Future Events Zoro's Final Opponent is Mihawk

Who does Zoro defeat to become the strongest swordsman in the world?


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Cinera

𝐀𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐲 𝐏𝐞𝐭
#1
Introduction
Many people seem to believe that it will be someone else. I've heard speculations that Shiryu will kill Mihawk and Zoro will then fight Shiryu instead. Or that Zoro's final opponent will be the Gandhi Gorosei.

I always found such speculations very lacking, but recent events have caused me to conclude with high confidence that the opponent that Zoro defeats to become the WSS will indeed be Mihawk.


The Oath
Mihawk says that no matter how long it may take he will wait for Zoro at the top and he challenges Zoro to surpass him:



(The title of the chapter is conveniently named "Oath").

Zoro promises Luffy that henceforth, until the day he once again challenges Mihawk, he will never lose:




Zoro's Desire to Confront Mihawk
After he made the oath, Zoro's desire to confront Mihawk had been repeatedly referenced during both pre timeskip and post timeskip.

Vs Cabaji
Even before his duel with Mihawk (and subsequent oath), Zoro stated that he cannot lose "not even once" to anyone who calls themselves a swordsman:

During the battle, Cabaji plays dirty and repeatedly targets Zoro's wound from Buggy. Zoro gets angry proceeds to deliberately stab the wound and grievously aggravate his injury. Cabaji thought that he did it to protect his reputation by giving himself a convenient excuse.

Zoro counters that if he could not win with such light injuries he may as well give up on his dream immediately:

Zoro then proceeds to declare his dream:


Vs Hatchan
Zoro tells Hatchan that there was someone that he must meet again, and until that day no one can take his life away:

An alternate translation by Stephen (the current Viz translator):
Stephen said:
Zoro: "Six Sword Style"? What a joke.
What's so great about that?!
Let me tell you something, Octopus!!
There's a man I have to meet... And until I find him again,
Not even DEATH HIMSELF will take my life!!!
Yosaku, Johnny, lend me your swords...!!
Zoro declares that he cannot die until he once again challenges Mihawk.


Later on in the fight, this sentiment is reiterated. Zoro refuses to succumb to his injuries as he must live to face Mihawk again:


Here's a nice collage that captures just the relevant panels:


Vs Kuma
When trying to convince Kuma to accept his head in exchange for Luffy's, he reiterates his ambition:


Begging Mihawk
Even when Zoro seeks Mihawk's tutelage, he reiterates that he desires to surpass him:

I think this is a strong refutation to any claims that Zoro will not fight Mihawk because Mihawk trained him. Zoro sought training under the pretext of one day surpassing Mihawk.


Vs Pica
After he bisects Pica's Golem with 1080 Pound Cannon, Zoro chastises Pica for looking down on him and once again declares his dream:

Then concludes by saying that he's on a much higher level than Pica.


Finally: Vs King
During his fight with King Zoro references his promise to become the WSS when he awakens Haoshoku coating:

After he defeats King, Zoro recalls his promise to never lose again until he faces Mihawk, and states that if it is what it takes, he'll become the "King of Hell":

Zoro needs to become the King of Hell in order to challenge Mihawk.



Conclusions
Zoro's desire to confront Mihawk was a strong underlying theme for several of Zoro’s major character moments in the series and in many of his fights. It's a battle that is 20 years in the making and which Oda continues to reinforce as time passes.

Even during the King fight (perhaps Zoro's biggest fight since Mihawk), Zoro had two epiphanies connected to his desire to challenge Mihawk again.

Zoro's ascension to the King of Hell is a necessity so that he can challenge Mihawk again.


Nearly a 1,000 chapters after Zoro made that oath, Oda directly references it through a flashback. This is an unequivocal display that:
  • No, Oda did not forget.
  • Yes, the oath is still very important.
  • Yes, Zoro still aspires to Mihawk.
  • And yes, they will indeed fight again.

To go through all this development for Zoro only to deny him a second confrontation with Mihawk wouldn't just be a massive betrayal of the fanbase that he led on for 20 years, it would also be a gross disservice to Zoro's character.

I don't know how the fight would occur, but regardless of whatever justification Oda has to invent to tie it into the plot of the story, the fight will happen.

At this point, Zoro simply must fight Mihawk again.





