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Gonzaemon Kato was the former captain of the Bentenmaru before his death and is the father of Marika Kato. In the anime, he is revealed to have faked his death and become an imperial pirate, going by the name Ironbeard (鉄の髭, Tetsu no Hige).



Abyss of Hyperspace - Captain Gonzaemon

Captain Gonzaemon in the past

In his meeting with Professor Mugen, Gonzaemon had long orange/brown hair with a bearded chin. He wore a captain's uniform with a caped coat similar to the one his daughter wears, black with gold outlines, but with blue cuffs. He also wore a white shirt, a brown belt with a sword sheathed on the left side, boots and a blue waistcoat with a gold outline [1].

As Ironbeard, Gonzaemon wears a black mask that conceals the upper part of his face above the nose. It also extends down on the side to his beard. His hair is dyed black and comes out from his mask in spikes. Like Marika, he has light blue eyes. He wears a red cape with a golden skull on the left shoulder that signifies an imperial pirate.

Personality & CharacterEdit

In his appearance as Ironbeard, Gonzaemon was stern and serious, with a tendency for dramatic speeches and entrances.


Gonzaemon's family has a long history of service, both in the imperial navy and as pirates. Before becoming captain of the Bentenmaru, he was a naval officer [citation needed].

Abyss of Hyperspace - Professor Mugen and Gonzaemon

Meeting with Professor Mugen

At some point, he met and married Ririka. Sometime later, Ririka left Gonzaemon to raise their daughter, Marika. At another point, he met with the subspace explorer Professor Mugen and agreed to help the professor's son Kanata for his future, in the event of the professor's death [1]. He also met with the future queen of the Galactic Empire, Utolamela Christie, during her Grand Tour [2].

Shortly before the start of the series, Gonzaemon reportedly passed away due to food poisoning [3][4], setting off the events that led to Marika becoming captain of the Bentenmaru.

On Her Majesty's Space PiratesEdit

In the anime continuity, a few days before his 'death', Gonzaemon met with Queen Utolamela at Port Seruna and was given a tour of the yet-to-be-christened Parabellum as she explained her request to him, asking him to become an imperial pirate on her behalf [2]. He ultimately accepted her request and faked his death to become an imperial pirate under the name Ironbeard, captain of the Parabellum [5].


Nebula Cup Arc (Anime-Only)Edit

Gonzaemon works behinds the scenes

Gonzaemon at a secret meeting

Towards the end of Marika's second year at Hakuoh Academy and her first year as captain of the Bentenmaru, Kane McDougal invited Ririka to attend a secret meeting. There, she heard several businessmen discussing the Bisque Company's intent to go after the Katos as they were unaware of the treaty between the organizations the businessmen belonged to that provided protection for her daughter.

When Ririka asked for clarification on why she was being shown the information at this time, Kane nodded towards a figure at the bar. Once she saw who it was, Ririka realized the man had made the arrangements that protected Marika. Kane expressed concern that Marika would be in danger once she turned eighteen and the protection was lifted [6]. -->

Pirate Hunter Arc (Anime-Only)Edit

At some point, Ironbeard had his helmsman Shane McDougal switch places with his brother Kane aboard the Bentenmaru.

Ironbeard appears with the Parabellum when the Grand Cross attacks the Big Catch and Bentenmaru[7]. He appeared in the form of a holographic projection, standing on the deck, before enlarging and ordering his ship to fire. The Parabellum's missile barrage forced the Grand Cross to retreat. After that, he sent a message to the Bentenmaru, introducing himself and his ship, saying that they hail from distant seas. He warns them of the danger that the pirates in that region faced due to the Grand Cross. The projection then vanished and the Parabellum departed [8].

Ironbeard was next seen in the captain's seat when the Parabellum was heading for the Pirate's Nest with Ririka onboard [9].

After docking, he made his way to the conference room with several members of his crew, arriving in the middle of a confrontation between Quartz Christie and the other pirates. He called out to Quartz, saying that he had come to collect her. Koja confronted him, asking if he was with her, but backed off after Ironbeard looked his way. He knelt in front of Quartz, saying he was here to retrieve her at the queen's request. He greeted the chef who asked if he wished to eat before he left to which Ironbeard declined. Marika then confronted him, asking who he was, an enemy or a friend. Ironbeard talked about the end of space, how one man who can see the future isn't enough and only when others stand with him will the end of space be seen. He then asks Marika what she sees [10].

