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It would not be a stretch to say that One Piece is one of the best manga series ever. Every year, the volume sales of manga are at the top of the rankings. Even though it has been running for over twenty-five years, its quality has not dropped. In fact, many fans of the show will say that it has become better with time.
The endearing quality of One Piece is how Ichiro Oda, the author of One Piece, has created seemingly simple something complex. A great tumult of emotions, complicated underlying politics and prejudices, and epic character arcs, to name a few, are the best features of One Piece.
Speaking about character arcs, Oda-sensei ties in the numerously distinct characters very well with each other. The main character, Monkey D. Luffy, is one such character.
Although Luffy is a character that demonstrates rigidness, he has also grown. And that is through his brother, Portgas D. Ace. Ace was an essential character responsible for changing the whole political climate of the One Piece world. (SPOILERS ALERT!!!)
The Son of the Pirate King: Portgas D. Ace
Ace is an attractive young man with shaggy black hair. He has a built muscular physique. The guilelessness of his face was exhibited due to the freckles that he inherited from his mother. Apart from being muscular, Ace also towers over many characters due to his height.
Ace is usually not seen wearing a shirt. Before joining the Whitebeard Pirates, he wore a half-sleeved button-down shirt. However, the most distinguishing element of his appearance is his tattoos. He wears the Whitebeard Jolly Roger on his back, with purple crossbones stretching to the top of his back. On his left arm, he has a tattoo of “ASCE. It is written perpendicularly.
As far as his clothing is concerned, he dressed in dark boots, dark knee-length shorts with an orange eyelet belt, and a blue pouch around his left leg. He was also wearing a second blue belt around his neck. A blade with a green sheath was slung about his left hip. Ace had a Log Pose bracelet across his left wrist. Ace wore a red and white stripe band in addition to the Log Pose. On his elbow was an orange elbow guard.
One patented look about Ace is his hat, just like Luffy. It was an orange-colored Panama hat with two smiley buttons attached to the front.
One of the smileys is frowning while the other is smiling, just like the Tragedy and Comedy masks. Two straps are hanging down from the sides of his head that meet at a large medallion with a bull skull. An orange-colored tassel is attached to it. Ace also has a red-beaded necklace.
Throughout the series, Ace underwent a developing personality change. As a child, he was hunted for having an extraordinary lineage. He did not know his mother and was raised by bandits in the mountains. Furthermore, the island where Ace lived had a drastic socio-economic disparity. All these factors gave Ace an unfriendly attitude.
Ace was irascible. As a young child, he wanted to be validated and gained respect. Since his father was the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger, the majority of the people hated him. The people hated Roger for starting the Great Pirate Age. The increased amounts of pirates led to more looting and plundering. But Ace would hear none of it.
He had never met his father, but he still would disapprove when people tarnished his name. Soon, he began to hate his father himself for making him so lonely. When Luffy and Ace first met, Ace was irritated when Luffy claimed to one day be the Pirate King.
But as time went on, Ace became more mature and kind-natured. He maintained a certain decorum around him and was polite in his tone. Although he did have his flaws, i.e., One was falling asleep in the most inconvenient places; and the other was fleeing without paying the owner after eating.
Because he cared deeply for those he loved, he tried his best to never let them get hurt. Most in the series say that he inherited this trait from his father. Another inherited trait was his recklessness. Combining his recklessness and his caring attitude, Ace was an individual loved and admired by many. Often, he returned the admiration with his unyielding fidelity.
Abilities and Powers
Ace was one of the strongest characters in the series. Other than his devil fruit abilities, he was physically gifted too. Here is an account of his powers:
Ever since he was a child, Ace wanted an out of his current condition. He wanted to travel the seas one day. For this, he was occasionally undergoing gruesome training as a child. Even as a young boy, Ace was more robust than an average male adult, and Goons could only overpower him when they ganged up.
Other than strength, Ace possessed an interminable amount of stamina too. Like his brother Luffy, he never gave up and stood on his feet again and again after falling. Due to his relentlessness, Ace displayed an exceptional will to attain his goals, even displaying an unmatched stubbornness.
Ace possessed one of the most dominant devil fruits in the series. The Fire-Fire Fruit was a logia devil fruit which means that Ace could transform the composition of his body into the fire at will. Ace was also capable of creating and controlling fire from his body.
He used his abilities in a variety of ways. One was using his fires condensed like bullets or spears, and the other was more large-scale. His punch could create a tsunami of fire that could desecrate entire cities. Because his trademark attack was punching a flame fist, he was given the moniker Fire Fist Ace.
