Following the initial spoilers as well as the raw scans, fans have already started enjoying One Piece chapter 1071. The latest installment of the series featured an amazing scene involving fan-favorite Roronoa Zoro.
The master swordsman proved his outstanding skill once again. This time, the feat displayed by Zoro traced a direct parallel between him and the renowned Whitebeard.
Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1071 and reflects the writer's personal views.
The latest chapter of One Piece featured Zoro replicating Whitebeard's feat
What happened in One Piece 1071?
Tasked with killing Dr Vegapunk on behalf of the World Government, Lucci and Kaku, who have now become élite agents of CP0, are raiding Egghead Island. Together with them is Stussy, another masked agent of the greatest Cipher Pol.
Lucci challenged Luffy to a 1v1 battle, revealing that he has massively improved since the days of their battle in Enies Lobby. However, Lucci was unable to match Luffy, who quickly overpowered him using Gear 5, without even needing to exert his Conqueror's Haki.
Following the outcome of the battle, Vegapunk prepared to run away from Egghead, aiming to evade the World Government's attempts at his life. Knowing about the scientist's ties with the Strawhat Pirates, Lucci, Kaku, and Stussy continued to pursue him.
At one point, Kaku attempted to smash the Thousand Sunny with a powerful Rankyaku. Had he managed to destroy the ship, the Strawhats and Vegapunk would have lost their means to escape from Egghead.
However, before it could connect on the Thousand Sunny, Kaku's attack was blocked by Zoro. Despite being asleep, the first mate of the Strawhat Pirates perceived the threat. He suddenly woke up and intercepted the incoming attack, effortlessly dissipating it.
Why Zoro's feat resembles Whitebeard's
The feat that Zoro displayed in One Piece 1071 is extremely impressive. Within the context of the series, it has been established that perceiving and countering an attack while asleep is an outstanding demonstration of Observation Haki.
Before Zoro in chapter 1071, the only one who was able to do something like that was none other than Edward Newgate. Also known as "Whitebeard", Newgate was an individual as powerful as Gol D. Roger, the Pirate King. For this reason, Whitebeard was hailed as the World's Strongest Man.
Even several years past his prime, Whitebeard was one of the Four Emperors. Impressively enough, he was able to sense and counter Ace's attempt at his life even while sleeping. This was featured in chapter 552 of the One Piece manga.
Admittedly, a similar feat was also shown by another of the Four Emperors, Charlotte Linlin, also known as "Big Mom". However, while Zoro and Whitebeard perceived and countered an incoming attack from a skilled fighter, Big Mom merely reacted to a fly who was moving next to her.
Regardless of this distinction, this still emphasizes that sensing movements and promptly reacting to them while asleep is a feat that only the strongest One Piece characters are able to achieve.
Other prominent parallels between Zoro and Whitebeard
Interestingly enough, this is not the only strength-related parallel that links Zoro and Whitebeard. First of all, both of them are able to use the all-powerful Advanced Conqueror's Haki. According to Kaido, being able to use this ability is what separates the strongest ones from the rest.
Even among those born with Conqueror's Haki, only a few are able to upgrade that power at his advanced stage. To this day, only Luffy, Zoro, Whitebeard, Roger, Rayleigh, Shanks, Big Mom ,Yamato, and Kaido have been shown to be Advanced Conqueror's Haki users.
Generally, characters who have this ability are steps ahead of those who don't have it. According to Kaido, no matter what convenient power the enemy may wield, an individual with Haki strong enough can potentially overcome any hurdle and win the fight.
Through this statement, One Piece author Eiichiro Oda clearly implied that Haki is the strongest power in the series and that Advanced Conqueror's is the absolute pinnacle of Haki.
Haki is inherently linked to one's willpower. The mightiest Haki is the Advanced Conqueror's, which was emphasized as the distinctive feature of the top tier characters. In fact, it was stated that it is a power that only a handful of the strongest can use.
With both Zoro and Whitebeard being able to use Advanced Conqueror's Haki, it only follows that they possess incredible willpower, as well as outstanding individual strength. Unsurprisingly, both have shown impressive levels of endurance.
In Thriller Bark, Zoro endured all of Luffy's pain and fatigue on top of his own. During the Wano Arc, he was still able to wound Kaido despite being heavily damaged by the combined attack launched by him and Big Mom. Even Trafalgar Law was impressed by Zoro's tenacity.
Despite his health rapidly declining due to his refusal to go into battle with life support and medication, an aged and sick Whitebeard displayed unbelievable pain tolerance.
He continued to fight despite suffering several life-threatening injuries, including Admiral Kizaru piercing his chest with a laser, as well as Admiral Akainu burning through his torso and blasting a portion of his head off.
Whitebeard also sustained hundreds of additional injuries due to stabs, gunshots, and cannonballs. Despite that, he continued to fight, even annihilating Blackbeard who tried to challenge him to a 1v1 fight.
Even having suffered all that damage, in his already weakened state due to old age and sickness, Whitebeard only died after the entire Blackbeard crew assaulted him. Still, he died standing, a feat of tenacity that shocked even Blackbeard himself.
Moreover, both Whitebeard and Zoro are linked to the concept of being the strongest individuals in the world. Whitebeard held the infamous title of the World's Strongest Man, while Zoro aims to become the World's Strongest Swordsman.
Zoro is blatantly tied to Ryuma, a legendary character renowned as "Sword God" for his unparalleled swordsmanship. During his time, people hailed Ryuma as "King", the strongest warrior in the world.
