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One Piece: Zoro’s Grim Reaper Mystery Explained

In chapter 1038 of One Piece, a severely injured Zoro is seen fighting a Grim Reaper. It is quite inexplicable as this is the first time such a thing has happened in One Piece. Here is my idea explaining it.

Enma’s Manifestation & Black Blade

The most obvious explanation for the Grim Reaper is that it is the manifestation of Enma.

In One Piece world – the ships, Devil Fruits, & Swords are the only three nonliving things that are talked about as if they are alive.

Going Merry took the appearance of a Fairy in the human world known as Klabautermann. It is a fairy that dwells on ships that are well cared for and are termed as an incarnation of the ship. It had a will of its own and could appear when the ship is in trouble.

Similarly cursed blades are described as something that has a will of its own. Kaido questioned why Enma has the presence of Oden in it. Zoro talks to his cursed swords as if they are a person, which is exactly how the crew talked to Merry.

My belief is that cursed blades take an appearance of a Grim Reaper when they are awakened. Hiyori’s Shamisen music in chapter 1032 awakened Enma without Zoro’s will. Enma is known as the God of the Underworld. After defeating King, Zoro called himself the “King of Hell”. With such underworld references, I believe that Grim Reaper is the apparition of Enma. It awakened because of Conquerors Haki and Hiyori’s Song.

But unlike Klabautermann who tries to help its holder, cursed blade apparitions aren’t friendly & they will try to kill the sword’s holder.

Black Blade

In Act 2, the idea of making Enma, a black blade was set up. This whole Grim Reaper situation might be a trial or prerequisite of making Enma a Black blade.

Kaido mentions to Luffy that once someone manages to control their mind and body, they can harness the potential of the devil fruit. Ryuma is referred to as a true swordsman in mind and body and he had a black blade Shisui with him. Also, note that Shusui is never uncontrollable like Enma, it can be implied that the blade has been tamed by Ryuma, and hence it doesn’t impose its own will anymore. While Enma has a will of its own that will try to dominate the user.

This whole ordeal is a way for Zoro to forge the black blade.


Hiyori’s Song and Dream

Another idea I had thought about was Hiyori’s music and its potential dream-related powers.

In chapter 1032, Zoro’s Enma reacted to Hiyori’s Shamisen. She played the instrument in the vicinity of Zoro when Hiyori was singing to Orochi. Let us take a look at Orochi’s dialogues during their encounter.

Orochi dialogues

  • “Have I died and gone to heaven? Or is this just a dream
  • “Since that terrible day, I haven’t spent a night without dreaming of you”
  • “If this is a dream, I don’t want to wake up”

Note the repeated usage of the words “Dreams”. This might be a foreshadowing of Hiyori’s powers.

Again in chapter 1036 again, look at Orochi’s dialogue
“Is this a dream or waking life”.
The references to dreams are so apparent in Orochi- Hiyori conversation.

Then Orochi asked Hiyori to sing his favorite song. I believe that Hiyori has the power to manipulate the dreams of listeners. Since she is currently playing the song to Orochi, she has probably put Orochi in a state of nightmare and the same has affected Zoro who is in the vicinity of it.

Hiyori is a real mystery and it will be interesting if she has some sort of mythical powers.


It’s just Brook

It maybe just Brook and Zoro mistook him for Grim Reaper due to the effects of his drug.

The problem with his idea is that Brook shouldn’t be outside of Onigashima and near Zoro. The last time we saw Brook, he was on one of the lower floors and was along with Robin running away from CP0. But Oda could give some explanations if Brook was indeed the Grim Reaper.

But I am not the biggest fan of this idea as it makes the moment just a gag and also ruins the CP0 plot with Brook-Robin.


Side effects of the drug

It may not be even Brook. Zoro may be just hallucinating due to the effects of the drug he took. I personally don’t think this is the case since Minks didn’t experience such behavior during Zou when they consumed the drug. But Oda will probably give an explanation if that is the case.


Hawkins

Grim Reaper can be due to Hawkin’s Devil Fruit. Hawkins said that The Strawman can’t die and this Grim Reaper may be a respawning of Hakwins’ Devil Fruit. Hawkins’ powers are still a mystery and this may be a reasonable idea. The reason why it may attack Zoro is still not clear and needs more explanation.


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