One Piece is an anime that certainly has its fair share of strong and powerful characters. And while its protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, has most often been featured in our One Piece-related comparisons, this one is not going to focus on Luffy in any way. Namely, the protagonists of this comparison will be Zoro, a member of Luffy’s crew, and the powerful Bartholomew Kuma, a former Warlord of the Sea. In this article, we are going to analyze the two, as we are going to pit Zoro against Kuma to finally determine who the stronger of the two is.
Although Zoro was able to injure Bartholomew Kuma in a fight, thereby revealing his true nature, that of a Pacifista, he was still not strong enough to actually defeat him. Bartholomew Kuma thus remains as one of the rare opponents who successfully defeated the Straw Hat pirates, and he did not once, but twice.
The rest of this article will further elaborate on the above-given answer, as we are going to compare Bartholomew Kuma and Zoro in more detail. Through several categories, you are going to see who the stronger of the two is and why our answer is like it is, i.e., why Zoro would ultimately be able to defeat Bartholomew Kuma in a direct fight.
Kuma is unquestionably a very powerful individual, even among the Seven Warlords of the Sea. This is demonstrated by the fact that he was able to destroy the entire island of Thriller in a single attack and defeat the Straw Hats twice without even trying. Marineford Bay and Bark. Moreover, Kuma is a cyborg that Dr. Vegapunk modified. He differs from Franky, though, and is also considerably stronger.
He has a body capable of withstanding many powerful attacks, such as Sanji’s kicks or Zoro’s thrusts. With his modifications, he is still a sketchy machine of the government and the marines called “Pacifista.” He is even capable of shooting lightning from his mouth. As stated, Bartholomew Kuma is the only person in the entire One Piece world to have completely defeated the entire crew of the Luffy Pirates. He has done it twice (although the first time, he missed Luffy, and the second time, he did it to save them).
Zoro is one of the physically strongest characters in the series. He demonstrated his strength when he was fighting Daz Bones. He easily lifted a building despite the injuries he had. He is seen training on the Thousand Sunny with ton-weight dumbbells. His strength is surely equal to or greater than that of a giant, as he was able to parry a direct hit from Oars with his swords. After the time skip, Zoro greatly increased his strength.
Zoro can pack a punch, and he is strong, especially when he uses his swords to fight, but Kuma’s so powerful that even Zoro’s swords cannot hurt him, and that is why he wins this point.
Points: Zoro 0, Kuma 1
Bartholomew Kuma ate the Nikyu Nikyu no Mi, a Paramecia-type Devil Fruit, which allows him to repel anything, using pads placed on the palms of his hands. This power to repel things allows him to even repel the atmosphere from the air by forming shock waves.
Roronoa Zoro is a very powerful character. He is known as one of the most powerful characters in the series and one of the series’ best swordsmen; he is, by all means, probably going to surpass even Mihawk in the future. Now, Zoro’s powers and feats merit the conclusion that he has consumed a Devil Fruit, but is that true? It’s not – namely, Roronoa Zoro has never eaten a Devil Fruit.
This makes Zoro one of a very small number of characters (the most notable other one being Mihawk) who are extremely powerful but have not actually consumed a Devil Fruit; most of the other powerful characters have to thank their Devil Fruits for their individual reputations.
This one is also pretty clear, like the above-analyzed category. Zoro doesn’t have a Devil Fruit, whereas Kuma has one, and a very powerful one at that. In that aspect, Kuma clearly wins the points in this category.
Points: Kuma 2, Zoro 0
As far as Kuma is concerned, we know that he is a powerful warrior, but he has never been seen using any Haki, which is why we cannot confirm that he is able to use one at all. Because of that, we there is really nothing we can state in this category; it wouldn’t surprise us if Kuma could use Haki, but we simply don’t know whether he can or not.
Zoro is one of the few people to possess all 3 forms of Haki. Zoro possesses the Royal Haki, the rarest Haki, whose users are said to possess the qualities of a King. He is first mentioned to hold this power by Kaido after Zoro’s nine-sword attack. During his fight against King, he uses the Royal Haki to coat his sabers, a very advanced form, and at the same time, members of the Hundred Beasts Crew are seen fainting around.
He also used the Armament Haki on Pica to slice him, which means his Haki is more advanced than Pica’s. Using the Haki also allows him to counter Devil Fruit powers, as he did to temporarily stop the Birdcage.
He first uses the Observation in his fight against Nuru, a Fishman capable of blinding his opponents thanks to the lantern on his forehead, even telling him that he only used his eyes to see and that was why he was weak; he made use of it again to find Caribou in the palace. He also uses it during the Arc Dressrosa to find where the one who stole his saber is but also to find Pica during his fight against him.
And while we could argue something about Kuma possibly having a powerful Haki or two, we don’t know if it is like that. We know that Zoro can use all three types of Haki, which is enough to give him a point here.
Points: Kuma 2, Zoro 1
As far as weapons are concerned, Kuma was never seen using one in battle, so we have absolutely no clue how good he is with them if he is good at all. This is why we don’t have anything to add here, really.
At the beginning of his journey as a pirate, Zoro only mastered the Santoryu, his conventional fighting style. Still, over time he began to master techniques from other schools, such as Nitoryu, Ittoryu, or even Mutouryu. Zoro and the rest of the crew have improved their abilities to face the New World.
We simply have to award him this point because Zoro is one of the best swordsmen in the series. Namely, we have absolutely no clue how skilled Kuma is with weapons, so Zoro is the clear winner in this category.
Points: Kuma 2, Zoro 2
Roronoa Zoro vs. Bartholomew Kuma: Who wins?
Zoro might end up surpassing Kuma in the end, but he is not stronger than him now. Zoro lost his fight to Kuma when they fought, and while he was able to injure his opponent, something that the other Straw Hats could not do, Zoro was ultimately unable to defeat him, which is why he offered his life in exchange of the lives of the rest. Luckily, Zoro managed to survive Kuma’s attack, but he was defeated in the end.