"Axe-Hand" Morgan is a former Marine captain, the father of Helmeppo and the first significant Marine officer to appear in the storyline. After his defeat by Monkey D. Luffy and Roronoa Zoro, he was stripped of his rank for his many abuses of power.
Morgan is a notably tall, muscular man with tanned skin, blonde hair, and a steel jaw etched with the word Möwe (the German for "seagull"). As his epithet suggests, his right hand has been replaced with a huge steel axe, the handle of which is not only bolted through the bones of his forearm, but sticks out where his elbow should be.
Like most Marine officers, he wears a large, ornate overcoat. However, this coat notably lacks the usual "Justice" (正義?) insignia, and is completely sleeveless; it is also worn conventionally, instead of being draped over the shoulders like a cape. His trousers bear a striped pattern reminiscent of Marine Bases and battleships.
In peacetime, he can often be seen smoking a cigar.
After his defeat and arrest, Morgan was put into a standard striped prisoner's uniform, and shackled around the arms and legs. While he eventually rid himself of the shackles, the prisoner's uniform has remained his last known outfit to date.
In his youth, Morgan was a brave, tenacious Marine, willing to defy enemies even on the brink of death. In time, however, his success corrupted him until he became a brutal tyrant obsessed with his personal status and glory above all.
As such, Morgan's usual demeanor is similar to that of many pirates - ruling chiefly through terror, quick to threaten execution for the slightest defiance, and utterly convinced of his own infallibility. Such is his narcissism that he considered a statue of himself (funded by taxes coerced from Shells Town's citizens) one of his greatest accomplishments.
Following his defeat and arrest, Morgan also displayed enough cunning to successfully escape custody. What motives or goals he may have adopted since are unknown.
Morgan's main - possibly only - relation is his son Helmeppo. At the height of his career, he let Helmeppo act as a sort of unofficial deputy, bullying local civilians (and even subordinate Marines) under Morgan's own authority. While Helmeppo thought this stemmed from fatherly love, Morgan never truly possessed any, and casually answered Helmeppo's complaint about being struck by Monkey D. Luffy with a blow of his own, adding that his son had simply not been "worth" hitting before.
This (along with seeing Morgan's willingness to kill even children) deeply unsettled Helmeppo's views of his father. However, their relationship did not completely collapse until some time after Morgan's defeat and imprisonment. Uncaring that Helmeppo alone was genuinely concerned for his fate, Morgan took the boy hostage to escape custody, spurring Helmeppo to disown him and flee at the first opportunity.
What relationship Morgan initially had with his fellow Marines is unknown. Once he became commander of the 153rd Branch, however, he tyrannized his subordinates as mercilessly as he did civilians, forcing them to collect heavy taxes and arrest - if not outright kill - anyone who displeased him. Those who disobeyed for any reason were inevitably executed as "traitors" by Morgan himself.
Due to this, the rest of the 153rd unanimously hated Morgan, rejoicing in his defeat and quickly imprisoning him afterward.
In his youth, Morgan was the sole survivor of an attack by Captain Kuro of the Black Cat Pirates, and was subsequently hypnotized into thinking he had captured the infamous pirate. Neither man is known to have thought about the other since, though Morgan continues to allude to the incident as justification for his Captain rank.
Morgan's most prominent enemies are, of course, the inaugural members of the Straw Hat Pirates - Monkey D. Luffy and Roronoa Zoro. While condemning both for defying his rule, Morgan did not judge either a significant threat, claiming Zoro's strength was "dust" compared to his own and refusing to give in even after Luffy effortlessly outfought him. It is unknown whether he ever changed these judgments after his defeat.
Abilities and Powers
Even as a recruit, Morgan was notably tougher than average, surviving an onslaught from Captain Kuro that instantly killed dozens of other Marines (though it should be noted that not finishing him was a deliberate choice on Kuro's part).
As Captain of the 153rd, Morgan possessed notably more muscle and bulk - enough to easily lift an average-sized man by the neck - as well as complete authority over an entire base of Marine swordsmen and riflemen. While he lost this authority after his arrest, he still maintained enough strength to burst a set of metal shackles from the inside-out.
