Roronoa Zoro was the first member to join Luffy on his great adventure to become Pirate King in both the manga and anime series One Piece. Initially known as ‘Pirate Hunter Zoro’, the bloodthirsty swordsman uses a unique three-sword fighting style. He is generally considered the second most powerful member of the Straw Hat Pirates next to Luffy. Zoro’s ultimate goal is to become the world’s greatest swordsman. While initially reluctant to join him, Zoro does agree to join Luffy on the promise that they can help each other fulfill their dreams. A favorite to many fans of the series, Zoro is well noted for being an extremely powerful and deadly addition to the crew. Oh, and he is well documented as a totally cool badass in general.
About Roronoa Zoro
|Before Timeskip||After Timeskip|
|Age||19 years old||21 years old|
|Height||178 cm / 5’10”||181 cm / 5’11½”|
|Birthday||November 11||Hometown||Shimotsuki Village|
|Affiliation||Straw Hat Pirates||Position||Fighter|
|Devil Fruit||None||Fighting Style||Santoryu (Three Swords Style)|
|Nicknames||“Pirate Hunter Zoro”||“Marimo”||“Moss Head”||“Shitty Swordsman”|
Zoro has short green hair, which is part of what earned him the nickname ‘marimo‘ or ‘mosshead’ from Sanji. He often wears a serious or hard-set face, which goes along well with his thin and muscled physique. He is fairly tall, falling just under 6″ tall, which makes him one of the taller Straw Hat Pirates.
The swordsman always carries three swords, essential to his fighting style (with the exception of a few occasions). Over the course of the series, Zoro has to replace two of his swords for various reasons. The third sword, Wado Ichimonji is the only sword that he possesses throughout the story. Tucked into a green wrap (known as a haramaki in Japanese) his swords are always at the ready, in a truly samurai fashion. Zoro also wears three identical golden earrings dangling from his left ear and has a black bandana tied around his left bicep. You can be sure that Zoro is getting serious in a fight when he ties on his black bandana.
Beyond the items above, Zoro’s base wardrobe includes black boots and pants and a white, semi-unbuttoned T-shirt below the green haramaki. Like all of the male character’s in One Piece, Zoro’s appearance only tends to change in small increments. Generally, these small additions or changes are made to his base outfit and reflect elements of the different story arcs.
However, following the timeskip, Zoro’s wardrobe is shaken up quite a bit. His new base outfit includes the same black boots and green haramaki. However, now he has no shirt, revealing his chest scar. He also wears a large dark green kimono as his outermost layer. It has wooden toggles on the bottom half, presumably to make it more pirate-like and less Japanese. Instead of tucking his swords into his green haramaki, he now wears a maroon one around his waist (the green one is worn as a base under-layer).
Over the course of the series, Zoro picks up a number of scars from wounds inflicted by his adversaries. His signature scar is a massive gash that he acquired from his defeat at the hands of Dracule Mihawk. The scar runs from his left shoulder to his right hip, showing the cut line and stitch marks from where he was sewn up. In the Little Garden Arc, Zoro adds scars to his ankles when he tries to cut off his own feet in effort to escape a trap. Most recently, following the timeskip, Zoro now has a scar running vertically through his left eye, which he does not (can not?) open. The circumstances in which this scar was received have not yet been revealed as of the Dressrosa and Zou story arcs.
Zoro is one of the more calm and composed members of the Straw Hat Pirates. Second only to Nico Robin, he is considered one of the more serious and logical characters in the Straw Hat Crew. Zoro would be best described as a serious samurai pirate. Although not technically a samurai, his character does seem to have many traits rooted in popular samurai imagery. The four characteristics that stand out most are his honor, loyalty, stoicism, and recklessness.
Zoro has particularly strong opinions concerning how a fight should be conducted. He absolutely hates the idea of attacking an enemy’s back. To Zoro there is no greater dishonor to a swordsman than a scar on their back. Zoro first notes this in his duel with Mihawk, but he also acts upon it in almost all of his battles. There are a few exceptions to this however; when he is attacking to rescue a crew member, he has occasionally struck from behind. Usually, Zoro dives in front of the enemy to block their attack, but there are a few cases where he cannot do so and instead attacks from behind.
