Within the shadow of a jaded heart beating in the tune of hostility and sadism, a warm glow reveals itself fragmented by pain, suffering and fragility. A warmth smothered by rejection and caged by the bars of perception. A warmth relegated to the depths of the heart to hide behind lies and conceit used to mask the agonising desire overwhelming it’s beat. More than anything, what Pudding wanted was to be accepted for who she is, something denied to her by own family whom berated her for her uniqueness. This caused Pudding to perceive her own third eye as a monstrous feature to be afraid of forcing her to shield herself behind her lies and deception. All those walls and masks surrounding her heart shattered and fell away when Sanji came and accepted Pudding for who she is – a wondrous lady with a beautiful third eye.
Attempting to minimise the pain, the heart guards itself through indifference and lies concealing the tortured soul agonising within desperate for acceptance
I may have picked up on Puddings “dark” personality early on during this arc when she was portrayed as being TOO innocent that it created an imbalance within her character but right now, after what happened with Sanji, that assessment of her couldn’t be further from actuality. I was wrong in my analysis of her imbalance. There are reasons underlying her actions, her words and her “darkness”. Pudding from an early age was conditioned into accepting the “ugliness” of herself. Her mother disapproved of her third eye, her sisters called her a monster and her brothers made her the subject of their mockery. Since then Pudding had to endure such negativity and unfortunately it deeply scarred her and ultimately fractured her mentally with the weight of its effect. Instinctively Pudding sought to defend herself by raising a wall in the form of a sadistic personality hungry for others suffering. It was not a path she chose by choice, but one that allowed her to cope with the mental anguish constantly barraging her. This trauma that bared its weight down on Pudding gradually consuming her led her to believe that she really was a monster and it is within that fracture and pain hidden deep inside Pudding that I have become profoundly fascinated by her character and development.
Sanji’s arrival opened up a path for Pudding to move forward. Pudding did not realise it at that time, but out of everyone Pudding had known, Sanji was the only one who understood and could relate to her pain. Even though he was present when Pudding was mocking him behind his back, he still saw the maiden under all that pain. Sanji’s words and Sanji himself affected Pudding so deeply that she is now going out of her way to save him from Big Mom. Pudding does not want Sanji and his friends to die. A spark has been light up within Pudding, a spark embodying the desire to want to change. The tears she couldn’t hold back at the joy of having her third eye called “beautiful” tell just how much that one moment from Sanji acknowledging her third eye as something beautiful meant to Pudding.
I initially perceived Pudding’s character as one elevated by deception and filled with malice but after her reaction to Sanji’s comment about her third eye that very perception of her turned on its head. I now find myself championing her character. Not in terms of becoming the next Straw Hat Pirate but in terms of becoming her own person free from the constraints of Big Mom’s shackles.
Pudding HAS changed. It’s fascinating and at the same time deeply liberating acknowledging that fact. Pudding has realised the world is filled with people kinder than her family and has finally experienced what it feels like to be accepted completely for who she is, third eye and all. Pudding’s current actions of trying to calm Big Mom down serve as her first steps towards breaking free from the trauma imprisoning her within a psychological cage and her taking the initiative to make her own choices signifies Pudding establishing a foundation on which she can grow from.