The Vinsmoke Family is a royal bloodline that rules the Germa Kingdom and they are the former dynastic conquerors and rulers of North Blue. They are also a powerful and infamous family of Underworld mercenaries, and the family from which Sanji originally hails. As an adjunct to their rule over the Germa Kingdom, they are the commanders of the Kingdom's Underworld army, Germa 66.
Due to their actions, the Vinsmoke Family were the secondary antagonists of the Whole Cake Island Arc and were one of the central antagonist groups of the Four Emperors Saga. However, following Big Mom's deception, they have since allied with the Straw Hats and the Fire Tank Pirates.
About 300 years ago, the Vinsmoke Family established and ruled the Germa Empire (ジェルマ帝国 Jeruma Teikoku?), after conquering the entire North Blue with their military might. 66 days later, they were dethroned, yet they continue to rule over the ocean-going Germa Kingdom, and still possess the authority and privileges of royalty, including the right to attend Levely. Furthermore, their patriarch is powerful enough to directly influence the bounty system, by both increasing bounties and changing their conditions of capture. However, with their recent activities in Totto Land, the World Government has cut all ties with the Germa Kingdom and stripped them of their connections to both the government and Marines.
Activities and Abilities
The Family currently conducts its primary operations within the Underworld, including leading Germa 66 in mercenary activities against other military forces. Among known royal families, the Vinsmokes are unusual in that they command their kingdom's military forces directly in combat (a responsibility that only the Gorgon Sisters share); they are also unique in engaging in constant warfare with other nations, in order to reestablish their former dominion over North Blue.
The Vinsmokes also appear to have impressive connections in the Underworld, with the Underworld emperor "Big News" Morgans claiming deep ties between the family and his newspaper company, the World Economic Journal. These activities and attributes have led them to develop a prominent and infamous reputation throughout the Underworld; however, their notoriety seems to extend beyond these boundaries, with Brook and Robin both recognizing the Vinsmoke name.
The Vinsmokes possess advanced combat technology which they use adeptly in battle, and which is so advanced that even Emperor Big Mom seeks access to it. In battle, each member of the family wears a set of clothing and technological accessories called a Raid Suit, which allows them to hover in midair, jump large distances, and boost their kicking power. When not being worn, raid suits can be wholly contained inside small canisters, each marked with the Vinsmoke's allocated number (for Judge, the letter "J" marks his canister). Once clicked, the canisters rotate and release the material of the suit; this material remembers the shape of its wearer, and is completely resistant to fire.
The Vinsmokes have also developed cloning technology, which they have used to create a virtually inexhaustible army, as well as other genetic modification technologies which have endowed the children of the family with superhuman abilities. Despite the illegality of cloning, Judge nevertheless managed to remain in the trust of the World Government, showing either high favor or powerful secrecy.
The Vinsmokes' many subjects behave with absolute loyalty and obedience. Their soldiers, being programmed clones, are willing to sacrifice their lives for their sovereigns without aforethought. When called upon to do so through the command, "Wall" (壁 Kabe?), they will shield the royal in "danger" from any attack by positioning themselves in front of the Vinsmoke.
Sora, Warrior of the Sea
In their capacity as the commanders of Germa 66, the Vinsmoke Family are also the villains of the World Economic Journal comic strip, Sora, Warrior of the Sea. As Marine propaganda, the comic's premise centers on fictionalized accounts of their conflict with the equally fictional Marine hero, Sora.
It is later explained that Germa 66 were chosen as the model for the comic's villain group because the Vinsmoke name was once considered synonymous with evil. Furthermore, in Vito's brief thoughts on the comic, there are several featured Germa 66 agents that resemble members of the family. Specifically, the two figures wearing cloaks that bear the numbers "1" and "2" are likely references to Ichiji and Niji, while the helmeted figure towering above them is a likely reference to Judge.
|Vinsmoke Judge||Vinsmoke Sora †|
|Vinsmoke Reiju||Vinsmoke Ichiji||Vinsmoke Niji||Sanji ‡||Vinsmoke Yonji|
|Germa Kingdom||Germa 66|
- †: the character is deceased.
- *: the character's status is unknown, or show additional information. Hovering the symbol may give further details.
- ≠: the character is non-canon.
