- One Piece - Size Matters by Talya Firedancer - This was just a fun little fic that I really enjoyed now that I've actually seen the Little Garden episodes. What I liked about this--and about the episode itself, really--is that you could see it as purely gen if you wanted to or you could see it as yaoi-ish if you wanted to. Even beyond the yaoi potential, the dynamic between Sanji and Zoro is one of my favorites of the series, because they annoy the hell out of each other, but would still stand and fight next to the other like ANY of them would. Thinking about it... that's one of my favorite dynamics, I'm not really a rival slash person unless I know that they could put their rivalry aside when they need to. Anyway. The point I'm getting at is that this was fun, I could see it, it was amusing, it had Zoro and Sanji being such men in it, and it was written wonderfully. I could just see the end scene sliding right into the pages of canon, too. (No warnings/pairings.)
- One Piece - Sharp and Pointy Things: A Tale of Machismo by Asenath - Oooh, now this was fun and wonderful. Sharp, clever writing that was both genuinely hysterical and wonderfully in character writing that played upon Zoro and Sanji's backgrounds and personalities to draw them together. They were both such guys here and the little details were fabulous and the writing was great. The characterizations were sharp and I could absolutely see this and I'm gushing now, aren't I? ~_~ Anyway, what I really liked is that this story touched on their backstories, the tough events they've gone through, the things that made them who they are today, but without dragging it all out and basically giving us a flashback. We all know, they move forward with these things... and that's what this story did. Which is an odd thing to compliment, I know, but I like it when authors can just touch on the necessary parts of a backstory, when they can reference it and we GET what they're after without them having to draw us a map. I fawn. (No real pairings/warnings, but could be Zoro/Sanji hinty if you wanted to see it that way.)
- One Piece - Seven Deaths by X-Parrot - I read all nine chapters of this in a row, pretty much just rivetted to the screen. Everything I've said about X-Parrot's writing before still holds true with this series--amazing characterization, beautiful writing, incredible suspense and drama (the atmosphere to the piece has been amazing, really, I can FEEL the tension and pain and ache of all the bad parts and the sweetness and gentleness of the lighter parts), and a sense for world-building that's really necessary for a story like this. The culture of the people Zoro and Sanji get involved with are well-done enough that I can believe that this would happen in between the pages of the manga itself, not to mention... holy fuck, what a ride. Zoro and Sanji's antagonistic relationship is gorgeously preserved here. For someone who's been skating the line between yaoi and gen with these two lately, it's PERFECT.
The story is very much Not Yaoi and I'm not really reading between the lines to find it, but... it's hard to put this into words. It appeals to what slash often appeals to me for, you know? Meaningful
Relationships Friendships Between Guys Who Are Still Acting Like You Know Guys. They bicker and fight and snark, but they'd go to the mat for each other in a hearbeat, because they're nakama and they don't have to pound that into our heads, we KNOW. Just by the way Zoro sticks around and keeps snarking, providing a wordless sort of support, just by the way Sanji lets him... and finding out the reasons behind some of their motivations (like why Sanji did what he did) are beautifully done. Intense, moving, touching, suspenseful, fun, painful, and all of those other adjectives I can gush out onto X-parrots' shoes with my fangirl wibbling. ^_~ (No warnings/pairings.)
- One Piece - Seven Deaths by X-parrot - chapters 10-14 - I'm probably going to wind up repeating myself a lot in this review (And everyone probably knows that X-parrot has finished the fic and already read it, but I don't care, it's my journal/site and I do what I want with it! ^_~), but I had to give my thoughts on the final chapters, because the endings of One Piece stories are some of the most important stuff in the series. And that's what I love so much about this fic--it COULD have been something in the series itself, that's how well the characterization is nailed and how exquisitely perfect the friendship between Zoro and Sanji is. They're not friendly, but they'd fight back to back in a heartbeat, all the while snarking and hurling insults at the other--and that never really wavered here. And, oh, man, what they both through is genuinely gut-wrenching, even if we never see the majority of the ouchies. (Which works better, in a lot of ways.) The last few chapters were just... the emotional impact of them was stunning, I FELT along with the characters, how much Sanji still ached, how much Zoro was pissed off and frustrated because Sanji was a FRIEND and this was all SO STUPID, yet it WASN'T, and just... the final scene in the kitchen... I think I was one big knot over that because what they were both feeling was so incredibly close to tangible, so socked-in-the-gut feeling that I am kind of in awe of this story.
