"One Piece" is a shonen anime classic, a beloved series with over a thousand episodes and several tie-in movies. At the center of it is Monkey D. Luffy, a kid with an infectious smile, an endless appetite, and the grandest of ambitions. Like the main character in most shonen anime, Luffy isn"t just an average hero, though he appears as such at the start. He has special abilities and a boundless heart, plus immeasurable strength. But the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates is also part of a truly impressive lineage.

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Luffy"s family, both by blood and vow, is vast and powerful. He is connected to many of the greatest leaders and warriors of his time — pirates, rebels, and military geniuses alike. His kin connections mean he"s truly destined for the greatness to which he aspires. To follow those familial strings, though, is a complex undertaking. Luckily, we"ve done the legwork for you.


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Toei Animation
When we first meet Monkey D. Luffy, he"s just a kid with no real guardian. He hangs out at pubs with pirates (specifically Shanks) and is never seen at home or with parental figures. He conducts himself as if his life is truly his own, with nobody to answer to but himself. This freedom allows him to dream big from a young age, and the pirates he rubs shoulders with on a regular basis are happy to indulge his aspirations.


Years later, when he"s ready to start putting together his pirate squad, he still appears to have no parents. This is partly why he feels fine about setting out to sea with nothing but some Gum-Gum abilities and a dream. Of course, he does have a dad somewhere, and his identity is revealed later in the "One Piece" story. We"ll have more on his father shortly, but first, we need to talk about his lineage. Luffy"s bloodline is a celebrated one, and it"s all to do with his middle initial: D.


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Toei Animation
It"s easy to assume that D. is simply Luffy"s middle initial when you"re new to "One Piece," but then other people with a D. in their name start to appear. We meet Portgas D. Ace, Trafalgar D. Water Law, and learn about Gol D. Roger, the last Pirate King and the one who hid the legendary One Piece treasure.


Several people mention the "Will of D.," which is a connective tissue between many of the greats in the "One Piece" world. It soon becomes clear that the Will of D. has something to do with the Void Century, a period which nobody is allowed to study under the law of the World Government. The mystery is never fully uncovered — at least, it"s yet to be. It is implied that the Will of D. is hereditary, however, and linked to a common ancestor from the Void Century.

Maybe all the D. characters are blood relatives from way back when. Or perhaps they simply all came from the same village or tribe. One thing is for sure, though: Everyone with the middle initial D. has ambition, and many have achieved great things. So who are Monkey D. Luffy"s direct relatives, then?


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Toei Animation
Monkey D. Dragon is the head of the Revolutionary Army, which fights the good fight against the World Government. He"s also Monkey D. Luffy"s father. It takes a few hundred episodes before we first meet Luffy"s dad, who wasn"t around when his son was growing up. He only appears from time to time in "One Piece," though he does team up with his son and his son"s crew on occasion.


Dragon is distinctly his own man, living his own life with his own ambitions to overthrow the corrupt system of Nobles. He does show a strong sense of kinship, readily doing everything he can for the good of those related to and closest to him. One wonders, then, how he could have left his young son behind while he went gallivanting around the world trying to fight the government. The answer is, of course, that he left Luffy with the boy"s grandfather.


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Toei Animation
There"s a splendid irony in the fact that the father of the Revolutionary Army"s leader is a vice admiral in the World Government"s Marines. Monkey D. Garp is the man who raised notorious pirate Monkey D. Luffy, adding another fun twist to that fact. This hero of the World Government"s top military force also helped raise Portgas D. Ace, son of one of the most notorious pirates ever.


Garp is a living legend, even if he"s on a different side of the law to his son and his grandsons. Despite his allegiances, the imposing vice admiral is similar to his family in that he greatly values his freedom. Like Dragon and Luffy, he has a strong moral code that he values above everything else. He"s seen as an antagonist in "One Piece," though he often prioritizes his family and friends over his bosses at the World Government. He actually seems to find his grandson"s rise to the top of the pirate world amusing rather than vexing.


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Toei Animation
As we just mentioned, Garp took in a boy named Portgas D. Ace when his dad passed away. He raised Ace alongside Luffy and wanted them to be Marines like him, so he was initially disappointed when they both became pirates. Like Luffy, Ace gained powers from eating a Devil Fruit, which allows him to control fire — he goes by the incredibly cool nickname Fire Fist.


Ace is the first member of Luffy"s family that we get introduced to. He saves his brother and his friends the first time they meet, and he always seems to show up when they need him most. The fact that they are sworn brothers rather than blood brothers doesn"t mean that Luffy and Ace care about each other any less. Ace actually sacrifices himself so Luffy can escape at one stage, and if that"s not true brotherhood, we don"t know what is.


While Monkey D. Garp technically raised both Luffy and Ace, he wasn"t unlike his son in that his personal ambitions sometimes got in the way. Being in the Marines often kept him away from home for long periods. When this happened, he turned the two kids over to a woman named Curly Dadan, a legendary leader of mountain bandits. It was a win-win situation: He won"t have her arrested so long as she cares for the boys when he"s not around.


