Shipping. The black sheep of fandom. I know most people think shippers are a bunch of crazy lunatics, what with antics like calling the rival girl nasty things and wanting her to die, turning the rival guy into a heartless spawn of evil in their fanfiction, and just their crazy irrationality about anything that states their shipping preference isn’t canon, but we are not all like that. I admit, I love shipping. It’s a lot of fun. I love looking for little tidbits in favour of my preferred pair. So it’s very frustrating when a vocal minority makes the rest of us look bad. Even though I like to argue for a pairing, I’m the first to admit that most of this is very shaky and requires a lot of assumptions, but that’s what makes it fun in the end. So I don’t want anyone to take this too seriously. This is just my idea of having a good time. :)
I was originally going to do Ichigo and Rukia (IchiRuki) from Bleach, but I do objectively think that pair has moved out of fanon and into canon. There is just too much symbolism and special moments between them to miss the author’s intention and to argue for such a canon pair isn’t much fun so I changed my debut pair to Zoro and Robin (ZoRobin) from One Piece (another favourite of mine). Yeah, I know this pair is going to be hard to argue for, but I think there is enough tidbits in the manga to make it worthwhile. And yes, I will be contrasting with Nami, but only when necessary to build a nice contrast to prove a point. Before I delve into my analysis though, I think it’s worthwhile to provide a general background for both characters.
Background: Roronoa Zoro
Zoro is the first person to join Luffy officially on his pirate crew and thus is sort of the second in command. At first he joins Luffy on whim and tells him outright that he will cut him down if he interferes with his dream of becoming the number 1 swordsman in the whole world. But this slowly changes and Zoro now believes that making Luffy the Pirate King is most important (he begs Mihawk to teach him swordmanship after the crew’s separation, the man whom he had vowed to defeat and become number 1 in the earliest parts of the manga). Zoro is best described as overconfident and arrogant; as well as almost blood thirsty. Out of all the Straw Hats, he is probably the one that loves to fight the most and along with Luffy and Sanji is described by Nami and Usopp as the three monsters. Nevertheless he has a more sensitive side that he tends to hide: he refuses to fight Tashigi and actively tries to avoid her because she reminded him of his old friend (and possible crush). He also wanted to become number 1 as a promise to said dead friend. He likes to party and after Robin, is the most level-headed of the crew. He uses three swords, although he can also use a single sword and double sword style moves too. Often his sword attacks/styles are named after demons and animals.
Background: Nico Robin
Robin is introduced as an antagonist and the right hand women of Crocodile. Seemingly emotionless and cruel, it is later revealed that Robin had to join criminal organization to avoid being captured and killed by the World Government from the age of eight. Often leaving said organizations when the World Government came for her or when they tried to hand her over. She joined Crocodile for a similar reason, but also to read the Polygraph in Alabastra. Robin’s dream is to discover the true history of the Void Century, which is said to be written on the Polygraphs. Unfortunately, most Polygraphs contain knowledge of ancient weapons, which is why she is wanted by the World Government (their official reason) and also the reason her hometown, family, and friends were destroyed and killed. Robin, realizing that the Alabasta Polygraph doesn’t contain the True History, decides she is tired of running away and wants to die in the falling ruins. Luffy, realizing Robin isn’t a bad person as she saved him twice (not to mention others), rescues her from the falling ruins against her will. Robin then demands he take responsibility as she has nowhere else to go and he accepts and thus she ends up joining the Straw Hats. Other than Sanji and Luffy, most of the crew is suspicious of her but all eventually come to see her as a true crew mate and friend. Robin is very knowledgeable on many topics owing to her background as a scholar and prodigy. As such, Robin is the one that tends to explain things to the other Straw Hats. She also has a morbid sense of humour and likes to matter-of-factly state rather morbid facts to the other crew members, much to their dismay. Out of the whole crew, Robin is the most level headed. She is never seen over-reacting or getting emotional and she likes to adventure. Shown to be a capable fighter on a number of occasions with her hana hana no mi, and by her own admission her specialty is assassination, which, given the nature of her powers, isn’t hard to believe. Her devil fruit powers are one of the most versatile: she can use them for combat, espionage, to support others, and defensively.
