|One Piece character|
|First appearance||One Piece chapter 3: "Introducing Pirate Hunter Zoro" (Weekly Shōnen Jump No. 36, 1997)|
|Created by||Eiichiro Oda|
|Voiced by||See Voice actors|
|Alias||Pirate Hunter Zoro|
|Affiliations||Straw Hat Pirates (combatant / swordsman)|
Roronoa Zoro (ロロノア・ゾロ, spelled as "Roronoa Zolo" or "Roronoa Zollo" in some English adaptations), nicknamed "Pirate Hunter" Zoro (海賊狩りのゾロ, Kaizoku-Gari no Zoro), is a fictional character in the One Piece franchise created by Eiichiro Oda.
In the story, Zoro is the first to join Monkey D. Luffy after he is saved from being executed at the Marine Base. He is the crew's combatant, and one of the two swordsmen of the Straw Hat Pirates, the other being Brook. As a native to the East Blue, he came from the town known as Shimotsuki, where he trained in a dojo and learned the one and two-sword styles (ittōryū and nitōryū).
Zoro is uniquely known as an expert of Santōryū (Three Sword Style), where he wields a third sword with his mouth in combat. Throughout the series, his primary sword is Wado Ichimonji, a sword that he inherited from a childhood friend, and is frequently the sword that he wields in his mouth.
Roronoa Zoro first appears in the manga chapter "Enter Pirate Hunter Zoro" ("海賊狩りのゾロ"登場, Kaizoku-gari no Zoro Tōjō), first published in Japan's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on August 18, 1997. He first appears as a captured criminal awaiting his execution at the hands of the Marines. Before the beginning of the series' narrative, Zoro loses his childhood friend Kuina and vows to get strong.
For years, he hunts pirates only to get money for food in the company of his friends Johnny and Yosaku. When Luffy offers Zoro to join his crew, he initially refuses. However, after Zoro is saved from being executed by Captain Morgan, he joins Luffy. When he discovers that the best swordsman in the world is Dracule Mihawk, Zoro thinks only to beat him one day. However, he is defeated at Mihawk's hands.
Zoro appears in a special episode of One Piece X Toriko, fighting Zebra and Vegeta, Zoro appears lost, searching his crew, until Zebra appears to Zoro, and Vegeta appears searching Goku to "settle the score", the three were furious and fought among (without ending).
After fighting Daz Bonez in Alabasta, Zoro's bounty is initially set at 60,000,000 but is later raised to 120,000,000 after fighting the World Government at Enies Lobby. Later, the crew is separated by Bartholomew Kuma. Zoro encounters Mihawk again and trains under him before reuniting two years later. He receives a bounty of 320,000,000 after defeating Pica.
Creation and conception
Zoro's surname was based on the Japanese pronunciation of French pirate François l'Olonnais. In several Western localizations, his name was changed to Zolo, in part to avoid confusion and trademark issues with Zorro, another fictional swordsman.
Zoro commonly wears a plain white shirt (though he can be seen wearing other types of shirts), black pants, and a light-green, haramaki sash that holds his three swords. Zoro also has a black bandanna tied around his left bicep that he only wears on his head while in a serious battle. Under his shirt, his torso is heavily scarred from many of the battles he has fought, especially since he joined the Straw Hats (like the one acquired during the battle against Dracule Mihawk, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea). He has three golden earrings in his left ear which denotes his three swords style. After the two year time-skip, Zoro has a scar across his left eye (obtained during his training under Dracule Mihawk) and replaces his shirt with a long dark green samurai's coat which he can even open the torso part while fighting (against the New Fishman Pirates) or when he experiences heat (burning side of Punk Hazard). Concerning his ethnic appearance, Oda revealed that he imagines Zoro to be of Japanese descent, albeit in a real-world context.
Zoro is confident but often acts in a very comical manner. A running gag is that he has a terrible sense of direction (being capable of getting lost even while walking in a straight line) which he is very insecure about since he never admits it when he gets lost, instead always blaming someone else. While the crew is out at sea, Zoro can be found (usually) sleeping or training towards his goal of becoming the world's best swordsman. He and Sanji have a great rivalry, often resorting to fighting (both verbally and physically) over issues from minor to extreme.
Though not a samurai, he appears to maintain a certain degree of bushido and is frequently mistaken for one. Unlike Luffy and most of the other Straw Hat Pirates, Zoro has been known to kill his opponents if he has to, though never in cold blood. It is shown that Zoro enjoys fighting a strong opponent (usually left to face down the second strongest villain in each arc, as Luffy faces down the strongest). When battling a worthy opponent Zoro tends to retain a maniacal grin and serious glare throughout.
