One Piece: 14 years ago Zoro saved Luffy in the iconic "Nothing happened" scene

No one is a better right-hand man than Zoro, who selflessly put his life on the line to protect Luffy (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
No one is a better right-hand man than Zoro, who selflessly put his life on the line to protect Luffy (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Within One Piece, Zoro is one of the most loyal right-hand men. His devotion to his captain, Luffy, is really sincere. They have the most spontaneous bond and share several unique traits regarding both strength and attitude. It can be said that no one is as close to Luffy as Zoro is.

Throughout the many battles that have happened in the series, Zoro has protected Luffy several times. One of the most iconic episodes featuring this occurrence took place during the Thriller Bark arc.

After the battle with Gecko Moriah, Seven Warlords of the Sea member Bartholomew Kuma came to take Luffy's head. However, Kuma let the Strawhats' captain go and retreated after Zoro put his life on the line to protect the captain.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1067 and reflects the opinions of the writer.


One Piece celebrates the 14th birthday of the awesome scene where Zoro sacrificed himself to protect Luffy

The series' official Twitter account commemorated Zoro's feat

The first to celebrate the unforgettable scene between Zoro and Kuma was none other than the legitimate Twitter account of One Piece. The account posted a video featuring the anime adaptation of the scene, available for everyone to see.

One Piece fans appreciated the commemoration of this iconic moment on the series' official account. A testament to their affection is when the tweet with the video of Zoro's "Nothing happened" scene received thousands of likes and retweets.


What happened at the end of the Thriller Bark arc

Zoro attacking Kuma to protect Luffy will always be an iconic moment in the series (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Zoro attacking Kuma to protect Luffy will always be an iconic moment in the series (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

After defeating Oars and Gecko Moriah, the Strawhat Pirates were exhausted. However, their troubles weren't over, as the World Government sent Bartholomew Kuma to the island. With Luffy having fainted after the previous fights, Zoro took his place and stepped in to protect the crew.

Zoro tried to fight Kuma, but the latter used his Devil Fruit powers to deflect his attacks. Sanji, Franky, and the other Strawhats tried to join the battle but were unable to hurt the Warlord. Kuma then came with an ultimatum: he would have to allow everyone to survive as long as they handed him Luffy.

After his proposal was refused, Kuma detonated the island with his Ursus Shock, a powerful shockwave created from a ball of compressed air. As a result, everyone was knocked down. However, when Kuma was about to take the unconscious Luffy, Zoro suddenly rose to protect his captain.

Using the Lion Song, one of his fastest attacks, the green-haired pirate dashed to intercept Kuma. Zoro's technique struck the Warlord and injured him, although only moderately. The wound prompted Kuma to reveal that his body had been modified into a cyborg, on behalf of Dr. Vegapunk and the World Government.

Understanding how difficult the situation was, Zoro offered to trade his life in exchange for Luffy's. At that point, Sanji woke up and asked Kuma to take his head instead. However, the green-haired pirate promptly knocked him out, feeling it necessary to sacrifice his own life rather than Sanji's.

Impressed by such determination, Kuma accepted Zoro's offer and promised that he wouldn't have hurt Luffy. The Warlord then used his Devil Fruit powers to draw out all of the damage that Luffy had received in the previous battle. The amount of pain and fatigue was enormous. It generated a gigantic paw of energy, even bigger than Kuma himself.

A small sample of that energy was enough to have Zoro experience tremendous suffering. Kuma also stated that if the swordsman were to take in the entire quantity, he would definitely die. However, the green-haired pirate simply asked him to choose a location.

After taking a few breaths, Zoro entered inside the giant paw, accepting to bear all Luffy's injuries and pain at once. It goes without saying that such damage went adding to the one Zoro suffered in his own right.

Sometime later, everyone finally woke up. Sanji went to look for Zoro and found him in a nearby forest. The swordsman was still alive and conscious but completely covered in blood. Shocked, Sanji asked him what had happened. With a trembling but resolute voice, Zoro answered:

"Nothing happened... nothing at all."

Afterward, the Strawhats tended to Zoro's injuries. Chopper declared that the damage he suffered was seriously threatening his life. Understanding the special value of Zoro's incredible sacrifice, Sanji kept everything that happened a secret, not even disclosing it to Luffy.

Two days later, Zoro woke up. He survived the tremendous challenge but received life-threatening injuries in the process. As a result, he felt noticeably weakened during the upcoming Sabaody Archipelago arc. Zoro's wounds didn't heal completely until the time skip.

