Episode 4 of Netflix’s One Piece introduces Zoro’s childhood friend, Kuina, before she is quickly killed off but the mysterious nature of her death has left fans asking how she died.
*WARNING: Spoilers ahead for One Piece* — Despite being a largely fun-filled series, Netflix’s adaptation of the beloved anime One Piece still packs an emotional punch, with one particularly heart-wrenching moment coming in episode 4 as Zoro loses his childhood friend Kuina.
Who is Kuina in One Piece?
Shimotsuki Kuina was a friend and rival of Roronoa Zoro during his childhood in Shimotsuki Village.
She is introduced in episode 4 of the live-action One Piece series during a series of flashbacks to Zoro’s youth after he is captured and thrown down a well by Kuro and his henchmen.
During the flashbacks, which Zoro uses as motivation to climb out of the well, we see Kuina beating Zoro in two duels before they agree to train together in the hopes of becoming the greatest sword fighters in the world.
But when Zoro waits for their next session, he is visited by Sensei Koushiro who reveals that Kuina has died in an accident, although he fails to mention the exact nature of the incident.
How did Kuina die in One Piece?
Kuina dies in the One Piece manga by falling down a staircase and fatally injuring herself.
Despite having ambitions to become the best sword fighter in the world, Kuina dies in tragically innocuous circumstances, which is likely why her cause of death isn’t mentioned in the series as it might have lessened the impact of such an emotional moment for Zoro.
As the Netflix series doesn’t reveal any details about Kuina’s accident, it’s fairly safe to say that her cause of death remains the same unless the show’s writers decide to change any details at a later date.
Will she come back?
No, Kuina’s death in One Piece is permanent and she does not return in either the original manga or the anime.
However, Zoro keeps her presence with him as he vows to become the greatest swordsman in the world to fulfill their mutual goal.
As well as his own two swords, Zoro carries Kuina’s blade, Wado Ichimonji, and uses it in her memory.
Long after Kuina’s death, Zoro’s grief resurfaces in the manga when the character Tashigi is introduced as she bears a striking resemblance to Kuina, causing Zoro a great deal of anxiety.
The live-action One Piece is available to stream now on Netflix after setting sail on August 31, 2023.
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