One Piece is my favorite work of fiction, and Zoro is my favorite character from One Piece. I don’t know if that makes him my favorite character ever, but, he’s up there. He’s a bad-ass, he’s got green hair, what do you want from me?
Well, okay, how about that I genuinely think this guy has the best character development out of any of the Strawhats? When he first joins Luffy’s crew, he tells him straight away, “If you ever get in the way of my dream, I’ll kill you.” Bad-ass enough on its own, but it takes on a whole new meaning hundreds of chapters later. One of my favorite One Piece moments of all time is when Zoro takes on Luffy’s pain and fatigue at the end of Thriller Bark. It’s an incredible scene for so many reasons; one, because it shows how much Zoro has grown. He and Sanji both reveal that they would die to protect their captain’s dream, willingly giving up their own dreams. And, particularly for Zoro, that shows how much he’s changed and come to respect Luffy in the time they’ve been together. In fact, when Zoro knocks out Sanji, he shows that it’s not just Luffy’s dream he’s willing to die for. It’s everyone’s, even Sanji, who he doesn’t even like. That’s the kind of deep bond these pirates have with each other and it’s incredible.
But another big reason I love that scene so much is that I really believe that only Zoro could have taken on that pain and survived. Which is not to say that he’s stronger than Sanji; their many clashes over the years show that they’re equal (in fact, for Sanji to keep up unarmed, he may even be a bit stronger). But Zoro has set a precedent for having superhuman tolerance for pain, losing insane amounts of blood and managing to survive against all odds. Another of my very favorite scenes involves Zoro, and it’s when Arlong sees the wound he suffered from Mihawk and is stunned into silence. The all-powerful fishman who’s spent the whole arc raving about how superior his species is gets a look at Zoro’s condition and can’t fathom how a human, how anyone could be alive with a wound like that. And very cleverly, we as the audience never get to see what he sees. Scenes like that (and how he nonchalantly tries to cut off his own feet in Little Garden, and his brutal battle with Mr. 1) make me think that nobody could have survived taking in that much pain - nobody but Zoro.
And when Sanji asks what happened, what does he say?
And that’s not even getting into swallowing his pride and asking Mihawk to train him, or his thoughts on what it means to leave the crew and whether or not to welcome Usopp back… And who could forget his pitiful sense of direction! I could really talk for hours on why Zoro will always be my favorite Strawhat, but I think I’ve said enough already.
Just don’t let me catch you spell it with an “L”!