Over a month ago I made a post about Shimotsuki Ushimaru’s relation to Zoro. I made a claim that the nature of Ushimaru’s and Zoro’s relationship is not that of a father and son but rather a grandfather and grandson. Fast forward to present and we got an answer to this from the SBS 101 where Oda himself confirms that Ushimaru indeed is NOT the father.
Now, many have taken this revelation as proof of Zoro having no ties to the Shimotsuki Family, but I disagree. In fact, this new info actually strengthens the theory. Let’s see what Oda said in the SBS 101 and break it down part by part.
Question: “Eiichiro Oda-sama, I was carefully observing Chapter 1024 with great interest. The certain someone who referred to himself as “so-and-so”, was he, perchance, Zoro-dono’s father?
Oda: “I actually received many questions about this mr. “certain soimeone”‘s identity. I feel it would be rude to reveal it given how this someone hid it on purpose, but since many people guessed it, I will introduce him. Those three guys are actually the Daimyo of territories that fell to ruin.
Oda: “After Oden’s death, all regions rose up to defeat Orochi. However they were all beaten by the Beasts Pirates. Since Shimotsuki Ushimaru was once renown alongside Onimaru, the fox that fought Zoro, when Onimaru stole Shusui from Zoro, he was surprised that he looked exactly like Ushimaru did in his youth, but since that scene was too complicated I ended up cutting it. I may not end up mentioning it in the story …Anyway I’ll answer your question. Ushimaru is not Zoro’s dad. These three characters’ name won’t be revealed in the manga, so I include them here. Regarding the lineage of Ushimaru, I’m not sure whether I’ll draw more or hide it, so let’s end the discussion here*. They really do look alike huh*?”
Let’s address the first part of the sentence, “Anyway I’ll answer your question. Ushimaru is not Zoro’s dad”, Oda says that Ushimaru is not Zoro’s dad specifically. He doesn’t mention anything about them not being related or that they couldn’t have any other type of a relationship other than father-son, which I never claimed anyway. This does not remove the possibility of Zoro being a Shimotsuki as Oda’s comment is open-ended.
Second part of the sentence, “Regarding the lineage of Ushimaru, I’m not sure whether I’ll draw more or hide it, so let’s end the discussion here”, in the second half of his comment Oda mentions that he isn’t sure if he will further explore Ushimaru’s lineage or not so he ends the discussion there. What If I told you that this isn’t the first time Oda did something like this? In fact, he did exactly the same thing for exactly the same character.
In the SBS 92, Oda is asked a question and trails off towards saying this:
“The fact of the matter is, a ship from Wano reached East Blue a few decades ago. One of the descendants of someone on that ship is a person that everybody is familiar with*…This part might be featured later in the main story so I won’t mention any more than that. It isn’t going to be a major plot line, it will just be a minor story*.”
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?