Zoro has a stern, serious and distanced personality, but unlike Robin, he often reacts in a goofy and exaggerated comic style due to his short-tempered and impatient attitude. On the ship, he normally either trains with weights or sleep. The only work he is seen doing regularly is hoisting the anchor using his great strength and maintaining lookout in the ship's crow's nest (which on the Thousand Sunny ship also doubles as his personal gym). He also likes sake, almost to the degree that Luffy likes meat, but like Nami, he never gets drunk due to his inhumanly-high endurance and tolerance for alcohol. Another notable trait is his lack of orientation, as Zoro often gets lost, even in small, familiar spaces or when being led by someone. Despite this, he is often the first to sense an enemy or danger and the first to react. He is often displayed as being well aware of dangerous situations and people around him.
Zoro often also reminds others of the harsh facts, which often shocks some of the other crew members, although they usually decide he is right. Zoro is an atheist because he stated that he does not pray to any god, and has never believed in anything except himself. Even so, Zoro knows that he still has much untapped potential, and is constantly seen training and trying to improve his fighting skills. He also adheres to a strict sword master's code of honor, and never falsely brags or lies about his abilities, sometimes outright admitting a weakness, even to an enemy. He also never tries to escape from a fight or use trickery to win, believing that doing so is cowardly and scorning anyone who uses such tactics. Zoro is vigorous, strong-willed and determined.
Related to his fighting/manly spirit, Zoro has many scars on his body. The most noticeable is the long scar running down his left eye which is the one he got after he came back from the two-year time skip. It is currently unknown how he acquired it, but he either can't or won't open his left eye because of it. He also has a heavily scarred torso, having a diagonal cut mark from the top left to the bottom right of his torso as a result of fighting Dracule Mihawk. He also has scars on both of his ankles, which he obtained from trying to cut his own legs off in order to escape the candle prison of Mr. 3 in Little Garden.
In the original Japanese version of the One Piece anime series, Zoro is voiced by Kazuya Nakai as an adult and Megumi Urawa as a child. In the first OVA Defeat Him! The Pirate Ganzack from 1998, he is voiced by Wataru Takagi.
In Odex's dubs of the first 104 episodes of One Piece in Singapore, Zoro was voiced by Brian Zimmerman. In Funimation Entertainment's dubs of the entire One Piece franchise, adult Zoro is voiced by Christopher Sabat with Cynthia Cranz playing the role of child Zoro for episode 2 and by Brina Palencia for the rest of the franchise. Sabat compared Zoro's characterization with Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle's Kurogane and YuYu Hakusho's Kazuma Kuwabara, describing them as "the tough guy with a heart of gold". As a result, Sabat feared that he sometimes performs similar voices despite the fact the characters are different. He also tried seeing the original actors' works, in order to avoid to get a more specific delivery. In the game One Piece: Unlimited Adventure, Sabat reprises his role as adult Zoro, with child Zoro voiced by Aaron Dismuke.
Zoro ranked second in the first four Shōnen Jump character popularity polls, and ranked third in the fifth one, after Trafalgar Law. Furthermore, in a 2007 poll by Oricon, Zoro was voted as the 4th most desired character to receive a spinoff. DVD Talk praises Zoro's "hilarious" three-sword fighting style as a great example of the show's sense of humor. Holly Ellingwood from Activeanime praised Zoro's fight against Luffy as one of the best moments from the 10th DVD from the series released by Viz Media, praising the action scenes. Sabat's work with Zoro has resulted in him being a nominated of the category "Best Voice Actor (English)" in the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) Awards from 2008. Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network commented on Sabat's work with Zoro as a "standout", noting that Zoro and Sabat are "well-matched. Kimlinger also found that his and Sanji's flashbacks from the anime "really do jerk tears, even if they are less than gracefully executed".
- Oda, Eiichiro (w, a). ""海賊狩りのゾロ"登場" Weekly Shonen Jump v29, 36 (August 18, 1997), Japan: Shueisha
- Oda, Eiichiro (1997). "5 海賊王と大剣豪". Romance Dawn —冒険の夜明け—. One Piece (in Japanese). 1. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-872509-3.
- One Piece manga, Volume 6, Chapter 52
- Ashcraft, Brian (September 7, 2019). "The Real-World Nationalities of One Piece Characters". Kotaku.
- "FEATURE: Interview with Voice Actor Christopher Sabat!". Crunchyroll. February 5, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
- Volume 7, page 148 (in the Japanese version).
- Volume 24, pages 206–209 (in the Japanese version).
- Volume 43, pages 214–219 (in the Japanese version).
- "スピンアウト企画、予想ランキング1位 『デスノート』のL（エル）" (in Japanese). Oricon. January 5, 2007. Retrieved November 9, 2008.
- "DVD Talk Review: One Piece – Season 1, First Voyage". DVD Talk. May 25, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
- Ellingwood, Holly (August 16, 2007). "One Piece Vol. 10 Baroque Works (Advance Review)". Active Anime. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
- "Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation Announces SPJA Industry Award Finalists at Tokyo International Anime Fair". Anime News Network. March 27, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
- Kimlinger, Carl (June 3, 2008). "Review: One Piece: DVD – Season 1 Part 1 Uncut". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- Kimlinger, Carl (September 29, 2008). "Review: One Piece: DVD – Season One Part 2 Second Voyage". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 4, 2009.