It's massive angst, but it's the kind of thing where... they never wallow, they never pity themselves (not really), they act like the One Piece characters about it, and THAT is why it affected me as much as it did. (Plus, the snarking! Actually CLEVER and SHARP dialogue! Wheeeee! Yet it's THEM and even has their speech patterns down! *delights in*) Plus, I delight in the little details of the priests and the culture of the island helped bring the story further into focus--the little details of the robes or the beads or the rooms or anything never really felt tacked on or in that "WHEEE! I am creating a WORLD here! I shall describe everything for three pages!" feel I've mentioned before, they were woven into the storyline, part of the natural flow of the storyline. I have deep love for something like that. And just... above all that, above the details, the emotions, the characterizations, it was a GOOD STORY, standing as one of the best out there, right up there with "Drawn" or anything else that has an actual PLOT. (I suspect it might just be my favorite simply because the writing is so gorgeous, too. >__>) (No pairings, I'm not really sure I should warn for anything that wouldn't be in the series itself.)
- One Piece - Day in the Life - Sanji and Day in the Life 2 - Sanji's Yaoi Special by Celeste - I'm going to put these two together, despite the first one being gen and the second being yaoi... well, really, just because it's easier for me. ^_~ But also because they're sort of the same theme and most people who enjoy one will enjoy the other. I love that these two fics sort of illustrate... both the way the Going Merry crew interacts with each other (the way Sanji can tame just about anyone with a cookie or punish them with a good, strong kick or overly spicey food--the mental image of Zoro drinking all that water cracks me up XD) and because it illustrates something I love about the One Piece story--there are all these little moments that are just so much fun and clever and heart-warming and even during the most routine day, the Going Merry crew is a fascinating bunch. The running tally of who beats more enemies, Zoro or Sanji, made me laugh so much, because that is just SO something Sanji would keep track of (hell, they'd both keep track of it XD) and the way, in the second one, Vivi and Nami liked him more now that he kissed boys, but he still got no action. Just... much love for the stories that have so many FUNNY little details. (Gen for the first, Zoro/Sanji for the second.)
- One Piece - Bound & Determined by X-parrot - Eeeee! Oh, one of the things that I love so, so, so, so dearly about Zoro - Sanji interaction fic is when the author can get down the dialogue that both makes me laugh AND makes me perk up because it's so... action-y, much like the characters themselves. And X-parrot writes that dynamic wonderfully--Zoro and Sanji never get along very well, constantly sniping at each other, but it walks that fine line between two people who genuinely find each other annoying, but are still friends/comrades, who'll go to the mat for each other, even if they're bitching the other out the entire way. Her dialogue is genuinely clever and is that a TBC I spy? Oho, I definitely want more of this because it's just... that light-hearted One Piece action/friendship dynamic that made me fall so hard for the series in the first place. (Not really any warnings/pairings.)
- One Piece - The Pirate Tradition by cneko2 - This is one of those stories where you just sort of... have to go with the story, you have to be an unrepetent fan of the characters/pairings/crack presented within and just... have fun with it. And if you can do that? This fic made me giggle so much. Just... the casual way Luffy has some sort of hair-brained idea and the others are all "WTF!" or "IDIOT!!" at hime is great. Nami's treatment of Luffy especially just made me sparkle with mad laughter, when he just casually blurts out he's been sleeping with Nami and... and... *dies* Sanji and Zoro's reactions are PERFECT. Especially Zoro's. I can just see him thinking that about them, too. Just... silly, silly fun. (Very light LuffyxNami and Zoro/Sanji sliiiiiiiiiighty hinted at, but I don't know that I'd even count it.)