Zoro’s honor does stem from his machismo. He dislikes weakness, but he does have a soft spot for women in some cases. . During a flashback to when Zoro and Kuina had the last of their many duels, Kuina confessed that one day Zoro would become more powerful than him because he was a man and she was a woman. Zoro felt that if she truly wanted to overcome this ‘boundary’ she could through determination. Zoro was fairly heavily affected by her death.
This early experience has caused him to hesitate when striking women. This rule doesn’t apply evenly to all female enemies, but it has stopped Zoro’s blade in a few cases – most notably during his fight in Loguetown with Smoker’s right hand Tashigi, where he refuses to strike her down when defeated. Part of this is due to her resemblance to Kuina. However, his preference to avoid striking down a female assailant pops up in other instances over the series. He does use this against female adversaries, such as Monet during the Punk Hazard story arc.
The best example that illustrates the importance of loyalty to Zoro’s character is at Water 7 when Usopp defies Luffy in an effort to save their old ship. Luffy was ready to accept Usopp back into their crew, but Zoro demanded he wait. Zoro firmly believed that Usopp simply wanting to rejoin them was not enough. In order to rejoin their crew, he must properly apologize to Luffy and the crew. Zoro believed this so strongly that he threatened to leave himself if Luffy did not hold Usopp to this high standard. Even when tested, like at Whiskey Peak when Luffy refused to let Zoro explain why he had attacked their ‘hosts’, he remained faithful to his captain.
Zoro is unwavering in his loyalty to his captain. While Zoro and Luffy do occasionally butt heads, it is usually because Zoro wants to ensure that Luffy makes the right decision as the captain of the Straw Hats. So long as Luffy does give an order, Zoro is happy to comply on the basis that it is the ‘captain’s orders’. Even when other members balk at Luffy’s insane orders, such as breaking through Enies Lobby or assaulting Donquixote’s island of Dressrosa, Zoro never hesitates to jump into action. Zoro even obeys Luffy’s command to run without hesitation when they are ambushed on Sabaody. Rather than fight and be defeated, killed or captured, Luffy orders his crew to flee and to survive. This order could have been seen to come into conflict with his vow to remain undefeated.
The only thing which is more important than Zoro’s loyalty to the Straw Hat Pirates is his loyalty to his personal dream. Zoro made this clear in his initial promise to Luffy. Zoro is able to overcome his personal honor in order to try and realize his ultimate dream. He shows how dedicated he is to his dream following the Straw Hat Crew’s separation. Turning up on a seemingly deserted island, he finds Mihawk the swordsman who brutally defeated him. Zoro swallows his pride and begs that Mihawk train him. Interestingly, Mihawk notes as an aside that Zoro is only truly able to swallow his pride due to his loyalty to someone else (Luffy). This possibly shows that over the course of the series, Zoro’s personal loyalty might have weakened slightly.
Stoicism is a large part of Zoro’s character as well. He endures some of the most devastating injuries of the Straw Hat Crew, usually doing so without even a grimace. The number of scenes where Zoro is training on the ship also help to build evidence of his stoic nature. Zoro also is quick to recover or force himself to fight through injury. Probably the most insane example of his stoicism is on Thriller Bark (more about this in the next section, too).
Perhaps the earliest illustration of this trait is as he lays defeated by Mihawk outside Baratie. Struggling to remain calm and to cope with his defeat, he vows to Luffy that he will never be defeated again. This is a pretty intense moment in the series and is the only time when Zoro is seen crying as an adult (he cries as a child a bit in flashbacks).
Zoro’s willingness to assist his crew goes beyond simple honor as noted before. In all likelihood, the combination effect of his honor as well as his devoted loyalty to his crew is that which allows him to risk so much for them. Zoro is loyal to his crew to the point of recklessness. While there are countless incidents where Zoro has taken a blow in place of a comrade, the most devastating instance of this is during the Thriller Bark story arc. Just as the crew prepares to celebrate Luffy’s defeat of shichibukai Gekko Moriah, Bartholomew Kuma, also a shichibukai appears. With Luffy unconscious and unable to defend himself Zoro offers his life in exchange for Luffy’s in an desperate attempt to protect him.