Ace could not only use his fire to attack and burn his opponents, but he could also use it to defend himself. Powerful waves of attacks could be stopped by his fire. The fire blockade he formed either melted the opponent’s attack or decreased their momentum dramatically.
Being the son of Gol D. Roger and having an indomitable will, Ace also possessed the Conqueror’s Haki. At a relatively young age, Ace first released this Haki. He did not know what it meant at the time. But when he went out to the sea, he realized what it was and its significance.
Although never seen, it has been surmised that Ace possessed Armament Haki too. The reason is that to become well-known in the Grand Line, Ace had to defeat numerous opponents. Armament Haki is essential to effectively battle imposing opponents.
The Tale of the “Fire Fist” Ace
Although Ace was not one of the main characters in the series, he played an essential role in the world dynamics of One Piece. This was especially true for his brother and the protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy.
The First Cry of Life
Born in West Blue, Ace had a unique circumstance of his birth. He was the biological child of the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. When the World Government heard the news that Roger had a child, they sent soldiers and agents to find him. All the children in West Blue were persecuted for this reason. But Ace survived. This was all thanks to his mother.
Portgas D. Rouge was the mother of Ace. Although much is not said about her, Rouge displayed an impressive tenacity characteristic of the people with the D initials.
She protected Ace by keeping him inside her womb for an additional fifteen months so that the World Government does not apprehend him. Holding Ace back took a grievous toll on her body, resulting in death after the birth.
As per the wishes of Roger, Rouge handed Ace over to Monkey D. Garp, the biological grandfather of Luffy. Garp was still serving with the Marines at the time. So he put Ace within the care of some bandits of Dawn Island.
A Rough Childhood Full of Hatred
Before Luffy came into his life, Ace was a hostile child, and he used to get into fights if someone ill-spoke about his father. Because of the negative perception of the Pirate King and his hypothetical child, Ace often wondered whether it was okay for him to be born. Garp told him that the only way to find that out was to live.
During his days of loitering around, Ace met Sabo. He was his first friend. They vowed they would sail the seas as pirates when they grew up. For this, the two stole and rummaged whatever they could. Ace also trained his body to become stronger.
The Story of the Three Brothers
Due to Luffy ending up eating the Rubber-Rubber Devil Fruit, his grandfather Garp sends him to be raised in the care of Dadan. The first interaction between Ace and Luffy resulted in Ace spitting on Luffy. The latter wanted to be friends with Ace, but Ace saw him only as an annoyance. Ace tried many ways to stop Luffy. But Luffy did not give up his chase.
After three months of attempting to run away, Luffy finally found out where Ace went every day. Ace met with Sabo to compare his treasure when Luffy happily greeted them. Fearing Luffy would spill their secret, Ace and Sabo tied Luffy up and contemplated killing him.
Just then, hearing the cries of Luffy, Porchemy of the Bluejam Pirates arrived looking for Ace. Seeing the tied-up Luffy, he took away Luffy while a feeling of dread arose inside Ace when Luffy kept yelling his name. Ace rationalized that this was for the best since Luffy was gone, and he should also move the treasure to a new location.
Porchemy did not return when Ace and Sabo were moving the treasure. Sabo surmised that Luffy had not given up the location of Ace yet. A wave of empathy awoke inside Ace, so he decided to save Luffy. After reaching the hideout of the Bluejam Pirates, Ace and Sabo rescue Luffy. The two end up fighting Porchemy and manage to win against the pirate.
After saving Luffy, the three become closer. Due to their misadventures, they gain notoriety among different pirate groups in Gray Terminal. To protect Sabo, he also moves in with the Dadan Family. Eating, hunting, and training; this is what the trio did.
One day, the trio decides to infiltrate the Goa Kingdom. They eat at a restaurant and then run without paying. During their escape, a man sees Sabo and calls out his name.
When they manage to escape and return to the forest, they ask Sabo about the man. At first, he denies any connection with the man. But after the insistence of Luffy and Ace, he tells them that he is actually a son of a noble.
During the emotional moment, the three pronounce their dreams. They pour out sake into three cups and vow to be brothers from that day forward. The adventure of the three continues. Garp forcefully urges them to become Marines. But all three want to become pirates. They also move out of Dadan’s house and begin to live in a treehouse.
