It’s waifu time once again, and this week I will be talking about Reiju Vinsmoke, the sister to Sanji from One Piece. I did a Husbando piece on anime’s favorite ass-kicking chef not too long ago, and in writing that I was reminded of all the shit that poor boy went through. Through all the hard times though, he still has some glimmers of hope in the form of his mother and his older sister, Reiju — so today I want to celebrate Reiju a bit; even though she isn’t perfect, she still helped Sanji in a lot of ways and I just overall like her character.
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Who is Reiju Vinsmoke?
Of the five children that were born into the Vinsmoke family, Reiju was the first and the only daughter. The Vinsmokes became the royal bloodline that ruled the Kingdom of Germa after they conquered all of North Blue. Their rule over this part of the sea wasn’t too long-lived, but Reiju’s father, Judge Vinsmoke, dreamed of once again ruling over North Blue and establishing the underworld mercenary group known as Germa 66.
It was the role of Judge’s children to become commanders of this mercenary group, and as a result of her selfish father’s ambitions, Reiju received genetic manipulation. This granted her some rather superhuman traits in the form of strength, speed, and even the power to command poison. On the other hand, however, it also made her obedient and unable to challenge her father’s orders.
Reiju’s upbringing was one of horror. Her father wanted to create children who were superhuman, emotionless, perfect assassins. Reiju was the basis of this experiment, which would later go on to help create her four younger brothers.
Judge’s plan was to perform surgery on his wife, Sora, while she was pregnant with his quadruplet sons, and while his wife did submit, she took a drug in hopes of rendering the surgery useless. This drug massively weakened Sora’s body, and only Sanji was born as a human with emotions, empathy, and love. As her brothers bullied Sanji for being different, Reiju could do nothing be go along with it out of fear of both her brothers and father — but all the while she wanted to help Sanji.
Why we love Reiju
Reiju regrets happened to Sanji, and this is evident in the fact that she did numerous things to help him in secret when they were children — Reiju was scared of the consequences, yet she still helped. Every time her brothers bullied Sanji, it was Reiju that tended to his wounds to make sure he was all right. As Sanji was cast out of their family by his father and locked in a cell, Reiju cried for him, broke him out of the prison, and led him to a ship where she said that he would “find people that will treat him the way he deserves to be treated”.
Reiju did not lose her emotions through her father’s manipulation, and it’s because of her that Sanji was able to have a second chance at life. Reiju, accompanied by Sanji, were also Sora’s only children that visited her when their father had told them not to. Reiju knew why her mother’s body had become so weak, and Reiju never lets Sanji feel guilty or think that he was the reason for her death. Instead, she always cherished the parts of her brother that made him so kind.
After Sanji’s reunion with his family after many years apart, Reiju seemed to have become someone much colder than he had remembered. However, this was all revealed to be a front put up by Reiju, and she always had Sanji’s best interests in mind. She would have sacrificed herself for him numerous times if it meant he would have a chance to escape with the true friends he had found. However, his actions help prove to her once again that he had become the person her mother had always wished he would be. To Reiju, Sanji is the pride of her family — proving that her blood isn’t entirely corrupt.
Why you’ll love Reiju
Reiju will doubtless throw One Piece newcomers a little bit a first — I mean, the first time we see her she is saving the life of our beloved Straw Hat captain, Luffy, as she administers a literal kiss of life in order to extract some of the poison he recently consumed. Then we find out she is the sister of Sanji, but then she gives him the cold shoulder. What are we supposed to think at this point? My thoughts were something along the lines of “I love you, but I don’t know if you’re a bad guy!”
Once you chill on that and find out that Reiju is indeed an absolute babe of a character who I wish nothing but happiness for, I guarantee you will love her. Her development is the total opposite to that of her brothers and seeing her inner feelings bubble up to the surface is just wonderful. She is a fantastic older sister character who would do anything to make sure her favourite little brother, Sanji, is happy. And she’ll make you happy, too.
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