@Garp the Fist, @Nidai_Kitetsu.
 
Last edited:

Cinera

𝐀𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐲 𝐏𝐞𝐭
#3
Conclusions
Zoro's desire to confront Mihawk was a strong underlying theme for several of Zoro’s major character moments in the series and in many of his fights. It's a battle that is 20 years in the making and which Oda continues to reinforce as time passes.

Even during the King fight (perhaps Zoro's biggest fight since Mihawk), Zoro had two epiphanies connected to his desire to challenge Mihawk again.

Zoro's ascension to the King of Hell is a necessity so that he can challenge Mihawk again.


Nearly a 1,000 chapters after Zoro made that oath, Oda directly references it through a flashback. This is an unequivocal display that:
  • No, Oda did not forget.
  • Yes, the oath is still very important.
  • Yes, Zoro still aspires to Mihawk.
  • And yes, they will indeed fight again.

To go through all this development for Zoro only to deny him a second confrontation with Mihawk wouldn't just be a massive betrayal of the fanbase that he led on for 20 years, it would also be a gross disservice to Zoro's character.

I don't know how the fight would occur, but regardless of whatever justification Oda has to invent to tie it into the plot of the story, the fight will happen.

At this point, Zoro simply must fight Mihawk again.
 

Finalbeta

Law Nerd
#4
Realistically I hope it's Im as long as it will prove an even more compelling challenge despite Luffy shall be there too in all likelihood.

But it would feel epic either way as long as Oda installed a robust plot.
 

Garp the Fist

Bwahahahaha
#5
Zoro’s final opponent cannot be Mihawk unless there’s a huge twist and he joins up with Blackbeard or somehow ends up on the Government side again.

It doesn’t matter what Zoro or Mihawk promised. He does not work as a final villain as things stand. He is neither villainous nor connected in any way to what will be the Strawhats final fight.

If anyone is thinking that Zoro‘s role in the final war will to be having a selfish fight that has nothing to do with the worldwide conflict- and that’s what a fight with Mihawk is- then they have let their fanboyism blind them to every piece of character development that Zoro has went through. Zoro puts Luffy first. He puts Luffy before himself. That’s the point of Thriller Bark and him begging Mihawk for training. That’s part of what makes him Luffy‘s right hand man.

Zoro’s final fight, in the final war, has to be against an opponent at odds at with Luffy. The consequences of Zoro losing that fight have to be catastrophic, not just for Zoro, but for Luffy, and the world. This goes for every Strawhat. Mihawk is, franky, too much a “good“ character to match those stakes. He’s not someone who’s going to join Blackbeard in a reign of terror or reconquer the world for Imu if he beats Zoro. The worst that happens if he beats Zoro is Zoro dies- and Zoro would find that perfectly fair. But what would Mihawk do after it? He’d go back to his farm disappointed and wait for the next challenger to arise. That’s not something to get excited about when everyone else on the Strawhats is fighting for the sake of the entire planet.

As for the promise, there’s an even more important one, Luffy returning his hat to Shanks, and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if there’s some tragedy in the lines there so that doesn’t happen. Cause Strawhat Luffy without the Strawhat doesn‘t seem likely.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Zoro vs Mihawk can’t happen. It just won’t be the final fight Zoro has. I imagine that Oda will give us some sort of payoff for Luffy and Shanks and Zoro and Mihawk. Zoro vs Mihawk could happen before the final arc and have Zoro still heavily injured as a result for his final fight. They could fight and get interrupted. They could fight and Mihawk could win, again, and then lose, so we know that Zoro’s final struggle will be even harder. Franky, I don’t care about the promise between them, if it getting broken makes a better fight- and it probably does after the two of them spent two years together- then let it be broken. As long as Zoro ends up on top, I don’t care if he suffers setbacks on the way.

As for the idea that Oda has somehow betrayed the fans or something on the odd chance that Zoro doesn’t fight Mihawk again, it’s nonsense. Might as well say he betrayed the fans because he let Ace die after two arcs aimed at saving him. He only betrays the fans if Zoro and Mihawk turn out to be weak, and anyone who thinks that’ll happen despite Oda’s wanking of Zoro in Wano in particular is nuts.

And there’s also the idea that Zoro vs Mihawk is going to be some kind of epilogue fight- absolutely zero chance, the final real fight we see in One Piece will be Luffy’s in the final war.

