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Recap / One Piece Marineford Arc

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Short Summary

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Having failed to reach Ace in time, Luffy manages to successfully break out of Impel Down to follow him to Marineford where Ace awaits execution. Likewise, Ace's captain, Whitebeard and an entire army of pirates arrive to wage war to get Ace back. But the Marines have brought their own heavy hitters to the fray and when all's said and done, the world will be forever changed by the war's conclusion.

Main Summary


Marineford Arc has the following tropes

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  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Why Oars Jr. was so desperate to save Ace, as Ace was the one who made him a hat to protect him from the elements.
  • Berserk Button: Not a good idea to diss Whitebeard when Ace is nearby. Unless you have a superior Devil Fruit than his...
    • Killing any of Whitebeard's sons is a big no-no.
    • Don't make boasts about sinking Marineford near Sengoku...
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Akainu and Blackbeard. Also all the Warlords (yes, really, all of them are there) and the Admirals.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Amusingly enough, Buggy - when the prospect of having an army of dangerous convicts sinks in, he immediately decides that he can aim higher, and swears to go after Whitebeard's head. He even steals the visual Den Den Mushi, and hogs the the spotlight, preventing the public from watching the battle taking place.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence
  • Big Damn Heroes: This arc has several moments with various characters. Notables include Trafalgar Law, who shows up in the middle of the battle at Marineford to rescue Luffy, and Red-Haired Shanks and his crew, who come in to stop things when they get out of hand at the end.
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  • Big Damn Villains: In the last stages of the war, the Blackbeard Pirates appear, or rather it's better to say they were finally noticed in Marineford, with six new members fresh from Impel Down itself. They kill Whitebeard together as Blackbeard steals his devil fruit power, and the crew leaves when Shanks arrives calling an end to the war.
  • Bowdlerise: The anime censors the fight between Whitebeard and Akainu where in the manga, Akainu manages to horribly burn the left side of Whitebeard's face. In the anime, this was changed to him singeing his mustache and instead burning a hole in Whitebeard's body, giving him two such wounds from an earlier attack Akainu did.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mr. 3!
  • The Chessmaster: Sengoku. And Blackbeard.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: When Admiral Akainu delivers a devastating blow to Whitebeard, Marco sees this and rushes towards his captain. Kizaru uses this moment to shoot Marco from behind with two lasers and Vice Admiral Onigumo seizes him and places seastone handcuffs on him which disables his devil fruit power. Kizaru then takes the opportunity to attack Marco again. This gets the attention of Jozu who is fighting Admiral Aokiji. While Jozu is distracted, Aokiji freezes Jozu's entire body leaving him frozen for the entire war.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Oars Jr. vs. Three Warlords (Kuma, Doflamingo & Moriah). Result: Oars Jr. gets curb-stomped. Worse, any of the three Warlords could've handled Oars Jr. by themselves, their attacks together were all critical, and their alliance was incidental. Moriah was even annoyed with Doflamingo for attacking him - because he wanted his corpse intact.
    • And later, Jimbei vs. Moriah: The latter gets taken down in a single punch. The anime even amusingly lampshades the ease that Moriah went down with a line by Jimbei telling his fallen opponent to train harder before fighting, highlighting Moriah's Badass Decay.
    • Buggy vs. Mihawk. To be fair, Buggy didn't intentionally go after him and was literally dragged into it. Also, his Split-Split Fruit actually prevents him from being harmed by Mihawk's slashes...at least directly - Buggy got annoyed at him and fired one of his Muggy Balls at him, Mihawk responded by slashing it, and sending it back.
    • Luffy vs. Coby. It becomes very clear the distance Coby has to climb to reach Luffy's level.
    • Luffy vs. The Three Admirals. It was very clear where this was going to go, but Luffy didn't even intend to fight them, but distract them. He was shocked to realise he couldn't even do that.
    • Whitebeard to every single Marine less than Admiral he encountered, at one point in a show of badassery clearing out a group of Marines with bazookas and swords with a single punch, Bastille goes down literally in one shockwave punch, John Giant in two moves, and yes indeed, to one Admiral (albeit really pissed off) Akainu right after the latter murders Ace, goes down in three brutal moves. Notable as thus far, Akainu was perceived to be utterly relentless. Oh, and to top it off, he even defeats Blackbeard in single combat, even as he was near-death!
