Future Events Long Live ZKK

How likely is ZKK?


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#1
Disclaimer
This is something I wrote just after Chapter 1012 for some folks on the Zoro Discord Server. It's a bit dated.

I never really planned on posting it here after returning from my hiatus, but @Roronoa-sama requested it, so here you go.

As usual, I tag a lot of people for my posts. If you want to be removed from my tag lists, let me know. Likewise, if you want to be added.




Long Live ZKK
Introduction
Recent chapters have been consistently undermining the case for Zoro Killing Kaido.

In Chapter 1010 Luffy thanked Zoro and Law for protecting him and asked them to leave matters to him. He declared that no matter what, he shall defeat Kaido:

In Chapter 1011, Law entrusted Luffy with defeating Kaido and left the Rooftop:

In Chapter 1012, Zoro himself asserted that Luffy will win:


Despite all of the above, I still think Zoro will get a dragon-slaying moment in Wano (likely over the Flower Capital).

I recommend reading @KiriNigiri's "Zoro's Second Confrontation With Kaido". It makes the case that Zoro has unfinished business with Kaido at much greater length.

I do not intend to rehash anything that was already covered in the above post, so I'll focus exclusively on the other reasons to believe that Zoro might yet slay Kaido.


The Necessity of Kaido's Death
I'd like to briefly recap the evidence in favour of Kaido's death (and why it's likely by beheading). If you've not read it yet, I recommend reading @Garp the Fist's "The Grand Kaido and Wano Death Compilation. It makes this argument at a much greater length.

Scabbards
The Scabbards expressed their desire to "take Kaido's head":
Just let us die!!! As Lord Oden's Samurai!!!​
Once we've taken your head that is!!!​
They stressed the need to "sever his windpipe":
Sever his windpipe!!
Stop his breathing!!
They reiterated that the battle with Kaido is not over until he has been slain:
This fight ain't over...​
...Until his head is severed!!!

Oden
Oden himself has spoken of the need to kill Kaido.

He said that he came to cut off Kaido's head in his sleep:
I was on my way to cut off your head as you sat on that empty island drinking yourself to sleep.​
He reiterated that he intends to behead Kaido:
The only thing I want to cut is your scaly neck!!
Yamato
Yamato consented to Kaido's death:
Well, I'm not on your side anymore.​
Let my father die.​

Ace
Yamato said that Ace came to kill Kaido:
A man who came here years ago...​
To kill my father...
Ace himself stated that he's here to take Kaido's head:
I'm Ace!!​
I've come here to take Kaido's head!!!

Kaido
Finally, Kaido himself has repeatedly expressed his desire for (a glorious) death.

His introduction chapter is titled "Suicide":

He's searching for a place to die:
The man claimed...​
...That he was searching for a place to die.
His hobby is suicide, and he laments that he survived his latest attempt:
I just don't die...
...​
His hobby is "suicide".
I survived again...
He stated that because the Scabbards remind him of Oden, he could have let them kill him:
I could have let you kill me
He believes that "death is what completes a person":
It may not be the way of the times anymore...​
...But death is what completes a person!!

Conclusions
The necessity β€” you could even say the inevitability β€” of Kaido's death has been mentioned by at least five separate (groups of) characters:
  1. The Nine Scabbards
  2. Oden
  3. Yamato
  4. Ace
  5. Kaido himself
And even the Narrator!

If there's any character in One Piece that is destined for death, then it is without a doubt Hundred Beasts Kaido.


Zoro the Dragon Slayer
Now that I've covered why Kaido will die, I'd like to look at the evidence in favour of Zoro being the one to perform the deed. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not going to repeat anything that was covered in @KiriNigiri's "Zoro's Second Confrontation With Kaido" so please read it if you haven't already.

Character Statements
Yasuie
Yasuie's words at his execution have still not yet been vindicated:
For 20 long years,​
No one has been able...​
...To take Kaido's Head!!
This is pretty suggestive of Zoro being the one to take Kaido's head. This is what is normally called foreshadowing.

Supplementary Canon Material
One Piece Website
The official One Piece website said that Zoro's blade might save Wano:
Currently, in the acclaimed "Wano Kuni Hen", Zoro saves people while causing various commotions, and even separates from Luffy and acts with Kogetsu Hiyori and Toko by chance. Knowing the horrific reality of Wano, will the angry sword save Wano ...!? Zoro's success will not be overlooked in the future!​

One Piece Magazines
One Piece Magazine Volume 5 said that Zoro might slay an Eastern Dragon:
Now, Zoro and the Strawhats are in Ryuuma's homeland, Wano, to take down one of the Yonkou, Kaido. Now that Zoro has obtained Shusui from Ryuuma after their, duel, the possibility might arise, that a new legend of slaying an Eastern Dragon might be born.
In case there was any ambiguity about the Dragon they were referring to, they described Eastern Dragons with a picture of Kaido:


One Piece Magazine Volume 6 said that the Second Ryuma might have already been born:
It's been several hundreds of years since Ryuma's death. Perhaps a strong samurai who people can call the 'second Ryuma' has already been born.
It goes without saying, that Ryuma's most iconic legend is slaying a Dragon over the Flower Capital:

Shounen Jump Covers
The Shounen Jump cover for Issue 47 had the caption: "two pirates kill the evil spirit" with a picture of Zoro and Luffy crossing swords in front of Kaido:

One Piece Anime
The One Piece Anime Eye Catcher for Episode 973 featured Zoro slaying the Punk Hazard Dragon:

The Anime also spoiled that Kyoshiro is Denjiro.

Shimizu from Toei commented that the ending of Wano will be "surprising":

Trivia
One Piece Treasure Cruise described Zoro and Luffy as the saviours of Wano:

Interlude
Unless Oda has been consistently lying through his characters and supplementary canon material, he has set up Zoro to cut down Kaido and become a "saviour" to the people of Wano. Nothing Zoro has accomplished so far (blocking Hakai, scarring Kaido), qualify him for the title of a saviour. Especially when none of the Wano inhabitants witnessed his feats. If Zoro is to be recognised by the people of Wanokuni as a saviour β€” if he's to be acknowledged as the Second Ryuma β€” then he needs to replicate Ryuma's legend and deliver the country from its darkest hour.

Narrative
Leaving aside Yasuie's words and the supplementary material, Zoro seems to have been set up for something monumental/important in this arc. Even if he's not going to be recognised as the Second Ryuma, he needs to do something monumental that would cause the people of Wanokuni to acknowledge him.
  • He promised that he would round up the Samurai, but failed to do so.
  • He was scorned as a Grave Robber that stole Shusui and caused misfortune to befall the country.
    • He's requested to be taken to Ryuma's grave after the end of the battle.
  • The Scabbards (e.g. Kawamatsu) did not consider him to be someone worthy of receiving Enma.
Zoro needs to be recognised by the people of Wano. This requires him to accomplish something that they witness. As of now, Zoro hasn't had any such accomplishment.


Conclusions
Recent chapters have tempered my faith in ZKK, and I now think it's much less likely than I did a month ago. That said, I am not yet willing to write it off. Leaving aside whether Oda follows through with killing Kaido off, I still think it's more likely than not that Zoro will get his dragon-slaying moment where he cuts him down.



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