Kuma agrees and uses his devil fruit power to push all of the pain that Luffy had endured in his battle with Moriah out of Luffy’s body and instead upon Zoro. When everyone comes to again, Sanji finds Zoro standing on the brink of death the following morning. When questioned what happened, he simply says nothing happened. In truth, his reckless loyalty to save his crew and captain nearly cost him his life and his dream. This event is probably the first instance of Zoro putting his loyalty to Luffy above ambition for his personal dream.
Zoro’s Friendly Side
Like all the characters in One Piece, Zoro can crack a smile and laugh and there are a few things that are sure to do so. While he prefers to stay out of the antics that Luffy, Usopp, Franky, Brook, and Chopper get into, he frequently gets a laugh or smile out of them. Zoro tends to be more of an observer when it comes to making jokes.
Zoro has a great appetite for food and drink. The swordsman might not be able to eat as much as Luffy, but he just might be able to out-drink him. Of all the Straw Hats, Zoro seems to have the biggest fondness for alcoholic beverages. Zoro often seems at his happiest and most relaxed when pounding back beer and other drinks at celebratory feasts.
Zoro was the first to accept Luffy’s invitation to join his crew. Zoro has a strong sense of respect for his captain. Even though Luffy is a bit of a simpleton, Zoro trusts his captain to look out for the crew. He has complete faith in Luffy and his ability as a fighter. And he is the least worried of the Straw Hat Crew whenever Luffy enters a big fight.
A large part of Zoro’s relationship with Luffy has to do with Luffy’s position as captain. Zoro is willing to follow his captain just about anywhere, so long as his captain continues to command Zoro’s respect and loyalty. Zoro will always challenge his captain if he is not acting as a captain should, as he did in Water 7 with Usopp’s return to the crew.
Zoro and Nami get along relatively well, but they aren’t particularly close. Zoro often appears to not care about Nami’s safety. In the end, however, he will always push her out of the way in a dangerous situation. Zoro does occasionally become annoyed with Nami’s money grubbing. While they do have the odd spat, he trusts her as a part of the crew and places his faith in her as their navigator.
Zoro and Usopp are fairly good friends, despite being polar opposites in many ways. Zoro is recklessly courageous, whereas Usopp is fearfully cautious. Zoro does occasionally get frustrated with Usopp’s cowardice during the series. Despite this, he seems to believe that Usopp can achieve his dream of becoming a brave man of the sea with the right push.
Zoro did not disapprove of Usopp standing up to Luffy in Water 7 in order to protect their old ship, Merry. If anything, the swordsman’s respect for Usopp would have grown. He did, however, find Usopp’s decision to come back acting as if nothing had changed unforgivable. It wasn’t until Usopp finally humbled himself and apologized that Zoro forgave him. Their relationship quickly resumed to how it had been prior to the incident. Zoro was also the one who officially invited Usopp to the crew, not Luffy.
Sanji and Zoro have the most strained relationship of all the Straw Hat Pirates. The cook and swordsman are constantly getting worked up over even the smallest of details. Much of their difficult relationship emerged during the Arlong Park story arc, quite early in the series and the two have never truly recovered since then.
Zoro disapproves of the ‘ero-cook’ and his constant skirt-chasing. Zoro has invented a range of nicknames for the ship’s cook, like Sanji has for Zoro. Sanji’s nicknames typically focus on his position as cook, his curly eyebrows, and his skirt-chasing. Despite their constant back and forth, Zoro recognizes Sanji as one of the stronger fighters. Because of this, Zoro trusts Sanji to look out for the other crew members in rough situations. This can be seen in greater frequency following the timeskip. In the Zou story arc, it even appears that Zoro might begrudgingly care about the cook’s safety.
Zoro has a habit of looking out for the weaker crew members on his ship. As such, Zoro is often jumping into danger to protect the ship’s doctor. Zoro appears to get along well with Chopper and is genuinely concerned for the Zoan-type’s safety. Zoro is constantly frustrating Chopper by going against his medical advice. Typically he does this by removing bandages or fighting before Chopper has okayed him for combat. Chopper often remarks about how cool Zoro is when he is fighting and is frequently impressed with the swordsman.
Zoro and Robin possibly have more in common with each other than any of the other Straw Hat Pirates. They are the most serious and sombre amongst the crew and are often seen sitting together.
