The One Piece anime by Eichiro Oda, has been ongoing for more than 20 years. The manga is a fan favorite; one of the key reasons, as to why the show has been so successful is because of it’s likeable characters. Another thing, that contributes to the show’s success is that, it’s a perfect blend of action, comedy, and amazing story telling.
Zoro A Brief Intro
Roronoa Zoro, monikered Pirate Hunter Zoro, is one of the members of the straw hat crew. He was the first member to join Luffy’s crew. Unlike conventional swordsmen, Zoro uses three swords. He is a sword fighting expert, and is one of the strongest characters in the series. In fact, Zoro’s abilities are so good, that Zoro lost once only to Mihawk; the strongest swordsman in the One Piece world.
Perhaps, the manga creator thought that Zoro would be too strong; thus he created the running gag, of Zoro’s sense of direction. He keeps on getting lost, no matter the scenario. Fans are unable to understand the reason, for his bad sense of direction; but there are still multiple theories.
An absolutely bad Sense of Direction
In the One Piece anime, and manga, Zoro was introduced in the Romance Dawn Arc. The first hint of his terrible sense of direction is given, when he first joins the crew. Zoro tells Luffy that he was following a certain pirate, but after finishing his business, he was unable to get back home because he lost his way back.
Another example of just how bad his sense of direction is when Zoro managed to get lost on a straight path. Following which Sanji made fun of him. Zoro is often ridiculed for his antics in the anime; however it is not only the straw hat crew that make fun of him. In the Dressrosa arc, Law mocked the Zoro’s ability to follow direction, after he got lost on a very short distance; leaving him embarrassed.
The cursed sword Theory
The One Piece world, has a lot of secrets, and one such secret is about the cursed swords. After Zoro lost to Mihawk, his swords broke, and in order to get a new one he went to Logue Town. At a back alley shop, he found the Sandai Kitetsu; all previous owners of had met terrible ends; however, Zoro was fascinated by the sword, and offered his arm to it; just to test his luck. Many theorize that the sword did not cut his arm, but instead ended up cutting his sense of direction.
A Case of Dyslexia?
Another fan theory, points out that Zoro’s ability to navigate has been bad since childhood. This could be due to the character being severely dyslexic, however, one major flaw in this guess is if Zoro truly is dyslexic, then how is he able to fight so well.
One of the reasons, that Zoro gets lost is his pride; he has a carefree personality, and is usually chill, and laid back. This is further highlighted by his love for alcohol, and also the fact that whenever he isn’t drinking, training, or fighting; he is found asleep on the ships deck.
Due to his personality, Zoro does not like to take instructions from others, and gets annoyed when people tell him what to do. As a result, fans have come up with a really absurd theory that, Zoro likes to get lost on purpose, as an act of defiance against the people that try to get him to follow their directions.
The Wado Ichimonji
Before joining the crew, Roronoa Zoro, stayed at a Dojo with his friend Kuina. After Kuina died, he inherited her sword named Wado Ichimonji, which means straight line through the path of harmony.
This speculation implies that Zoro does not get lost; he just moves in a straight direction, because he is in harmony with himself. This is indeed possible because of two main things. The first being that Zoro never contradicts himself, thus proving that he is always in harmony. The other thing being that the first time Zoro gets lost in the anime or manga, is when he leaves the Dojo to pursue a pirate. However, even this theory has not been confirmed yet.
Oda’s Story Telling
Oda, is a mangaka, that loves to write, and draw comedic manga panels. In fact, during an interview, he has stated that one of the key reasons he continues with One Piece is because he has fun drawing it.
Zoro getting lost, is used in multiple ways by the writer. It serves as a plot device, to keep Zoro away from fights. This is all the more apparent, when in the series everyone is given one powerful opponent to fight; thus, in order to make sure Zoro does not intrude someone else’s fight; Eiichiro makes Zoro lose his way.
Another reason, could be to drive the arcs forward, because throughout the series, Luffy, and co are often shown to be at a disadvantage, and this handicap is made possible, because one of the strongest member’s of the crew gets lost.
A Running Gag
The thing that is most likely to explain his, obvious lack of ability in following instructions, is that him getting lost is just a running gag, used by the author to add comedic relief within the show, because it can get very intense at times.
The need of a Navigator
Every member of the crew has their specific role on the ship. Luffy is a captain, Sanji is a cook, Ussop is a sniper, and so on. Possibly in the case of Nami, the author gives her more importance, as a navigator by subtly showcasing Zoro getting lost multiple times.
Roronoa Zoro, can manage to get lost even on very short distances; his inability to properly follow even a single direction properly, and get lost, has been a part of his character ever since he was introduced to the anime.
Although not officially confirmed, Oda most probably only uses this fault of Zoro as a plot device, to make things happen. Even though sometimes it does feel a bit forced, the author still makes use of it to the fullest.
This antic of Zoro, is loved by fans around the world as well. In recent times Zoro has been the focus of memes. The fans portray this by showing Zoro’s ability to get so lost to the extent that he ends up in an entirely different anime altogether.