Zoro’s origins open a wide number of horizons to explore. The reality behind his powers, future arcs and predictions in One Piece etc. can all be discovered sooner or later if we know his origins. (Regarding his powers, Coby when describing Zoro to Luffy said he is a demon incarnated in human form in one of the early episodes in one piece.)
Now with the evidence in hand, I tried to figure out his origins albeit not the immediate parentage exactly. More like an ancestor or someone at least 2 to 3 generations earlier. That person is Ryuma. How? Let’s get onto that.
Comparisons and Similarities
Comparisons and similarities can be the best of proofs sometimes since we all know genes pass down the generations and some similarities are retained even between some distant generations.
So let’s see. First and foremost the appearance.
Isn’t the appearance of Ryuma in this colored image pretty similar to pre time-skip Zoro? Oda hasn’t drawn many male characters with similar apperances and usually they are from same lineage eg. A younger Garp and Luffy look a little bit similar.
Next up is their behaviour:
– Both are swordsman and very skilled and honorable ones too. There is no need to explain this as we all have seen Zoro’s fight with Mihawk and in Thriller Bark, Ryuma’s zombie claiming to bring dishonor to the great Samurai’s body. In Monsters, Ryuma mentions something called ‘Warrior’s soul’ during his interaction with the restaurant owner.
I think this also refers to the honor of a swordsman as much as it refers to a swordsman’s skill. All across the Monsters chapter, we have seen Ryuma to be very honourable. Zoro talking about a cut on the back to be a disgrace to a swordsman and his final words to Ryuma’s zombie suggest he is a man of honor and not just his own but a swordsman’s honor in general.
– Zoro dreams of being the World’s Greatest Swordsman. In the above panel, you saw The King to be the strongest swordsman in the world and if you’ve read the last panel, the king is none other than ‘Ryuma, the King’(Though he himself is unaware of it).
Zoro’s dream collides with Ryuma’s reality. Just a mere co-incidence? No problem. Let’s go further.
– Zoro possesses some level of arrogance and so does Ryuma especially when the towns people accuse him and later on when he sees Shirano and DR steal the belongings of people.
– Zoro also can be some one concerned for other’s well being even if they are not related or strangers perhaps. Eg. Zoro picking up the man shot by a Celestial Dragon to the hospital simply because he is injured. Ryuma also was very concerned for Flare’s well being and though not showing it, perhaps the town as well.
– Zoro and Ryuma are both very indebted and dedicated to the person who saved their life. Zoro to Luffy and Ryuma to Flare albeit in much different circumstances. They are concerned for both for their physical and mental well being. Eg. Ryuma when he sees Shirano stealing realises it would break Flare’s heart to know the truth and Zoro’s reaction and concern when he realises Ace died.
– Both aren’t exactly behind fame. Zoro simply wants to achieve his dream while Ryuma is a wandering samurai who protects people. Zoro also has a deep streak to protect as seen throught the series especially for his nakama.
– Zoro though initially reckless later becomes very protective and attached to his swords. This is evident when in Thriller Bark, when zombie Ryuma asks him why he needs the Shusui when he already has 3 swords and was fighting with 2, Zoro replied he felt uncomfortable without the 3rd and we saw him give Yubashiri a funeral if it could be said. Ryuma in Monsters said that a sword is a swordsman’s life.
1) The most obvious being Zoro fighting Ryuma’s zombie for Shusui. Brook couldn’t defeat him and Zoro stepped in simply because he heard of Ryuma’s legendary reputation and his urge to fight a great swordsman. You might feel this to be vague but hold on a second. Rewind back to the 3rd image of this theory. Ryuma when he hears about the King (not knowing it’s himself), has a desire to cross blades with the strongest swordsman believing him to have a great ‘Warrior’s Soul’. Another behavioural similarity too but more so an event marking a foreshadowing to the future.
2) A sword chooses its owner and the Shuusui’s will for Zoro to be its master. It is a sword wielded by a former ‘World’s Greatest Swordsman’. Definitely there would be far too few people it could chose as its masters. And it chose Zoro. It couldn’t just be because of the dream would it? Wouldn’t there be a sense of belonging when it is wielded by someone from the same lineage with equal or higher potential?
3) During Punk Hazard, we saw Zoro slay a dragon. (Hold it not just yet). Remember the technique? He didn’t use his trademark Santoryu but rather the One Sword Style Ittoryu with the sword used being Shusui. Ryuma also slayed a dragon with the same sword (He was only a 1 sword user).
4) Ryuma cuts copper which others believed couldn’t be cut with a sword. Remember Zoro beating Daz Bones and cutting steel? Both these men have feats which not ordinary swordsman would do and Zoro’s journey is leading him to his ancestor’s path of the World’s Greatest swordsman.
*Theory by Portgas D. Shanks