While escorting Quartz, she said she was amazed he accepted the job to which he replied it was a job from the queen. Quartz complained about how she felt humiliated after coming to get the drop on the pirates only for Marika to end up running the show and Ironbeard hogging the spotlight. Ironbeard said that her safety was more important that her dignity. Quartz mentioned Marika doing something similar in guarding Stone. At that moment, Koja turned up with several men, intending to kill Quartz. However Ririka quickly disarmed them and Shane knocked out the captain. Ironbeard thanked Ririka and offered her an official place on his crew. She replied that today was a special free service [10]. Kane and Misa then arrived having taken care of a hidden attacker.

Misa thanked him for looking after Kane and after giving the brothers punishments, asked Ironbeard what it was he wanted to learn by switching the twin helmsmen. He replied that that the pirates in the area were about to be given a choice; whether to become true pirates or cling to their Letters of Marque, remaining pirates for hire. He mentioned that he liked the look in Marika's eyes and has seen how the flow will change. He claims that it was an honor to see such a sparkle in one's eyes in the frontier (to which Ririka stifled a laugh). Ironbeard then left on the Parabellum [10].

Ironbeard - Meeting Gruier

Ironbeard meets Gruier again

After the pirate's battle with the Grand Cross was over, the Parabellum came to pick up the crew of the Odette II who had hoped to watch the battle. Ironbeard greeted Gruier Serenity who thanked him for accepting her job of getting the crew back before their exams. Gruier then asked him whether he had met Marika, calling him 'Captain Gonzaemon', to which he replied that he is the space pirate Ironbeard [5].

Abyss of Hyperspace (Manga-Only)Edit

Following the events surrounding Professor Mugen's legacy, which the Bentenmaru was involved in due to Gonzaemon's promise with the professor to help his son Kanata with his future, Marika brought up her father in conversation with her crew. Elsewhere on the Parabellum, Ironbeard sneezed [1][11].

Fever Mouretsu Pirates (Game-Only)Edit

Ironbeard and the Parabellum appear as opponents for Marika and the Bentenmaru in the game's ninth Galaxy Episode. Depending on circumstances, the two face each other either in a swordfight or ship-to-ship, with the outcome resting on the player's actions [12].

Skills & AbilitiesEdit

Though the full extents of Gonzaemon's abilities have not been revealed, it can be assumed that he was a skilled captain. Some of the Bentenmaru's crew have remarked that the blood of the captain flows through Marika [13], a comparison that hints at his skill.


Marika KatoEdit

Gonzaemon met his daughter twice as Ironbeard, keeping his true identity hidden. He liked what he saw in her eyes when she confronted him at the Pirate's Nest.

Ririka KatoEdit

The exact nature of Gonzaemon's relationship with his wife Ririka is not fully known, though it can be assumed they were very close. Ririka has referred to Gonzaemon as 'that good-for-nothing', though not in an unfriendly manner.

Gruier SerenityEdit

At some point, Gonzaemon met Princess Gruier Serenity. He entrusted her with his ID ring which she later used to stow away aboard the Bentenmaru. The princess has described him as "a wonderful person" [14].

Utolamela ChristieEdit

Utolamela first met with Gonzaemon during her Grand Tour. Utolamela trusted Gonzaemon enough to ask him to look out for her daughter, as well as request/offer him a place as an imperial pirate. During her meeting, she insisted that Gonzaemon just call her Lamela. Gonzaemon was willing to accept her request and fake his death to become the imperial pirate Ironbeard, though he doesn't think much of her naming sense [2].



  • Gonzaemon's voice actors are also the anime's narrators.
  • According to Kenjo Kurihara, under Gonzaemon's command, the Bentenmaru kept its "never been sunk" record during all training battles with the Imperial fleet.  Gonzaemon always surrendered before the ship was sunk in training battles, not wanting to let the military know the full extent of what he and Bentenmaru were fully capable of. Marika maintained this record on her first training battle without knowing this before hand, but for a different reason [15].


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mouretsu Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 On Her Majesty's Space Pirates
  3. Sailing 01
  4. Miniskirt Pirates Volume 1, Pg.48
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sailing 26
  6. Sailing 20
  7. Sailing 22
  8. Sailing 23
  9. Sailing 24
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Sailing 25
  11. Mouretsu Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace Manga Chapter 10
  12. Fever Mouretsu Pirates, Galaxy Episode 9
  13. Sailing 10
  14. Sailing 13
  15. Miniskirt Pirates Volume 7
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