- ‡: the character is no longer part of this group. Hovering the symbol may give further details.
The family currently consists of a father (the family patriarch), one daughter, and four sons; furthermore, the sons of the family were all born on the same day. The patriarch is infamous throughout the Underworld. The family matriarch is deceased, after succumbing to the aftereffects of a powerful but lethal drug.
The children of the Vinsmoke Family were genetically modified by Judge, specifically for the purpose of creating elite military commanders who would lead Germa 66 to achieve Judge's ambitions. However, one of the children, Sanji, was disowned from the family. Sanji was labeled a 'failure' in his early childhood, after exhibiting undesirable behaviors to Judge and consistently being outperformed by his siblings in physical tests. These modifications are the reason for the Vinsmoke siblings' different hair colors. Sanji is the only sibling to inherit his parents' hair color due to the modification's failure on him.
About 300 years ago, the Vinsmoke Family formed and ruled the Germa Empire, after their conquest of the entire North Blue. However, 66 days later their empire collapsed and their sovereignty was confined to the Germa Kingdom. Vinsmoke Judge, the current patriarch, dreamed about reestablishing the empire, and dedicated his life to realizing this dream. At some point during his reign, he orchestrated the Conquest of Four Nations, during which he vanquished four North Blue kings.
Judge also worked with Vegapunk in an illegal research group dedicated to unlocking the human Lineage Factor and gaining the ability of cloning. The World Government eventually cracked down on their research, although Judge managed to escape and resume his work on cloning alone.
Judge married Sora, and the two had a daughter named Reiju, who received genetic manipulation from Judge. Three years later, they conceived quadruplet sons, and Judge had them modified inside the womb to become incredibly strong military commanders, which would remove their capacity for emotions in the process. Sora objected to this, but was eventually forced to undergo the surgery. However, she consumed a pill to try to counteract the surgery, which severely weakened her. She gave birth to four sons, Ichiji, Niji, Sanji, and Yonji, but the drug only worked on Sanji.
Judge started training his children to unlock their genetic modifications from a very young age, and Sanji, due to not having any, quickly fell behind his siblings. This led to frequent bullying from his brothers, and Reiju took part in it in order to maintain her standing among them, but tended to Sanji's wounds when they were alone. Sanji frequently displayed acts of compassion, such as feeding his bedridden mother as well as rats, and Judge heavily disapproved this. Sora was immensely pleased with Sanji's emotional growth, finding happiness in visits from him and Reiju. However, Sora later died from the effects of the drug, and Judge finally decided to remove Sanji from his life after receiving confirmation that he appeared to be a normal human. Sanji was then locked in a dungeon with an iron mask on, and was given a fabricated death and a funeral.
Despite Judge's abandonment, he still had Sanji fed regularly, and Sanji still had access to books, with which he learned how to cook. However, his brothers eventually found him, and the bullying resumed. Eventually, Reiju told Sanji that the Germa Kingdom was crossing from the North Blue to the East Blue, which was where Sanji saw the chance to escape after telling his sister that he wanted to be a chef. When they reached the island of Cozia, Reiju freed Sanji, but Sanji was soon confronted by Judge. However, Judge allowed Sanji to leave, so long as Sanji never identified himself as a member of their family. Sanji parted ways with his sister as he left the Germa Kingdom, and ran to a nearby cruise ship called the Orbit in tears. However, Judge began looking for Sanji very soon after his son had left due to having a use for him.
During his stay on the Orbit, Sanji was involved in a shipwreck, where he met Zeff of the Cook Pirates. The two formed a father-son bond, and Sanji became Zeff's sous chef when the Baratie restaurant was opened. After nine years of physical and culinary training, Sanji quit his job as sous chef and joined the Straw Hat Pirates, eventually receiving a bounty after the Enies Lobby incident. Judge sent bounty hunters after him, but due to Sanji's poster having a crudely drawn picture of his face, the hunters ended up going after Duval, who looked identical to the drawing. Two years later, however, Sanji received an updated bounty with a photograph of him, and Judge had his bounty condition changed to "Only Alive".
