After a thousand chapters of dancing around Zoro’s kingly ambitions, Oda has finally had the character come out and say it – the World’s Strongest Swordsman does indeed aspire to be a king. Specifically, in Zoro’s case, the King of Hell.
But Oda’s clever wordplay in Chapter 1035 has me wondering if Zoro may also be destined to become king of the samurai. Let’s take a look at what he said:
地獄 or 侍極?
地獄 is made up of the characters じごく and means ‘hell’. However, じごく was also used in the naming of Zoro’s new Santoryuu attack in Chapter 1035, with the same characters presented with a different kanji meaning ‘high ranking samurai’.
侍極 – じごく
侍 – samurai
極 – extreme/highly/highest rank
There are other signs pointing to Zoro becoming the next king of samurai, hailed in a similar manner to Ryuma, the God of the Blade.
Kaido doesn’t believe that Wano will ever produce a monster samurai like Oden again. Of course, Oden never quite reached Ryuma’s level of reverence and notoriety in Wano, but the fact that Kaido has yet to eat his words suggests that there is still more to do for Zorojurou the ronin in this arc.
All the way back in Zou, Zoro declared that he would have the samurai of Wano following his lead. So far, reactions to Zoro have been mixed, with the samurai respecting his strength and willingness to tame Enma, but treating him with some degree of disbelief and ridicule due to his claims that he met and fought Ryuma. Nevertheless it is safe to say that the samurai of Wano are not currently following in Zoro’s footsteps, and it will take surpassing their master Oden for them to do so.
Deuteragonist of Wano
Oda has also dropped numerous hints that Zoro may well be the deuteragonist of Wano. Promotional art for the Wano arc places him alongside Luffy, stating that they will cut down the evil oni.