Robin and Zoro: Why I like them
I’m going to keep this short as my dissection of the manga will focus on this more in-dept, but basically I think the two of them get along best and have the best chemistry. They also look good together. ;) Oh and are my two favourite characters. xD
Analysis: Robin and Zoro in the Manga:
“I don’t trust you” ~ End of Alabasta Arc ~ Rough Beginnings, Subtle Inconsistencies
The first time they speak to each other, Zoro tells Robin he doesn’t trust her and that he’ll be watching if she tries anything. Robin just smiles. It’s not unusual that Zoro doesn’t trust Robin given that she was the right hand assassin of Corocodile, the man who tried to ruin Vivi’s country and kill the Straw Hats. What is unusual is that when the two are looking for a South Bird, not long after they reach the next island, Robin tells Zoro not to kill the insects and he listens to her. What’s odd about this is that Zoro rarely takes orders from anyone as it isn’t his style. He only listens to Luffy as he is the captain (and Nami when they are navigating).
Another interesting point here is that Zoro still tells her he doesn’t trust her and not to give him any suggestions, yet he does as she asks. Clearly, her opinion matters to him, whether or not he wants to admit it. ;) Also, before this scene the two have not really interacted much as Robin kept herself quite distant on Jaya (see below – she’s sitting “away” from the rest of the crew), so it’s definitely not a case of them becoming closer and like I said, Zoro still says he doesn’t trust her. So really, their relationship dynamic hasn’t changed, Robin is still the “outsider” and these early panels (above) show that perhaps the tough swordsman isn’t so oblivious to our cute Robin-chan as he would like her to think. ;)
“She’s a women” ~ Skypiea Arc ~ Strange Parallels
Skypiea Arc is probably the most shippy arc for them as their dynamic changes and there is an odd parallel that takes place between Zoro and Wiper (but more on that later).
The first thing to notice here is that Zoro actually listens to what Robin is saying and he actively engages in conversation with her. Prior to this, he was typically not interested and often was off snoozing somewhere (see below). These moments also give us a peek into their slowly changing dynamic. Not just Zoro, but the whole crew is slowly beginning to accept Robin as one of their own.
An early Zoro (before Ussop and Sanji joined the crew) snoozing.
Zoro sleeping not long after the crew enters Grand Line
As you can see, it’s pretty easy for Zoro to just fall asleep and zone out of the affairs of the crew, yet once Robin is introduced, we never see him sleeping when she’s around. It can be said that he finds her stimulating. ;) Also worth noting is that Zoro has shown on at least one occasion to not really take what Nami says seriously (see below), yet he’s never done this to Robin. Clearly, out of his two female crew mates, he respects Robin a lot more.
This dynamic is also reflected in how much faith he has in each lady’s combat skills. In the case of Nami, Zoro does not believe she can protect herself and the moment he gets separated from her during a dual battle, he begins to worry about her safety:
Now this may seem like it makes Nami more important to Zoro as he’s actively worrying about her, but the funny thing is, Zoro’s relationship to Nami and Robin strangely parallels Wiapa’s relationship to Aisha and Lucky. This strange parallel is quite telling given that Wiapa’s relationship to Aisha and Lucky is pretty clear cut. One is a little kid that he wants to protect and the other is someone he sees as a woman.
First parallel happens when Nami and Aisha accidentally ride into the battle field. Zoro and Wiapa quickly jump to their defence and ask them what the heck they are doing on the battlefield, as in both of their minds, these two are protection items that aren’t meant to be here. This parallel suggests that Nami is like a little sister to Zoro, one he feels obligated to protect. This isn’t strange if you consider that Zoro and Nami were Luffy’s first two crew mates and have been journeying together for quite some time now. In the case of Aisha, she’s a fellow Cyandian.