The Tragedy of the Siblings
The three were gaining name around Gray Terminal. This allowed the father of Sabo, Outlook III, to set a reward for the Bluejam Pirates if they returned him. Ace attempted to fight with them when they were taking Sabo away. They were unmatched, and Sabo declared that he would go with them willfully if the lives of Ace and Luffy were spared.
Bluejam did spare Luffy and Ace and put them to work by moving boxes around Gray Terminal. Seeing that he was a noble and had a well-off life, the two tried to forget about him. The following day, Ace and Luffy found that the boxes they were moving were actually bombs to inflame Gray Terminal. Ace and Luffy made a feeble attempt at stopping them but were tied to a pole within Gray Terminal.
They survived due to the efforts of Ace but met the Bluejam Pirates, who stopped their path. The pirates wanted to know where was the treasure that Ace and Sabo were stocking. Unwillingly, Ace told them about it, but the pirates took them, hostage as insurance.
They arrived at the hiding place of the treasure. Bluejam resolved to exact vengeance on the nobles. He also angered Ace by saying that Sabo was similar to them.
Luffy also fought back but was quickly put down. Seeing this, Ace unleashed his Conqueror’s Haki, knocking down everyone except Bluejam. Scared, Bluejam attempted to shoot Ace, but the Dadan family had arrived to save them.
Ace wanted to finish things with Bluejam once and for all and decided to fight. Except for Dadan herself, the rest fled the flames. He and Dadan worked together to defeat Bluejam. But the fire had surrounded them. Dadan protected Ace at the expense of getting herself burned severely. Seeing her precarious position, Ace jolted to the town for the medical supplies to keep her alive.
When they were recovering, Ace and Luffy heard the news that Sabo had constructed his own ship and gone out to sea. But that ship was blown blasted by a World Noble. Ace was vengeful, but Dadan subdued him. She told him that it was the world that had killed Sabo. If he wanted revenge, he had to become more capable.
The following morning, Ace received the last letter from Sabo. He explained his situation and why he left to become a pirate early. He met the crying Luffy and vowed that they had to live their lives without any regrets. The two decided to set sail when they turned 17.
The two continued to adventure and become stronger. It was difficult at first, but the two managed it. Ace also learned manners during this time from Makino. He said he wanted to thank Shanks for saving Luffy, and here, he attained his politeness.
Captain Ace of the Spade Pirates
At 17, Ace left Mt. Columbo to become a pirate, and he formed the pirate crew, the Spade Pirates. It is also revealed in the One Piece novel that Ace gained the powers of his Fire-Fire Devil Fruit during this time.
After reaching the New World, Ace vowed to echo his name across the oceans. He wanted to defeat Whitebeard or any of the Four Emperors to do this. When Ace reached the New World, he met with Shanks. He thanked Shanks for saving his brother and exposed his intentions of bringing down the people in authority.
Soon after, the Spade Pirates reached Wano. They wanted to defeat Kaido, but he was not to be found. Ace ended up battling the son of Kaido, Yamato, instead. Yamato and Ace bonded during the fight, and the two shared a drink. Ace also revealed to Yamato the dream of Luffy.
During his stay at Wano, Ace also befriended a young girl named O-Tama. He told him that if she became a kunoichi by the time he returned, he would take her out to the seas one day.
During his journey, Ace found Whitebeard. He figured that this was the best opportunity. But Ace was approached by Jinbei, a Shichibukai (Warlord of the Sea). Jinbei fought Ace in place of Whitebeard to save him the trouble. The battle lasted five days, and no one emerged victoriously.
When the fight ended, Whitebeard had arrived on the island after hearing what had happened. Sensing an opportunity, Ace decided to take him on, and he told his crew to run. The fight did not last very long as Ace was rendered unconscious by Whitebeard comfortably.
The treatment of Ace was done on the Moby Dick, the ship of Whitebeard. Whitebeard wanted Ace to join his crew, but Ace refused. The Spade Pirates returned later to retrieve him, but they were defeated and prisoned on the Moby Dick.
To keep his crew alive, Ace remained on the Moby Dick. But he still challenged Whitebeard. In hundred battles, he was defeated a hundred times.
Disheartened by his weakness, Ace had a talk with Marco, the second-in-command of the Whitebeard Pirates. Marco told him about how the Whitebeard Pirates were a family, and every member was a son of Whitebeard. Feeling inspired, Ace yielded to become Whitebeard’s subordinate.
The Commander of the 2nd Devision of the Whitebeard Pirates
Ace quickly rose in ranks in the Whitebeard Pirates. He defeated Doma and became the commander of the second division. Marshall D. Teach was one of the stronger pirates in the second division, and ace became close to him. When Ace asked whether Teach wanted to become a commander, Teach laughed and said he had no intention of moving up.