Zoro was the last to trust her when she joined the crew at the end of the Alabasta story arc. As such, their relationship started off fairly slowly. He does warm up to her over the course of the next story arc, however. Zoro has also jumped to protect Robin more than any of the other Straw Hat Pirates. He defended her against Enel, Aokiji, and Hyouzou, to name a few of the more considerable enemies he has protected her against. In defending Robin Zoro has unleashed some of his most powerful attacks and techniques. The most notable occasion was when he used his secret technique, Kiki Kyutoryu: Asura, during the Enies Lobby story arc against Kaku from CP9.
Zoro and Franky didn’t get off to a good start. That being said, no one on the Straw Hat Crew particularly liked Franky at first (aside from Robin perhaps). Franky beat up Usopp, making off with the Straw Hat Crew’s cash which didn’t sit well with the crew. Franky redeems himself in Zoro’s eyes a bit with his tenacity during the fight for Robin’s freedom at Enies Lobby. The construction of the Thousand Sunny is also a major help for Zoro to change his mind regarding Franky. Zoro was probably most moved by Franky’s inclusion of the Mini Merry as a part of the ship’s design.
Franky does have a number of tendencies which get on Zoro’s nerves. While they don’t usually squabble, the two are not particularly close. Zoro has commented on how quickly Franky is moved to tears with disdain. He also isn’t overly fond of Franky’s peculiar wardrobe (or lack of one). Despite all of this, Franky seems to genuinely look up to Zoro as a source of inspiration and an example of manliness.
Zoro and Brook get along well, likely due to the fact that both of them are swordsmen. Brook, although being significantly older and more experienced, is constantly awed by Zoro’s ability as a swordsman. While initially disapproving of Brook’s addition to the crew, the skeleton’s connection to the Straw Hat Crew’s old friend Laboon quickly helped bridge Zoro’s trust for the musician/swordsman. Brook was very quickly indebted to Zoro in the Thriller Bark story arc. Zoro retreived Brook’s shadow from the Wano Country legend Ryuma (in zombie form).
Zoro’s goal to become the world’s greatest swordsman is bound to Dracule Mihawk by fate. Mihawk, one of the seven shichibukai, is also the world’s greatest swordsman. This alone makes Mihawk Zoro’s greatest rival. Upon their first meeting, Zoro was hopelessly outmatched and utterly defeated by Mihawk. Zoro’s determination and attitude during their duel did earn him Mihawk’s respect. He ‘honored’ Zoro by using his his sword rather than just a dagger in their fight. Mihawk told Zoro, while he lay defeated, to seek him out once he was ready and that he would be waiting for him.
Following the Straw Hat Crew’s defeat at Sabaody, Zoro is flung to a mysterious island by Bartholomew Kuma. Here he discovers Mihawk’s home and castle among the ruins across the island. Zoro discards his pride and requests that Mihawk train him and so that he may improve his ability as a swordsman. Initially, Mihawk refuses saying that he’d have to be mad to train the man who wishes to take his head and title. On second reflection, Mihawk takes note of how Zoro has discarded his pride not just to get stronger, but to do it for his crew. In the end, he agrees to train Zoro. For two years, Zoro studies under Mihawk and it is due to this time that his skills have increased considerably when the crew is reunited.
Koshiro and Kuina
Kuina is Zoro’s first rival and her father Koshiro is Zoro’s first teacher. Failing to defeat Kuina in a duel, Zoro enrolls in Koshiro’s sword school. He trains to get stronger and so that he can eventually defeat Kuina. Zoro challenges Kuina 2001 times and loses every time. In their final duel, using real blades, Zoro is defeated once more, but Kuina tells him that one day he will be stronger than her because she is a woman and he is a man. Zoro finds her reasoning unacceptable and makes her vow that one day one of them would become the world’s greatest swordsman.
The following day, Kuina passes away after falling down a set of stairs. Grief ridden, Zoro begs Koshiro to let him carry her sword (Wado Ichimonji) and so that he can use it to fulfill the vow he had made with her. Kuina’s passing is a large part of Zoro’s motivation to achieve his dream, feeling doubly responsible for ensuring it comes to fruition as she no longer can fight for the title. He often remembers his vow with her when in a dire position against a powerful foe.
Johnny and Yosaku
Johnny and Yosaku are the two hooligans who traveled around with Zoro prior to him becoming a member of the Straw Hat Pirates. The two often refer to Zoro as ‘aniki’ which means ‘older brother’ as Zoro had come to their rescue against a dangerous pirate they couldn’t take down. The three teamed up as a trio of bounty hunters.