Given Ryuma's immense power and status as swordsman, as well as his implied ancestry to Zoro, he is a benchmark for the latter to reach and possibly transcend. This further solidifies the idea that Zoro's strength will become world-renowned just like Whitebeard's, Ryuma's, and Mihawk's.
Another hint at that is the connection between Luffy/Zoro, Shanks/Mihawk, and Roger/Whitebeard. Mihawk and Shanks' ferocious clashes became famous throughout the entire Grand Line. Even Whitebeard acknowledged those battles as legendary fights.
As One Piece Magazine recently revealed, the rivalry between Shanks and Mihawk is an analogy to that between Roger and Whitebeard. In fact, the structure of the two duos is more or less the same.
Mihawk and Whitebeard received the world's strongest title; their counterparts have comparable strength, but didn't seek the title. Shanks and Roger obtained the status of Emperor and Pirate King, respectively; their rivals could have achieved that, had they wanted, but they weren't interested.
Outside of combat, Shanks and Mihawk have a friendly relationship, getting along despite their diametrically opposed personalities. This is exactly the same kind of relationship that Roger and Whitebeard have.
Shanks and Mihawk aren't just parallels to Roger and Whitebeard. They also share a dynamic as towering figures who act as both mentors and rivals for Luffy and Zoro. In fact, they are the two main benchmarks for Luffy and Zoro to reach and surpass.
As such, just like Roger, Shanks and Luffy are heavily intertwined, it seems that the series also hints at a connection between Whitebeard, Mihawk, and Zoro. An objection to this may be the fact that Zoro is not a captain but a subordinate. However, this is not fully correct.
Being his close right-hand man, Zoro is comparable in strength to him. This concept was established several times throughout the series, as well as referenced in the official databooks.
Unsurprisingly, Zoro has always acted as Luffy's vice-captain, replacing him if needed, and protecting him if he is incapacitated or in danger. One Piece author Eiichiro Oda has often featured characters wondering why Zoro is not the captain of Strawhats, or why he isn't the captain of his own crew.
This is due to Zoro showing crazy feats of strength or unleashing his threatening aura. As such, his power appears to be not far from Luffy's. However, Zoro doesn't step out of his position unless strictly necessary. He is fully loyal to Luffy, deeply respecting and trusting him.
In fact, this creates another interesting parallel between Zoro and Whitebeard. While it's a fact that Zoro is Luffy's right-hand man and acts as his vice-captain, many One Piece fans believe that Whitebeard, during his time as a member of the Rocks Pirates, was the right-hand man of Rocks D. Xebec.
Just like Zoro is the second-strongest member of the Strawhat Pirates right below Luffy, a young Whitebeard was likely the second-strongest member of the Rocks Pirates after Xebec. This may have ensured Whitebeard's position as the vice-captain of the Rocks Pirates.
The One Piece series clearly emphasized that Conqueror's Haki users don't follow others. They are the kind of people who lead, not the ones who tag along. As already addressed, both Zoro and Whitebeard are among the very few people who are born with that rare Haki inside them.
According to Whitebeard, the presence of multiple Conqueror's Haki users in Rocks Pirates led the crew to their downfall. Several years later, Whitebeard, who had become the captain of his own crew, wondered why Oden, who possessed the same ability, would accept to become his subordinate.
Zoro refused the Baroque Works' offer to join the organization, saying that he would only join if he was made the boss of the group. Retrospectively, this appears to be heavily tied to his attitude as a Conqueror.
Admittedly, Zoro and Whitebeard are very alike even in their behavior. Both are usually calm and collected, sometimes even stoic. They share a similar addiction to alcohol. Moreover, they both wear headbands, making them a signature trait of their looks.
Last but not least, Whitebeard has battled the current Pirate King (Roger) to a draw, just like Zoro did with the future one (Luffy). The fight between Whitebeard and Roger was shown within Oden's flashback, while the one between Zoro and Luffy happened in Whiskey Peak, during the Alabasta Arc.
Zoro and Whitebeard objectively share several strength-related parallels. However, the green-haired swordsman's main narrative parallel appears to be Silvers Rayleigh. In fact, Zoro and Rayleigh have an identical role as right-hand men of the Pirate Kings, the future one (Luffy) and the past one (Roger).
Rayleigh and Zoro's monikers of "Dark King" and "King of Hell" hint at their attitude as Conquerors who possess strength comparable to that of their respective captains. Moreover, in the original Japanese spelling, both epithets recall the same meaning of "King of the Underworld."
Zoro and Rayleigh's looks are visually specular. They also share a very similar fighting style, which relies on their incredible prowess as Haki masters and outstanding swordsmen. In fact, both are extremely powerful warriors despite never having eaten a Devil Fruit.
Throughout One Piece, the author really stressed the similarities between Luffy with Zoro for the Strawhats and Roger with Rayleigh for the Roger Pirates. Both duos feature exceptional figures of a captain and his right-hand man.
Regardless of Zoro being much more intertwined with Rayleigh than he is with Whitebeard, the aforementioned parallels between Luffy's right-hand man and Roger's rival are factual. After Zoro's amazing Observation Haki feat in One Piece 1071, many fans likened him to Whitebeard.
Hopefully, Luffy, Zoro, and the other Strawhats will rise to the challenge of matching the greatest legends from the past. With One Piece approaching the next heated battle, the main protagonists need to show their true colors.
Poll : Do you think that Zoro was cool in Chapter 1071?