Ace also formed a bond with Little Oars Jr. at this point. To protect his eyes from the sun, he made him a hat. His caring attitude moved Oars Jr.’s heart. Feeling guilty one day, Ace revealed to Whitebeard that he was the son of Gol D. Roger. Whitebeard shirked it off, saying that it does not matter what lineage he was, and everyone is a child of the sea.
One time Ace also recommended to Whitebeard to liberate Wano from Kaido, remembering his promise to return to Wano one day and wanting to avenge Kozuki Oden. Whitebeard disapproved of the plan because two Emperors of the Sea battling would result in considerable casualties.
After some time, Teach murdered a member of the Whitebeard Pirates to obtain a devil fruit. Feeling betrayed and seeing how there was a code to avenge a fallen comrade, Ace wanted to kill Teach. Whitebeard sensed something ominous and prohibited Ace from leaving. But Ace felt that the name of Whitebeard had been besmirched. Seeing his dedication, Whitebeard allowed him to go.
Visiting the Sand Dunes: the Fateful Reunion!
In his journey to find Teach, Ace first arrived at Drum Island. He left a message for Luffy there that he should meet him in ten days in Arabasta. In Arabasta, Ace is introduced first time in the series as sleeping while eating. Everyone else thought that he had died after eating something poisonous. But he woke up to their surprise.
There he was spotted by a Marine Commodore, Smoker. As Ace and Luffy were getting ready to fight, Luffy walked in and knocked them over.
Since Smoker traveled to Arabasta to capture Luffy, he went on his pursuit. Before Smoker caught Luffy, he was saved by Ace, who spotted him earlier after getting back up. He told Luffy to run while he would catch up to him later on.
When Ace succeeded in evading the marines, he met with Luffy on the Going Merry. Ace told Luffy that he would make Whitebeard the Pirate King, and he should join the Whitebeard pirates too. Luffy refused. Before leaving, Ace gave Luffy a Vivre Card and told Luffy that this card would allow the two to meet again. Five Baroque Work ships attempted to capture him as he was leaving, but they were repelled by his one flame punch.
The Showdown Against Blackbeard
Teach had now gathered a crew and went around with the moniker Blackbeard. Ace finally traced him on Banaro Island. Blackbeard wanted Ace to join him and help him become the Pirate King. He also said he would capture Monkey D. Luffy and send him to the World Government to make a name for himself.
Of course, Blackbeard did know that Luffy was the brother of Ace. But Ace was angered nonetheless and revealed to Blackbeard about Luffy. The crew of Blackbeard attacked Ace, but they proved to be futile. Subsequently, Blackbeard told Ace that he killed Thatch to obtain his dream devil fruit, the Darkness-Darkness Fruit.
The two fought against each other. The newfound abilities of Teach were formidable. The tear began to wear on Ace, and Blackbeard offered Ace to join his crew one more time. Of course, Ace refused and launched his most potent attack against Blackbeard, who retaliated with his own attack. It was later found that Blackbeard was the one who emerged the winner.
Imprisoned in Impel Down
After being defeated by Blackbeard, Ace was handed over to the World Government. The World Government sensing the opportunity to finally defeat Whitebeard, announced the public execution of Ace. They knew how deeply Whitebeard cared for his sons.
Until the execution, Ace was kept in Level 6 of the prison of Impel Down. During his time of imprisonment, he interacted with a few people. Garp, his grandfather, was one of them. Ace revealed his desire for Garp to kill him. The latter, however, lamented the fact that Ace and Luffy did not join the Marines.
Jinbei was there with Ace as his cellmate. Ace told Jinbei about Luffy and their brief meeting in Arabasta. Soon after, Boa Hancock arrived to visit Ace and disclosed that Luffy had come to save him. Dismayed, Ace asked Jinbei to look after Luffy. Soon after, Ace was taken to Marineford to be executed.
The Summit War
Ace was taken to the execution platform on Marineford. Here, Sengoku, the Fleet Admiral of the Navy, announced that Ace was the son of Gol D. Roger, to the shock of everyone. Soon, the Whitebeard Pirates arrived to attack the Navy. They fought valiantly to save Ace, but the power of the marines was no laughing matter.
Garp sat with Ace, believing it to be the last moments of the latter. Luffy dramatically arrived at the scene as they exchanged a few words, and ace saw as Luffy rushed to save him. Whitebeard recognized the efforts of Luffy and told his crew and allies to aid Luffy in reaching Ace. The whole situation was being observed by Ace emotionally.