When Enel appears next to Lucky, Waipa desperately asks him not to do anything to her, so much so that he clutches the barbed wire and bleeds. Enel replies that to him that sex is not a factor when punishing those who oppose him. I’m not sure if there was something lost in translation or if Enel deduced that Waipa wanted Lucky spared because he saw her as a women, but either way, it’s pretty apparent that Lucky isn’t just a regular warrior to Waipa. This is the first we see him so desperate to save someone and I think it is a pretty clear connection to make that he is this desperate because Lucky is special to him. Hell, even Enel picks up on it.
Now the curious thing is, a few chapters later, Enel does the exact same thing to Robin and Zoro replies with the exact same sentiments as Wiapa. What’s more, he rushes to catch her as she is falling and places her gently on the ground before he proceeds to attack Enel. Now this is just one moment in a very long running manga, but it was this moment that sold me on the shipping actually having a chance (not that it means it will happen for sure). These three panels are quite telling for a number of reasons. First, Zoro and Robin aren’t yet that close. Last we heard on Jaya, he still didn’t trust her. Yet this scene tells a whole different story. He cares, because he catches her and proceeds to rush Enel. What’s unusual here though is that their relationship has transformed so quickly. Zoro didn’t really trust Nami until he learned her past, whereas it’s entirely reversed here. Zoro clearly already cares deeply for Robin. Deeply enough that he gets pissed off when Enel attacks her. The next unusual thing is that Zoro actively calls out against Enel for not discriminating based on sex. What’s weird about this is that Zoro has never really cared about sex in the past. When Kuina cries that she’s going to become weak when she grows up because she’s a girl, Zoro angrily replies that she is his rival and he won’t accept that (see below). Furthermore, when Tashigi accuses him of not taking her seriously because she is a woman, Zoro replies that her sex has nothing to do with it, it’s her resemblance to his dead friend (Kuina). This is further showcased when he engages both male and female bounty hunters on Whisky Peak without much discrimination. Clearly, sex isn’t really a factor for Zoro, yet here he objects to Enel’s attack on the basis of sex (“She’s a woman”). This suggests that while he normally doesn’t see females as women, she sees Robin as a woman. This interpretation is further supported by the parallel to Wiapa, who likewise sees Lucky as a women and pleads on the basis of her sex that Enel spare her. Furthermore, both men aren’t very expressive of these emotions. Lucky is terrified of Wiapa and probably doesn’t have a clue that he feels anything for her. In fact, outside of that moment, there was never anything that really suggested Wiapa loved her, which is very much like Zoro. These two clearly only let their true feelings show when their loved one is hurt. ;)
Robin’s Betrayal ~ Water 7/CP9 Arc ~ An Evil Face, the Demon Asura
After Skypiea, we clearly see that Zoro and Robin are no longer strangers. So when a certain stranger appears and starts talking about Robin betraying them, the Strawhat pirates are not pleased. While most of the crew actively show anger and frustration, Zoro remains quiet. Nonetheless, when it matters most, he shows what he really thinks.
That is, when Aoikiji begins his attack on Robin, Zoro is the first to move in and defend her. No hesitation. Clearly, in his mind, Robin isn’t a traitor and Aoikiji’s words have little effect on him. What’s more interesting is that when Aoikiji first begins talking to the Strawhats, Zoro is located the furthest away (see below), so he must have reacted right away when he saw Aoikiji make the ice sabre. Another interesting thing about this is that usually it is Sanji, the ladies man, that jumps, with no hesitation, at every opportunity to protect a lady. Yet here Zoro was the first to react.
