According to Eiichiro Oda, Zoro resembles a shark. Oda uses the color green to represent Zoro, and he smells of steel. Oda has also said that Zoro's favorite foods are white rice, sea monster meat, and "stuff that goes with ale". His family name, Roronoa, comes from the real-life French pirate François l'Ollonais.
Zoro is a skilled swordsman, able to use one, two and three swords in varying attack styles, and even no swords, although he is most proficient with the fictional sword style Santōryū (literally: three sword style), clutching his third sword in his mouth. Zoro is somehow able to speak with his sword held in his mouth; Eiichiro Oda has stated that it is his heart that allows him to do so. Though not a samurai, he maintains his own code of honor. His goal is to become the greatest swordsman in the world, by beating the current greatest swordsman, Hawkeye Mihawk.
As a child, Zoro trained in a dojo in Shimoshiki Village. He defeated all of the adults of the dojo, but consistently lost to Kuina, the sensei's daughter. After two thousand and one victories against Zoro, Kuina confided in him. Her father told her that as a woman, she would naturally become weaker than Zoro and could never be a great sword fighter. Zoro became furious, telling Kuina that if one day he beat her, to explain it as a result of her gender would be an insult to the effort and training he put in to defeat her. The two children vow that one of them will become the world's strongest sword fighter. The next morning, Kuina dies falling down a set of stairs. Zoro asks her father for her katana, Wadō Ichimonji, and swears to become a swordsman so renowned that his name will be heard even in heaven. To fulfill his dream he must defeat Dracule "Hawk-Eye" Mihawk, the man currently regarded as the strongest sword fighter in the One Piece world. Zoro also displays several personality quirks, a trait common in One Piece characters. Zoro is extremely poor at understanding geographical directions and gets lost very easily. Zoro also sleeps a great deal, and has been known to sleep through important events. Zoro also likes to drink, and although he has an abnormally high alcohol tolerance, he claims that a true swordsman should never let himself get drunk.
Zoro is one of the most popular One Piece characters, ranking second in the most recent Japanese fan poll.
According to series creator Eiichiro Oda Zoro was originally intended to be a bodyguard of Buggy the Clown.
Powers and abilities
Over the course of the story Zoro has used many different swords, carrying three at a time with one, the Wadō Ichimonji, remaining with him through the entire series thus far. His other notable swords are Sandai Kitetsu, Yubashiri (Yu-bashiri in the Viz translation) and the recently obtained Shuusui which replaced the broken Yubashiri. Most of Zoro's swords have been Meitou (Named Blade).
Zoro has several sword techniques at his disposal, using one sword, two swords, or all three. He is also capable of fighting effectively with no swords, and his physical strength is enough to lift a building. Zoro also has the ability to cut through solid steel, or materials as hard as steel, which he learned when fighting Das Bones (Baroque Works Mr. 1) in Arabasta. He is also capable of using the 'Asura' technique, which gives Zoro three faces and six arms, thus totaling nine swords. Including Ichibugen, the only one seen so far is Makyuusen. In addition, Zoro can expand the muscle mass of his arms, an ability he often employs to break through opponent's physical defenses. He also possesses incredible vitality, as he regularly loses immense amounts of blood during battle. Zoro has stated that he is not very good at 1 sword style during his fight with the Nyaban Brothers.