One Piece Chapter 1033 is surely one of the biggest fights for Zoro and his newly acquired sword, Enma. Since the start of the series, it’s the first time Zoro has had a hard time dealing with his opponent. Well, it’s actually not surprising why he’s having a hard time, as he’s currently facing a Lunarian. Apart from his opponent, Zoro is also dealing with Enma, who keeps on draining his Haki. Previously, Zoro thought that Enma was only draining the user’s Haki, but it seems that was not the case, as Chapter 1033 seems to finally explains how Enma really works.
Enma is introduced in Chapter 955 and is one of the 21 Great Grade swords with the unique trait of actively attempting to draw Haki from its owner when used. We learn in-depth in 1033 that weak people believe strong blades are cursed because they can’t control them.
Enma is believed to be a cursed blade because it drains Haki, enough to kill a weak man. Only Oden, the Conqueror, had previously been able to successfully wield it. At Zoro’s first attempt, Enma immediately drains his arm of armament; the white smoke shows Enma doing so.
Zoro states that using Enma and “getting used to” would make him much stronger. This is the key part of this chapter. Zoro thought he was simply supposed to get used to Enma and did not understand that he was supposed to conquer Enma. This means that throughout the rooftop, Zoro was actively fighting against Enma, gaining the buff from it by drawing out too much of his Haki, but constantly having to regulate this for Enma to not husk him.
So when Zoro hits the end of the line and makes one last-ditch attack to get Kaido away from Luffy, awakening his conquerors, we are shown a panel of Enma surrounded by white smoke. At this point, we are basically told that Enma can drain Conquerors’ Haki for itself too.
Dead Man’s Game is caused by Enma pulling out Conquerors’ Haki for itself while Zoro is actively fighting it. Much like Enma hasn’t been able to dictate Zoro’s flow of armament fully because he is fighting it, the same happens here with the Conquerors.
But in Chapter 1033, Zoro comes to understand Enma, and not that it is a blade that needs to be bargained with, but a blade that needs to be conquered. Throughout the chapter, it keeps trying to steal Haki, with the white smoke showing such.
But when Zoro comes to understand Enma and focuses on conquering the blade itself (literally, as he uses a burst of CoC knocking out nearby fodder), he allows Enma’s true ability to come forward.
Enma’s two users have been conquerors, Enma doesn’t steal Haki: it flows Haki, and a tamed version of Enma brings out its ability to control Haki flow. The white smoke on Zoro’s swords is consistent with Enma’s depiction of Haki use. The black lightning is consistent with the conquerors’ coating, and I’ll check the katakana at the side for consistency, but I don’t see why this would be anything else.
So in conquering the blade, Zoro unlocks the ability to regulate his Haki through it and in turn unlocks the conqueror’s coating. After all, he did say the blade was his path to becoming much stronger, and now he has the ability to be one of the very strongest.
That’s mainly just my interpretation anyway. I just wanted to talk about the white smoke around Zoro’s swords being the same smoke as when Enma is doing Haki stuff. One other point is that the one time we properly see Oden use Enma, there’s a white blur around him and his swords, so we can’t really see if there would be white smoke there.
This chapter was cool as hell, and it’s nice to actually learn some stuff about blades through these flashbacks. For such a major part of the power system, we really haven’t been told much about them. Feedback is welcome as always.