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Parodied. Buggy steals the camera, and has the escaped Impel Down prisoners film him for a good chunk of the war.
  • Dawn of an Era: Everyone realizes this with Whitebeard's death. Blackbeard, however, makes an addendum to that with this line.
    "THIS IS MY ERA!"
    • Whitebeard himself recognizes this, shouting out to the retreating pirates to keep moving forward because...
    "The era is changing!"
  • Deconstructed Trope: Luffy's Determinator traits. He has more determination and guts to save Ace than anyone there, but the enemies he faces are simply just too damn strong, even for him.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Ace to Luffy.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Luffy before he even gets started talks to Whitebeard the same way he would to anyone else he perceives will be in his way: which is to say, very rudely. He even announces that he'll beat him to become Pirate King. Nearly everyone was shocked. Whitebeard himself, took it in stride: he was even mildly impressed.
  • Dirty Coward: Blackbeard who, when realizing he can't beat Whitebeard by himself even in his weakened state, orders for his crew to gang up on and kill him.
  • Downer Ending: The biggest one of any One Piece arc. To sum it up, Ace and Whitebeard die, and Blackbeard manages to take Whitebeard's power from his body and claim it as his own.
  • Driving Question: Ultimately what Ace wanted in this life and what caused him to keep on living is revealed to be the answer to this one question: Did he deserve to be born?
  • End of an Age: The characters all state it before the war even begins.
  • Famous Last Words: "Even though I've been a good-for-nothing all my life... Even though I carry the blood of a demon within me... You guys still loved me! Thank you so much!" Portgas D. Ace
    • "One Piece ... It exists!!!" Edward Newgate/Whitebeard
  • Foreshadowing: Trafalgar Law ultimately escapes with Luffy and Jimbei. Law and Luffy would later ally in the New World.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Twofold. At the beginning of the war, many a New World pirate captain come out to support Whitebeard and get Ace back. And later when Luffy unleashes his Haki across the island, stunning everyone with it, the pirates (up to and including Whitebeard and Crocodile) all focus on helping Luffy reach the scaffold and get to Ace.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Ace died in Luffy's arms, happy that Luffy, Whitebeard, and his crew cared for him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Even with the events that transpired, Whitebeard fully intended to sacrifice himself to keep the Marines at bay.
    • Ace for Luffy, when Akainu tries to kill Luffy in front of him.
  • History Repeats: Once again the Navy attempts to strike a blow against piracy by executing a prominent one with the whole world watching, and once all their efforts are rendered meaningless by the last words of a dying man causing piracy to become even more popular than ever before.
  • Hope Spot: Luffy manages to reach Ace and free him. Seems like they'll be able to escape...Unfortunately, Akainu provokes Ace into a fight, forcing Ace to protect Luffy at the cost of his own life.
  • I Let You Win: Garp, who can't bring himself to stop Luffy as he races up to Ace.
  • Irony: The last time Luffy met Smoker and Tashigi, they allied themselves with him to stop Crocodile. Now, Luffy has allied himself with Crocodile to fight the Marines, including Smoker and Tashigi.
  • Manly Tears: When the Blackbeard Pirates gang up on a dying Whitebeard, and fire everything they have at him, even the greatest crew of the New World - the battle-hardened Whitebeard Pirates, couldn't help but cry for their "Pops" as Blackbeard's laughter echoed triumphantly across the battlefield.
  • Mêlée à Trois: There are the Whitebeard Pirates and their allies attacking the Marine Headquarters where the Admirals, Seven Warlords and most of their Marine forces seek to execute Ace. Luffy shows up with Impel Down convicts, along with Crocodile and Jimbei to rescue Ace. Then it gets confusing:
    • While Luffy and Whitebeard agree they won't work against each other (both having the same goal), they aren't working together.
      • At least, until it looks like Luffy, of all people, is the best chance of freeing Ace.
    • There is Hancock, who attacks everyone around her except Luffy.
    • Crocodile also attempted to attack Whitebeard and yet helped save Ace from his execution.
    • Doflamingo has some sort of ulterior motive throughout this war while causing much destruction.
