“It’s actually as short as a flute”: Despite Being of Japanese Heritage, Mackenyu’s Zoro Got an Unconventional Instrument for His Theme in One Piece Because of 1 Reason

One Piece Live-Action's Music Composers Explain The Reason Behind Choosing An Unconventional Instrument for Zoro.

Despite Being of Japanese Heritage, Mackenyu’s Zoro Got an Unconventional Instrument for His Theme in One Piece Because of 1 Reason


  • One Piece's live-action series had a very unconventional instrument for Roronoa Zoro.
  • Music composers Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli gave the reason for choosing Bansuri over the Japanese Instrument Shakuhachi.
  • Bansuri had a more powerful tone to itself than Shakuhachi which was important for Mackenyu's character.
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Any successful series, just like One Piece live-action from Netflix, needs a soundtrack not only as a whole for the series but also some specific tones for their main characters, some climatic scenes, or some sort of storytelling to make the background and the influence of the character and the scene more interesting. These soundtracks or tones are related to the characters or the scenes to establish a connection and portray the right emotion for the audience. Netflix’s One Piece was the perfect example of this.

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Netflix’s One Piece

One Piece live-action had the best storyline and perfect individual soundtracks for their characters and scenes. But the one unconventional theme tone was of Mackenyu’s character Zoro. He had a flute instead of a Shakuhachi which would have represented his Japanese nationality. This was explained by Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli, the composers of the epic series.


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Zoro’s Unconventional Theme Instrument in One Piece Live-Action

Every straw hat had a separate theme instrument for their scenes. Luffy’s signature instruments include the hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, and banjo. The flute plays Nami’s theme. Usopp’s began with a ukulele and progressed to a guitar. A large band jazz funk fusion ensemble plays Sanji’s theme. But among all the straw hat pirates, the most unconventional theme instrument was of Zoro consisting of bansuri (flute), frame drum, and duduk. Belousova and Ostinelli in an interview with The Mary Sue, stated the reason for this. Ostinelli said:


“Shakuhachi is not that long. It’s as short as a flute. We have both here in the studio. And for whatever reason, I immediately gravitated to Bansuri. Because … it does look like a sword … [and] it’s a wonderful melodic instrument. But you can also do very percussive, sharp sounds.”

Mackenyu as Roronoa Zoro
Mackenyu as Roronoa Zoro

Ostinelli stated that Zoro’s sound needed to be sharp and percussive which was possible with Bansuri. Secondly, Shakuhachi is not as long as a Bansuri and the Bansuri also resembles a sword in many ways.

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Zoro’s Character Needed Power for His Theme

Belousova also explained that Shakuhachi’s sound doesn’t have much power to it, and for Zoro’s theme, they needed to be a powerful tone representing his character and bravery. She said:

“And I think if we get a little more technical here, [with] shakuhachi, the way you blow into the instrument, there is much more of an air loss happening between when you blow into the instrument and when you get the sound. So the sound itself doesn’t have as much power as when you play Bansuri… And for Zoro, we needed that power … And we’re building this world, right? We’re not tied to a very specific geography.”

A still from One Piece (2023)
A still from One Piece (2023)

Belousova also explained that they were on their way to building a world and were not focused on one specific region. This worked in their favor as the themes not only helped the character in getting recognition but One Piece Live-Action also got major success with the contribution from the soundtracks.


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Written by Tarun Kohli

Konichiwa! With a Master's Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a 2-year experience in Digital media writing, I am on my way to becoming one of the biggest anime content writers in my country. My passion for writing and Anime has helped me connect with Fandomwire, and share my love and experience with the world.