Four Emperors Saga
Some time between the Curly Hat Pirates' encounter with the Big Mom Pirates off the coast of Dressrosa, and the Big Mom Pirates' arrival on Zou, the Vinsmoke and Charlotte Families entered into a political alliance that was to be sealed with an arranged wedding between the third Vinsmoke son, Sanji, and the 35th Charlotte daughter, Pudding. Sanji, shocked that his past had been brought up again, deduced that his father was also responsible for the changes to his bounty. Intent on tying up all loose ends from his past, Sanji reluctantly left Zou to confront his family at Whole Cake Island.
Whole Cake Island Arc
Reiju and Yonji went to greet Sanji on a Germa Kingdom ship, but ended up running into the Straw Hats on the Thousand Sunny. Yonji first met the Straw Hats, and refused to give aid to a poisoned Luffy, but Reiju berated him for his actions and sucked the poison out of Luffy, curing him. Reiju briefly explained their history with Sanji, and the two sides agreed to not mention their meeting as Reiju and Yonji returned to their ship.
Sanji was eventually brought to the Germa Kingdom the next day, where he first reunited with Yonji. After a disagreement, they got into a scuffle, where Sanji bashed Yonji's face in. Sanji then met Reiju and Judge, and after disagreeing with his father, the two decided to settle matters physically. After a hard-fought battle, Judge used his soldiers as a human shield to get the jump on Sanji and defeat him. After the battle, Reiju placed explosive handcuffs on Sanji's wrists to prevent him from escaping.
The next day, Ichiji and Niji returned to the Germa Kingdom, and the Vinsmoke Family ate a meal together. Sanji got into an argument with Niji over the latter's lack of appreciation for food, and Judge quelled the scuffle by threatening to have Zeff assassinated should Sanji continue to rebel. In revenge for Sanji's actions, Niji viciously beat a cook whom Sanji had defended earlier. Before Sanji could find Niji, Yonji took him to the kingdom's cloning facility, where he touted Germa's military might. Niji and Ichiji then confronted Sanji in the facility, and Sanji got into a scuffle with Niji over his actions. However, with the threat on Zeff hanging in the air, Niji overpowered Sanji and he, Ichiji, and Yonji beat him up. Sanji was later found on the ground by Reiju, who treated his wounds and gave him a mask for his swollen face in order to make him look presentable for their lunch meeting with Big Mom.
The Vinsmokes then headed out to meet Big Mom, and when they reached the outskirts of Sweet City, Luffy suddenly came in to rescue Sanji. With the threat on Zeff still looming, however, Sanji claimed to have embraced his royal heritage and attacked Luffy. However, Luffy promised to wait for Sanji until he returned, and Sanji was unable to hold in his emotions. When they entered Sweet City, the Vinsmokes noted the army Big Mom had sent out to take down Luffy. They then reached the Whole Cake Chateau, and ate lunch with Big Mom and Pudding. There, Sanji agreed to marry Pudding in order to keep his crew safe.
After the lunch, Big Mom took the Vinsmokes, except Sanji, to her library, where she showed them her collection of rare creatures trapped inside books. Afterwards, Reiju departed from the group, while Sanji made food for Pudding. However, while Reiju investigated Pudding, she was ambushed and shot by Pudding and taken to her room. There, Pudding revealed that Big Mom's real plan is to massacre the Vinsmokes at the wedding and take control of Germa. She removed Reiju's memories of their encounter, but unbeknownst to her, Sanji had heard everything from outside.
Immediately afterwards, Sanji went to see Reiju at the infirmary, where he revealed what had happened to her. Reiju believed him and told him to run away back to the Straw Hats, revealing that she had replaced the explosive handcuffs with duds and saying that he had lived up to their mother's dream. At first, Sanji was unable to cast aside the threats against him and his friends, and initially intended to stay and be killed at the wedding. However, when Bobbin came and took the food he had made with his crewmates in mind, Sanji attacked him in an emotional outburst, forcing him to go on the run. With no other choice, he returned to the spot where Luffy was waiting for him, and he fed Luffy. After a heated exchange, Sanji eventually confessed that he wanted to save his family and not watch them die at Big Mom's hands, and Luffy agreed to this. Sanji reunited with his comrades, and they formed an alliance with the Fire Tank Pirates in order to assassinate Big Mom and rescue the Vinsmokes. Meanwhile, Big Mom supplied the Vinsmoke men with drinks into the night, to keep them distracted in their room with no communication to the outside world.