Morgan's axe-hand is a completely functional weapon, sharp and sturdy enough to bisect an entire chain-link fence and create small fissures in the ground. Despite its unwieldy appearance, Morgan is able to maneuver it with ease.
Morgan led a largely unremarkable life in the Marines, until the fateful night his crew attacked the Black Cat Pirates, incurring the wrath of the infamous Captain Kuro. With his superhuman speed and deadly claws, Kuro easily massacred all of Morgan's crewmates, leaving Morgan himself just barely alive with a broken jaw and a maimed arm. The defiant Morgan refused to beg for his life, but was spared anyway, as Kuro had long schemed to retire from piracy undisturbed; Morgan, deemed an ideal pawn for this scheme, was hypnotized by Jango into believing that he had captured Kuro, and sent off with a lookalike pirate (hypnotized into believing that he was Kuro).
After "Kuro" was executed, Morgan - a mere chief petty officer at the time - was given sole credit for the capture and quickly promoted to lieutenant commander. Within the next three years, his obsession with rank and power carried him even higher, until he was appointed captain of the 153rd Branch and given absolute authority over the surrounding community of Shells Town.
East Blue Saga
Romance Dawn Arc
By the time Roronoa Zoro arrived at Shells Town, Morgan had become an outright tyrant, extracting high taxes from the townsfolk (who grew to fear the mere mention of his name) and building monuments to himself. None dared challenge his rule, as he had no qualms about killing "traitors", up to and including his own men. His son Helmeppo regularly exploited this, forcing the townsfolk to grovel and cater to his every whim; when Zoro refused to follow suit, even killing Helmeppo's pet wolf for threatening a local girl named Rika, Morgan indulged his son's request to have the bounty hunter arrested and starved for a month.
However, after nine days of starvation failed to break Zoro, Morgan and Helmeppo decided to execute the bounty hunter as a warning to the townsfolk. Around the same time, reports of the arrest led rookie pirate Monkey D. Luffy and aspiring Marine Koby to Shells Town, partly in hopes of recruiting Zoro. Upon arriving, the pair condemned Morgan's rule and resolved to free Zoro, Luffy outright attacking Helmeppo after overhearing the execution plans.
At first, Morgan cared little about these newcomers, even striking Helmeppo himself when urged to punish them; his wrath was instead focused on Rika, who had been caught smuggling food to Zoro that same day. To the horror of the entire base (including Helmeppo), Morgan ordered the girl executed, and immediately maimed his closest lieutenant for protesting.
All the while, Morgan remained unaware that Luffy had begun searching the base for Zoro's confiscated swords - until Luffy forced his way onto the roof, unwittingly breaking a just-finished statue of Morgan. Seconds later, Koby was caught trying to free Zoro, and a furious Morgan deployed his entire troop with orders to kill, only for Luffy and Zoro to easily beat them all.
Unsympathetic, Morgan ordered all of the "defeatists" to commit suicide, and tried to fight Luffy one-on-one, but found his great strength useless against the younger, faster pirate. Though the one-sided battle was interrupted by Helmeppo (who took Koby hostage with a pistol), Morgan was cut down by Zoro before he could press the advantage.
On seeing their captain defeated, Morgan's men immediately began celebrating, overjoyed to be free of his tyranny. Subsequently, Morgan was detained in the very base he once commanded, while one of his former lieutenants took charge of the 153rd Branch.
News of Luffy's 30,000,000 bounty was personally delivered to the incarcerated Morgan by one of his cell guards, and left him newly furious.
Concludes non-canon section.
Diary of Koby-Meppo
Eventually, Morgan was formally arraigned for his crimes by Marine Headquarters. His impending court-martial became a subject of much discussion among the 153rd Branch - particularly the newly-enlisted Koby and Helmeppo, who now viewed him with a mixture of fear and compunction.
On the day of the court-martial, Morgan was transferred to an escort ship captained by the renowned Vice-Admiral Garp. In mid-transfer, however, Garp fell into one of his irregular sleeping fits, and Morgan immediately seized the opening to attack the Vice-Admiral before taking Helmeppo hostage.. This allowed Morgan to successfully escape in a lifeboat, but destroyed the last of his relationship with his son, who openly disowned him and swam back to Garp's ship.
For his part, Morgan made no effort to pursue his son, and continued along the open sea by himself.