    • Things go wrong when Blackbeard shows up, stealing Whitebeard's powers, and announces his intention to destroy the world.
    • And finally, Shanks and his crew appeared to end the war.
  • Meta Twist: Given the plot of previous major arcs, one would expect that, in spite of all of the struggles he endures, Luffy and the other heroes will Earn Your Happy Ending. You would be very wrong.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: When the characters say that this is the End of an Age, they aren't kidding.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Many, many Marines, including Sengoku and Aokiji, when Luffy unintentionally unleashes his Kings' Haki, which then ups the priority of his death to that of Ace's own execution. The Marines were absolutely terrified of his potential (along with his parentage) to the point where they were willing to do anything to make sure he didn't make it out of the war alive.
    • When Whitebeard finally decides to jump into the fray, even with the stab wound given to him, Sengoku screams at his men to beware that the World's Strongest Man has begun his onslaught.
    • Blackbeard, while initially overconfident that he'll defeat Whitebeard even in his weakened state, is himself easily taken down, and fears for his very life when it seems that Whitebeard will kill him.
    • Sengoku again when he realizes Whitebeard is about to loudly reveal that the One Piece is real, with the entire world watching.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Luffy spends quite a bit of this arc needing to be rescued himself by his allies. While Mihawk notes that Luffy does have the uncanny ability to make anyone into an ally, the arc really hammers home how in over his head Luffy was, with previously said ability was how he was able to even make it out barely alive. It's what motivates Luffy to take up training in the following arc.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Marines may technically have won the war, but they lost so much in the process that the conflit has no winners besides Blackbeard.
  • Reality Ensues: Whitebeard might be the World's Strongest Man, but he's still an old man whose body has been worn down by age and illness. This leads to him being forced to take most of the hits thrown at him, leading to his Rasputin Death.
  • Rescue Arc: One that ends in failure
  • The Reveal: Ace and Luffy aren't really related, and Ace is the son of Gold Roger. Why it isn't a Shocking Swerve despite it having little to no foreshadowing is because this reveal, along with the accompanying flashbacks, pretty much explain everything that's happened up to that point. In fact, Luffy knew about it all along — nobody just bothered to ask.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Poor, poor Ace.
  • Shout-Out: There's a guy in the Whitebeard Pirates who looks like Jack Sparrow.
    • There's another Whitebeard Pirates commander who looks like He-Man.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Arguably the biggest theme of the arc. The reason why Ace's execution and Luffy's death is so important to the Marines is because their fathers are both the most notorious world-class criminals in history: "The Pirate King" Gold Roger and "The Revolutionary" Monkey D. Dragon respectively. Ultimately, to the world itself, their first and greatest crimes are not anything they have done as pirates; instead, it is the sin of being born. As Ace was dying in Luffy's arms, he admits that all he ever really wanted was to know if he deserved to be born, just because he had the blood of a Pirate King in his veins.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Completely pulverised to the point of deconstruction.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: A literal example with Buggy and his convict followers: A war is taking place with guys like the Seven Warlords, the Whitebeard Pirates and their New World allies, The Admirals, Giant Squad and Luffy running about and kicking ass, but Buggy stole the visual Den Den Mushi to bring all attention to himself.
    • Spanner in the Works: This meant that the Marines no longer had control over what information was being transmitted back to Saobondy. so when Blackbeard appeared to publicly betray them, and when Whitebeard asserted One Piece's existence, the whole world saw it too.
  • Third Party Stops Attack: Shanks stops Sakazuki's attempt to kill Coby by a sword.
  • Tranquil Fury: You thought Whitebeard on a rampage was bad?
  • A Truce While We Gawk: A few times throughout the arc, but the single most critical would be Coby's desperate plea to stop the fighting.
  • Tomato Surprise: Ace is really the son of Gold Roger and thus not Luffy's real brother, but an adopted one.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Rather notable in the way that it has been both greatly averted, yet also play straight at the same time with Luffy during the entire Whitebeard War Saga, as while he was in over his head like many believed, he was still the reason the War to save Ace was almost a success:
    • Aversion: When Luffy learns that his brother is on death row, he resolves to rescue him, despite knowing that said brother is in the pirate crew of Whitebeard, who is absolutely guaranteed to make a move to rescue him already, and is far better equipped to do so. Everyone tells Luffy that he'll be in completely over his head if he tries to butt in, and they're absolutely right. Luffy spends the entire battle getting repeatedly curbstomped by pretty much every antagonistic named character he encounters, needing to get bailed out by either a member of Whitebeard's crew, or one of the allies he made in Impel Down.