Following the swordsman's sacrifice, Kuma honored his words and left Thriller Bark without harming Luffy. Before leaving, Kuma was seen pleased at the idea of Monkey D. Dragon, his leader, having a good son with a loyal crew.


Zoro's sacrifice comes from his special bond with Luffy

Zoro and Luffy make a formidable duo, one of the best in the series (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Zoro and Luffy make a formidable duo, one of the best in the series (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

All One Piece fans hold the "Nothing happened" scene dear to their hearts. It was an unforgettable moment that emphasized the special bond between the green-haired pirate and the Strawhats' captain.

When Zoro first joined Luffy, he agreed to follow him but made it clear that he would kill him if the captain ever hindered his dream to surpass Dracule Mihawk and become the World's Strongest Swordsman.

However, what happened in the Thriller Bark arc showed that Zoro had completely changed his mind about Luffy, becoming his loyal and devoted right-hand man. Zoro was ready to sacrifice his life for Luffy, even giving up on his aim, saying that he cannot fulfill his dream if he does not help his captain achieve his.

This highlighted how special the connection between Luffy and Zoro is. The One Piece series made it clear that people born with Conqueror's Haki don't follow others because they are the kind of people who lead, not the ones who tag along. Nevertheless, despite being a Conqueror, Zoro decided to follow Luffy.

This happened because, unlike other Strawhats, his strength is close and comparable to Luffy's. Unlike them, he didn't join Luffy out of a need for protection but because of the spontaneous trust he felt for him. As a result, the connection between them is different.

The green-haired swordsman doesn't appear to be a mere follower of a leader but a king who decided to join another king, believing in his vision. As a result, Luffy and Zoro make a formidable duo of captain and his right-hand man. Their connection is special, closely resembling the one between Roger and Rayleigh.

Within the crew, Luffy and Zoro are the only two Strawhats to share certain strength-related achievements, such as using the all-powerful Advanced Conqueror's Haki or fighting the Emperors in the fierce battle on Onigashima's rooftop.

Deriving his authority from his superior strength, Zoro, despite not having that formal rank, acts as the vice-captain of the crew. As a matter of fact, several times during the series, Zoro happened to replace the captain and protect him in moments of danger. He also gave him precious advice and insight when required.

Even in the most recent arc of One Piece, Zoro was the only Strawhat to support Luffy in the heated battle against Kaido and Big Mom. The former intercepted and blocked the Emperor's joint move. He then attacked Kaido, injuring him. In both circumstances, Luffy would have died without his right-hand man stepping in to protect him.

Zoro's unwavering devotion to Luffy, which the latter retaliates with complete trust in the former's capabilities, makes them one of the most appreciated duos by One Piece fans.


Final Thoughts

One Piece fans will never forget what Zoro did for Luffy (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)
One Piece fans will never forget what Zoro did for Luffy (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

Even after several years, Zoro's unforgettable sacrifice at the end of the Thriller Bark arc remains one of the most iconic scenes in One Piece. It was a touching and inspirational moment, which emphasized Zoro's selflessness.

On that issue, Zoro has proved himself to be a devoted right-hand man for Luffy. With his life on the line, he didn't hesitate to give up on his dream as long as the Strawhat's captain could have a chance to survive and fulfill his own. Even Bartholomew Kuma admired such an attachment.

The event that occurred in Thriller Bark emphasized how Zoro is in a different class compared to the other Strawhats. The author sometimes puts Sanji on a similar plan to him, as the two crewmembers who support Luffy the most. However, Oda also sets Zoro apart, putting him on a higher pedestal in strength, importance, and leadership.

The episode with Bartholomew Kuma is only one of the many pieces of evidence for their strong friendship in One Piece. This only appears logical, given that Zoro is Luffy's right-hand man and the second strongest right after the captain himself.

More than anything else, the "Nothing happened" scene speaks for itself, as this iconic One Piece moment established Zoro as Luffy's right-hand man. With his willpower as a Conqueror and his selfless attitude, the green-haired pirate fulfills this role better than anyone else ever could.

Countless statements in the manga and concurring information from the databooks depict Zoro as the closest person to Luffy. Further proof was given with the evident parallel between the two duos of Luffy/Zoro and Roger/Rayleigh.

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Edited by Priya Majumdar
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