Shimotsuki Ryuma first appears in “Monsters”. He was once a famous samurai and bore the epithets legendary samurai (jap. 伝説の侍, Densetsu no Samurai) and sword god (jap. 刀神様). He was said to have slain a massive dragon. He hails from the land of Wano Country and is an ancestor of Shimotsuki Ushimaru. When the Straw Hat Pirates reached Thriller Bark, his zombie body was in Gecko Moria’s control. He acted as Dr. Hogback’s bodyguard. He also carried the shadow of Brooks within him.
This fact only occurs in Wanted.
In his lifetime, Ryuma appeared as a young simple samurai wearing a gray kimono. He had his black hair tied up in a strange way in the back. He always carried his sword with him and walked on sandals. His facial features were strongly reminiscent of Zoro.
At an unknown time, Ryuma lost an eye.
His appearance changed drastically in his zombie form. Thus, he now wore a far more ornate kimono as well as a blue scarf. His dead face as well as his upper body were covered in bandages. His face was now unrecognizable. His eyes and nose were missing. Ryuma now walked on high wooden shoes and carried his shuusui with him at all times.
Ryuma used to live the simple life as a samurai and revered the philosophy of that life, for example he saw his honor tarnished when the scabbard of his sword touched that of Cyrano. He was a very honest, helpful and determined person who would sacrifice his life for someone important to him without hesitation. He wanted to become a better and better swordsman and would take any opportunity to challenge another fighter to a fight to the death.
As a zombie, he no longer had a personality of his own. He was Moria’s puppet and was there to carry out orders. However, Brook’s shadow gave him not only his fighting abilities, but also some character traits. For example, they both have the same laugh (Yoho) and a soft spot for women’s underwear. However, he always thought he was better than Brook.
Abilities and Strength
Ryuma was a samurai with extraordinary skills. For example, he could split a statue made of copper with just one slash of his katana. He combined strength and speed with the techniques of a samurai. His technique was to defeat the opponent with only one stroke. Because of his strength, he was called “King”, but Ryuma never knew that he himself was the “King” he always wanted to challenge.
Now he is considered a legendary sword master in his homeland, which emphasizes his strength. During his lifetime, he also possessed the ability to use armor haki, and so the shuusui in his hands turned into a black blade.
As a zombie, Brook’s shadow also gave him all of Brook’s abilities. However, due to the better body, he was also able to perform Brook’s attacks much better than the skeleton itself. For example, he can slice the air and cut apart an entire building with no effort, all abilities that Brook cannot do. On top of that, the exceptionally sharp blade he wields also adds to this.
The Legendary Dragon Slayer
Ryuma, who was a samurai in his life, shows up one day in the town where Flare lives. At the same time, the legendary Cyrano is also in town. In the restaurant where Flare works, there is a short fight between the two, which Ryuma loses. The samurai, however, is pissed that Cyrano let him live, as he wanted to die with honor. Cyrano, however, ignores him. After Cyrano leaves the restaurant, the innkeeper tells him that Cyrano is a legendary swordsman who once saved Flare from a city attacked by a dragon. Afterwards, however, Ryuma is glad that the “second best swordsman in the world” didn’t kill him after all.
As he leaves the restaurant, he encounters the third-ranked swordsman D. R. and challenges him to a fight. D. R., however, fakes his death and before doing so, quickly summons a dragon with the legendary dragon horn to take revenge on Ryuma. The townspeople panic that a dragon would destroy the entire town, and blame Ryuma for attacking D. R. Cyrano then arrives and fakes his death. R. Cyrano then arrives and offers to fight the dragon while the residents take shelter in the hills.
Only Ryuma and Flare remain in the city. As Flare tries to stop Cyrano, the two overhear a conversation between the supposedly dead D. R. and Cyranos. In the process, the whole hoax is revealed. Flare is depressed. Ryuma attacks the two a little later and kills the haughty Cyrano with just one strike. He then defeats D. R. before coming face to face with the giant dragon and decapitating it with just one attack. Thereupon, the legend of Samurai Ryuma was born.
The city was saved and Ryuma left to continue traveling the world.Nothing is known about his further life.
A zombie of the Thriller Bark
One day, he died of an illness. After his death, his body fell into the hands of Gecko Moria and Doctor Hogback. Five years ago they implanted Brook’s shadow in him, who then tried to get his shadow back in a fight. Samurai Ryuma, however, won, but let Brook go.
Samurai Ryuma became one of the Zombie Generals.
Battle with Usopp, Chopper and Nami
He first encounters the Straw Hat Pirates in Dr. Hogback’s castle. While Chopper, Nami and Usopp are watching Dr. Hogback through a crack at the door to the lab, they are caught by Ryuma. With a sword slash, he splits the door in two and with another attack, he pushes the three into the lab. With only one attack, which the three don’t even notice, he knocks them out.
Duel with Brook
It turns out that Brook has come to reclaim his shadow in battle a second time. Ryuma, who calls himself a master fencer, still believes that he is much stronger than Brook. He is able to defeat Brook easily even after a fight, but fails to cut off his afro and must now face Zoro for a fight.
Zoro vs Ryuma
The king’s sword that Ryuma carries is named Shuusui. Naturally, Zoro wants to take possession of this sword to make up for the loss of the Yubashili.
He plans to take it from Ryuma after he defeats him, but that proves to be more difficult than first thought. With only two swords, Zoro seems to be outmatched by Ryuma. However, after a tough fight, Zoro is able to defeat Ryuma. He takes the Shuusui and has found a worthy successor for his Yubashili.
- He possessed one of the 21 King Swords, called the Shuusui, which Zoro took from him after the latter defeated him.
- Oda confirmed in an SBS that the samurai Ryuma from Monsters is the Ryuma on Thriller Bark. This makes Ryuma the first One Piece character ever shown, an amazing three years (1994) before One Piece began.
- His favorite food was curry.
- Shimotsuki is also the name of Zoro’s home village and the Japanese name of the month of November.