One Piece Zoro
Why Zoro? Zoro or Luffy?
Zoro is the first mate of Luffy and acts like his right hand. People claim that Zoro is also the vice captain of the strawhat crew, but it was never stated in the manga, nor in the anime. But the one thing that is for sure, is that he is loyal to Luffy, ever since he got freed by him and stated that he will be part of the crew.
Since Zoro has been part of One Piece pretty much since the beginning, he has gained a lot of diehard fans. These fans have a lot of names on different forums, some call them 'Marimo boys', 'Zoro fanboys', 'Zorotards' and the list goes on and on. Often these names are used by people, who rather dislike Zoro or are sick and tired of Zoro fanboys. On reddit, there is basically an article or a theory every day, where someone states that Zoro is the strongest in the crew, or that he will beat X and Z. For an average fan, that can get kind of tiring and annoying, but why are these fans like that?
First of all, lets take a look into the matter, why Zoro is insanely popular. He has been named 2nd most popular One Piece character in several polls, just behind Luffy, who is the main character of the series. And that has been the case for almost every poll, instead for one, where Trafalgar Law was the 2nd most popular character. Being consistantly on the 2nd place of popularity polls for almost 20 years of One Piece, is more than just impressive. The polls show, that even newer viewers show most interest (besides Luffy) in Zoro and that his fanbase consistantly stagnates.
What makes Zoro that likeable? Before starting this article, I wasn't going to use this term, but it kind of describes Zoro perfectly. Zoro is a straight up Badass. He usually does whatever he thinks is right, or what is best for the crew and only cares about being the strongest. Also he is devoted to the strawhat crew and his loyalty has been shown on various occasions. He also usually takes the leadership, whenever Luffy is gone, or whenever situations get out of hand. Everyone has a specific role on the strawhat crew ( Sanji=Cook, Nami=Navigator,Chopper=Doctor), except for Zoro. His unofficial role is to be the right hand and to be as strong as he possibely can. Zoro to Luffy is kinda like Rayleigh was for Roger. First mate and incredibly strong.
Additionaly, Zoro is a swordsmen. Swordfighters are usually popular among anime fans and Zoros technique and style, give him another big reason to be extremely likeable. His strength also comes from training and working out. He does not have the powers of a devil fruit. These strength feats make him some sort of relatable to people, because it shows them that they can be one of the bests, just by working out and mastering their skills.
Throughout One Piece, Zoro rarely shows any emotions, besides hate towards Sanji, who is basically the counterpart to him. Also fans of Zoro and Sanji, act simirlary to them. Both fanbases hate each other and get into heated debates on forums, which in my opinion is pretty funny. That in a way shows, how relatable Zoro is and how some people actually identifiy themselves as Zoro. People kind of represent Zoros behaviour, by hating Sanji fans. Actually, that is really funny, but a story for another day.
Anyways, since Zoro has been pretty much a badass throughout the whole series and only has lost one real fight ( against Mihawk), people tend to assume that he is the strongest or as strong as Luffy. That is neither true nor false, but in my opinion is pretty unlikely. Unfortunately, Zoro hasn't had the toughest opponents ever since their renunion and has been pretty much stomping his opponents. Luffy, in comparison, had a lot of insanely tough fights and also the chances of improving through these fights. That hasn't been the case for Zoro at all. Only for that reason, I feel like Zoro is weaker than Luffy, but to be honest, we don't know, because Oda has never stated, how strong the crewmembers are now.
I remember back during Alabasta arc times, Oda stated somewhere that Zoro and Luffy are on the same level strengthwise, but has never made a statement about their strength again.
The only thing we do know is that Zoro had been training with Mihawk, but hasn't showed his true potential yet. But we know that Luffy had been training with Rayleigh and how strong he has gotten trough that training.
Also another big factor is that usually the main character in the series, is also the strongest one. That is most likely also the case for One Piece and therefore, it is much more likely that Luffy is stronger than Zoro.
Zoro or Sanji?
To be fair, we don't really know, who is stronger between Zoro and Sanji. But in this case, it is much more likely that Zoro is stronger than Sanji.
The main reason for that assumption is that Zoro usually fought the 2nd strongest enemy. Also Zoros bounty was always higher ( except for now, because of some other factors) than Sanjis and just the fact, that Zoros only purpose on the crew is to fight, gives him that title, in my opinion.
Of course, I don't know it for sure and I don't want to be hated by the Sanji crew, but these scenarios are the most likely in my eyes.
But who knows, maybe Usopp is the strongest in crew and maybe his nose has some superpowers. Or maybe, Namis upper body gives her the edge above everyone else in One Piece. The only man that knows everything, is Oda san.