Shiryu and Gandhi are the only two options for Zoro’s final fight, because Blackbeard and Imu are the only two options for Luffy. The Admirals are too disconnected (and, I’d argue, also fail to be villainous enough, Sakazuki aside) from the real rulers of the world, Imu and the Gorosei. It‘s either the Blackbeard Pirates seeking to bring about a new age of anarchy with Blackbeard on the Empty Throne ruling a world of chaos, or the Strawhats overthrowing the centuries old regime and it’s shadow king. Mihawk just doesn’t fit in either story.
 
#7
I don’t see how Mihawk vs Zoro will take place. Unless for some reason Luffy vs Shanks crew is last which would suck, Zoro vs Mihawk will take place before Luffy becomes the pirate king.

Unless Mihawk somehow realigns himself with the WG or joins Blackbeard I don’t see where this fight takes place
 
#8
Zoro’s final opponent cannot be Mihawk unless there’s a huge twist and he joins up with Blackbeard or somehow ends up on the Government side again.

It doesn’t matter what Zoro or Mihawk promised. He does not work as a final villain as things stand. He is neither villainous nor connected in any way to what will be the Strawhats final fight.

If anyone is thinking that Zoro‘s role in the final war will to be having a selfish fight that has nothing to do with the worldwide conflict- and that’s what a fight with Mihawk is- then they have let their fanboyism blind them to every piece of character development that Zoro has went through. Zoro puts Luffy first. He puts Luffy before himself. That’s the point of Thriller Bark and him begging Mihawk for training. That’s part of what makes him Luffy‘s right hand man.

Zoro’s final fight, in the final war, has to be against an opponent at odds at with Luffy. The consequences of Zoro losing that fight have to be catastrophic, not just for Zoro, but for Luffy, and the world. This goes for every Strawhat. Mihawk is, franky, too much a “good“ character to match those stakes. He’s not someone who’s going to join Blackbeard in a reign of terror or reconquer the world for Imu if he beats Zoro. The worst that happens if he beats Zoro is Zoro dies- and Zoro would find that perfectly fair. But what would Mihawk do after it? He’d go back to his farm disappointed and wait for the next challenger to arise. That’s not something to get excited about when everyone else on the Strawhats is fighting for the sake of the entire planet.

As for the promise, there’s an even more important one, Luffy returning his hat to Shanks, and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if there’s some tragedy in the lines there so that doesn’t happen. Cause Strawhat Luffy without the Strawhat doesn‘t seem likely.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Zoro vs Mihawk can’t happen. It just won’t be the final fight Zoro has. I imagine that Oda will give us some sort of payoff for Luffy and Shanks and Zoro and Mihawk. Zoro vs Mihawk could happen before the final arc and have Zoro still heavily injured as a result for his final fight. They could fight and get interrupted. They could fight and Mihawk could win, again, and then lose, so we know that Zoro’s final struggle will be even harder. Franky, I don’t care about the promise between them, if it getting broken makes a better fight- and it probably does after the two of them spent two years together- then let it be broken. As long as Zoro ends up on top, I don’t care if he suffers setbacks on the way.

As for the idea that Oda has somehow betrayed the fans or something on the odd chance that Zoro doesn’t fight Mihawk again, it’s nonsense. Might as well say he betrayed the fans because he let Ace die after two arcs aimed at saving him. He only betrays the fans if Zoro and Mihawk turn out to be weak, and anyone who thinks that’ll happen despite Oda’s wanking of Zoro in Wano in particular is nuts.

And there’s also the idea that Zoro vs Mihawk is going to be some kind of epilogue fight- absolutely zero chance, the final real fight we see in One Piece will be Luffy’s in the final war.

Shiryu and Gandhi are the only two options for Zoro’s final fight, because Blackbeard and Imu are the only two options for Luffy. The Admirals are too disconnected (and, I’d argue, also fail to be villainous enough, Sakazuki aside) from the real rulers of the world, Imu and the Gorosei. It‘s either the Blackbeard Pirates seeking to bring about a new age of anarchy with Blackbeard on the Empty Throne ruling a world of chaos, or the Strawhats overthrowing the centuries old regime and it’s shadow king. Mihawk just doesn’t fit in either story.
Lmao so oda just forgets Zoro getting WSS
 
#9
Zoro vs Mihawk is one of the most anticipated fights of the series. So there is a good possibility for this fight to happen. That being said, I also acknowledge that it is possible for Mihawk not to be Zoro's opponent at all.