He mentions that he has no opinion on whether Robin really betrayed them or not in order to refrain from being taken by surprise if his beliefs turn out to be wrong, but I suspect that this is his way of cooping with the shock of her betrayal. In fact, later on, the manga strongly suggests that Zoro was very much affected by Robin’s betrayal. After her declaration and once he learns of her past, he meets up with Kaku again to fight for his key. The latter states that he was disappointed that he was unable to witness Zoro’s true strength in the Gally-La mansion and Zoro affirms this by saying he is a lot stronger than he was then (see below). Now given that Zoro has not been training since that incident as the crew went directly to Enies Lobby to rescue Robin, I think it’s pretty easily to deduce that Zoro is stronger now because all his inner turmoil about Robin betraying the group has disappeared. He and Robin are quite similar in the sense that they rarely let others see their true emotions, albeit Zoro is much more of a hot head and does let his anger show from time to time. Their similar disposition is one of the reasons I really like them together. One last thing to note about the scene below is that Kaku notes that Zoro’s spirit is giving off ominous beast like vibes. I wonder why? Could it be that he is really pissed off at CP9 and how they used Robin’s trauma against her? Or maybe after hearing how they abused his dear Robin, he’s eager for some vengeful blood? My, my the possibilities~
Which reminds me, after he hears Robin’s story, his face looks, according to Nami, “evil” (see below). My, my, now why would Zoro’s face be so disfigured by Robin’s past? Perhaps he’s really ticked off that these CP9 losers had the gall to mess with his Robin. ;)
And the thing is, this is the first time we see Zoro look so pissed off by the big bad playing with the feelings of a female crew mate. When Crocodile tormented Vivi by describing what he shall do to her country, Zoro looked angry (just like the other Strawhats), but nowhere near his expression above. Even Nami isn’t aware why he has such an evil face, because Zoro isn’t one to go around and proclaim his feelings, but they show when it matters and others take notice. ;)
The other interesting thing about Robin’s betrayal is how differently Zoro reacted to it when compared to Nami’s. Like I showed before, Zoro was oddly calm and rational when approaching the possibility that Robin betrayed them. When it came to Nami, however, he had no problem thinking of her as an enemy the moment she betrayed them:
Why is that? Well I think it’s because Zoro didn’t feel anything for Nami. Her betrayal didn’t hurt him in the way that Robin’s did and as such he had no qualms about potentially having to slit her throat. Robin, on the other hand, he was very much attracted to, so when the very real possibility arises that she betrayed them (especially troubling since Aoikiji warned them about it), Zoro puts up a calm facade and tries to think rationally as that is the only thing he feels he can do in the case where someone he truly cares for has betrayed him. Again, this is especially telling where Zoro, once he learns the truth, is able to wipe the floor with Kaku, whereas before he had trouble taking on Kaku (who was actually weaker then because he did not have his devil fruit powers). Even Kaku states as much!
What’s even more interesting is the new attack Zoro shows in his fight with Kaku, Asura. When Zoro does his Asura move, he appears to have 3 heads, and 6 arms. Why does this sound familiar? Oh wait, doesn’t Robin fight by reproducing her limbs? Quite a coincidence that Zoro’s new move seems to be inspired by Robin, isn’t it? Especially since he’s trying to rescue her and desperately at that if his face and spirit is anything to go by. ;)
And look which key just happens to unlock Robin’s handcuffs. Yes that’s right, Zoro’s! Quite a subtle nod there Oda, quite a subtle nod! I like it! This alone may look meaningless, but when considered with everything that has already transpired between them, it really feels like another subtle nod that these two go together.
Comrades in Arms ~ Thriller Bark & Sabody Arcs ~ More Robin and Zoro moments
Now after Skypiea and Water 7, the Zoro and Robin moments die down, but there is still a few to be had. Perhaps Oda didn’t want to introduce romance into his story, especially given that when asked who the Straw Hats loved, he answered adventure. If he had kept ZoRobin going so strong in the next few arcs, I think it would have moved from ambiguous and more and more into canon. So he definitely toned it down, but it’s still there from time to time.