They cross paths once again in the Baratie story arc and tag along throughout the Arlong Park story arc. As Zoro has become a criminal, the two sadly remark that they cannot continue to journey with him. They part on good terms and likely continue on as bounty hunters.
Kin’emon is the samurai from the Wano country. When Zoro and the Straw Hat Crew initially meet him on Punk Hazard, he is split in three pieces. Zoro is quickly impressed with Kin’emon’s skill as a swordsman and the two quickly develop a mutual sense of respect towards each other.
There is a bit of friction between the two as Zoro refuses to give up Shusui which he was awarded when he defeated Ryuma on Thriller Bark. Kin’emon believes that the blade, a relic of his country, must be returned. While the sword only comes up on occasion, it does not prevent the two from working together on Punk Hazard and during the battle of Dressrosa.
First Bounty – 60,000,000 Beli
Zoro’s first bounty is placed on his head after him and the Straw Hat Pirates actions in Alabasta. The bounty is placed on his head for having defeated over 100 bounty hunters at Whiskey Peak and for taking down the Baroque Works’ Mr. 1, Daz Bones.
Second Bounty – 120,000,000 Beli
Zoro’s Bounty is raised after the Straw Hat Crew assault Enies Lobby. Zoro is noted for having defeated the CP9 agent Kaku.
Third Bounty – 320,000,000 Beli
Zoro’s bounty is raised to 320,000,000 Beli after the Straw Hat Crew defeats the Donquixote Pirates on Dressrosa. During this battle, Zoro notably defeated Pica, one of Doflamingo’s Elite Officers.
Zoro’s Combat Style
First and foremost, Zoro is a swordsman. He almost always has three swords with him as they are crucial to his particular style of combat. Beyond his blades, Zoro is physically incredibly strong and is shown to be able to keep up with Sanji when unarmed. Much of his idle time on their journey is spent training with exceptionally heavy weights and in meditation. As such, he is often considered one of the three most powerful of the Straw Hats. Typically, Zoro ends up fighting the second most powerful enemy in major story arcs.
His particular style of swordsmanship is one of his own invention. Santoryu literally translates to ‘three sword style’. When fighting, he wields three-swords at the same time, holding one sword in each hand and the third with his teeth. Notable attacks include Oni Giri (Demon Slash), Tatsu Maki (Dragon Twister) and Santoryu Ogi: Sanzen Sekai (Three-Sword Style Secret Technique: Three Thousand Worlds). This is the most notable of Zoro’s fighting styles and is the style which has gained him the most acclaim/notoriety.
Zoro’s Santouryu Enbima Yonezu Oni Giri used against the Marines during the Enies Lobby story arc.
While the majority of Zoro’s fighting techniques utilize all three of his blades, he does not rely solely on triple-blade techniques. Zoro often chooses to only fight with two of his swords, saving Wado Ichimonji for only the most serious of fights. Originally, Zoro began his career as a swordsman with Nitoryu, which means two-sword style. He chose to fight with two swords at first as he thought he could use them to defeat his childhood rival Kuina. Notable attacks include Ni Giri (Double Slash), Taka Nami (Hawk Wave), Sai Kuru (Rolling Rhino), and Nitoryu Iai: Rashomon (Two-Sword Style Draw and Sheath Technique: Castle Gate).
Zoro’s Ni Giri Attack, used against Kaku of CP9 in the Enies Lobbies story arc.
Just as Zoro has developed to fight using two and three swords, he has a range of techniques that only require a single blade. When fighting with a single sword, Zoro most frequently uses his primary weapon, Wado Ichimonji. He seems to favor it less for ittoryu following the timeskip. Early in the series, Zoro says that he feels he is weakest with only one blade, but following the timeskip appears to have greatly improved his ability with a single sword. Notable attacks include Ittoryu Iai: Shishi Sonson (One-Sword Style Draw and Sheath Technique: Lion’s Song), Hiryu Kaen (Flying Dragon: Blaze), Yakkodori (Disaster Harbor Bird), and Daishinkan (Great Dragon Shock).
Zoro uses his Ittoryu Daishinkan to slice Monet in half.
