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Fans have always been curious about the tattoo on Ace's left arm (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

One Piece: What's the meaning of Ace's ASCE tattoo, explained

Portuguese D. Ace is one of the most iconic One Piece characters. As Luffy's adoptive brother, Ace had a very deep bond with him. He was also a prominent member of the Whitebeard Pirates.

Unfortunately, Ace lost his life during the tragic Paramount War. While trying to protect Luffy from Akainu, Ace suffered a lethal blow at the hands of the latter. This was considered to be one of the saddest moments of the entire One Piece series.


Despite not having an active role in the series anymore, Ace remains the subject of interest among fans. Many readers have been wondering what Ace's "ASCE" tattoo means. Follow this thread to find a detailed answer to this question.

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One Piece fans have always questioned the real motive behind Portuguese D. Ace's tattoo

Who is Ace?

"Fire Fist" Portuguese D. Ace was Luffy's adoptive brother (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

The biological son of Gol D. Roger, the man who became the Pirate King, Portuguese D. Ace was adopted by Monkey D. Garp, who took care of him owing to a personal request from Roger. As such, Garp raised Ace as if he were his grandson.

Ace grew up alongside Luffy and Sabo, due to which the three children developed a deep bond and formed a trio. Many years later, Ace set sail with the aim of becoming a powerful pirate, starting his career as the captain of the Spade Pirates.

He eventually joined the Whitebeard Pirates, becoming the commander of the Second Division of the crew and a beloved protégée for the captain, Edward Newgate. During the Arabasta Arc, Ace briefly reunited with Luffy. On that issue, Ace acted as an ally for the Strawhat Pirates, fending off Marine officer Smoker.


Seeking revenge against Blackbeard, who killed one of their crewmates and betrayed the crew, Ace challenged him. Unfortunately, Blackbeard defeated and captured him. Sold to the World Government, Ace was sentenced to death because of his parental ties with Gol D. Roger.


Ace's death penalty resulted in the Paramount War, where the Whitebeard Pirates tried to fight the Marines and the Seven Warlords. However, the attempt ended tragically for Whitebeard and his crew. Temporarily freed, Ace sacrificed his life to protect Luffy from Akainu and died on the battlefield.

Ace's death moved the entire One Piece fandom. Moreover, this sorrowful moment became a sort of catalyst, leading Luffy and his comrades to make the decision of taking two years to properly train and become strong enough to face the New World's challenges.

just realized that :

garp THE FIST raised FIRE FIST ace 🤯

Ace was a pirate with great potential. Despite his young age, he had already become one of the most prominent members of the Whitebeard Pirates and was an influential pirate in the New World.

Since he owned the powers of the Flame-Flame Fruit, Portuguese D. Ace was given the moniker "Fire Fist". That rare Logia-class Devil Fruit allowed him to transform his body into flames and unleash powerful fire attacks.

As the son of Roger, Ace carried the Will of D. and was born with the innate ability of Conqueror's Haki. Adding these rare traits to his Logia-class Devil Fruit, it's clear that, from a future perspective, Ace could have been an immense threat to the World Government.

Ace's tattoo and the theories about its meaning

Ace's "ASCE" tattoo has generated many different theories (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Among Ace's trademark features were his tattoos. On his back, he had a tattoo of the Whitebeard Pirates symbol - purple bones forming a cross behind a purple skull with a white mustache. Ace himself described this tattoo as his pride and joy.

On his upper left bicep, Ace had another tattoo with a vertical writing that spelled "ASCE". One Piece fans have always wondered what it means. This resulted in them formulating various theories.

According to some readers, this tattoo is an abbreviation, with each letter symbolizing something. "A" stands for Ace, "S" stands for Sabo, and "C" stands for "crybaby" (meaning Luffy). Finally, "E" stands for Edward Newgate, who Ace considered his father and the man he owed everything to.

Likewise, this two page introduction is all you need to 100000% understand that Ace is Luffy’s true, indisputable brother. The ASCE tattoo is a magnificent piece of character storytelling too.

However, this assumption doesn't make much sense. One Piece author Eiichiro Oda would likely use japanese, while the word "crybaby", which supposedly stands for "C" in the tattoo, comes from the English language.

Moreover, given that Ace already had this tattoo way before meeting the Whitebeard Pirates, the "E" could never stand for Edward Newgate. Despite this theory being blatantly wrong, it has become some sort of common myth among One Piece fans.

Another rather common theory presumed that the tattoo was to be taken as a joke from the author, who intended it as if the tattoo artist had spelled Ace's name wrong and tried to fix it clumsily. Given Ace's carefree character, the idea wasn't too farfetched. However, the actual truth was different.

The real meaning of ASCE

The crossed "S" was a tribute to Sabo, Ace's adoptive brother who was presumed dead (Image via Toei Animation, One Piece)

In truth, the meaning of the "ASCE" writing has already been revealed in One Piece Green: Secret Pieces, the fourth databook of the series. The tattoo simply featured Ace's name, with the addition of a "S" which stood for Sabo, his sworn childhood brother.

The "S" was not only Sabo's initial letter, but also the main trait of his jolly roger, which consisted of that capital letter over crossed bones. The "S" was crossed out because Ace and Luffy believed Sabo was dead.

@frankieonye I really liked his ASCE tattoo, esp after you find out the backstory behind it.

Sabo was revealed to be alive only much later, during the Dressrosa Arc. After having his boat destroyed by a World Noble, Sabo was about to drown. He was saved by Monkey D. Dragon, who later recruited him into the Revolutionary Army and trained him to become his right-hand man.

After regaining his memory, which he had lost, Sabo reunited with Luffy and decided to carry Ace's legacy by consuming the Flame-Flame Fruit, which the latter formerly possessed.

Final Thoughts

Luffy, Ace and Sabo in their adult versions would have formed an exceptional trio (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Despite the various theories, the meaning of Ace's "ASCE" tattoo was rather obvious. It featured a play on his name, as "Ase", "Asce" and "Ace" sound almost the same. The pun led readers to believe that the "S" was a tattoo mistake, while in truth the letter had a precise meaning. It was a tribute to his brother Sabo, who was presumed to have died.

On the cover of chapter 596 of One Piece, Ace's tattoo is written as "ACE" instead of the original "ASCE", due to the cover being a special "what if" image of Ace, Luffy, and Sabo reunited together as adults.

The Ace-Sabo-Luffy trio might have been a guide for the entire new generation of rising rookies. Unfortunately, Ace died without being able to fulfill his potential. Regardless, One Piece fans will always remember his sacrifice as one of the most touching moments in the series.

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Edited by
Upasya Bhowal
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