By now I’m pretty sure that Zoro is gonna be heavily involved in Kaido’s defeat, and I collected some points scattered throughout the story to support my “theory”.
I doubt that Kaido is gonna be defeated in a 1v1 anyway. Wano seems to be a bit too complex to conclude in a straight up brawl.
Then there are also rather suspicious panel placements like this one for example, and knowing Oda, I doubt this was an accident.
Luffy should also have his hands full with Big Mom – who holds a major grudge against him.
1-Oden and Zoro Similarities
- The obvious one, Zoro was gifted Oden’s sword and got used to it pretty quickly.
- Both of them saved Kin’emon from a beast. Oden
killedsliced up the boar to save him; Zoro cut a dragon’s head off which leads to the same result.
- Oden saved Toki from a bunch of criminals when she was 26, fainted right after, and was nursed back to health by her. Pretty similar to what happened between Zoro and the also 26 year old Hiyori.
- Both of them traveled around Wano as outcasts, fought criminals, and ended up befriending Yasuie.
- Both took an unfair punishment for someone else’s sake because they were promised something by someone they shouldn’t have trusted.
- Not exactly a similarity, but Zoro is very involved in the plot of Oden’s children, taking care of his daughter, and training his perverted son.
- They’re both swordsmen, and their 2 sword style looks pretty similar, too.
- Both are dumb as shit, obsessed with fighting, and constantly try to find stronger opponents.
2-Zoro’s Ties to Wano
As it should be obvious by now, Zoro and Wano seem to be connected in some way. He grew up in Shimotsuki village which is named after the Shimotsuki clan, and Koushirou also wears the same symbol on his yukata.
Now, this is a bit of a reach, but Zoro looks very much like Shimotsuki Ushimaru and Shimotsuki Ryuma in my opinion.
There’s also the battle cry “Sunachi” which means “Throw Away Your Name and Wits”. Marimo threw away his wits a very long time ago, and the name part could be foreshadowing him being a Shimotsuki.
Now in Wano itself, Zoro is the Straw Hat who’s most involved with the people living there. He traveled around, saw all the misery first hand, talked to people, and got the biggest impression of the overall situation in general.
Oden’s sword. One of the swords that caused Kaido’s scar. Actually was introduced as THE sword that did it, and I assume Oda did that on purpose.
After Hitetsu handed the sword over, he told Zoro that he might have the potential to blacken it. A feat even Oden didn’t accomplish in his lifetime which I can only interpret as him surpassing Oden at one point.
Then there is the name itself, “Enma”. Enma (or Yama in China) is the ruler and judge of the underworld, and he decides what’s gonna happen to the spirits of the dead. Kaido is obviously designed after an Oni.
Not only are Onis the bad guys in the story of Momotarō, but they were also considered the spirits of the dead before that. So Enma is literally the judge over the Onis – a bit more than a coincidence in my opinion. Then there is also the old Japanese proverb “When borrowing, the face of a jizō; when repaying, the face of Enma”, and there most certainly is a lot of repayment to be done.
The legend of slaying a dragon.
Ryuma from Oda’s story “Monsters” saved Wano by slaying a dragon with his legendary sword “Shusui”. As we all know, Zoro and Ryuma fought on Thriller Bark, and Ryuma handed over Shusui with the words “With you as its master, this blade will surely be satisfied”.
Apart from the similarities in appearance, a lot of Zoro’s attacks are dragon themed, he also slew a dragon with Shusui, and how convenient it is that there currently is another dragon terrorizing Wano.
As I said, Zoro is gonna be crucial for Kaido’s defeat. The points I listed lead me to believe that he’s set up to surpass Oden in one way or another. I personally think that it’d be kinda odd if he doesn’t after all that build up.
Again, not saying that Zoro is gonna kill Kaido or anything, but rather that he’s gonna have an important role in his defeat, just like Sanji had by baking the cake for example. Sanji’s signature ability of cooking, the role he basically has on the ship, is used as a major plot device to conclude Whole Cake Island, and Zoro is gonna use his swords to accomplish something similar.
I know that a lot of readers are super obsessed with fighting, and don’t count baking a cake as an achievement, but that is their problem. As we saw, the cake didn’t kill Big Mom, so Zoro doesn’t have to kill Kaido either – maybe cut off a leg or something.