Let's run down the Greatest Hits of Luffy's first mate
From the time that he was introduced with some rad guitar at the end of the first episode of the One Piece anime, Roronoa Zoro has been one of the most entertaining members of the Straw Hat Crew. He wields three swords, but carries one around in his mouth. He's a fantastic combatant, but maps might as well be toilet paper to him. He works out constantly, but his favorite food group is beer. His relationship with Sanji can most optimistically be descibed as a "mixed bag," but he's taken on the role of stoic older brother for Chopper. All in all, he's the perfect choice to be Luffy's first mate.
And today is his birthday, a date that he probably sleeps through each year. So I guess we'll have to celebrate without him and we'll do so by RANKING HIS TOP 10 COOLEST MOMENTS. It's a near impossible task, because every time Zoro shows up on screen or on a manga page, you think "Ooh, what's Zoro gonna do? I bet it'll be awesome, or at least very Zoro-like." But I think I can do it. Believe in me, because I believe in you.
But first, some honorable mentions: That aforementioned rad guitar intro, Zoro deciding to make a cool pose before being covered in wax by Mr. 3 (and also preparing to chop his own feet off to escape), Zoro using Sogeking as a sword in Enies Lobby, Zoro slicing past Hody Jones, Zoro impressing Fujitora in Dressrosa, Zoro cutting through Basil Hawkins' giant scarecrow in Wano.)
1. The Reveal of the Three Sword Style
Just after Luffy reveals that he can repel bullets with his Gum Gum abilities, Zoro shows off his three-sword style by preventing Coby from being turned into charcuterie. It's an awesome introduction, even if you immediately hope that the Straw Hat Crew has a good dental plan because I can't imagine that Zoro's molars are in good shape.
2. "Scars on the back are a swordsman's shame..."
Deciding to challenge Mihawk in the Baratie Arc was a little crazy. And letting Mihawk slice him open is seemingly no different. However, this is a good kind of crazy, because it shows that Zoro has a tight belief system, an iron will, and a lot of guts. And sure, those guts are mostly spread around the deck of the ship right now, but we got a great look into what drives Zoro.
3. Zoro Beats Mr. 1
The Straw Hats each dealt with various members of Baroque Works in the climax of the Alabasta Arc, and Zoro faced Mr. 1, a man who can sharpen any part of his body into strong, cutting steel. So it's a man who carries three swords versus a dude who is literally a sword, and when Zoro picks up the hard-fought victory, he thanks Mr. 1 for proving that he can get even stronger. Zoro is SO cool.
4. Zoro Doesn't Believe In The Kami
Middle School Me and Chopper have the same reaction:
5. Zoro Telling Luffy That He Has To Act Like A Captain
Luffy beating Usopp takes an emotional toll on everyone, but after it's done and it looks like Luffy might be regretting it, Zoro reminds everyone of something important: If the Captain can't stick to his guns and stay on the path that he's chosen, then the crew can't believe in him. It's a hard, sad fact to learn, but if you've chosen to be a leader on the Grand Line, you must also be willing to make those tough decisions for the good of your crew.
6. Zoro Defeats T-Bone
Zoro gets a ton of cool action scenes in the CP9 saga, but my favorite might be him cutting down T-Bone when T-Bone tries to derail the Sea Train on its way to Enies Lobby. It's not a long, epic fight (Zoro beats him with one move), but it is an efficient one, showing that the Zoro (and the rest of the Straw Hats) mean business on their way to rescuing Nico Robin.
7. Zoro Takes Luffy's Pain
Zoro offering to take Luffy's pain in exchange for Kuma not taking Luffy is #firstmategoals. None of the Straw Hats will ever figure out what happened (The closest anyone gets is Sanji, who keeps trying to be a third wheel in the Zoro/Kuma encounter), but the image of Zoro, bathed in blood, is iconic. Though, to be fair, a ton of Zoro's iconic moments happen when Zoro is bleeding from just about everywhere. Maybe chill out, Zoro.
8. Zoro Got Lost
Normal men scream and curse his name. Whole halves of a ship rise from the ocean and then descend from the air. Onlookers at the Sabaody Archipelago stand in shock. Sanji is annoyed. What happened?
Zoro got lost.
9. Zoro Takes To The Air
Pica, now an island-sized menace that threatens to squash King Riku, Usopp and many others, seems invincible. And so, in a move remniscient of Colossus and Wolverine's Fastball Special, Zoro gets Orlumbus to throw him at Pica before cutting XL Pica in half at the waist. It's a great scene, and just adds to the game show that One Piece has become: What Can Zoro Cut?
10. Zoro's Grand Return In Wano
After sitting out all of Whole Cake Island (and over two years of the anime), Zoro makes his grand return here by cutting down a corrupt magistrate. Sure, Zoro was supposed to keep a low profile, but he can't help himself.
As it turns out, if there's anyone better at not following the plan than Luffy, it's his first mate.
What is your favorite Zoro moment? Which ones are missing from this list? Let me know in the comments!
Daniel Dockery is a writer and editor for Crunchyroll. You should follow him on Twitter!
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