My main issue is with the timeline. If One Piece is going to be finished within 5 years, I dont see how Zoro gets more than one major 1on1 fight. If Zoro gets only one more 1on1, his opponent will be Shiryu, not Mihawk.

Lmao so oda just forgets Zoro getting WSS
He is implying Shiryu might be the next WSS beating Mihawk
 
#10
Introduction
Many people seem to believe that it will be someone else. I've heard speculations that Shiryu will kill Mihawk and Zoro will then fight Shiryu instead. Or that Zoro's final opponent will be the Gandhi Gorosei.

I always found such speculations very lacking, but recent events have caused me to conclude with high confidence that the opponent that Zoro defeats to become the WSS will indeed be Mihawk.


The Oath
Mihawk says that no matter how long it may take he will wait for Zoro at the top and he challenges Zoro to surpass him:



(The title of the chapter is conveniently named "Oath").

Zoro promises Luffy that henceforth, until the day he once again challenges Mihawk, he will never lose:




Zoro's Desire to Confront Mihawk
After he made the oath, Zoro's desire to confront Mihawk had been repeatedly referenced during both pre timeskip and post timeskip.

Vs Cabaji
Even before his duel with Mihawk (and subsequent oath), Zoro stated that he cannot lose "not even once" to anyone who calls themselves a swordsman:

During the battle, Cabaji plays dirty and repeatedly targets Zoro's wound from Buggy. Zoro gets angry proceeds to deliberately stab the wound and grievously aggravate his injury. Cabaji thought that he did it to protect his reputation by giving himself a convenient excuse.

Zoro counters that if he could not win with such light injuries he may as well give up on his dream immediately:

Zoro then proceeds to declare his dream:


Vs Hatchan
Zoro tells Hatchan that there was someone that he must meet again, and until that day no one can take his life away:

An alternate translation by Stephen (the current Viz translator):


Zoro declares that he cannot die until he once again challenges Mihawk.


Later on in the fight, this sentiment is reiterated. Zoro refuses to succumb to his injuries as he must live to face Mihawk again:


Here's a nice collage that captures just the relevant panels:


Vs Kuma
When trying to convince Kuma to accept his head in exchange for Luffy's, he reiterates his ambition:


Begging Mihawk
Even when Zoro seeks Mihawk's tutelage, he reiterates that he desires to surpass him:

I think this is a strong refutation to any claims that Zoro will not fight Mihawk because Mihawk trained him. Zoro sought training under the pretext of one day surpassing Mihawk.


Vs Pica
After he bisects Pica's Golem with 1080 Pound Cannon, Zoro chastises Pica for looking down on him and once again declares his dream:

Then concludes by saying that he's on a much higher level than Pica.


Finally: Vs King
During his fight with King Zoro references his promise to become the WSS when he awakens Haoshoku coating:

After he defeats King, Zoro recalls his promise to never lose again until he faces Mihawk, and states that if it is what it takes, he'll become the "King of Hell":

Zoro needs to become the King of Hell in order to challenge Mihawk.



Conclusions
Zoro's desire to confront Mihawk was a strong underlying theme for several of Zoro’s major character moments in the series and in many of his fights. It's a battle that is 20 years in the making and which Oda continues to reinforce as time passes.

Even during the King fight (perhaps Zoro's biggest fight since Mihawk), Zoro had two epiphanies connected to his desire to challenge Mihawk again.

Zoro's ascension to the King of Hell is a necessity so that he can challenge Mihawk again.


Nearly a 1,000 chapters after Zoro made that oath, Oda directly references it through a flashback. This is an unequivocal display that:
  • No, Oda did not forget.
  • Yes, the oath is still very important.
  • Yes, Zoro still aspires to Mihawk.
  • And yes, they will indeed fight again.

To go through all this development for Zoro only to deny him a second confrontation with Mihawk wouldn't just be a massive betrayal of the fanbase that he led on for 20 years, it would also be a gross disservice to Zoro's character.

I don't know how the fight would occur, but regardless of whatever justification Oda has to invent to tie it into the plot of the story, the fight will happen.

