I want to applaud Oda’s efforts with Zoro’s training this arc. Aside from showing Zoro’s general mastery of sword styles such as copying Kin’emon’s entire style just by seeing it used twice, Oda introduced Enma as a unique training mechanism for Zoro. We even see onscreen progression with Enma starting from Zoro’s arm getting drained on first use, to him being winded from one Sword slash, to Zoro performing attacks without him displaying any exasperation at all.
Without any exposition such as the many panels of Hyogoro telling Luffy how Ryuo works, Oda simply had Zoro progress onscreen with the one initial statement of Enma drains its users Haki excessively so to use it, your Haki just has to improve by force.
Now I believe Oda has given us the next initial statement for the next power-up now that Zoro is no longer getting affected by Enma. It’s this:
When Zoro gets up, he’s gonna be at half endurance due to the side effects of the drug doubling the effects of the damage he takes. This brings up a common theory regarding this:
An Alternate translation for this is “Suffering is good on the Path of Carnage”. This translation was used to connect to the Asura mythology itself. Asura are the form a soul in the Path of demons reincarnates as and must Suffer in order to reincarnate to the higher Path of Humans. Basically the theory was that Zoro has to suffer massive pain and suffering before it culminates as the Asura form.
I never believed this theory myself because it was too gimmicky and sounded very Deus Ex Machina, like every serious fight Zoro had must end the same way, Asura. But now that it seems like Oda could be going into certain details with Asura, and the way Oda handled Enma as a training mechanism through it actively affecting Zoro in battle. Now with the question around Supreme King Haki, and the introduction of this double damage effect, I’m starting to see a way this theory could work without it being a gimmick.
My assertion is that ready use of Asura is the next power-up Zoro is going to obtain. And he is going to obtain it by being forced to use it rather quickly due to this double damage effect.
In chapter 1010, Zoro uses Ashura and Supreme King Haki is brought up by Kaido and Zoro has no idea.
I believe Zoro is going to be taking double damage so that he can reach the suffering threshold that allows for Asura and then he can find out for himself how Asura connects to Supreme King Haki. After learning what exactly it is, Zoro will be able to access his Supreme King Haki, and Asura MUCH more readily than ever before.
There is already a precedent for Zoro unlocking a Haki ability at deaths door and having to train to use it readily
The difference here between Supreme King’s Haki and the Haki Zoro learned in Alabasta is that Zoro already knew what he was doing in Alabasta even before he did it while in Wano, Kaido is the one who had to tell Zoro he used Supreme King’s Haki.
Therefore Oda is setting up one more Asura use this time with Zoro aware of his Supreme King’s Haki and since Oda isn’t going to have Zoro face another combo Yonko attack, he is instead reducing Zoro’s endurance so that he gets to Asura faster. And after it’s all said and done, Asura will work more like Gear 4, where it’s still a massive drain but he doesn’t have to use it only when having sustained massive damage.
*Theory by ImmaIvanoM