With over 900 episodes under its belt, One Piece has given the Straw Hats pirates countless obstacles. Zoro, Luffy, and the gang are repeatedly tested and continually growing their superhuman abilities. Few on the crew can match Luffy’s iconic rubber-based battle abilities. But when Zoro steps onto the field, however, his signature three-sword style is sure to catch the eye.
By this point, the audience has become well aware that Zoro can do more than just wield a sword with his teeth. The series’ many flashbacks, multi-episode battles and the two-year time skip have resulted in tremendous growth for Zoro’s swordsmanship. With over 20 seasons under the anime's belt, here are five facts about Zoro’s abilities that may have been lost in time.
Zoro Is Also Skilled With Only One or Two Swords
Roronoa Zoro is not a one-trick pony. Though the three-sword Santoryu style of sword fighting is visually impressive, it is not Zoro’s only path to success. Before practicing Santoryu, Zoro mastered Nitoryu, a two-sword technique. Zoro notably wielded only two swords during the "Thriller Bark" arc before he found a replacement for his destroyed sword, Yubashiri. While on Thriller Bark, Zoro took only two swords into head-to-head combat against Ryuma, a legendary samurai-turned-zombie.
Zoro has also mastered Ittoryu, a one-sword fighting style. Santoryu is perfect for creating a whirlwind of attacks, but it is not always the strongest choice. Ittoryu, however, can allow Zoro to perform precise, deadly single attacks. Early seasons of One Piece showed off Ittoryu as Zoro held off the Black Cat and Arlong pirate crews with one sword. Later on, Zoro would use a single sword to deliver incredibly powerful finishing blows on some of the Straw Hats’ most powerful enemies.
Ittoryu Is Ridiculously Deadly
Zoro himself believes his one-sword technique to be the weakest of the three. However, many of his Ittoryu techniques are among the strongest in his arsenal. The sheer strength of this technique can be seen as recently as Season 20 of One Piece. With one deadly slice, Zoro cut down the murderer Tsujigiri -- and took the entire Wano Magistrate building down with him. Zoro demonstrated single-sword prowess many times prior to that as well.
Though Zoro clashed with the zombie samurai Ryuma using two blades, Zoro finished him off with one. In the "Fish-Man Island" arc, Zoro went toe-to-toe with Hody Jones with one sword. The catch here is that Hody is a fish-man, and Zoro fended him off underwater. The most impressive display of Ittoryu might be against Dragon Number Thirteen, though. Using the move Ittoryu Iai: Shi Shishi Sonson, Zoro decapitated the dragon with one deadly swipe.
Zoro Can Cut Through Steel
Zoro has easily sliced clean through a dragon’s scales, and his sword has clashed with countless pirate and marine blades. On the other hand, against rival-turned-mentor Dracule Mihawk, two of Zoro’s blades shattered. However, fans need to look no further than the "Arabasta Saga" for one of Zoro’s first and most incredible feats of strength.
In the "Arabasta" arc, Zoro unveiled the Ittoryu style for the first time. In a battle against Mr. 1, Zoro found himself outclassed at every move, as, with the Dice-Dice Fruit's powers, Mr. 1 could turn any part of his body into steel at will. On the brink of bloody defeat, Zoro focused on the breath of his opponent, and, with one slash, sliced through Mr. 1’s metal body.
Zoro Can Wield Nine Swords
Kyutoryu is Zoro’s nine-sword style, and it triples the damage output of his three-sword Santoryu. Though it has only canonically been seen three times so far, each display is deadlier than the last. Here is how it works: Since Zoro can only physically hold three blades, in certain circumstances his raw spirit will generate an illusion of nine swords. With an additional four arms and two heads, he wields copies of his original three katanas.
With nine blades at his disposal, Zoro can deal serious damage. A great example appears in a battle against one of Zoro’s strongest pre-time skip enemies, Kaku. Though he is able to generate powerful air blades capable of leveling buildings, Kaku is no match for the Kyutoryu. Zoro easily dispersed Kaku’s strongest attacks and proceeded to cut the villain down. Unfortunately, this incredible ability has only appeared twice pre-time skip and once post-time skip. Avid fans can find an additional Kyutoryu attack in One Piece Film: Strong World.
Zoro Can Slice Through Fire
Cutting through fire may not sound impressive, but Zoro’s Kitsunebi-ryu saved the Straw Hats from Big Mom. As one of the Four Emperors of the New World, Big Mom is not a pirate who is easy to defeat. Moreover, she has a powerful companion at her side: Prometheus. Prometheus is a sun homie, a sentient elemental creature created using part of Big Mom’s soul.
As a sun, Prometheus’ body is made entirely of fire and he is immune to most physical attacks. His tremendous size also makes him highly resistant to water. He can change size at will, easily destroying many opponents at once with his flaming body. Zoro, however, learned how to fight fire simply by watching the samurai Kin’emon in battle. Using Kin’emon’s Kitsunebi-ryu style, Zoro was able to protect his fellow Straw Hats.
First, he sliced Prometheus clean in half, and then he followed up with his signature Santoryu style to reduce Prometheus to pieces. With these brilliant techniques under his belt, One Piece makes it clear that Zoro is well on his way to becoming the greatest swordsman in the world.