When the crew first lands on Thriller Bark, after Usopp, Chopper, and Nami go missing in the scouting ship, something attacks robin. The page following that attack (above), we see both Sanji and Zoro next to her. Sanji being next to her is pretty normal given he never misses an opportunity to protect a lady, but Zoro? That’s is rather unusual for him, unless we look at this from the angle of her being special to him. ;)
One of the most interesting scenes between them is after Luffy tames Kerberos, a zombie with two dogs heads and a fox head, Robin teases the beast by saying it doesn’t look so good. Zoro replies with, “don’t pity him, you’re hurting his pride.” (the “Weeell” isn’t very Zoro-like and based on what Zoro says in the anime, I am guessing whoever translated this was a bit too liberal here). It is interesting that Zoro felt the need to go out of his way to tell Robin not pity a man because it will hurt his pride. Is he really talking about Kerberos here? That would be the surface/basic reading, but why would Zoro care about the pride of some random zombie dog? I don’t think he does. I believe when he says those lines, he is referring to himself. He would never want Robin to pity him and we all know Zoro’s pride is pretty damn important to him. Why did he feel the need to make this communication? because obviously he doesn’t want the woman he cares about to take pity on him. To someone like Zoro, it would be a pain worse than death. In Zoro’s mind, he wants Robin to see him at his very best. Furthermore, by even making this communication, he is stating that he feels Robin can understand him. That if he says “don’t pity him because you’re hurting his pride”, Robin will understand him enough to realize that it is something important to Zoro and will respect it. There is a sense of mutual understanding in this exchange. There is also a sense of esteem of Robin. In the case of Nami, there is a sense that she just doesn’t get “a man’s romance”. As she is always getting angry at the male crew mates for fooling around. Robin doesn’t do this and as such, Zoro feels she will be able to understand where he is coming from. This is reinforced in the later fight against Oars:
During the fight, Franky begins something he calls “Pirate Docking” where each member of the Straw Hats “docks” on Franky to form the Robot Warrior, Big Emperor. Robin refuses to join in saying it is an embarrassment as a human being to do that. Interestingly enough, Zoro promptly laments the fact that he even did it in the first place. In contrast, Sanji shows no such remorse. What’s going on here? Well, Zoro is mortified that he did something uncool in front of Robin. Like I said above, Zoro wants Robin to see him at his best. Unlike Sanji, whose affection is rather shallow, Zoro really cares deeply for Robin and the idea that he did something she called “an embarrassment as a human being” is mortifying to him.
There is also another subtle nod to the pairing, but not important enough to warrant showing another page, that happens before the fight with Oars. When Chopper and Robin get cornered by Zoro and Sanji’s zombies, Zoro’s zombie takes on Robin.
After the “pirate docking”, Zoro decides to start an offensive against Oars and who does he ask to help him? Robin, of course~ This is one of my favourite ZoRobin moments because it shows that Zoro respects her as his equal in a fight. He believes her able to handle herself in a fight, so he asks her to team up with him. It’s one of the many reasons I like them together. :)
Robin also saves Zoro when he falls, which is another nice nod to the pairing, especially since (if I recall correctly) she only saves Zoro and Nami this way during the whole fight. Since Zoro is the only dude saved by Robin that Oda felt like drawing, I can’t but help but feel like this is another subtle nod to the pairing. And this isn’t the only time either:
During the Sabody arc, right when Zoro was about to be killed by Kizaru, all the Straw Hats stand transfixed as Zoro is about to meet his doom. All except Robin, who tries to desperately rescue Zoro using her devil fruit powers. Alas, she fails and Kizaru just steps on Zoro to prevent her from dragging him off, but it is a nice way to show just how much Robin cares by having her be the one desperately trying to save Zoro from imminent death. Thankfully for the Straw Hats, Rayleigh shows up and occupies Kizaru. Another interesting parallel is that when Kuma is sending the Straw Hats off, Zoro is the first to go and Robin is the last (well if one doesn’t count Luffy and in this case I don’t because the idea was that Luffy was slowly losing his comrades, starting with Zoro and ending with Robin).