At this point, Zoro simply must fight Mihawk again.





@Garp the Fist, @Nidai_Kitetsu.
Imo he needs to best Mihawk as Luffy needs to besg Shanks. But thats teacher vs pupil fight right? I mean Zoro may also need a nemesis fight like Luffy needs Blackbeard ("YHYOUUU. CHOMPHLEETE. MHEEE"), which someone else may provide.

That being said, i'm still unsure whether Mihawk will be Zoro's final opponent or not.
 
#12
I want to agree but...

Zoro’s final opponent cannot be Mihawk unless there’s a huge twist and he joins up with Blackbeard or somehow ends up on the Government side again.

It doesn’t matter what Zoro or Mihawk promised. He does not work as a final villain as things stand. He is neither villainous nor connected in any way to what will be the Strawhats final fight.

If anyone is thinking that Zoro‘s role in the final war will to be having a selfish fight that has nothing to do with the worldwide conflict- and that’s what a fight with Mihawk is- then they have let their fanboyism blind them to every piece of character development that Zoro has went through. Zoro puts Luffy first. He puts Luffy before himself. That’s the point of Thriller Bark and him begging Mihawk for training. That’s part of what makes him Luffy‘s right hand man.

Zoro’s final fight, in the final war, has to be against an opponent at odds at with Luffy. The consequences of Zoro losing that fight have to be catastrophic, not just for Zoro, but for Luffy, and the world. This goes for every Strawhat. Mihawk is, franky, too much a “good“ character to match those stakes. He’s not someone who’s going to join Blackbeard in a reign of terror or reconquer the world for Imu if he beats Zoro. The worst that happens if he beats Zoro is Zoro dies- and Zoro would find that perfectly fair. But what would Mihawk do after it? He’d go back to his farm disappointed and wait for the next challenger to arise. That’s not something to get excited about when everyone else on the Strawhats is fighting for the sake of the entire planet.

As for the promise, there’s an even more important one, Luffy returning his hat to Shanks, and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if there’s some tragedy in the lines there so that doesn’t happen. Cause Strawhat Luffy without the Strawhat doesn‘t seem likely.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Zoro vs Mihawk can’t happen. It just won’t be the final fight Zoro has. I imagine that Oda will give us some sort of payoff for Luffy and Shanks and Zoro and Mihawk. Zoro vs Mihawk could happen before the final arc and have Zoro still heavily injured as a result for his final fight. They could fight and get interrupted. They could fight and Mihawk could win, again, and then lose, so we know that Zoro’s final struggle will be even harder. Franky, I don’t care about the promise between them, if it getting broken makes a better fight- and it probably does after the two of them spent two years together- then let it be broken. As long as Zoro ends up on top, I don’t care if he suffers setbacks on the way.

As for the idea that Oda has somehow betrayed the fans or something on the odd chance that Zoro doesn’t fight Mihawk again, it’s nonsense. Might as well say he betrayed the fans because he let Ace die after two arcs aimed at saving him. He only betrays the fans if Zoro and Mihawk turn out to be weak, and anyone who thinks that’ll happen despite Oda’s wanking of Zoro in Wano in particular is nuts.

And there’s also the idea that Zoro vs Mihawk is going to be some kind of epilogue fight- absolutely zero chance, the final real fight we see in One Piece will be Luffy’s in the final war.

Shiryu and Gandhi are the only two options for Zoro’s final fight, because Blackbeard and Imu are the only two options for Luffy. The Admirals are too disconnected (and, I’d argue, also fail to be villainous enough, Sakazuki aside) from the real rulers of the world, Imu and the Gorosei. It‘s either the Blackbeard Pirates seeking to bring about a new age of anarchy with Blackbeard on the Empty Throne ruling a world of chaos, or the Strawhats overthrowing the centuries old regime and it’s shadow king. Mihawk just doesn’t fit in either story.

Yeah.

Plot wise it doesn't work given what we know of Mihawk. He's certainly nowhere near the antagonistic force the other potential final antagonists are. Plus Oda doesn't really emphasize his stature in the world like he does other prominent characters.

An epilogue fight would be terrible too because there's no chance something like that lasts more than 2 chapters.

