One of the most intriguing questions in One Piece is the connection between Roronoa Zoro, the Straw Hat Pirates’ swordsman, and Shimotsuki Ryuma, the legendary samurai who slayed a dragon in Wano Country. Are they related by blood, or is it just a coincidence that they share similar features and skills? Let’s explore the clues and evidence that suggest a possible link between these two blade masters.
The Resemblance Between Zoro and Ryuma
The first thing that strikes anyone who sees Zoro and Ryuma is their uncanny resemblance. They both have black hair, green eyes, a scar on their left eye, and a serious demeanor. They also wear similar outfits, consisting of a simple kimono and a bandana. Even their fighting styles are similar, as they both wield three swords and use powerful techniques that can cut through anything.
This resemblance is not accidental, as Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, originally drew Ryuma as the protagonist of his one-shot manga Monsters, which was published in 1994. Monsters tells the story of how Ryuma became a hero by defeating a rampaging dragon that terrorized a town. Oda later incorporated Ryuma into the One Piece world as an ancestor of Zoro, who inherited his sword Shusui after defeating his zombie on Thriller Bark.
The Shimotsuki Connection
Another clue that suggests a relation between Zoro and Ryuma is their shared surname: Shimotsuki. Shimotsuki is the name of one of the nine regions of Wano Country, as well as one of the five families that ruled over it. Ryuma was born in Shimotsuki Village, where he learned the way of the sword and became a legend. Zoro was also born in Shimotsuki Village, but not in Wano, but in East Blue.
According to Oda, Zoro’s teacher Koushirou and his daughter Kuina are descendants of Shimotsuki Ushimaru, the last daimyo of Shimotsuki who died during Kaido’s invasion 20 years ago. Ushimaru was also a descendant of Ryuma, making him and Zoro distant relatives. Koushirou left Wano with his father Kozaburo, a swordsmith who forged Enma and Wado Ichimonji, two of the 21 Great Grade swords in One Piece. Kozaburo settled in East Blue and founded Shimotsuki Village there, where he passed on his skills and knowledge to his son and granddaughter.
Zoro grew up in Shimotsuki Village and trained under Koushirou, who taught him the basics of swordsmanship and gave him Kuina’s Wado Ichimonji after her death. Zoro also acquired two other swords during his journey: Sandai Kitetsu, one of the 50 Skillful Grade swords forged by Hitetsu’s ancestor; and Shusui, one of the 21 Great Grade swords that belonged to Ryuma. All three swords have a connection to Wano and its history.
The Sword God Legacy
The final piece of evidence that supports the theory that Zoro is related to Ryuma is their status as sword gods. Ryuma was revered as the Sword God in Wano for his unparalleled skill and his feat of slaying a dragon. He was also known as King by people outside Wano, who feared his reputation. His sword Shusui was considered a national treasure and a black blade, meaning it was permanently hardened by its user’s haki.
Zoro has also shown incredible talent and potential as a swordsman since he was a child. He has defeated many formidable opponents throughout his adventures, such as Mr. 1, Kaku, Pica, Hody Jones, and Kamazo. He has also faced legendary figures such as Dracule Mihawk, the world’s strongest swordsman; Kuma, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea; and Kaido, one of the Four Emperors of the Sea. He has also learned to use haki and even awakened his Conqueror’s Haki during his fight with King.
Zoro’s ultimate goal is to become the world’s greatest swordsman by surpassing Mihawk. To achieve this, he has to overcome many challenges and obstacles along his path. One of these challenges is to master Enma, the sword that once belonged to Kozuki Oden, the only samurai who ever wounded Kaido. Enma is a cursed sword that drains its user’s haki and can even cut through mountains. Zoro inherited Enma from Hiyori, Oden’s daughter, who asked him to return Shusui to Wano as a sign of respect for Ryuma.
By wielding Enma and Shusui, Zoro is following the footsteps of two of the greatest swordsmen in Wano’s history: Oden and Ryuma. He is also honoring their legacy and carrying on their will. Zoro has already proven himself worthy of Shusui by defeating Ryuma’s zombie and earning his respect. He has also shown his ability to tame Enma by controlling its power and even turning it into a black blade. Zoro has also achieved something that Ryuma never did: slaying a living dragon, namely Kaido’s son Yamato.
Zoro’s feats and achievements have earned him the admiration and recognition of many people, especially in Wano. He has been praised by the likes of Kin’emon, Hyogoro, Kawamatsu, and even Kaido himself. He has also been compared to Ryuma by several characters, such as Brook, Gyukimaru, and King. Zoro has also been called a sword god by some of his enemies, such as Monet and Killer. Zoro may not be aware of it, but he is already on his way to surpassing Ryuma as the sword god of Wano.
Is Zoro related to Ryuma? The answer is yes, at least according to the family tree that Oda revealed in a recent SBS. Zoro is a direct descendant of Ryuma through the Shimotsuki lineage. However, even without this confirmation, there are many clues and evidence that suggest a strong connection between these two swordsmen. They share a striking resemblance, a common origin, a similar fighting style, and a legendary status. They also wield the same sword, Shusui, which symbolizes their bond and their respect for each other.
Zoro and Ryuma are more than just relatives; they are also rivals and successors. They both aspire to be the best in their field and to leave their mark on history. They both face formidable enemies and overcome impossible odds. They both inspire awe and fear in those who witness their power. They both embody the spirit and pride of Wano and its samurai culture.
Zoro and Ryuma are two sides of the same coin; two blades that cut through the same destiny. They are both sword gods in their own right; but only one can be the greatest of all time. Who will it be? Only time will tell.