It’s been years since One Piece fans were forced to face the death of Luffy’s adopted older brother. Ace D. Portgas met his untimely death at the hands of Akainu in a bid to save his younger brother. Luffy never fully recovered from the tragic loss, and the ordeal ultimately pushed the would-be Pirate King to train harder than ever before. So, of course, fans are stunned to learn they'll find out what would’ve happened if Ace hadn’t been killed.
One Piece is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and creator Eiichiro Oda has plenty planned for the event. The artist has said several big projects will be unveiled in 2018 to commemorate the milestone, and one of those gifts will be a special 3-part manga titled “Luff.” The ‘what-if’ spin-off will reimagine One Piece as if Ace did not die saving Luffy, and its preview artwork will make fans cry an ocean.
Over on Twitter, user @YonkouProds recently shared one of the special’s first spreads. The work hasn't been translated into English, but fans will recognize the panels. The art shows Sabo rushing Ace and Luffy before Akainu can skewer either of them with his fiery fist. Sabo, the pair’s other adopted brother, seems relieved to have saved his family - and Ace looks like he can't believe what just happened.
For now, there is no word on how “Luff” will progress in the aftermath of Ace’s rescue, but fans are already hyped to see how the special turns out. Otakus everywhere are already pleading for Toei Animation to give the one-off an animated special down the road, and Ace may just get such a revival if readers don’t give up their petitions with the studio.
Viz Media’s synopsis for One Piece can be read below:
As a child, Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally gained the power to stretch like rubber—at the cost of never being able to swim again! Years later, Luffy sets off in search of the One Piece, said to be the greatest treasure in the world…
ODA DREW SABO SAVING ACE AND LUFFY FROM AKAINU!!! pic.twitter.com/Hj1PqPvt7b— YonkouProductions (@YonkouProd) July 5, 2017
The What-if scenerio is a 3 parter called "Episode of Luff" pic.twitter.com/3Tq6InkLMv— YonkouProductions (@YonkouProd) July 5, 2017
Eiichiro Oda began his manga career in 1992 at the age of 17, when his one-shot cowboy manga Wanted! won second place in the coveted Tezuka manga awards. Oda went on to work as an assistant to some of the biggest manga artists in the industry, including Nobuhiro Watsuki, before winning the Hop Step Award for new artists. His pirate adventure One Piece, which debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1997, quickly became one of the most popular manga in Japan.