Netflix’s One Piece live-action adaptation is streaming worldwide and has certainly taken fans by surprise with some of the notable creative changes, one of which is the introduction of Vice Admiral Garp. In true Shounen fashion, the leading faction of the manga series, pirates, must also face formidable mainstay adversaries, which in this context are the Marines, the peacekeeping administration deployed by the World Government to keep miscreants like pirates and bandits in check. Vice Admiral Garp is presented as the leader of the Marine fleet, chasing Luffy and his straw-hat crew through the East Blue.
Although initially the cat and mouse game between the two parties seems random, the biggest surprise of the first season is revealed in the climax of the fourth episode, titled The Pirates Are Coming, with the reveal of a familial connection. Garp turns out to be Monkey D. Luffy’s grandfather, Monkey D. Garp, and this makes their respective positions as opponents all the more intriguing. As one of the most significant characters in the entire saga, Garp’s past life and his worldview are incredibly important to understanding the intricacies of the world of One Piece. We would like to explore some of the key aspects of his character and speculate about what his early arrival in the series could mean for future seasons.
Right From The Beginning: How’s Garp’s Relationship With Gold Roger?
Unlike his first appearance in the manga, which took place in the 92nd chapter, Vice Admiral Garp appears in the first minute of the first episode during the execution of pirate king Gold D. Roger. Despite being on the opposite side of the law, it is hinted that Garp had a certain amount of respect for the former owner of One Piece. Despite being one of the most decorated assets of the Marine Corps, Garp has his own sense of code and honor that goes beyond simply adhering to bureaucratic sermons, which is partially the reason why, in the manga, Gold Roger actually chose to surrender himself to him. Garp takes it upon himself to warn the amassed mob at the execution site about the repercussions of a trade as heinous as this, but sees the exact opposite of his intended result as a smirking Roger’s final words invigorate attendees to venture out in the deep blue.
In his fifty-year career, Garp’s worldview, which was initially simplistic and dealt with binaries, has matured a lot. He knows the responsibility bestowed upon him as the protector of the people and as the role model of the Greenhorn Marines like Koby and Helmeppo. But at the same time, he cannot ignore the reality that, at certain points, shaking hands with the devil is necessary for the greater good. However, this also creates a moral dilemma, as seen in the series and on a number of occasions in manga as well.
Familial Ties: Garp’s Expectations From Luffy And Koby
Right after the Straw-hat pirate crew’s encounter with Marine officer Axe-hand Morgan, Garp learns about Luffy’s role as the crew’s leader and begins his pursuit to knock some sense into the brain of this headstrong grandson of his. The duo has found themselves on opposing sides since Luffy’s childhood. As the flashback scene reveals, right since meeting Red-Haired Shanks, Luffy’s only goal in life has been to become a pirate, much to the dismay of Garp, whose ambition was to make his grandson a decorated Marine like him. It is not shown in the series, but Garp described Shanks as a negative influence on Luffy. Through his tough love, Garp tries to convince Luffy to give up his fixation with piracy, as he knows the incomprehensible dangers that lurk in the seas, for which Luffy hasn’t been prepared yet. But in the end, he respects his freedom of choice and allows him to go his way.
Irrespective of the difference in their allegiance, Luffy and Garp share more similarities than random bursts of tantrums and a love for eating. It was natural for someone as driven, noble, and just as Garp to take up the cause of Marines, who, at least theoretically, dedicate themselves to the cause of people in a world where pricks like Alvida, Buggy, and Kuro constitute the majority of pirate factions and terrorize people. In fact, if starry-eyed Luffy hadn’t met Shanks, one of the fewest good, honorable pirates in the first place, Luffy’s innate goodness and his reluctant heroism might have led him to enlist as a Marine as well. Like Luffy, Garp believes in the ideals of freedom as well, which is why, despite being eligible to become Admiral or get even higher promotion, he didn’t opt out of that path, as it meant letting go of the ground control that helps him operate according to his own will without being a Marine’s lapdog. Garp respects Luffy’s potential but still tries to keep him out of harm’s way, which is why the legendary sea warlord Mihawk’s speculation about Luffy crossing the Grand Line and attaining One Piece sends him into a wild fury. Garp also gets startled after Zeff’s remark that Luffy reminded him of Gold Roger, as more than the reputation of the pirate king, the fate he suffered horrifies him more.
Garp tried to envision Luffy in the newest Marine recruit, Koby, and the main reason he took interest in him was because, for a brief while, Koby was an associate of his grandson. Garp inspires and encourages Koby to learn the Marine ways, like parents trying to live vicariously through their children, and even succeeds when Koby learns to respect his own sense of code beyond the set rule by going against his order to apprehend Luffy at the end. One thing Garp struggled with was accepting that the younger generation could be entrusted with the weight of a new world, which Red-Legged Zeff tried to remind him repeatedly. Finally, after seeing how much Luffy and Koby have grown as people, he realizes his mistake and tries to adapt to the flow. He lets Luffy go on his adventures, no longer willing to stop him from chasing his dreams.
How Can His Role Shape Up The Second Season’?
Given that Netflix’s live-action adaptation explores elements scattered across characters past and present, the second-season roadmap of Garp is tricky to chart out. But what manga fans will be most intrigued to see is how his banter with characters like Admiral Sengoku is handled and how he learns more about his past with legendary pirates, the Seven Sea Warlords. Without spoiling much, we can state that the dilemma between Garp’s duty and morality will be showcased in one of the most significant emotional arcs of One Piece, which needs to be handled well in live action, for which series fans will wait eagerly.