One Piece Explained: What happens to Portgas D. Ace?

One Piece Explained

One Piece is one of the most popular manga and anime ever, with over 500 million copies sold. Eiichiro Oda, the author, presents us with Monkey D. Luffy, another pirate in an overwhelmingly vast and creative world who dreams of finding the One Piece. And, if you’re still at the start of your incredible adventure reading the story but already want to know what happened to Portgas D. Ace, Luffy’s brother, we’re here for you.

As a quick heads up, there are big spoilers ahead!

We meet Ace at the beginning of the manga while Luffy and his friends are traveling to Alabasta. He looks like a serious, kind, and strong sibling, even winning the hearts of Luffy’s crew. So it’s heartbreaking when Akainu, one of the Marine’s admirals, kills him in front of his brother in episode 483. His death is horrible, as Ace’s chest is pierced by Akainu’s fist while trying to protect Luffy.

Why does Akainu Kill Ace?

Ace is a member of the Whitebeard Pirates, one of the anime’s biggest and most feared crews. He initially wants to kill Whitebeard to show his strength. But, after failing many times, he understands the bond every member of the ship shares and joins them. Eventually, he even becomes the second-division commander. However, that puts a bigger target on his back and is one of the reasons Akainu kills him.

Blackbeard, another second-division member, kills a pirate from the same crew and runs. Ace goes after him but is defeated, captured, and then taken to the Marines. Their objective with Ace’s execution is to weaken Whitebeard’s crew and prove their strength to the world, thus putting a stop to the pirate age. The Marines already know Ace’s crew will go to war to rescue him, and that’s exactly what they want. The event is transmitted to the entire planet for that reason.

However, that isn’t Akainu’s sole motivation. Ace is also the son of Gol D. Roger, the king of the pirates, meaning he’s a living reminder of his dad’s legacy. This should serve as motive enough, but Akainu has an even stronger hatred for that than most Marines, calling Ace’s lineage ‘bad blood’ that shouldn’t exist.

So, Ace’s execution has many political reasons. Marines constantly kill pirates in One Piece’s world, but the Marineford arc goes beyond that. It’s also why his death hurts even more to us. Nevertheless, the pirate age keeps existing. The war still inspires more people to go to sea after their dreams. All because of Ace’s friends’ efforts to rescue him and Whitebeard’s last words, shouting the One Piece is a real treasure, move the world.

Does Luffy Try to Rescue Ace?

When Luffy hears about Ace’s execution, he first tries to rescue him in Impel Down, an underwater maximum-security prison. Many fans also consider it one of One Piece’s best arcs. The stakes are incredibly high, there are many old and new interesting faces, and we get a new great antagonist, the guard Magellan. It’s simply incredible. Despite Luffy’s failure in rescuing Ace there, he gathers a series of prisoners and powerful pirates to help him.

Arriving in Marineford, the Marine base where the execution is happening, Luffy and his allies cause a great uproar. It’s such an unexpected occurrence that it changes the whole war. Luffy quickly starts beating hundreds of strong soldiers and even clashes with admirals and other high-ranking enemies. It’s the most intense and chaotic One Piece has ever been.

After almost failing a few times, Luffy frees Ace at the last second. Everyone roars victoriously, and Ace makes the Whitebeard Pirates symbol with his flame powers. It’s a blast, but no one knows they’re moments away from a disaster.

Before they can all escape, Akainu belittles Whitebeard in front of Ace. Furious, he tries to fight the admiral, not admitting such criticism of the person he owes so much. Ace falls right into the trap and takes a beating. While he is down, Akainu rushes to kill a distracted Luffy. That only leaves seconds for Ace to jump in and sacrifice himself in his brother’s place. As said before, the admiral punches through his chest, giving him no chance of recovery.

While Luffy desperately tries to help Ace, he can only hear his brother’s last words. It’s a loss felt by every pirate in Marineford. The war already has no meaning, and everyone does their best before Shanks, one of the Four Emperors of the sea and Luffy’s friend, stops it.

However, Ace’s death makes Luffy realize that he and his crew must get stronger. He won’t bear to lose anyone again. Ace’s death keeps being an important piece in the story even after that. Arcs like Dressrosa and Wano really depend on it and show how Ace influenced many people.

Have you been reading/watching One Piece? What do you think of the story arcs? Who’s your favourite character? Let us know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “One Piece Explained: What happens to Portgas D. Ace?”

  1. Hey Meli, thanks for commenting and apologies for the spelling error there that has been corrected. Re. the title, I’ve also gone in and changed that too to avoid any spoilers so it now reads ” What happens to Portgas D. Ace?” which is much better I think. Sorry again for the issues and thanks for the heads up, really appreciate it!

    -Greg W

  2. Hi, sorry about this, but this article isn’t good. First, the name is wrongly spelled; second, the title is a MASSIVE spoiler; third, it simplifies a whole saga (not even an arc) that’s located in the middle of the whole story (also ruining it all for those aiming to follow the Netflix show). It’s just not right in so many levels, please don’t do reviews like this.

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