Roronoa Zoro or Pirate Hunter Zoro is a well-known and one of the most beloved characters in One Piece. Zoro is also one of the most popular swordsmen in the anime world. He was the first member to join the Straw Hat crew and stole the hearts of the audience since then. Throughout the series, he is known for his resilience and brash behavior but most of all he is known for lacking any sense of direction and also as the crew member who gets lost more often.
If you have read the One Piece manga, you might’ve noticed some inconsistencies in how Zoro’s name is spelled in the English translated version. Yes, we are talking about the misspelling of Zoro to Zolo.
Before we break it down further, let’s first discuss how Oda Sensei, spells our favorite swordsman’s name since he is the author of One Piece and the one who named the characters. Fans answered this question by stating the obvious, Oda gave the character the name ‘Zoro’ and the proof of this is there in the manga itself; whenever Oda draws the wanted posters the name is always spelled out as ‘Roronoa Zoro’.
Now coming to the possible reasons as to why this discrepancy has happened.
Why is Zoro’s name Zolo in English?
One reason that has been consistently mentioned is how the 4kids version of One Piece when it aired started using ‘Zolo’ instead of ‘Zoro’. This was done to avoid any sort of copyright issues that might arise with Legend of Zorro which has a character with the same name who is also a swordsman.
While Viz’s version of the manga used to spell the character’s name as ‘Zoro’ in the initial volumes, it has been said that after the change in the 4kids version Viz started adapting ‘Zolo’ as the spelling for the character. And they have stuck with this till today.
Now, your next question must be which one among both spellings is more accurate: ‘Zolo’ or ‘Zoro’?
The answer is both are accurate. In Japanese kanji, both the ‘L’ and ‘R’ sounds can be used interchangeably i.e., both the ‘lo’ and ‘ro’ sounds are the same in Japanese. This discrepancy is seen in characters from other mangas as well, for eg: in Hunter x Hunter, a character name was initially spelled as ‘Lazor’ but it, later on, shifted to ‘Razor’. Another example of this translation inconsistency can be seen on how the character named ‘Krillin’ from DBZ is spelled differently at times like ‘Kuririn’.
This translation switch can be another reason for the Zolo/Zoro discrepancy.
Having said that, even though both the names are accurate, many fans are visibly pleased with the spelling ‘Zoro’ rather than ‘Zolo’ personally, I believe that I am speaking from the perspective of many One Piece anime watchers when I say that “Our favorite swordsman is always going to be Roronoa Zoro”