- One Piece - Bound & Determined (chapter 3-end) by X-parrot - So, I read the first two chapters of this previously, but I kinda slacked on the whole One Piece series until recently, when I went to tempt Jenn-san into the series and, of course, immediately had to sit down with the rest of this story because I love X-parrot's take on these two characters so very much. And what you get with this story is beautiful h/c (hurt/comfort) fic, the likes of which I so very, very rarely see these days without romance attached, much less with the intensity of this story. The author captures the feel of both One Piece and of these characters, of the way they snarl and fight with each other, the way they constantly insult each other, but there's the underlying thread of being crewmates that never wavers. They'll yell and fight and insult each other until they knock each other senseless, but they will also never turn on the other, which never even has to be said, the thought never crosses your mind while reading. I love that.
But it's also the genuine quality/cleverness of the insults and snarking that makes this story such a treat to read, the way the author never loses who these characters are, not even in the most dire of circumstances. When things are bad, when they're wounded and it does look like there's any way out of this, they are still Zoro and Sanji. When they're done, when they're okay, even then, they're still Zoro and Sanji, never softening their personalities or attitudes. Yet, at the same time, after events like this, there's always some small difference, some small connection, some small hint of maybe something if you want to read into it. Meaning, this story isn't slash, but if you're so-minded, you could squint and find hints of maybe something under the surface.
Even aside from that or the fact that these are two of my favorite characters (Though, really, how can a person choose? I love all of the Strawhats.), this story is just so well-written--the prose is fantastic, the dialogue is crisp yet still so in character, the ouchies of the h/c are effective and exactly the kind that these characters would get into. It's not just a random cookie-cutter ouchies scene, this was, again, Zoro and Sanji. I just... yeah, flailing with the OP love over here. (No warnings/pairings, it's not romance, but I'm putting this in the Zoro/Sanji section anyway.)
- One Piece - More Than Meets the Eye I & II by Celeste - I really liked this set of fics because it's nice to remember sometimes that Zoro and Sanji, like all of the One Piece characters, aren't defined by a selective set of characteristics and that's all they are, they're both intelligent, capable characters underneath all of that monsterous strength they both have. I liked these two fics because the author does a nice job of showing little examples of that intelligence in each of them, just in little every day things. Plus, OMG CHOPPER SO CUTE. <3 (No warnings/pairings, but deals with Zoro and Sanji.)
- One Piece - Infection by Erithil - This fic... makes me nervous. Right from the very first author's note (I have no idea why Sanji is always the one to be injured/sick/dying in my stories…and it’s too cliché I know.) and then through the entire first chapter here, I... worry for Sanji. Yet, the interaction between Zoro and Sanji was really good, they have their edges, their bickering, but neither of them is stereotyped (Oh, blessed are the fics that don't assume Zoro's a brain-dead idiot. <3) and it's just... really good character interaction that piqued my interest, despite making me worry. One of the better ZoSan-except-not fics that I've read lately. (No pairings, but Zoro and Sanji interaction, so.)
- One Piece - The Cook's Pride by Tonko - Ooh, this was a really interesting take on what might have happened after the third One Piece movie, a fantastic way to show just how stupid the characters can be in totally understandable ways. Sanji's reactions and reasons behind them here are fantastic, the way he endangers himself by not taking care of himself, the way Zoro gets pissed off as hell at him, but is still a nakama, it's one of those scenes that could have come straight out of the manga. Especially Zoro's attempts at taunting him and Sanji's automatic, reflexive attempt to hit him, that was one of those perfect little touches. Very, very nice characterization here. (No warnings/pairings, but I'll shove this into the ZoSan-Except-Not section.)