Marco got close to Ace, but Garp punched him away. Soon, the executioners had come to ax Ace. The anxiety of everyone rose at that moment. Ace accepted his fate. But just before the blades pierced him, Luffy unleashed his Conqueror’s Haki to knock down the executioners.
Soon Luffy reached the platform, but Garp stood in his way. Luffy punched away Garp to come to Ace. But Sengoku was still near the platform, and he attacked Luffy.
Luffy protected himself with his rubber abilities and asked the recently risen Galdino to make a key for the handcuffs holding down Ace with his wax abilities. The punch of Sengoku caused the platform to break. But in midair, Galdino freed Ace.
Now free, Ace protected Luffy from the incoming barrage of cannonballs with his fire. They fought the enemies around him together. Whitebeard ordered his crew and allies to retreat while dealing with the marines. Ace told Whitebeard that he had been a good father and was proud to call himself his son.
But Admiral Akainu attempted to provoke Ace by saying that Whitebeard was a failure. Ace stopped running and faced off with Akainu proved too much with his magma. Nearby, legs of Luffy had given out. Sensing an opportunity, Akainu went to punch the fatigued Luffy and kill him. But Ace stepped in the way to protect. The attack went through his chest, burning all his insides.
Ace died in the arms of Luffy while remembering his childhood with Luffy, Sabo, and Dadan and stated that he had not regretted his life. He only felt apologetic that he would not see Luffy attain his dream. Finally, he thanked the Whitebeard Pirates that gave him a place to belong and died with a smile on his face.
The Legacy of Ace
Ace was a pivotal character in the growth of Luffy. He also played a vital role in the dynamics of the world-changing. In One Piece, characters do not die, and they live on through their will inherited by those who survived. After the death of Ace, it was Luffy who carried on his will.
Ace is buried next to Whitebeard by the Red-Haired Pirates. The location of graves is near the hometown of Whitebeard. Being a crew member of the Pirate King, Shanks remarked how much his sacrifice was similar to his captain. As far as the legacy of Ace in terms of his fruit is concerned, Sabo inherits his Fire-Fire Fruit.
Fascinating Facts and Trivia
When is Ace’s Birthday Celebrated?
The birthday of Ace comes on the first of January. Because the ace is the first card in the deck, his name is also derived from his birthday. Before joining the Whitebeard pirates, his crew was known as the Spade Pirates, after the ace of spades.
What was the Bounty Over the Head of Ace?
Ace was an exceptional rookie, and he quickly attained the bounty of 110,000,000 beri after reaching the New World. At the time of his death, it was revealed to be 550,000,000 beri which, at the time, was the highest.
Why was Ace Named So?
The name of Ace was chosen by the Pirate King himself, as revealed by his mother. If Ace had been born a girl, he would have been named Ann. In truth, the complete name of Ace was to be Gol D. Ace. Ace picked his mother’s surname since he despised his father.
Question: Did Luffy Know about Ace’s Lineage?
Answer: Luffy was unaware that Ace was the son of the Pirate King. In reality, he did not care much as technicalities never bother him. He considered Ace his brother. The same case was for Ace, and both cared deeply for each other.
Question: Why Could Ace not Get Out of his Handcuffs Using Haki?
Answer: Often in the series, it is seen that able Haki users can use it to break their chains. Also, Ace was a devil fruit user, and he was weakened. Another theory is that Ace never mastered that application of Haki, which is very plausible.
Question: Why did Ace Become a Pirate?
Answer: Ace did not want to become the Pirate King like Luffy, and he only wished to roam the seas freely. However, one other reason he wanted to become a pirate was to challenge the people in authority. Due to Sabo’s death, he thought the world was rotten and wanted to cure it.
Ace One Piece Guide: Putting Out the Flames
One Piece is one of the most incredible manga series of all time, and it has remained successful for over twenty-five years. Ichiro Oda’s ability to capture the minds and emotions of millions of followers after a thousand chapters is a testament to his talent.
The story of One Piece is simple; a seventeen-year-old wanting to become the Pirate King. But this straightforward narrative has so many complexities in it. One of those complexities is the character of Ace, the brother of the main character.
The emotions of Ace, wondering whether he is worth living, are inspiring. It is something that everyone can relate to at some point which I certainly did, and this is why I love One Piece. It makes me feel the usually overlooked emotions and teaches me how to deal with them.