One Piece creator wanted this character to be second to Luffy, and fans are surprised

Anamika Das
Luffy overjoyed

One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda revealed his intended second main character alongside Luffy in an interview, and it’s not who you’d expect.

The newly released DVD of the One Piece prequel anime, Monsters, contains a special interview from the franchise creator. In the interview, Oda revealed how Shimotsuki Ryuma initially had a crucial role in his plans.

“Around this time (before One Piece), I was proud of having already imagined a character like Luffy as the main character,” the author stated, “Next, I thought I would like to make a supporting character into a main character.”

Oda continued, “I believed that if we had two main characters, we would be able to secure a serialization spot. Ryuma is that character, created with the aim of being the “#2” main  character.”

Shimotsuki Ryuma (young and mummy versions)

Ryuma being the intended second main character explains why the author created Monsters in the first place. It was supposed to serve as a backstory for another main character. However, at some point, Oda changed his mind and didn’t include Ryuma in One Piece for many years, debuting them in the Thriller Bark Arc.

Instead, his descendant Roronoa Zoro was introduced as Luffy’s first crewmate (though the connection between Zoro and Ryuma wasn’t explained until recently). And even though Zoro isn’t the second protagonist, his role in the story (and the crew) is second only to Luffy himself.

“Damn, so Ryuma in Thriller Bark is the #2 main character,” wrote one X user, with another joining, “Ryuma is made as 2nd main character! Yes, I do believe Zoro will surpass Ryuma one day hopefully.”

A third added, “After reading it again, Oda created Ryuma to be the second main character but since Ryuma is dead in the main timeline of One Piece, Zoro is the character created to support Luffy as 2nd main character. Did I get that right? But does this make him the deuteragonist?”

Though Oda’s comment doesn’t confirm if Zoro is the deuteragonist of One Piece, it does prove the author always had Luffy (or someone like him) as his main hero in his mind.

Know more about these pirates with our explainers on Bonney’s Devil Fruit and the Void Century. You can also find out if Bonney will join the Straw Hat Pirates and who has the highest bounty in One Piece.