Oda: “Ah, yes. You might have to follow very closely to picture this, but…let me explain! It all starts with Shimotsuki Kozaburo (swordsmith and swordsman):
- He forges the “Enma” and bestows it to the heir of the Kozuki Family, Oden.
- 55 years ago, he sets out to sea!
- He and the samurai of Wano have a grand adventure!!
- They make landfall in a certain place in the East Blue.
- They save the locals from mountain bandits.
- They teach the villagers the way of the sword, who become enamored with swordplay.
- They decide to settle there, founding Shimotsuki Village.
- His son, Koushirou, is born.
- His granddaughter, Kuina, is born.
To put it in other words, who Zoro meant by “a geezer in his village” that he met was actually grandpa Shimotsuki Kozaburo-san himself, who comes from the Wano Country. Oh? Then could that mean…Zoro’s lineage...?! Well, the story of Shimotsuki Kozaburo, the samurai who founded Shimotsuki Village, is all I’m willing to share today!
We can now safely assume that the person who Oda is talking about here is Zoro (person that everybody is familiar with) and Ushimaru is one of his descendants (not the one on the ship, per theory that should be Zoro’s mother) as we did get a follow up on Ushimaru. How can we be so sure?
“It isn’t going to be a major plot line, it will just be a minor story.” This is exactly how Zoro’s similarity towards Ushimaru has been portrayed, a minor plot line with no impact on the story. He is just implied to resemble Ushimaru a lot, both in his fighting style and appearance as we later see in Yamato’s flashback. And this “revelation” does not have major (or even any) impact on the story.
The third part of the sentence is “They really do look alike huh?” besides Oda sounding cheeky here, do you know who Zoro was also compared to, Shimotsuki Ryuma. He is said to be a direct ancestor of Ushimaru as well as being a one eyed swordsman like Zoro and shown to resemble Zoro.
Why would Oda compare Zoro to not one, but two Shimotsuki that are direct descendants of one another, have characters comment on their physical and fighting resemblance, be cheeky about it in SBS and originally want to include a scene where Onimaru mistakes him for a young Ushimaru, and refuses to say anything more because he might follow it up if Zoro indeed isn’t related to Shimotsuki, because they clearly are related.
This new revelation further reinforces Ushimaru being Zoro’s Grandfather. Which begs the question… who IS the father?