    • Played Straight: Yet, in his defense as a example, Luffy was still vital to the Whitebeard pirates for several reasons:
      • First, he bolstered their forces with the group he broke out of, including several very dangerous if not goofy criminals, a leader of the Revolutionaries and two former Shichibukai.
      • Second, he worked as a large Spanner in the Works; his reckless and headstrong nature caused a few things to go pear-shaped for the Marines and even Fleet Admiral Sengoku warned them about not letting Luffy dominate or take control of the matter.
      • Most importantly, when Ace was about to beheaded, Luffy inadvertently saved him via his Conqueror's Haki, knocking the executioners out along with several strong pirates and marines. This is very notable as while the sides are much stronger than Luffy at the moment, many realized they clearly underestimated the potential Luffy had. Whitebeard put his trust in Luffy (even referring to him by his epithet rather than just a kid) to save Ace while Luffy became a larger target.
      • In fact, he was the one who ended up freeing and saving Ace. Briefly, as Admiral Akainu exploited Ace's Fatal Flaw to wound him largely and this led to Luffy trying to rescue him, but his Heroic Second Wind was finally beginning to run out and Akainu tried to kill Luffy. Ace took the killing blow and died in his brothers' arms.
  • Unexpected Character: Nobody expected Trafalgar Law (along with the rest of his crew) to show up at Marineford in the first place...much less for the sole purpose of saving Luffy. What's more, Law doesn't offer up much solid reasons for why he did so—firmly cementing his status as a Wild Card in the story—and we don't get any hints into his true motivation for rescuing Luffy until almost 200 chapters later, in the Dressrosa arc.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Both the Whitebeard pirates and the World Government were used by Blackbeard, who single-handedly caused the biggest battle in recorded history, got what he wanted, and escaped scot free.
  • War Arc: The Paramount War of the Whitebeard Pirates and allies vs. The Marines, after all.
  • War Is Hell: Big time.
  • Wham Episode: Without a doubt the biggest one in the series so far. Not only is Ace's true heritage revealed (which kicks off the war to begin with), but both Ace and Whitebeard die, finally breaking through the series' notoriously thick Plot Armor, which shakes the very foundation of the world of One Piece and sets the stage for the New World.
  • Wham Line: One that reveals everything...
    Sengoku: The truth is...Portgas D. Ace: your father is Gold Roger!
    • ...and one that changes everything.
    The title of Chapter 574: The Death of Portgas D. Ace
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: Coby calls everyone present on this at the end of the war when Marines continued to fight against fleeing and demoralized pirates while injured soldiers could still be saved.
  • Wild Card: This arc and the following Post-War arc place Trafalgar Law solidly within this trope (where he actually remains in later arcs). At Sabaody, he gave no reason to believe that he was anything other than an Affably Ambiguously Evil Friendly Enemy to Luffy (or, at best, a friendly rival with emphasis on rival). Yet, here, he shows up at Marineford seemingly for the sole purpose of rescuing Luffy. He doesn't even give a solid motivation for why he did so, instead offering to make up an excuse if that would make the others feel better.
  • Worth Living For: After being freed, Ace resolves to keep on living, having finally realized that he is truly loved. It only serves to make his death all the more tragic.
  • Worthy Opponent: Whitebeard to Sengoku. The latter gets pissed when Blackbeard steals Whitebeard's devil fruit ability and declares that his era has come, preferring to solo the entire crew. Garp similarly says Whitebeard would be turning in his grave if he realised what became of his devil fruit powers.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Luffy and the rest of the Whitebeard Pirates when it comes to saving Ace (in fact, Luffy quite LITERALLY went through hell). Despite the fact that his nakama was dying for his sake, Ace couldn't stop crying because he was so happy knowing that he was loved.
  • You Never Asked: The reason why Luffy never told anyone that he and Ace weren't biologically related.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Whitebeard's crew against Akainu to prevent him from chasing Luffy. Even Crocodile helps out!
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