- One Piece - Checkmate by snarkymonkey - I think I may have almost liked this fic better than the previous one (except, no, the kissing still wins, because I love kissing fics with a terrible passion) because I love that it shows that Zoro's actually intelligent as he's playing chess with Usopp, but that he's still human in that certain people get under his skin. There's a nice give and take here, with a focus on Zoro insight (I'm particularily fond of the motivations for the kinds of fights/challenges he seeks out, the way they clashed against Sanji's, the way everything came together without having to be said, the way it ran up against Sanji's pursuit of women, while doing justice to both characters) and more good snark. Yay. <3 (Zoro/Sanji hinted at.)
- One Piece - Associated Weather by Muses - I had a little bit of trouble with the end of this fic (it seemed a little too easy), but I wanted to rec anyway because the majority of the fic is just... a really good read. Sanji's characterization, the way the author associated his memories of sea versus land was really solid, had just the right amount of (ha ha) kick to it. I really felt for Sanji in the way I was supposed to. I also really liked the way the thoughts of the other crewmembers were worked in, what each season meant, how Sanji's thoughts progressed from one to the next. Plus, Sanji's thoughts on Zoro? Eeeeeee. ♥ (Gen, no pairings. Not even hinted. I'll stick it in the ZoSan-Except-Not section anyway.)
- One Piece - Captured by Cairnsy - I was just complaining the other night about how I wanted more Sanji fic after watching an OP AMV and then along comes this fic and it's just... man, why isn't this fandom bigger? Why isn't there more fic like this to make my happy? Whine, whine, whine, complain, bitch, rant, moan, complain some more. XD In all seriousness, though, this is the kind of fic that I could read endlessly, it's got that sharp, biting voice for the characters (Sanji's inner thoughts and annoyed grumblings are particularily fabulous) without resorting to slang that sounds off with the characters, instead everything sounds so absolutely right coming from the characters. There really is such a depth to the characters here, the way they're such inhumanly, monsterously strong characters so much of the time, while still being so... such... well, boys. Especially when they're constantly falling into different traps and it doesn't take away from their characters at all, instead it makes them brilliantly dorky in just the right way and amazingly cool and kickass in all the right ways, too, and it's so, so like Oda's characters. I just. Another fic where I flap my hands and make cooing noises (especially at the end which was just brilliantly perfect for everything it said and didn't say and, yes, that's Zoro and Sanji right there) because it's fighting and friendship even when you can't stand that bastard and they're so strong and... yes, everything. Love. ♥ (Not Zoro/Sanji, it's closer to gen, but if you're a fan, you'll enjoy this.)
- One Piece - In a Hard Place by Celeste - Okay, when you realize where they are and why Sanji's so pissed and then you read Zoro's reaction and you put it all together? LOL. Celeste's OP fanfic has probably always been my favorite stuff of hers and this is the kind of fic that shows why; her Sanji is cranky and annoyed with Zoro, her Zoro is so... omg, only Zoro could do that, but not over the top about it. If the series were just a little bit gayer, I could totally see this happening on any random day and then picturing it makes me crack up all over again. (Zoro/Sanji... except not. It's kinda gen. Mostly.)
- One Piece - Love Shanty by _paperpencil - I probably wouldn't have clicked on this fic if I hadn't become rather enamored with this author's work over the past few months. I was curious about something longer of hers, especially since it was apparently from Nami's POV. Before long, I was entranced by the writing and the gorgeous characterization of Nami as she watched Zoro and Sanji; for all that the fic is labelled with their pairing and how they are the focus of the fic, it's not really about them. It's about Nami and it could not be more perfect. All the pieces are here, the gorgeous characterization, the lovely writing, the fantastic pacing and build-up so that the ending knocks you on your ass. But somehow it's more than that, too. It's Nami watching Zoro and Sanji, trying to figure out if they're in love or if it's something else, the sheer emotion of the piece slowly wraps around you until your little fangirl heart aches in your fangirl chest and the ending makes you want to cry. I may have started the fic for the ZoSan, but I stayed for Nami. This piece is brilliant down to every last little thing. (....it's sort of ZoSan, but it's not really. It's not gen, but it's not slash. It's about Nami more than anything.)