However, I do feel like a twist that he has close ties to the World Government (specifically Im and the elders) might be possible. I'm probably looking way too deeply into this but some things have me scratching my head:

-Yoru's translated name being Night. This could just be called that because it's a black blade, but then Shusui showed up. Plus Oda's really starting to push the Dawn to break the Governments long night.

-The dracula motif being seemingly being just cosmetic. Did Oda do it purely for that or is there a deeper meaning for it?

-This one is definitely looking too deep, but I am curious about Doflamingo's past comments towards Mihawk. The first when he was surprised that Mihawk of all people attended the meeting with Sengoku and the other when he was surprised that Mihawk made a move to strike Whitebeard. Doffy is someone who seemingly knows all the Celestial Dragons secrets. If Mihawk has ties to them it would give Doffy's words far more weight.


Honestly tho, I doubt all that. I believe the most likely outcome is Mihawk allying himself with Shanks and they both reunite with Luffy/Zoro before the final arc.
 
#14
I can’t accept anyone other than Mihawk unless they are also able to forge a black blade out of a supreme sword, this super rare swordsman feat that only two known ppl in the world have achieved, black blades are super essential to Zoro’s plot line. Also yes I do believe it was already supreme before Mihawk “ascended” it otherwise I can’t understand why else Yoru would be named the strongest black blade when other supreme blades exist.
 
#16
Introduction
Many people seem to believe that it will be someone else. I've heard speculations that Shiryu will kill Mihawk and Zoro will then fight Shiryu instead. Or that Zoro's final opponent will be the Gandhi Gorosei.

I always found such speculations very lacking, but recent events have caused me to conclude with high confidence that the opponent that Zoro defeats to become the WSS will indeed be Mihawk.


The Oath
Mihawk says that no matter how long it may take he will wait for Zoro at the top and he challenges Zoro to surpass him:



(The title of the chapter is conveniently named "Oath").

Zoro promises Luffy that henceforth, until the day he once again challenges Mihawk, he will never lose:




Zoro's Desire to Confront Mihawk
After he made the oath, Zoro's desire to confront Mihawk had been repeatedly referenced during both pre timeskip and post timeskip.

Vs Cabaji
Even before his duel with Mihawk (and subsequent oath), Zoro stated that he cannot lose "not even once" to anyone who calls themselves a swordsman:

During the battle, Cabaji plays dirty and repeatedly targets Zoro's wound from Buggy. Zoro gets angry proceeds to deliberately stab the wound and grievously aggravate his injury. Cabaji thought that he did it to protect his reputation by giving himself a convenient excuse.

Zoro counters that if he could not win with such light injuries he may as well give up on his dream immediately:

Zoro then proceeds to declare his dream:


Vs Hatchan
Zoro tells Hatchan that there was someone that he must meet again, and until that day no one can take his life away:

An alternate translation by Stephen (the current Viz translator):


Zoro declares that he cannot die until he once again challenges Mihawk.


Later on in the fight, this sentiment is reiterated. Zoro refuses to succumb to his injuries as he must live to face Mihawk again:


Here's a nice collage that captures just the relevant panels:


Vs Kuma
When trying to convince Kuma to accept his head in exchange for Luffy's, he reiterates his ambition:


Begging Mihawk
Even when Zoro seeks Mihawk's tutelage, he reiterates that he desires to surpass him:

I think this is a strong refutation to any claims that Zoro will not fight Mihawk because Mihawk trained him. Zoro sought training under the pretext of one day surpassing Mihawk.


Vs Pica
After he bisects Pica's Golem with 1080 Pound Cannon, Zoro chastises Pica for looking down on him and once again declares his dream:

Then concludes by saying that he's on a much higher level than Pica.


Finally: Vs King
During his fight with King Zoro references his promise to become the WSS when he awakens Haoshoku coating:

After he defeats King, Zoro recalls his promise to never lose again until he faces Mihawk, and states that if it is what it takes, he'll become the "King of Hell":

Zoro needs to become the King of Hell in order to challenge Mihawk.



Conclusions
Zoro's desire to confront Mihawk was a strong underlying theme for several of Zoro’s major character moments in the series and in many of his fights. It's a battle that is 20 years in the making and which Oda continues to reinforce as time passes.

Even during the King fight (perhaps Zoro's biggest fight since Mihawk), Zoro had two epiphanies connected to his desire to challenge Mihawk again.