Curly Dadan is the closest thing Luffy and Ace had to a mother. She"s a big, strong mountain woman whose ideas of discipline were a bit severe. She liked to make out as though she didn"t care about the boys, but when it really mattered, she (and her bandits) came to their aid. Though she grumbled the whole time, obviously. She played a big part in raising Luffy and Ace, and even Sabo (more on him later) to a certain extent. She seemed to like Ace the best, which isn"t surprising, given who his real father was.


Gol D. Roger was the legendary king of the pirates who, before his execution, announced that he had hidden the One Piece, the treasure after which the series is named. Ace"s mother, Portgas D. Rouge, was Gol D. Roger"s lover. Sadly, she gave birth to Ace after his father had been executed. Monkey D. Garp, who did battle with Gol D. Roger on many occasions as a Marine, might seem like a strange choice to raise his son, but Rouge trusted him to do right by the boy.


This means that Ace is basically a pirate prince, the son of the man who Luffy most wants to emulate. Luffy is trying to find the One Piece and become the new king of the pirates, so he"s fortunate to have Ace as his sworn brother. They"re all part of one big pirate family with the Will of D. behind them.


He"s the son of Gol D. Roger and was raised (mainly) by Monkey D. Garp, but Ace had another father figure in his life. He was in charge of his own crew when he came up against his biological dad"s old rival, Whitebeard. This fierce pirate defeated Ace in battle, but he admired the boy"s spirit. Instead of killing him, Whitebeard asked Ace to join the Whitebeard Pirates. When he refused, Whitebeard basically took him hostage. Ace tried to kill his new captain on numerous occasions, but he grew fond of him after seeing first-hand how much he cared for his crew.


Whitebeard is one of the strongest pirates in the current "One Piece" timeline, and arguably has a great chance of becoming the new Pirate King. As such, he"s a great man for Luffy to have a connection to. Since Whitebeard considers all of his crewmembers to be his "sons," and Ace is one such crewmember, that technically makes Whitebeard and Luffy family. Uncle Whitebeard has a great ring to it.


An early memorable moment in "One Piece" is when Shanks passes his straw hat to Luffy, a hat that Luffy treasures so much that he later names his pirate crew after it. At first glance, the hat seems like it"s just a nice gift from Luffy"s first real pirate friend, but there"s way more to it than that: The story behind the hat makes it more of a talisman than a simple fashion statement.


Back when Gol D. Roger was building his pirate crew, he wore this very straw hat. He passed it on to Shanks when he joined the Roger Pirates, and then Shanks wore it as he captained his own crew. When Shanks met the young Luffy at the start of "One Piece" and Luffy told him that he was going to be Pirate King one day, Shanks passed the hat on to him. A sort of brotherhood of the traveling hat is now realized, as Luffy proudly rocks the straw hat that once belonged to the great Gol D. Roger himself.


When Gol D. Roger was the Pirate King, the second most powerful man on the seas was Silvers Rayleigh, his first mate. Silvers is such a legend that he has his own moniker (the Dark King) and strikes fear into the hearts of pirates everywhere. He retired from the pirate life when Roger got executed, but that doesn"t stop him from helping out the Straw Hats, and especially Luffy.


Silvers heard all about Luffy from Shanks, so when he finally got to meet the kid, he already liked him. Luffy, in turn, respected the old man and loved hearing his stories about Gol D. Roger. Eventually, Silvers took Luffy under his wing and taught him how to master Haki, the great spiritual power that makes pirates and warriors into legends. As his mentor, he"s in some ways more of a father figure to Luffy than anybody else has ever been.


As they both have D. in their names, Trafalgar D. Water Law and Monkey D. Luffy are cousins of sorts. Of course, several characters in "One Piece" have D. in their names, but Trafalgar"s family appears to take a lot of pride in that mysterious initial. This is perhaps why he seems to come to Luffy"s aid in times of great need, guided by their familial legacy and the Will of D., as it"s often referred to.


Trafalgar has suffered personally because of his loyalty to his distant cousin. He was once one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea (pirates in the employ of the World Government), but he was stripped of that title when he sided with the Straw Hats during a dispute. Like Luffy, he desperately wants to locate the One Piece, but he"s equally as obsessed with discovering the true meaning of his name.


Luffy"s biological dad, Monkey D. Dragon, left his son to become the father of the revolution. His right-hand man in the Revolutionary Army is Sabo, another of Luffy"s sworn brothers. As kids, Sabo and Ace used to commit petty crimes while dealing with Ace"s annoying younger "brother," Luffy. Eventually, they started getting along and discovered that it was a wonderful thing to be united in brotherhood. Sabo became Luffy"s other sworn brother, and he"s been loyal to him ever since.


Born into nobility, Sabo craved a life of adventure and piracy. When his first pirate ship was destroyed, he was saved by Dragon and became his chief of staff. Sabo is very protective of Luffy, always quick to come to his brother"s aid. He even gave Luffy a Vivre Card, which allows Luffy and the Straw Hats to locate him should they ever need him.

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Because Luffy is connected by either blood or vows to essentially all the most powerful and "good" people in the "One Piece" world, there"s no doubt that he is destined to achieve real greatness himself one day.