Mutoryu literally translates to zero-sword style and is an improvisational fighting style that Zoro comes up with during the Davy Back Fight with the Foxy Pirates. Without any weapons, Zoro improvised to use his techniques without blades. The most notable attack was Tatsu Maki (Dragon Twister) which he uses to send his opponents flying. Without blades, this technique is not lethal.
Kyutoryu, which literally translates to nine-sword style. This is one of, if not the most mysterious of Zoro’s styles and techniques. He first unleashes Kiki Kyutoryu: Asura (Demon Spirit Nine-Sword Style: Asura) in his fight against Kaku from CP9 during the Enies Lobby story arc. The technique appears to emerge from Zoro’s anger and frustration. It causes him to appear to multiply by three, gaining three heads and six arms. The technique and imagery is rooted in the Asura, a race of demons in Hindu mythology. Notable attacks include Asura: Ichibugin (Asura: One Fog Silver) and Asura: Makyusen (Asura: Nine Demonic Flashes).
Zoro unleashes his Kiki Kyutoryu: Asura against Kaku of CP9 in desperation.
Following the timeskip, Zoro is revealed to be able to use Haki. Haki is a mysterious power that has three forms in the One Piece world. Zoro possesses the ability to use one of them, Busoshoku Haki, which enables him to coat his body or items in the black Haki armor. Zoro uses this to coat his swords, increasing their damaging capabilities and durability. The ability to use Haki is also linked to being able to attack and damage Logia-type Devil Fruit users like Enel, Caesar Clown, and Smoker.
During the two years of the timeskip, Zoro learned how to use Busoshoku Haki from Dracule Mihawk. Mihawk criticized Zoro for his lack of ability to protect his blades in the past, saying that he would never have to replace another blade should he master the technique. Zoro’s ability to use Haki allowed him to attack and defeat Monet, the Snow Snow Devil Fruit user, during their fight on Punk Hazard. Zoro employs use of his Busoshoku Haki extensively when fighting against the Donquixote Pirates, unleashing his ultimate Santoryu technique in combination with his Haki to take down Pica.
Zoro stops the massive Pica combining his Busoshoku Haki with his Santoryu Ogi: Ichidai Sanzen Daisen Sekai.
Evolution of Zoro’s Techniques
Over the course of the series, Zoro is constantly training and refining his skill. As his power and strength increases, so does his creativity with his swordsmanship. Zoro is constantly revealing new attacks and improving existing ones as can be seen with the names that his attacks and techniques are given as he becomes stronger. The result is that Zoro often has many sub-variations of any attack, such as his Yaki Oni Giri (Burning Demon Slash) and Enbima Yonezu Oni Giri (Charming Demon Slash of Sleepless Nights).
This development occurs over the course of time, but most notably increases drastically following the timeskip. While others, like his X Pound Cannon/Phoenix attack grows in weight and power depending on the number of swords he uses and as he becomes stronger. Initially, the attack was 108 Pounds when used with three swords, but following the timeskip is 1080 pounds, a full ten times stronger.
- Zoro’s voice actor in Japanese, Kazuya Nakai, is known for playing cool, badass characters. In addition to Zoro, he was the voice behind Samurai Champloo’s Mugen, Gintama’s Toushirou, and Blade of the Immortal’s Magatsu.
- Zoro is the only crew member that Luffy had initially hoped to find and meet prior to actually meeting him. Zoro’s reputation as the ‘Pirate Hunter’ superseded him, making him known to Luffy.
3.Due to Zoro’s second bounty doubling his original bounty and bringing him over 100,000,000 Beli, he was considered one of the 11 Super Rookies that made up what is later referred to as The Worst Generation.
- Zoro has the worst sense of direction of all of the crew, frequently getting directions wrong and getting lost in the heat of a chase or battle.
- Zoro is left-handed, most of his one-handed attacks will feature him using his left hand.
- Zoro makes a brief appearance in the simpsons “Treehouse of Horror XXV” in the opening sequence.
- Zoro is most often compared to a Tiger, the only animal capable of defeating a Dragon in Japanese mythology. Zoro is also the only known character in the One Piece world to have slain a Dragon other than the legendary samurai swordsman Ryuma (whom Zoro also defeats).
- Zoro’s favorite season is Autumn and he enjoys it most on Autumn Island.
- Zoro’s autograph is the Japanese kanji for ‘sword’.