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My theory is that Mihawk has a technique, perhaps a variant of Colour of Observation, wherein you affect the enemy’s premonition and make them “feel” or “see” what is going to happen to them. It’s like a reverse CoO. Normal CoO allows you to see what the enemy is going to do. This CoO version allows you to make the opponent realize what’s going to happen to them if they go through with their attack.
Hope that makes sense. Now, where does this link back to Zoro? Look at this panel here:
Luffy “saw” what was going to happen to him before it did. And Mihawk even notes that he was “clearheaded” enough to take a step back and not go through with his attack. Take note of the focus on Mihawk’s eye and the artwork. Because, it’s very similar to this:
Too similar to Zoro’s face. And Monet’s reaction mirror’s Luffy’s in the sense that she knew what was going to happen to her. Unlike Luffy, who didn’t fall for the intimidation, she was frozen by it, completely.
My guess is that Zoro, while training with Mihawk, developed this technique and also developed a defense against it. If Mihawk is gonna repeatedly bombard you with this, you are going to develop a defense for it. And that defense is his closed eye.
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What do you think about?