The next day, the Vinsmokes got ready for the wedding ceremony, and as the Tea Party got into full swing, Sanji and Pudding were brought into the venue to be married on an altar on top of a giant wedding cake. However, as Pudding revealed her third eye in order to shock Sanji, he complimented it instead, causing her to break down in tears. Pudding's brother Charlotte Katakuri attempted to shoot Sanji, but Sanji dodged the shot and then glared at the surprised shooter. The Vinsmokes were alerted from this action, wondering what was transpiring. Luffy and several copies of him then jumped out of the wedding cake in order to initiate the plan. As this happened, Sanji grabbed Pudding and jumped off the altar as the cake collapsed. Seeing the arrival of the Sanji Retrieval Team, Judge immediately assumed that the chaos was being caused by them in an attempt to retrieve Sanji. After they landed, Pudding once again tried to shoot Sanji, but Sanji was able to dodge each shot. Eventually, Pudding was cast aside by her brother, Charlotte Daifuku, who berated her for missing her chance and proceeded to fight Sanji.
Taking advantage of the distraction, Charlotte Perospero then tied the Vinsmokes down to their table and chairs with candy while his siblings held the family at gunpoint. Judge responded with shock at the betrayal and screamed at Big Mom to explain herself, but Ichiji told his father to stop disgracing himself while Yonji and Niji merely laughed at their predicament. As Judge berated his sons for their indifference, Reiju thought to herself that it was Judge's own fault for breeding soft emotions out of her brothers, so that they were even unmoved at the prospect of their own deaths. Seeing this helpless situation, Judge broke down in tears as he listed all his life's work to take the North Blue as he was mocked for his sadness by Perospero.
After further mockery from Perospero, their captors prepared to shoot the Vinsmokes. Sanji tried to run to their aid as Reiju acknowledged his intention. Fortunately, the alliance's plans kicked in and Big Mom began to scream, most of their captors collapsed. With Daifuku also affected, Sanji managed to reach the table, freeing his surprised family by shattering the hardened candy. The Straw Hat Pirates then gave them earplugs and their raid suits. As the Charlotte Family began to recover from Big Mom's scream, they refocused and attacked the alliance. In response, the Vinsmoke Family put on their raid suits and repelled the attacks from Perospero, Oven, Smoothie, and Daifuku. After rescuing Nami, Carrot, and Chopper, they retreated inside Bege's fortress.
Once inside, the Vinsmokes learned that the retrieval team had rescued them on Sanji's request. Judge then questioned Sanji with his siblings watching on. As he explained his reasons for saving them in spite of their mistreatment of him, Sanji disowned Judge as his father once again, and Judge promised to leave both him and the East Blue alone thereafter. However, with Big Mom regaining her senses and causing extensive damage to Bege's fortress, the family then exited the fortress and faced the Big Mom Pirates head on in order to give the alliance a window in which to escape the Chateau rooftop.
Ichiji, Niji, and Yonji continued to assist Caesar in escaping the venue. Judge attacked Big Mom in anguish, but she shattered his spear before striking him down with Zeus' lightning. Niji and Yonji went to their father's aid, but they were soon defeated by the Emperor as well. Ichiji clashed with Katakuri before he was overpowered by the Sweet Commander. Reiju, Sanji, and Luffy were also overwhelmed by the Big Mom Pirates. However, before Big Mom could execute them, the Tamatebako dropped to the base of the Whole Cake Chateau and exploded, causing the entire castle to collapse.
With the castle collapsing and their enemies distracted, the family took the opportunity to gather themselves and flew away from the chaos. They were pursued by a squad of the Big Mom Pirates, but after arriving back at the Germa Kingdom, the Vinsmoke siblings were able to dispatch their pursuers. When Niji contacted Mont-d'Or through a Den Den Mushi, he impersonated one of the Big Mom Pirates and tricked Mont-d'Or into thinking that Germa 66 had been crushed. After they were informed of the direction the Straw Hats were heading, Ichiji told his siblings to set sail.
Hours later, the Vinsmokes and their fleet arrived at Cacao Island and defended Sanji as he rescued Luffy from the Big Mom Pirates. While the siblings personally attacked members of the Charlotte Family, they also commanded their army to attack the Big Mom Pirates' fleet surrounding the island. The Vinsmoke siblings then ensured that Sanji and Luffy escaped the island, taking down any Big Mom Pirate that tried to stop them.
