Exploring Garp’s Role in the One Piece Series: A Comparison Between Manga and Netflix Adaptation

Warning, spoilers

The following lines deal with advanced scenes from the One Piece series by Netflix. If you are not up to date either in the series (at least episode 5 included), or in the manga (volume 45 included) or in the animated adaptation (episode 313), it is not recommended to read the article if you want to keep the surprise of the discovery.


A character present late in the manga

Present in the casting of the series One Piece by Netflix, Vincent Regan plays the role of Garp: a vice-admiral of the Navy, the main military force of the government. A position but above all a rank that inspires respect since only admirals and the admiral in chief have a superior. On paper, it’s kind of military that no pirate wants to cross whether for the most seasoned or even for the main character of One Piece that is Luffy.

It’s probably for these reasons that in the manga and anime, Garp isn’t around anytime soon. If it appears initially volume 11 and episode 92, it is only through mini-adventures. Additional drawings to tell the continuation of the journey of two characters met at the beginning of the story. It is then necessary to wait much longer to see the vice-admiral in the spotlight. It is precisely in volume 45 (episode 313) that we see “the hero” of the Navy. And since then, he has taken an increasingly prominent place in the manga.

In the spotlight much earlier in the One Piece series by Netflix

In summary, Garp is built as an important character remaining secondary in the manga. This is not at all the case in the adaptation made by Netflix. He is present from the first seconds of the series since it is he who oversees the execution of Gol D. Roger. Something coherent when you know the manga but which could have stopped there and acted as a simple wink. Except that we see the vice-admiral again. And rather ten times than one.

In the series, it is Garp who serves as the head of the Navy on the East Blue Sea. A not particularly illogical state of affairs: in the manga, its first appearance comes in the mini-adventures of Kobby and Hermep. However, the three come from the region: the first wants to enjoy his freedom in a quiet corner of the globe while taking care of his grandson; the second was sequestered by Alvida; while the third is the son of Morgan (military leader of the Navy of Shells Town). So inevitably, as a patrolman of the East Sea, the emergence of new fearsome pirates always makes his ears whistle.

Throughout the first episodes of the series, Garp is therefore presented as an antagonist. Anyone who doesn’t know who he is is introduced to him as the great Marine soldier, who would serve as the Season 1 final boss for the Straw Hat crew. A rather odd construction as a villain for those familiar with the original work. Quite quickly (much earlier than in the manga), the silence is lifted: Garp is Luffy’s grandfather. The more conservative may struggle with the use of the character so many times it doesn’t respect the original work. But I like to think it was done for several reasons besides being well done.

A treatment that sums up the good adaptation by Netflix

Some might be frustrated to see revelations so soon because “it’s just not like the manga”. But I, the first to have been reluctant to this idea, I resolved to do so. And I must say that after some thought, the idea is not so problematic.

On paper already, it does not seem to be a problem for the future of the series if it were to continue. The revelation of blood ties between Garp and Luffy so early in the story is not a problem in itself: it does not have its share of consequences in the original story even if its impact remains significant today. It is also a question of medium: it is the type of reversal of situation that always has more flavor when reading. The speech bubble freezes the revelation for a moment. It remains stuck in our eyes and it’s up to us to turn the page or not. However, the animated and the live action by their nature cannot stop time during a revelation of this type since the dialogues must be linked.

Nevertheless, it is true that this sequence can be problematic. If it becomes known in live-action that Garp is Luffy’s grandfather, it may take a toll on the fidelity of Luffy’s original work. But there are already several ways to circumvent this problem: to consider that the family relationship is not rumored across the seas, or to play on it to propose new scenes.

That’s all the credit to the four producers (Marty Adelstein, Becky Clements, Matt Owens, Steven Maeda) with Garp’s presence and build. manga popular. Something to grab their attention while managing to land on their feet. Season 1 ends in a fairly coherent way on this side (not everyone is in the same boat unfortunately, we will have time to come back to it in the coming days). Besides, I can’t help but think that Garp and his new recruits should be showing up sooner than you think. Maybe it’s just a fantasy on my part. A confirmation of Netflix’s success in having managed to surprise a One Piece reader.

In addition to convincing long-time One Piece enthusiasts, Netflix also hooks viewers who are new to it. Garp is a bit the only antagonistic character (like Buggy) who acts as a common thread during the eight episodes. Again, this helps introduce suspense into the series. This one can not afford to extend as much as the manga does, she had to cut some passages in the quick. Just shortening each story arc and pasting them into a series would probably have been boring for the viewer: he would have just seen Luffy and co. crossing the islands quickly, triumphing over every local bully. A linear journey without twists and turns that would have lacked flavor. At least, the possible meeting with Garp serves as a binder each time and makes you want to see what will happen. To support this statement, he continues to display a certain vehemence towards his grandson despite the “public” declaration of his relationship with him. What to wonder, temporarily, about the source of his anger

Finally, this special treatment of Garp allows something more general. That of identifying the Netflix series as a real adaptation, with scenes deleted, modified but above all added. Like any fan, I then apprehended their treatment of certain sequences (eight, which I discuss in this article). If there are sometimes things to complain about (especially on the direct transposition of certain scenes), having integrated Garp at the beginning of the series despite his big difference was superbly done. A perfect example of an adaptation that delivers its side of things by staying consistent with the source material while trying to appeal to a new audience. What, for my part, await season 2 with interest.

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