Gregorio Zeppeli (グレゴリオ・ツェペリ Guregorio Tseperi) is a side character featured in Steel Ball Run.
Gregorio Zeppeli is Gyro's father and an executioner of the nation of Naples.
Gregorio Zeppeli is a mature Italian man, his face being noticeably wrinkled with a constantly serious and severe look to him. His most distinctive feature is his facial hair, consisting of a soul patch covering the space from the lips to the chin, and two symmetrical zigzagging stripes of hair along the cheeks connecting to the hair. Although Gregorio Zeppeli keeps short hair cut into a flattop, he has a ponytail too. The design of the beard changed during his life.
Gregorio is shown in different outfits. The first time he was clothed in a dark jacket and trousers. He also adorned the executioner outfit of his country, and was also featured having a typical surgeon's outfit.
Gregorio Zeppeli is a somber and serious man, whose loyalty lies in his king and his family.
Gregorio's life is centered around his responsibilities as patriarch of the Zeppeli Family, surgeon and executioner of the Kingdom of Naples, each of whom he takes extremely seriously and considers an honor to fulfill perfectly. Gregorio is loyal to his king, whom he considers a servant of God, and often thinks about how he and his son must best serve their country. Gregorio respects the letter of the law and considers that one must obey it, no matter the circumstance. Likewise, he doesn't like when one questions orders or even think about questioning it. Indeed, Gyro pictured his father scolding him for doing this and ordering him to return to Naples. Gregorio also considers that one must honor his ancestors.
Gregorio thinks that to best serve as an executioner, he must sever himself from sentimentality as he thinks sentimentality leads to potential spiritual weaknesses. As such he took extreme measures to not cultivates particularly emotive memories: apart from his family, Gregorio practically cultivates no social ties and is said to not have friends, doesn't participate to social events and even then he makes it a point to be very cold and severe with his son Gyro, not even celebrating his son's graduation from school. On the other hand, he has never raised his voice against his unruly son either. Wanting to impart this philosophy, Gregorio often tells his eldest son Gyro that the Zeppeli family was in the hands of the monarchy and that it was not in the position of the monarch's subordinates to be sentimental. Likewise, Gregorio approaches his work coldly, and doesn't make a difference between criminals and innocent, as long as they are sentenced to death.
Stating that true happiness lies in the family, Gregorio considers that protecting and honoring one's family is one's true obligation. He has taught his eldest son Gyro everything he knows, wishing to impart all of his family's traditions and honor his ancestors' work. He thus severely taught him everything about medicine, the Spin and how to become an executioner. He taught his son several of his other thoughts, such as his belief in miracles.
However, Gregorio was shown to be at heart, benevolent. For instance, he hid Wekapipo's sister in the countryside after Wekapipo was exiled to protect her. He was also keeping her blind so that her husband would stop thinking about her.
Spin: Gregorio is a master of the Spin, having taught everything he knows to Gyro. He mainly uses the Spin to ease execution by manipulating the muscles of the condemned, letting them relax before he decapitates them.
Surgery: Alongside the Spin, Gregorio is a surgeon by trade. He thus knows the human body extremely well, which translates into his expertise in execution and the Spin, and is said to be able to perform difficult surgeries such as reconnecting the optical nerves to the brain.
Gregorio instructed Gyro in the use of Steel Balls training him to become a skilled executioner. Although the Zeppeli family usually stuck to delivering the death penalty to serious and dangerous criminals, there was one incident which resulted in the arrest and death sentence of an innocent little boy who made a living from cleaning shoes. Gyro was struck when he heard of this and even more when the boy offered to clean his own executioner's shoes.
Gregorio was strictly convinced that the Zeppeli family are in the hands of the state and aren't the ones who choose whether or not someone dies. Refusing this, Gyro pleaded with the king for an appeal. It was then agreed that Gyro would receive an amnesty to release the boy if he could complete the American cross-country race, the Steel Ball Run.
After Gyro's death, the Zeppeli family leaves Naples.
Chapters in order of appearance