After Sanji and Luffy made it back to the Sunny, they were pursued by Smoothie's fleet, but Judge ordered Germa to fire upon her ship. From his castle, he asked Luffy why he entered an Emperor's territory just to rescue Sanji while listing out Sanji's "flaws". Luffy, however, misinterpreted Judge's comments as praise and thanked him for his assistance.
As the battle raged on, the Big Mom Pirates brought anti-Germa bullets and used them to injure Reiju, Ichiji, Niji, and Yonji. Meanwhile, Judge was confronted by Snack and another individual. When the Straw Hats finally escaped Totto Land, Germa 66 prepared to withdraw. However, Big Mom arrived at Cacao Island before they could retreat.
Early One Piece
One Piece Magazine Vol.3 revealed early concepts for the Vinsmoke Family. In one of these, Reiju did not exist and instead there was a fifth brother named Goji (ゴジ Goji?). The brothers also had different ages and appearances instead of being identical quadruplets, with Ichiji being 30 years old, Niji 27, Sanji 21, and Yonji and Goji being twins aged 12.
Translation and Dub Issues
The characters' names are written in katakana, so it's not possible to ascertain the meaning of their first names. But it's possible to extrapolate and take a guess:
- Sora most probably takes after the character 空, meaning "sky".
- Reiju may be a pun on the Japanese Internet slang リア充 riajuu, designing people that do have a fullfilled real life, i.e.having a girl/boyfriend. Replacing リア ria (short for riaru, meaning "real") by 零 rei (meaning "zero") would mean that Reiju doesn't have any life outside warfare as any members of the Vinsmoke family.
- All the boys have names ending with 子 ji, meaning "son". Ichiji would simply mean the first son, Niji the second son and so on, the numbering being a common pattern in Japanese families when naming male children.
- All the children of the Family share the characteristic curled eyebrows:
- The visible eyebrows of most of the siblings curl in an anti-clockwise direction (i.e. to the left side of his face), resembling the number "6". This is possibly referenced in the name of their organization, Germa 66.
- In both Chapter 832 and Chapter 841, the edge of Reiju's right eye is shown. It appears that her right eyebrow doesn't curl towards the left.
- In Chapter 833, Ichiji's right eye is shown in a flashback, and his right eyebrow does not seem to curl to the left either.
- In Chapter 898, both of Niji's eyes are seen, and they both curl in an anti-clockwise direction.
- Sanji's eyebrows are the only ones known to both curl in a clockwise direction (i.e. to the right side).
- Yonji styles his hair so that both his eyebrows are visible, and they both curl in an anti-clockwise direction like Niji's.
- All the children also have a color-themed epithet and fighting style: Reiju's is "Poison Pink" (ポイズンピンク Poizun Pinku?), Ichiji's is "Sparking Red" (スパーキングレッド Supākingu Reddo?), Niji's is "Dengeki Blue" (デンゲキブルー Dengeki Burū?), Sanji's is "Stealth Black" (ステルス・ブラック Suterusu Burakku?), and Yonji's is "Winch Green" (ウインチグリーン Uinchi Gurīn?).
- Sanji is commonly referred to as "Black Leg" (黒脚 Kuro Ashi?), and he has disowned his Germa epithet. His "Black Leg" epithet is written in kanji, not katakana, to indicate his separation from Germa. Additionally, the color in his epithet is the first word, mirroring his mentor "Red Leg" Zeff. This is because his abilities came from training with Zeff instead of Germa technology
- Sanji is also the only sibling whose hair color (blonde) does not match the color in his epithet (although he has a black goatee). This is due to him not receiving genetic modifications.
- In the anime he has a yellow theme within the kingdom, with his childhood and the number on the back of his chair in the Germa Kingdom throne room, just as his siblings also matched their hair color.
- During Sanji's flashbacks to his youth in the manga, Niji, Yonji, and he wore light colored shirts and boots, and dark colored pants. However, in the anime and Digitally Colored Manga, they wore colored shirts, white pants, and brown boots. Ichiji, whom in the manga had inverted color scheme, wore a matching outfit to his brothers.