It’s commonly believed that Pirates can’t be heroes, or capable of decent humanity. Luffy, the hero of the story, doesn’t regard himself as such. A hero isn’t to be associated with unlawful endeavors such as piracy. No better, someone who makes a living killing for a check, using deadly weapons like swords for personal gain or callous actions. Roronoa Zoro is often labeled those things, a cutthroat devil who you should keep away from.
Perception has always been something that worked against Zoro, most recently in Wano, he is christened a “Slasher” who preys on innocent people, and for all his journey a merciless bounty hunter. However, Zoro’s true intentions and nature are far from, if not, in direct opposition of those accusations towards him, as he is one of most heroic and selfless characters in the entire story. Regardless of what he’s viewed to be, a Pirate, a Bounty Hunter, a Murderer, Zoro’s actions speak for themselves on who he truly is.
Ever since his first appearance, Zoro demonstrates a self-sacrificing nature, and his resistance to yield to adversity compounds this trait ever more. When someone is in danger, he is quick to rescue them. When he is confronted with a choice between his own safety or to suffer for another, he doesn’t hesitate to take the latter option.
Despite his momentous achievements, Zoro doesn’t let them go to his head, and while far from modest, he doesn’t take his successes and accomplishments for granted, believing he can-should do more in any given matter. The peak of this being Thriller Bark where he took all the pain and burden for his crew, and not letting any of them know so that they aren’t worried by what he had to take on. He has a drive in his role seldom few have, and he doesn’t lord over with it spouting empty platitudes to give them meaning.
- Zoro immediately goes back to training rather than continue resting after his ordeal on Thriller Bark. He remains diligent.
Zoro rarely lets himself be swayed by his emotions, preferring to keep a measured outlook that benefits the most parties. This sometimes makes him appear callous, but his ability to think of everyone’s safety is a responsibility leaders and heroes typically have to carry. Often times, it’s for the best.
He meets any task head, even if he has sustained heavy injuries, or the job seems to much for him out the gate. This is most especially when others are counting on him. While Zoro goes into every fight to challenge himself, he goes above and beyond when it’s for someone, like his crew or like-minded allies.
His hopes and dreams mean nothing if he can’t defend those he cares for. Prideful man at heart, he is willing to give that up if it means he be can become stronger for those he swore to himself to look after.
Zoro has had to go through so much to get where he is. He has scars to prove his hardships to be at the top, but also earned through his response to fight for another’s sake.
Zoro’s noble nature has been what helped him make it as far as he has, and it served as a baseline philosophy when training under his master, Koshiro. It wasn’t something he had a firm grasp on at the time, being a naïve boy, but as he matured, he has instinctively represented that belief throughout his journey. Zoro started out a boy who fought to achieve his own dreams of cutting everything down until he’s at the top, into a man who fights to safeguard. When he joined Luffy, he became Luffy’s sword, and as Koshiro lectured, a true sword is something which cuts and shields what it wants. That has reached its apparent apex on Wano, where he battles to defend and liberate the whole country, whilst still looking out for his captain and everyone fighting alongside him. His predecessor Ryuma followed this path himself, and he died a man who fought for others.
As of most recently, Zoro took on what was arguably the strongest attack in the series. The fact he recognized it beforehand as an out of this world technique proves his actions weren’t based on blind foolishness, but a true act of bravery, for bravery is facing what you may not want to confront but doing so anyway, usually for a good reason. After it passes, Zoro pushes through his pain knowing his teammates, and the greater alliance still need him even if they themselves don’t ask for it.
A man with power, determination, pride and ambition, but the strength of character to put those aside for something more, or concentrate them for the benefit of others. He suffers so those around him don’t have to. In the mean time and moving forward, he’ll maintain his focus and relative solemnity, improving his craft and answering any call to action that comes his way. A watchful sentinel ever reliable, he is guided by the goal to protect.