One Piece Creator’s Surprising Decision for Second-in-Command Character

In an interview, Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, disclosed his planned second main character to accompany Luffy, and it may come as a surprise.

The recently debuted DVD of Monsters, a prequel anime to One Piece, features a special interview with the creator of the franchise. During the interview, Oda shares insight into his original plans for the character Shimotsuki Ryuma, showing how integral he was to the story.

“At this time (prior to One Piece), the author expressed his pride in having conceived of a character like Luffy as the protagonist. He then shared his desire to elevate a supporting character to the role of main character.”

After giving it some thought, Oda said, “My belief was that by having two main characters, we could secure a serialization spot. And so Ryuma became that character, designed with the purpose of being the second most important protagonist.”

Shimotsuki Ryuma (young and mummy versions)
Eiichiro Oda/Toei Animation

Despite being intended as the second main character, Ryuma’s creation served as the inspiration for the Monsters in the first place. Originally meant to provide a backstory for another main character, Oda ultimately decided to exclude Ryuma from One Piece for many years. It wasn’t until the Thriller Bark Arc that Ryuma finally made their debut.

Despite this, Luffy’s first crewmate was introduced as his descendant Roronoa Zoro (although the connection between Zoro and Ryuma was not revealed until later). While Zoro may not be the second protagonist, his role in the story (and in the crew) is second only to Luffy himself.

“Wow, it’s interesting to see that Ryuma in Thriller Bark is considered the second main character,”commented one user on X, with another adding, “It’s cool that Ryuma is made to be the second main character. I have faith that Zoro will eventually surpass him.”

A third individual remarked, “Upon closer examination, it seems that Oda initially intended for Ryuma to be the second main character. However, due to his death in the main timeline of One Piece, Zoro was created to fulfill this role and support Luffy. Am I correct in assuming this? And if so, does this make Zoro the deuteragonist?”

Despite Oda’s comment not explicitly confirming Zoro as the deuteragonist of One Piece, it does provide evidence that the author envisioned Luffy (or a similar character) as the primary hero from the beginning.

Learn more about these notorious pirates through our detailed breakdowns on Bonney’s Devil Fruit abilities and the mysterious Void Century. Additionally, discover whether Bonney will join the Straw Hat crew and who currently holds the title of having the highest bounty in the world of One Piece.

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