Luffy's struggle to get closer to Ace has been a hard fought path and
he's faced a number of powerful and intense obstacles. Some of them have
been more personal than others, but along the entire way he's been
focused solely on getting to Ace and setting him free before he's
executed. As he gets ever closer, and essentially just about there, the
biggest challenge he has to face may be there in the form of Garp, his
grandfather. Garp's role has always been one I found fascinating since
he's the big man on campus within the Navy yet has these boys in his
life who have become well known and powerful pirates in their own right.
And he knew this from the start, especially with Luffy, who has wanted
to be the king of pirates since he was a little boy.
With the two just about to face off, it's not surprising in the least that we get a fair number of flashback sequences to when Luffy was but a small lad and Garp has black hair instead of the heavy grays he has now. The two have had a number of flashbacks over the years to their relationship at this stage and each time you see it, you can't help but to really enjoy it as they're so close and comfortable with each other. Contrasting that to the present where the two have to face off in a very serious manner, and with Garp conflicted in a way because he must fight him in order to push him into saving Ace, it's positively Shakespearian in its nature and comes with all the emotional intensity that you'd expect. You can feel for Luffy pretty often, but here is where Garp truly shines and helps to raise the emotional level of the series.