.
WaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitWAIT. You're saying that we as readers can't learn anything from being inspired by their profound struggles and motivations of our protagonists and witnessing the detestable acts and corrupt philosophies of the antagonists if said antagonists are not redeemed? Seriously? That literally means that every other villain that has ended up in jail up throughout the series hasn't had any of their arc's moral messages be effectively conveyed. That means guys like Arlong and Hody should have been forgiven and convinced to change their ways. Seriously, who cares if they're still stuck up in prison or wherever else they may end up as long as they are prevented from committing evil? They've been portrayed to be irredeemable and nothing else, and thus have no convincible reason to be redeemed. Villains can stay evil, lots of them don't have reasons to want to change for obvious reasons. And forcing them to for the sake of it will only make the writing have less quality and be more distasteful, with Naruto being a prime example of that.
Maybe. He is said to use gadgets and tech like Vegapunk. But the seagull hat looks like Sengoku's too.
So if a character looks similar to his captors or torturers, they belong together? That is a VERY disturbing outlook.
Merry Christmas to you all
Same to you and your family, Kishido. If I'm correct, this will technically be your daughter's first Christmas. Congratulations. :happy: