Fans of One Piece will immediately recognize the determined face and incredible power of Vice Admiral Garp, who serves as a major antagonist to Monkey D. Luffy’s journey in One Piece. Viewers of the Netflix live-action adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s iconic manga get to meet this hero of the Marines much earlier than anime fans did, so we’ve got everything you need to know about this important figure in Luffy’s story.
Spoilers ahead for Netflix's One Piece season one.
Vice Admiral Garp makes an early appearance in Netflix’s One Piece
Despite not showing up in the manga until much later, Vice Admiral Garp makes his presence felt right away in the live-action adaptation of One Piece. After Luffy, Zoro, and Nami steal the map to the Grand Line from Axe-Hand Morgan’s safe, they make a swift retreat on a stolen sloop to escape the deadly Marine Captain’s wrath. However, there is an even greater threat hot on their heels.
In Netflix’s One Piece adaptation, Vice Admiral Garp is played by Vincent Regan, who has had a film and TV career dating back to the early '90s. Here, he portrays the high-ranking Marine whose dogged pursuit of Monkey D. Luffy seems slightly extreme considering the Straw Hat crew has no bounty on their heads yet. Garp serves as a mentor to Koby, encouraging him to act rather than overthink every action, and as one of the main antagonists to Luffy as he recruits a crew and seeks out the Grand Line.
Luffy battles Garp twice in the show; the first is a navel battle shortly after the Straw Hats recruit Usopp and get their first real ship, resulting in a shocking revelation that Luffy is the Vice Admiral’s grandson. Their second face-to-face encounter in the show was in the aftermath of the fight against Arlong and his crew of Fishmen where Garp proves that not even Luffy’s Devil Fruit powers can match up to his incredible strength and fighting experience.
Who is Vice Admiral Garp in One Piece?
This is all much earlier than Vice Admiral Garp, whose full name is Monkey D. Garp, appeared in the original anime or manga. For reference, the first time he appears is on the cover of Chapter 92 and he doesn’t interact with Luffy and the other Straw Hats until Chapter 431. However, the events of the live-action show only cover up to chapter 96.
Despite his presence earlier in the story, Garp’s backstory and characterization are very similar to those of the manga. He is one of the most famous Marines in the world of One Piece; in fact, he was the one who eventually captured and executed the previous King of the Pirates, Gold Roger, an act which set off the new Golden Age of Piracy that One Piece takes place in and earned Garp the title of Hero of the Marines. Despite their ongoing feud, Garp had a begrudging respect for Gold Roger as a rival, going so far as to look after Roger’s son, Ace, after the pirate’s death.
He is the paternal grandfather of Monkey D. Luffy, though their relationship has been far from a smooth one. Garp wanted nothing more than to make Luffy a strong Marine cadet one day and would force the boy to undergo extreme training to make him strong. This would eventually drive a wedge between the two due to Luffy’s dream of becoming King of the Pirates, though there remained a familial bond even after the two separated.
What are Vice Admiral Garp’s powers?
Unlike Luffy, Buggy, and many other characters in One Piece, Vice Admiral Garp doesn’t have any Devil Fruit powers beyond being incredibly strong and having been a leader in the Marines for more than 50 years by the time the show starts. His inhuman strength earned him the nickname Garp the Fist and he is shown in the manga to take down legendary Pirates and Marines with a single blow. In his youth, he defeated some of the most powerful pirates in history with just his fists.
As if his physical strength wasn’t enough, there is another important role that Vice Admiral Garp fills in One Piece and that is a mentor to several other characters. Despite being semi-retired by the time One Piece begins, he personally trains Koby, Helmeppo, and other Marines how to use Haki, a spiritual energy that several important characters master in the manga. Garp is one of the few people who has mastered all three forms of Haki, making him formidable even when he is first seen in the manga at the age of 78.
Will Vice Admiral Garp be in future seasons of One Piece?
Garp’s presence in season one of One Piece might help fix some of the slow pacing of the early chapters, but it may have an impact on future seasons of the show. His fight against Luffy in the final episode of season one as well as the revelation that he is the pirate’s grandfather both don’t happen for more than 200 chapters in the manga.
This makes it unlikely that Garp will interact with Luffy and the other Straw Hat Pirates in the immediate seasons of One Piece. While the live-action adaptation has taken some liberties with the order that things occur and has cut several scenes and characters for the sake of time, it hasn’t added much extra content. With the Vice Admiral’s introductory storyline completed, there isn’t much for him to do for more than 300 chapters in the manga.
The door does remain open for Vice Admiral Garp to play a more supporting role, however. At the end of Season 1, he comments that as a reward for their dedication and skill, he is going to personally train both Koby and Helmeppo, though his harsh training regime is likely to make this seem like punishment instead. Chances are that Garp’s screen time will be limited to training montages and flashbacks in the upcoming seasons of the show. It is also possible that these montages will be used to explain the use of Haki in the show, contributing more to world-building than to plot development.
For more, read our guide to the ending of Netflix's One Piece season one.