- One Piece/Bleach - Thirteen Going on Fourteen by Celeste - Sanji sighed to himself as he heard the sound of weapons being drawn. The chef wondered rather philosophically, why dying was necessary if the parts that came afterwards were exactly the same as the ones you’d been through when you were alive. I sort of knew I wanted a OP/Bleach crossover, but I didn't know how badly I wanted it or how beautiful Zoro and Sanji in the afterlife would be until I read this. It's just. It's just. The author so beautifully captures the whole... so strong it's stupid attitude of both series that makes this crossover work. That's the beautiful thing about the OP characters in Soul Society, that they'd be ridiculously, idiotically strong and I would laugh the entire way through it because they wouldn't stop bitching at each for a minute. The other thing I love about this story is that it captures the... it's not quite crude dialogue (though, there is a lot of swearing), but there's a very rough quality to these characters and it's great for both Bleach and OP that further contributes to how much it makes the fic work. It's just. A crossover that works, omg. After the Naruto/Hunter x Hunter crossover Celeste did, I'm ready to call her Queen of the JUMP Crossovers now. XD (No real warnings/pairings.)
- One Piece - untitled by Mooncalf - Some days I think I like the gen better with these two than the possible gay, because they're just so great around each other. But it's also that the author managed to capture that sense of whatever it is that Oda puts into his manga that makes me love it so much, some combination of brilliantly hilarious imagery and comedic timing/pacing, the kind that leaves me rolling around on the floor and laughing wildly. This was just. Fun and so very, very Sanji and Zoro. And so very, very One Piece as Zoro sleeps and Sanji cooks and it's life as normal on the Going Merry. Fabulous. (This is entirely gen, but Zoro/Sanji fans might enjoy it, too.)
One Piece: Through Children's Eyes by factorielle - [Note: This is the first part of a multi-chaptered fic, but you can just keep clicking the links at the bottom of the page to go to the next chapter.] You know, once again, the last thing I need to be doing right now is reading a 30,000+ word fic, but I swear it did not feel that long at all, it just sailed right on by because I was enjoying it so much. I couldn't put it down because it was just so damn good. The concept is such a cliche one--Luffy and Zoro are turned into kids for a month and the rest of the Strawhats have to deal with that--but done so very, very well that I didn't want it to end. The characterization of this is fantastic, the slow build up of the relationship between Zoro and Sanji, done in a really believable way and never sacrificing who they both are at their core beings, while never forgetting the rest of the crew, made this feel so much in the spirit of the original manga. I cannot tell you how much I loved everyone in this fic, how much I loved that I clicked onto it for the ZoSan but actually ended up staying for the gen.
The pacing was fantastic as well, it never dragged, but never skimmed over something too fast, either. The use of their backgrounds, their individual issues and the pasts that have shaped them into who they are, none of that was ever forgotten. The use of revolving POVs, different characters for different scenes, yet all of them were wonderfully in character. And a;sldkjfalskj the slow bonding of Zoro and Sanji even as neither of them were particularly happy about it, yet they were nakama and they always would be and just as;ldkfjaslj yes. I love, love, love that it's about Zoro and Sanji's relationship, but it's not really a pairing fic (though, I'd say it leans towards pre-slash) and it was all the stronger for it. Everything I could have asked from this fic--characterization, writing, pacing, that gleeful wriggle-inducing quality that leaves me feeling satisfied after the fic was done--it delivered on. Plus as;dflkjaslj that ending, omg so good. (This is entirely gen, but if you like Zoro/Sanji, you should like this.)