Luffy being an absolute cutie during One Piece's new ending theme
(Toei Animation)

‘One Piece’: Breaking Down Luffy’s Complex Family Tree

Beautiful and sprawling epic that it is, One Piece is many things. But of the many themes it tackles, “chosen family” is a particularly important one. This is a show about pirates, after all—people who have been cast aside by society, find kindred spirits in their crew, and risk their lives for each other.

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That being said, everyone is biologically born from someone. In Luffy’s case, we have absolutely no idea who that poor woman was, but still—there’s your biological family and your chosen family. With Monkey D. Luffy’s family tree in particular, that line can get quite blurry, especially since Luffy himself places no importance at all on lineage. I’d argue he actively devalues thinking in terms of biological lineage. The people in One Piece who care about that kind of thing tend to be the world’s biggest and most entitled assholes—Celestial Dragons, evil monarchs, and the like.

But, since you asked, here is all we know about the greater Monkey family tree. (Remember One Piece names are Japanese-style, with the last name listed first.)

Gen 1 (Grandfather): Monkey D. Garp

Garp holding a young Luffy in One Piece

The earliest generation of the Monkey family we know about is Luffy’s grandfather, Monkey D. Garp. Garp is a vice-admiral in the Navy and widely considered a living legend within the world of One Piece. This is a man who uses giant warships for punching bags. He hasn’t fully drunk the Marines’ jingoistic kool-aide (Garp turned down the admiral position because it would mean he would have to protect the Celestial Dragons), but Garp means business.

And he brought that sense of business to his grandson’s early upbringing. Garp left Luffy in Windmill Village to be raised by the town, in particular by Makino, the kindly owner of Party’s Bar. But Garp would pop in every now and again to give his grandson some “training,” which often meant rather abusive tactics like throwing him into the jungle and waiting for days to see if he could make it out. The Monkey family tree is not filled with the best father figures.

Garp really wanted Luffy to become a Marine. Unfortunately for him, his absence left a giant hole in Luffy’s young, impressionable life which Shanks handily filled, and Luffy in turn became insistent on becoming a pirate. He then left Luffy in the care of Dadan, the big boss of the mountain bandits outside of town. It did not help.

Note that Luffy has had various parental-type figures pass through his life—Makino, Shanks, Dadan. Pending some giant twist in the story, none of them are biologically related to Luffy by blood.

Gen 2: Monkey D. Dragon

Monkey D. Dragon in One Piece.

One Piece is a world filled with absentee fathers, and Monkey D. Dragon (along with Yasopp) is a prime example. Dragon has been so removed from Luffy’s life, Luffy didn’t even know he had a father until Garp told him about Dragon at the end of the Enies Lobby arc, which took place when he was 17.

Dragon is the Supreme Commander of the Revolutionary Army, as well as one of its founding members. As One Piece goes on, it’s become clear that the reason Dragon kept such a distance is so the World Government would not go after Luffy and endanger his safety by turning him into a bargaining chip. Dragon is, after all, one of the world’s most wanted men. It’s not entirely that he doesn’t care—unknown to Luffy himself, Dragon saved his son from the Navy in Loguetown.

Ironically, Dragon ended up bringing Luffy’s sworn brother, Sabo (more on that in a second), into the Revolutionary Army and essentially raised him since he was ten.

Also, before you ask—we have no idea who Luffy’s mother is. None at all. Which is a shame, because I want to know who boinked this very serious man.

Gen 3: Monkey D. Luffy

Luffy nomming on some pizza on Egghead

Here he is. Our beautiful boy, the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates. The boy who dreamt of becoming King of the Pirates, and also some second thing we don’t know the details about yet. We know him, we love him. As our central point for this little study, we don’t have to say too much more about him.

Gen 3 (sworn brother): Portgas D. Ace

Portgas D. Ace in Wano

For a very hot second in the story of One Piece, you assume that Luffy and Ace are biological brothers. But they’re not—they’re sworn brothers, who have come to regard each other as blood brothers after taking an oath over sake (as children, yes) with their fellow brother, Sabo.

In the same fascinating little moment of twists, you learn that Ace’s biological father is the famous King of the Pirates, the late Gol D. Roger. His mother, Portgas D. Rouge, sacrificed her own life for a prolonged pregnancy which would throw off many Marine officers hunting for Roger’s progeny. Ace held a disdain for his father because of this and took his mother’s name. However, this technically means Luffy’s “adoptive father,” or whatever you want to call that extended relationship, is Gol D. Roger.

Drawing on their history as old war buddies, Roger left Ace in Garp’s care, and Garp in turn dropped Ace off at Dadan’s to be raised alongside Luffy. As the older brother, Ace left the island first to pursue his dreams of piracy, and eventually became one of the many adopted sons of (and a fleet commander for) the great Whitebeard.

Gen 3 (sworn brother): Sabo

Sabo in 'One Piece'

Luffy’s other sworn brother is Sabo, who is currently the chief of staff of the Revolutionary Army and Monkey D. Dragon’s No. 2.

Unlike Luffy and Ace, Sabo’s parents are nobles of the Goa Kingdom—Outlook III and his wife, Didit. However, Sabo fundamentally disagreed with his parents’ snobbish, entitled values and way of thinking. Sabo ran away from home to live with Luffy and Ace, and in his absences, his parents adopted a little snotnose of a son named Stelly who shared their terrible values. Incidentally, Stelly went on to become the current king of Goa Kingdom.

Eventually, Sabo’s situation in Goa Kingdom became so bad, he had no choice but to escape from the island completely. However, a Celestial Dragon opened fire on Sabo’s little dingy for daring to cross his ship’s path, and Sabo was presumed dead by Luffy, Ace, Dadan, and everyone else who knew him. In reality, Sabo was saved by Dragon, who took him into the Revolutionary Army. Unfortunately, Sabo suffered memory loss from the blow and did not remember about his sworn brothers until … tragedy struck.

(Image credit: Toei Animation)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.