Finally, at the end of the Thriller Bark arc, Zoro decides he will sacrifice himself to save Luffy. He luckily survives, but refuses to tell the others what happened to him. It is mainly because he does not want Luffy (and the others) to feel guilty. The interesting thing is, 3 of the Straw Hats do learn about what he did: Brook, Sanji, and Robin. Brook sees it with his own eyes (or whatever he uses to see), Sanji hears about it from those two pirates above, and Robin eavesdrops on their conversation (quite literally at that. lol.) The interesting bit is that each of these serves a different purpose. Sanji has to know because he was there when it was happening, but Zoro knocked him out in order to sacrifice only himself to Kuma. For Brook, it serves as another incentive to join the crew (since he sees just how much the crew members care for one another) and to share a bond with one of the Straw Hats. But Robin, why did Oda want her to know? Oh I don’t know, maybe because it is important for Robin, as Zoro’s potential love interest, to know about the sort of sacrifice he made. Furthermore, the fact that Robin wanted to know enough to eavesdrop suggests she is highly interested in everything that has to do with Zoro, if you know what I mean. ;) She obviously couldn’t ask Zoro himself since he was so adamant about no one knowing (he wouldn’t even tell Sanji, who is his best friend and rival), so she did the next best thing. Clearly she cares a lot about Zoro if she is interested enough in what happened to him to eavesdrop.
The 2 Year Time Skip ~ Post-MarineFord ~ The Most Recent Zoro and Robin Moments
Now after the Sabody arc, the manga took a sort of detour and had 3 whole arcs dedicated to just Luffy. The last of these was the Marineford arc and at the end of this arc, Luffy decides to postpone the reunion for two years in order for him and everyone to get stronger and never face the same sort of defeat they were dealt at Sabody. Since this arc has just started running very recently, there aren’t too many Robin and Zoro moments, especially since they, unfortunately, didn’t get much screen time together during the Fishman Island arc, but there are still a few tidbits.
When the crew is travelling to Fishman Island, they happen upon some undersea volcanoes. To stop the lava from reaching them, Zoro decides to go out and cut it in half. But Robin stops him because the water pressure would crush him. Now it’s true he gets seemingly angry at her for trying to stop him, but in the very next page, he shows no resentment at all. He is in fact impressed with Usopp, so this was more a misunderstood outburst. Before Robin explains to him why she is stopping him, Zoro instinctively gets annoyed (especially since the lava is just about to reach them) and tells her to let him go. But what’s nice about this is that it once again is a subtle nod that Robin cares about Zoro’s well-being and that she is the one that can stop him from being reckless.
Now I don’t quite like what happens here for two reasons. One, Zoro takes away Robin’s opponent and two, this leaves Robin without any important opponents to take down. That said, it is rather interesting that Oda had Zoro come in and take Robin’s opponent. He could have had Zoro take on Hyouzou without going out of his way to have Robin there as well, but he drew it like this. Almost as if to give us another subtle nod for the pairing, especially since the imagery invokes the idea that Zoro is protecting Robin. Yes, I’m not really a fan of this sort of thing (and this is probably my least favourite moment between them), but it is a major shounen trope and as such, the shippiness of this scene doesn’t escape me (even if I would have rather it shown in a different way). That said, I did like that Zoro acknowledged Robin and gave her a reason for his interference. It toned down the scene a bit since it still told us that Zoro acknowledges Robin as a capable fighter. If he did not, there would be no reason for him to apologize to her for stealing her opponent. It also suggests that Zoro knows Robin won’t hold it against him.
The most recent shippy scene between them happens at the beginning of the current on going arc, Punk Hazard. Here Zoro and Robin are sitting in the back of Mini Merry and they happen to eat their lunch together. It’s such a cute moment. I can’t help but like it. :3 Note that Luffy has already finished his lunch and that Robin is sharing hers with him, so Luffy isn’t eating lunch together with them. It was just Zoro and Robin. Such a couple-like thing to do, eat lunch together, especially if you consider that one of them had to start eating and the other decided to join in. Ah, that is just too adorable. x3 I’m hoping for more of these sorts of scenes. ;)
A Special Bond Shared with Chopper
The other thing about Robin and Zoro is that they both get along extremely well with Chopper. In fact, it almost seems like Zoro is a surrogate father to Chopper and Robin a surrogate mother, which just brings about the most shippy of implications. Not that I mind. ;)
For example, at the end of the Alabasta arc, the Straw Hats are treated to the Alabastian Royal Baths. While the rest of the guys fool around, Zoro washes Chopper’s back. He looks like a dad washing his son’s back. Another interesting parallel is that during Skypeia, after Enel shocks Robin and we see that whole “she’s a woman” scene from Zoro. Zoro later finds Chopper cut down and unconscious and boy is he pissed. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it kind of interesting that the two closest crew mates to Zoro (well if one supposes that the shipping is correct) are both attacked in that arc. It feels like it reinforces the idea that Robin and Zoro are like surrogate parents to Chopper and that Zoro had a seriously bad day as his family was attacked, one after the other.
