Let's look at One Piece aka The Gospel of Garp
In the One Piece anime, we're entering the Reverie Arc. Now, for those of you that don't keep up with One Piece, I'm sorry. I really am. I don't know what you're doing with your time, but I only hope that it makes you happy. But if you don't stay up to date with it, the Reverie occurs every four years, when the various rulers of the nations that exist under the World Government come together to, I don't know, decide stuff. And since the Straw Hat Crew have been island hopping like Instagram celebrities with trust funds for the past few years, they've met a lot of these rulers.
That means that we're gonna get to see Vivi, Rebecca, Shirahoshi, Cobra, Dalton and, sigh, Wapol, among many others. But also, and this is the main reason that I'm excited for it, we're gonna get to see Garp, Luffy's Grandpa, again. We haven't seen him in a while, and that's a shame, because Monkey D. Garp, as far as I'm concerned, is Anime's Best Grandfather. Someone should buy him a coffee cup that says that.
"But Daniel," you say, probably. "How did you get to this conclusion? What scientific method did you use?" Well, I looked at three key areas. And I'll explain them to you now, mainly because it would be weird if I didn't and was just like "Here's my opinion! Now watch Mob Psycho or something. Later!"
HOW DOES GARP STAND APART FROM OTHER ANIME GRANDPAS?
First of all, he stands apart because look at him. If you need to find him in a crowd, just look for the dude with shoulders as wide as most condos. He looks like a man that's done nothing but compete in arm wrestling tournaments for eighty years. But aside from that, Garp doesn't fall into many old man tropes. For example, he's not a pervy senior. His nose doesn't gush buckets of blood when he sees a pretty girl. In fact, as you'll see in the upcoming arc, he accompanies Shirahoshi and Neptune up from Fishman Island just to make their journey more comfortable. Aww. Good Guy Garp.
And he also doesn't try to shy away from a battle because he's old, or make jokes about just how decrepit he is in order to get you to drop your guard. Garp is perfectly capable of handling himself in a fight, which brings me to my next point:
WE STILL DON'T KNOW HOW STRONG GARP IS
Sure, we hear stories about his time in Gol D. Roger and Whitebeard's era. And yes, he can punch Whitebeard's first division commander Marco out of the sky. And he can also throw cannonballs, which must make him an absolute menace during the Marines' annual Dodgeball Tournament And Picnic. But even still, the question remains: Just how powerful is this dude?
Is he stronger than Luffy? Or how about Rayleigh? We assume that he's not as powerful as Big Mom or Kaido, but again, we're just not sure. He's a Vice Admiral, but he could've easily moved up a few ranks if he wanted to. Heck, when Akainu punched a hole through Ace, Sengoku had to hold Garp back from killing the magma jerk. Could Garp have killed Akainu? We don't know! But probably, as he certainly seemed confident about being able to rip his head off.
That kind of thing is fascinating. One Piece has been going for about twenty years, and it isn't like Garp is just a non-speaking cameo role. The dude's shown up a few times, but we're still endlessly debating who can out-brawl him.
WHERE DO HIS LOYALTIES LIE?
It's Marineford. A war is going on, and you're on the edge of your seat because Luffy is running up to the platform to save his "brother" Ace from execution. But Garp stands in the way. Garp, who had a hand in raising both of these precocious pirates, has finished talking to Ace about how upset he is that Ace is getting executed, and now he looks like he's gonna punch the rubber out of Luffy (or at least he's making a really good show about it.)
But he turns away. He closes his eyes. Sad music plays and he allows Luffy to punch him. You're crying. I'm crying. Your Dad is crying because you're crying about cartoons. Your Mom is crying because your Dad is crying about you crying and she always wished that she could get into One Piece, but couldn't work up the courage to ask you to explain what a "Grand Line" is. Your dog is crying because pets feel emotions, too. The whole world weeps.
But if Garp was such a career navy man, couldn't he just swat Luffy off the platform? Couldn't he have just strangled Luffy back at Water 7? Couldn't he have just sat in Luffy's way and not let him leave the Windmill Village? Where does Garp the Navy Savior end and Garp the Lovable Grandpa begin?
Garp certainly likes his job, but he takes liberties with it, which makes me wonder if Garp wouldn't be perfectly happy doing something else that would fit into his definition of "the right path." He certainly likes training Koby and Helmeppo, but he could just do that elsewhere, and he wouldn't even have to wear a uniform. He could probably just dress in a Hawaiian button-down and challenge tourists to push-up contests. That seems his speed.
I LOVE GARP
I do. I think he's great and I think he's one of the most underrated characters that One Piece has to offer. And I hope that whatever character arc he has comes full circle. Garp had a habit of knocking Luffy around, even when Luffy was just a tiny rubber lad, and though it was mostly played for laughs, I think it would be cool to one day see a Garp that has further recognized the mistakes that he's made in child-rearing. Some of the progress is already there, and I believe that Garp could be a great example of the fact that, even though you may be old and set in your ways, you can still change for the better.
So I can't wait to see him again in the Reverie Arc and in any other arc that Eiichiro Oda can toss him into. So keep watching One Piece on Crunchyroll, and keep hoping that, eventually, Brawny Best Grandpa Garp gets the respect and love that he deserves.
Do you also love Garp? Are you excited for the Reverie? Let me know in the comments!
Daniel Dockery is a writer for Crunchyroll. You can find him reading the Gospel of Garp on Twitter.
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