Shimotsuki Ushimaru was a member of the Shimotsuki Family, and the last daimyo of Ringo in Wano Country. He ruled until the takeover of Kurozumi Orochi as shogun 20 years ago. He was a direct descendant of the legendary samurai Shimotsuki Ryuma.
Ushimaru had a pronounced nose and dark blue hair that was somewhat spiky in the front and gathered into a large, bushy bun at the back. Thirty-nine years ago, he wore a dark colored yukata with a light colored marking and a light colored jittoku haori with dark colored images of bulls (牛 Ushi?). On his back, he has a tattoo of two crossed cutlasses over a circular design, which is a symbol heavily associated with the Shimotsuki Family. After being imprisoned by Kaidou, he wore bandages around his head that covered his left eye. He bore a striking resemblance to Roronoa Zoro, particularly in his youth.
Ushimaru was an honorable, selfless, and kind samurai. He opposed the takeover of Kurozumi Orochi and remained steadfast in this even after being imprisoned by Kaidou, his spirit never showing any signs of breaking. When Kaidou attempted to force his imprisoned samurai into a death game over food with his son Yamato, Ushimaru and the others showed no hesitation in refusing the food and allowing Yamato to have it, not wavering from the samurai code. Ushimaru displayed exceptional kindness towards Yamato, encouraging the boy's dream to become Oden and bearing no resentment over his heritage as Kaidou's son. Ultimately, Ushimaru's selflessness and unwillingness to give into enemy pressure led him to break out of the cave with the other samurai and mount a suicidal final stand against Kaidou purely for the sake of Yamato surviving until the final battle Toki prophesied.
Although he maintained his dedication to the code, Ushimaru considered himself to be a disgraced samurai after being defeated and imprisoned by Kaidou and so humbly declined to share his name with Yamato.
Abilities and Powers
According to Kawamatsu, he was a masterful swordsman who wielded the blade in a very similar manner to the powerful present-day swordsman Roronoa Zoro. With the aid of Busoshoku Haki, Ushimaru could cut through Yamato's chain and later through a massive boulder using only what seemed to be regular swords provided by Kaidou. When cutting through the boulder, Ushimaru was shown dual-wielding with a sword in each of his hands, and true to Kawamatsu's statement, he was shown with a hunched-over, lunging posture very similar to Zoro's charging attacks.
Ushimaru served as daimyo for an unknown period of time before 20 years ago, with the komagitsune Onimaru serving as his companion. Twenty-eight years ago, he took part in a daimyo meeting where Kurozumi Higurashi posing as Kozuki Sukiyaki convinced the daimyo to support Kurozumi Orochi as a temporary shogun. Eight years later, after executing the daimyo of Kuri Kozuki Oden, Orochi gave the remaining four daimyo the chance to submit to him. The daimyo all refused and staged a rebellion against him. The rebellion was ultimately quashed by Kaidou as Ushimaru and his fellow samurai, Fugetsu Omusubi and Uzuki Tempura, ended up imprisoned on Onigashima not long after the end of their rebellion. Around that same time, Kaidou locked his son Yamato in a cave along with the samurai prisoners for a month or until they agreed to finally obey him. He left them all with food provisions for only a single person, and gave them swords to fight over it. Yamato grew extremely scared, believing the samurai would hate him due to his heritage; however, the samurai proceeded to immediately give him the food, saying they did not feel hunger.
Ushimaru then cut Yamato free from his chains, saying that he had been friends with Oden and that the everyone in the cave adored Oden, and they heard Yamato's declaration as him. As the other samurai request to Yamato that he be called "Nobody Important," Yamato shows Ushimaru Oden's journal, but says he has trouble reading it. Everyone proceeds to read it together as Yamato is left amazed by Oden's tales. Ten days later, the samurai tell Yamato that at this rate, they may not be able to see the battle that Oden predicted would happen in twenty years. Yamato says he will fight for Wano that day, but the samurai decide to break out and fight Kaidou immediately to make sure Yamato does not die in the cave like Kaidou wants and that he survives until that day. This ultimately led to Ushimaru and the other samurai's demise.
Anime and Manga Differences
In the manga, Ushimaru takes part in the daimyo meeting held by Kurozumi Higurashi posing as Kozuki Sukiyaki 28 years ago. However, the anime interpreted him as a different character and gave him brown hair in contrast to the blue hair they gave Ushimaru in Episode 954. In addition, the other two daimyo shown in the anime do not match either of the actual daimyo later revealed in the manga, Fugetsu Omusubi or Uzuki Tempura.
- Ushimaru's name may come from Ushiwakamaru (牛若丸?), the childhood name of Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Minamoto no Yoshitsune had a retainer named Benkei whose childhood name was Oniwakamaru, which is the possible source of Onimaru's name.
- Although he has frequently noted the similarities in appearance between Ushimaru and Zoro, Oda confirmed in the SBS that Ushimaru is not Zoro's father.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 94 Chapter 953 (p. 5) and Episode 954, Ushimaru is first seen when mentioned by Kawamatsu.
- One Piece Manga — Vol. 101 Chapter 1023 (p. 10), Kawamatsu notes the similarities between Ushimaru and Zoro.
- One Piece Manga — Vol. 101 Chapter 1024 (p. 12-17), Ushimaru imprisoned with Yamato.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 93 Chapter 942 (p. 10-11) and Episode 940, Yasuie reveals the daimyo's uprising against Orochi.
- One Piece Manga — Vol. 96 Chapter 965.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 94 Chapter 953 (p. 7) and Episode 954, Ushimaru is said to be deceased.
- Vivre Card - One Piece Visual Dictionary (Card #1368), Onimaru's timeline lists Ushimaru's death 20 years ago.
- One Piece Anime — Episodes 964–965, The daimyo in the anime.
- SBS One Piece Manga — Vol. 101 (p. 168).