And look at this adorable scene between Chopper and Robin. Chopper, exhausted from using 3 rumble balls, lays on Robin’s legs. It’s another very symbolic image of a mother soothing her child. Oh and what’s this?! Zoro is saying, “I don’t want to hear that from you.” What could he mean? Bubble placement-wise, that should be a response to Chopper, but that doesn’t quite make sense since Chopper is asking if anyone else is hurt. I guess Zoro might mean he doesn’t want to hear someone saying they will perform operations when they themselves are so worn out. But Chopper does that anyway in the next page (with the help of Robin). Now as a reply to Sanji? Yeah, that makes perfect sense since Zoro finds Sanji’s womanizing ridiculous and often makes fun of him for it. And if that’s the case, my my, Zoro is annoyed that Sanji trying to lay down on Robin’s legs. What could this mean indeed! ;)
Robin/Zoro Moments in Chapter Covers
Moments between Robin and Zoro aren’t limited to just the manga, there are a few subtle nods in the chapter covers as well. Here are the chapter covers which I felt support the pair:
Nami and Robin don’t use weapons, yet in chapter 369’s cover, Oda has given Nami a pistol and Robin a sword. It’s a very interesting choice, since Zoro is the only other Straw Hat holding swords in this cover. Again, just the two of them are holding swords, which feels very much like a subtle nod that these two go together.
The cover for chapter 457. Note that Zoro and Franky are both missing from this picture. Isn’t it curious that of all the Straw Hats pictured, Robin is the only one with a katana. Curious indeed! It feels like a very subtle nod that the missing swordsman and Robin go together. I quite like it. :)
The cover for chapter 562. This is a cover of Robin, but look to the bottom right, a little duck that is holding a stick in its beak and one in it’s wing. What’s more, it looks to be very directionless and lost. My, who does that sound like. Isn’t there a hopelessly directionally impaired swordsman that also likes to hold his sword in his mouth? And it looks like this little duck reminds Robin of this certain swordsman and it brings a smile to her face. This is probably one of my favourite ZoRobin scenes. It’s just too cute and way too intentional to be coincidence, but subtle enough that Oda doesn’t need to worry about people thinking him getting into that “romance stuff”.
This is the cover of chapter 563. This is a Robin/Chopper cover since the birds are robins, but I think it belongs here because it reinforces that special relationship that Robin has with Chopper and that she shares with Zoro. Plus it is so cute~ Also interesting that it follows right after the previous cover, which was a big Robin/Zoro cover.
The cover for chapter 577. At first it looks like just a Chopper and Zoro cover, but look at Zoro’s shirt, there is a bird on it. Now, which member is most associated with birds? I think the answer is obvious. This is a very subtle nod and quite ingenious since if you weren’t playing attention, you wouldn’t have noticed what was on Zoro’s shirt! This also reinforces the special relationship both Zoro and Robin share with Chopper.
The cover of chapter 618. Robin and Zoro are next to each other on this cover and it appears almost as if she’s walking next to him biking. It’s not a very convincing cover by itself, but I think it lends itself well in addition to everything I’ve already shown.
Cover of chapter 685. Notice that Robin is riding on a ghost that is wearing a top hat. It’s the only ghost with one. And oh look, Zoro is wearing a top hat too. And he is, in fact, the only one out of the Staw Hats with one on. I can’t see this as anything but a subtle nod. x3
And there you have it. My dissection of One Piece and why I believe ZoRobin has a chance of happening. I’ll admit, it’s pretty shaky but I think there are enough nods to fuel this shipping, at least for me. What do you guys think? Does it have a chance?