As fans of One Piece will know, Monkey D. Garp is Luffy’s grandfather. He is a Marine who has a history with Gol D. Roger, and despite being just a Vice Admiral, he is one of the strongest and most respected members of the Marines. But, while he is usually serious and quite loyal to his work, he also has a funny and very childish side sometimes, and one example of that side is his dog hat. Why does Garp wear it? Keep reading to find out.
Monkey D. Garp has been seen with a dog hat that was used to hide his true identity as Luffy’s grandfather. This was initially based on the Romance Dawn, Version 2 story, which is not part of the canon but where Garp’s design appeared as that of Luffy’s unnamed grandfather. Although the story was subsequently changed, Oda kept Garp’s design, and to hide that fact from the readers, he gave him a dog hat that was in line with the overall canine motif we’ve seen with Garp. Once Luffy and Garp’s relationship has been revealed, Garp never again uses his trademark dog hat in the story.
The rest of this article is going to tell you the story of Monkey D. Garp’s dog hat, a very special type of hat that we’ve seen in the series and that had a very specific role in the series as well. Now, the dog hat might be a thing of the past now, but it was an important moment back when the story was still in its early phases, so we think that it is important that you know all the necessary details. Of course, some spoilers will be present in this article, so be careful how you actually approach it.
Monkey D. Garp was given a dog hat to hide the fact that he was Luffy’s grandfather
Former Navy Vice-Admiral Monkey D. Garp, also known as Garp the Fist, is currently an instructor in the Navy. He is the person in charge of Koby and Helemeppo’s training. He was a significant character during the Gol D. Roger era, along with Sengoku and Whitebeard, but he was already regarded as a hero before this.
He is the biological father of Monkey D. Dragon, the adoptive grandfather of Portgas D. Ace, and the great-grandfather of Monkey D. Luffy. As his name indicates, he has the Will of D., as he has the D. initial in his name. He beat Rocks’ crew with the aid of Gol D. Roger, giving him the title “Hero of the Navy.”
As you can see, Garp is a very important character in the series, but while his story is usually perceived through that of Luffy, he also has some very interesting individual moments that we are, sadly, not going to tackle in this article, but that are going to be discussed (or have been discussed) in some of our other articles.
This one will focus on Garp’s appearance from the earlier arcs, where he was seen with a trademark dog hat covering his face. Now, the dog hat was completely in line with Garp’s overall canine motif, but why did he wear it in the first place? As a Vice Admiral, he does not have a color/animal-themed nickname, plus “dog” has already been taken by Akainu. So, why the hat?
The story is related to the fact that Garp is Luffy’s grandfather. Namely, a character called Luffy’s grandfather was introduced in an older version of the story, Romance Dawn, Version 2. And while the story was completely different there (he was a pirate with a straw hat, and he was, in a way, what Shanks is in One Piece), the design was basically the same, as Oda used Garp’s current design for the design of Luffy’s grandfather in the Romance Dawn, Version 2 story.
He was a little bulkier and less muscular, but the difference was truly minor in that aspect. Of course, Romance Dawn, Version 2 was later revised into One Piece, but when Oda designed Luffy’s grandfather for One Piece, he decided to keep the original design, although he completely changed the story.
Now, not many people actually read Romance Dawn, Version 2, so Oda had the element of surprise still on his side. So, when he decided to reuse Garp’s design for the One Piece manga and to retain his relationship with Luffy while, at the same time, completely revamping his story, he needed to keep the big reveal a mystery.
Now, those who had read Romance Dawn, Version 2 would immediately recognize Garp as Luffy’s grandfather, and the news would quickly spread, so Oda was aware that he would lose the element of surprise and that the big reveal – that the Marine Vice Admiral Monkey D. Garp is Monkey D. Luffy’s biological grandfather – would actually not be as big. So what did he do?
Well, before he was ready to make the big reveal in the series, he decided to conceal Garp under a large, awkward dog hat that concealed his identity. No proper in-universe explanation had been given, but we know that he did it because he did not want the readers to connect this Garp with the character of Luffy’s grandfather from Romance Dawn, Version 2, as that would ruin the surprise for One Piece fans. Garp had the dog hat so fans wouldn’t recognize him, i.e., Oda could surprise them with the big reveal later.
In fact, once it was revealed in the story that Garp is, indeed, Luffy’s grandfather, the Vice Admiral suddenly stopped donning the strange dog and was never seen with it ever again, which is proof that our explanation is correct.