Zoro's ascension to the King of Hell is a necessity so that he can challenge Mihawk again.


Nearly a 1,000 chapters after Zoro made that oath, Oda directly references it through a flashback. This is an unequivocal display that:
  • No, Oda did not forget.
  • Yes, the oath is still very important.
  • Yes, Zoro still aspires to Mihawk.
  • And yes, they will indeed fight again.

To go through all this development for Zoro only to deny him a second confrontation with Mihawk wouldn't just be a massive betrayal of the fanbase that he led on for 20 years, it would also be a gross disservice to Zoro's character.

I don't know how the fight would occur, but regardless of whatever justification Oda has to invent to tie it into the plot of the story, the fight will happen.

At this point, Zoro simply must fight Mihawk again.





@Garp the Fist, @Nidai_Kitetsu.
:cheers:

I still think Zoro vs Mihawk takes place after WG goes down, btw, in an epilogue fight. Gorosei personally has no fighting hype for me, so I hope Zoro's final war opponent is either Fujitora or Kizaru. :myman:
 

Cinera

𝐀𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐲 𝐏𝐞𝐭
#17
It doesn’t matter what Zoro or Mihawk promised. He does not work as a final villain as things stand. He is neither villainous nor connected in any way to what will be the Strawhats final fight.
If Oda didn't want that, then we wouldn't have gotten this from Zoro:

Zoro said:
Until the day I beat him to become the greatest swordsman

Franky, I don’t care about the promise between them, if it getting broken makes a better fight- and it probably does after the two of them spent two years together- then let it be broken.
Zoro still regards Mihawk as the obstacle to surpass as shown by his fight with King.


And there’s also the idea that Zoro vs Mihawk is going to be some kind of epilogue fight- absolutely zero chance, the final real fight we see in One Piece will be Luffy’s in the final war.

Shiryu and Gandhi are the only two options for Zoro’s final fight, because Blackbeard and Imu are the only two options for Luffy. The Admirals are too disconnected (and, I’d argue, also fail to be villainous enough, Sakazuki aside) from the real rulers of the world, Imu and the Gorosei. It‘s either the Blackbeard Pirates seeking to bring about a new age of anarchy with Blackbeard on the Empty Throne ruling a world of chaos, or the Strawhats overthrowing the centuries old regime and it’s shadow king. Mihawk just doesn’t fit in either story.
Zoro can fight Mihawk after the Final War. Nothing dictates that Zoro's dream must be fulfilled before Luffy's. Several Strawhats wouldn't fulfill their dreams until after Luffy has become the Pirate King:
  • Nami
  • Brook
  • Chopper (?)
  • Sanji (?)
Zoro can simply just be another one of them.


It is because Zoro holds Luffy's dream in higher regard than his own that he would ensure the fulfillment of Luffy's before going back to fulfill his personal dream.
 
#18
If Oda didn't want that, then we wouldn't have gotten this from Zoro:





Zoro still regards Mihawk as the obstacle to surpass as shown by his fight with King.



Zoro can fight Mihawk after the Final War. Nothing dictates that Zoro's dream must be fulfilled before Luffy's. Several Strawhats wouldn't fulfill their dreams until after Luffy has become the Pirate King:
  • Nami
  • Brook
  • Chopper (?)
  • Sanji (?)
Zoro can simply just be another one of them.


It is because Zoro holds Luffy's dream in higher regard than his own that he would ensure the fulfillment of Luffy's before going back to fulfill his personal dream.
:cheers:
 

Bogard

You can't win
#19
Oda did push the Zoro vs Mihawk confrontation further after Zoro defeated King, but he did the same between Luffy and Shanks



So the Zoro vs Mihawk thing is a bit similar to the Luffy and Shanks thing. Just like Zoro promised to meet Mihawk again and win, Luffy promised to meet Shanks again and prove that he surpassed him. But we know that with the foreshadowings around Shanks vs Blackbeard, that meeting may not actually happen, and thus that possibility could also be the case for Zoro and Mihawk

The thing is though that Mihawk isn't part of Shanks' crew, and thus for this reason, he can avoid the Shanks vs Blackbeard confrontation. However we know they are friends and rivals, so it's not impossible that Oda could do something for their meetings.

Furthermore, Mihawk is currently chased by the marines, which imo it's Oda's way to lure him out
 
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