Jango's Dance Paradise
What became of Morgan since - and whether any Marines are still in active pursuit of him - is unknown.
- Morgan vs. Kuro
- Morgan vs. Monkey D. Luffy and Roronoa Zoro
- Morgan vs. Monkey D. Garp
- Morgan vs. Helmeppo and Koby
Early One Piece
Eiichiro Oda initially tried several designs intending for Morgan to look like a "crazier" version of Helmeppo, especially in chin and hairstyle. After an editor belittled these early designs as "lame," Morgan was overhauled to look more sober and intimidating, though he still shared a number of his son's physical traits.
Oda had originally conceived the name 'Chop' for Morgan, but claimed that he "didn't dare" to actually publish it (as "Sailor Chop" (水兵チョップ Suihei choppu?) sounded identical to "Horizon Chop" (水平チョップ Suihei choppu?), the latter being a signature move of professional wrestler Giant Baba).
Anime and Manga Differences
East Blue Saga
In the manga, Morgan is shown openly maiming Rokkaku for refusing to pursue Rika, his axe-hand leaving a visible gash in Rokkaku's side. The anime somewhat censors this, omitting any visible blood and re-framing the blow to look like it came from the axe's blunt handle.
Additionally, the anime expands Morgan's reaction at Luffy's abilities into a full description of Devil Fruits (as the manga events in Chapter 1 introducing Devil Fruits had been moved to Episode 4). Interestingly, he gives two examples - the power to breathe fire and the power to raise tsunamis - that inadvertently foreshadow Portgas D. Ace and Edward Newgate.
Finally, the anime adds Morgan to the interlude between the Arlong Park and Loguetown arcs, showing him inside his cell and being taunted with news of Luffy's 30,000,000 bounty by one of his former subordinates.
Diary of Koby-Meppo
Morgan's post-escape attitude is somewhat expanded by the anime, where he explicitly states his intent to (re)build a "Morgan Empire". In addition, Helmeppo—with Koby's help—tries to fight him instead of simply fleeing him; though Morgan easily overpowers them both, he throws them overboard instead of killing or seriously injuring them, claiming they are not worth the effort.
Translation and Dub Issues
While Morgan's overall brutality is retained in the 4Kids dub (including all of his threats against Rika, as well as his own men), the specific dialogue is softened in many areas. For instance, his command that his men kill themselves for hesitating against Luffy and Zoro is changed to a veiled threat for them to "shake hands" with his axe-hand.
Like most of the anime's tobacco depictions, his cigar is digitally removed in the 4Kids dub.
- One Piece: Become the Pirate King!
- Grand Line Dream Adventure Log
- One Piece: Going Baseball
- One Py Berry Match
- One Piece Treasure Cruise
- One Piece Bounty Rush
- One Piece Bon! Bon! Journey!!
- Birth of Luffy's Dream Pirate Crew!
- Aim! The King of Berry
- One Piece (Game Boy Advance)
- One Piece Romance Dawn: The Dawn of the Adventure
- One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3
- In Episode 50 of the Gintama anime series, an Axe-Hand Morgan look-alike is seen charging towards one of the characters to fight, along with Crocodile and characters from other anime and manga.
- Oda has stated that he drew Morgan's name from a real-life pirate. This pirate is most likely Sir Henry Morgan (namesake of the famous rum brand), who also began his career as a law-abiding sailor.
- Oda explained in an SBS that had Morgan been a Marine on the Grand Line he would have held the rank of Lieutenant, as there is a three-rank difference between the Headquarters Marines and Auxiliary Marines (Marines stationed in one of the Four Blues).
- He is the first character in the series to address Luffy by the epithet "Straw Hat".
- His favorite food is Haute Cuisine.
- In the anime, Morgan is shown to have a safe in the wall just off the floor in his office. In it, he keeps some kind of box and a map of the Grand Line, which Nami was hunted for. Having made her way into the office, she discovers a note instead of a map, which says that Buggy has already taken the map.
- In the Chinese mobile game One Piece King Battle, Morgan's past as a young man is detailed. In the game, Morgan grew up with Fullbody and Marine X, with whom he joined the Marines. Morgan's in-game stats were boosted when fighting alongside Marine X. Because this information is from a region-exclusive video game, it is non-canon.