The Marineford arc may be a distant memory but the love for Ace cannot be diminished.
The One Piece: Ace’s Story published by Viz Media on 5th May this year reveals Ace’s journey as the captain of his own crew The Spade Pirates and his first encounter with the Whitebeard Pirates.
The novel sheds a different light on the events of the manga. The mind wanders – What happened to The Spade Pirates after the demise of their beloved captain?
1. Short Answer
The current whereabouts of The Spade Pirates (now integrated into the Whitebeard Pirates) remains a mystery.
As revealed in the light novel, Ace and The Spade Pirates merged with the Whitebeard pirates.
It is likely as part of the remnants of the Whitebeard Pirates, they’re awaiting a reason to get out of retirement and gain the justice that their crew deserves.
2. What Happened To The Spade Pirates After The Marineford Arc?
Most of the members of The Spade Pirates are currently alive with their whereabouts unknown. It is revealed through this novel that Ace’s former crew assimilates into the Whitebeard Pirates crew after their conflict.
They soon find new roles on the ship and become fully integrated with the identity of a Whitebeard pirate, much like Ace. However, post-Marineford arc, we are informed that most of the Whitebeard pirates managed to survive and have split.
We can infer that the remnants of the Whitebeard Pirates have scattered across the world after losing their territories to Blackbeard’s vicious attacks.
It’s said they had managed to survive the Payback War and may be practicing retirement just like Marco.
However, given the possibility of Marco’s return in Wano Country Arc, it is a strong enough reason to believe that there will be a reunion of the Whitebeard Pirates, within that The Spade Pirates, to provide justice to their beloved leaders in the future.
I. Who Are The Spade Pirates?
The formation of The Spade Pirates is traced to the event where Portgas D. Ace finds himself stranded on the East Blue Island of Sixis with an unnamed man.
Ace nicknames him Masked Deuce and after a mild scuffle, they eventually become friends. It is on this island that Ace consumes the Mera Mera no Mi and gains his fire-based abilities.
The humble beginnings of The Spade Pirates are marked by Ace and Masked Deuce escaping the island on a raft called ‘Striker’ that they built together.
Over the years, drawn by Ace’s distinct and kind practice of piracy, they’re able to gather people and form a crew of 20 people.
The core members strongly attached to Ace and Masked Deuce were Mihar, Skull, Kukai, Kotatsu (the ship’s pet), Ganryu, Finamore, Saber, Aggie 68, Ducky Bree and many more. Some of them are first seen in One Piece’s Chapter 552.
These vibrant characters were as different as fire and ice yet they were tied by a strong tether: their devotion to Ace.
The crew ventured on various colorful adventures where they clashed with the Marines and Bounty Hunters and even gradually making their way to Wano where a young Tama would eventually idolize the beloved “Fire Fist” Ace.
II. The Spade Pirates and Whitebeard Pirates
The most interesting event of the novel is Ace’s encounter with the Whitebeard Pirates and the nature of it.
The One Piece manga/anime introduces Ace already as a member of the Whitebeard Pirates with little sign of his former crew’s past.
In the novel, we see that Ace’s initial interaction with Whitebeard arose from his determination to take down the Four Emperors.
After Ace’s defeat at the hands of Whitebeard, he is forcibly taken into the crew.
The Spade Pirates attempt to protect him but they suffer a devastating defeat and soon, they’re assimilated into the crew as well.
The nature of their integration may be questionable and riddled with sparks (especially Ace’s relationship with Whitebeard) but they grow to become friends and proud members of the Whitebeard Pirates.
The Spade Pirates may not have been given much screen time during the Summit War, but I strongly believe they were there fighting to rescue their former captain.
III. Timeskip and Post-Timeskip
The time-skip takes place after the Marineford arc and it is revealed that during the time-skip the Whitebeard Pirates crew attempted to exact their revenge against Marshall D. Teach under Marco’s guidance.
The war ended with them being brutally defeated and their former territories annexed by the Blackbeard Pirates. The events even lead to Whitebeard’s position in the Four Emperors being usurped by Marshall D. Teach.
After this, it is seen that they went into hiding. Marco assumes the role of a doctor in Whitebeard’s home village, Sphinx.
3. Will The Whitebeard Pirates Join Luffy?
This is merely speculative but I do believe that the remnants of the Whitebeard Pirates crew will come to Wano. The links between the Whitebeard Pirates with Wano Country is heavily hinted.
It would be out of character of Oda to leave the Whitebeard pirates unable to exact their revenge.
But the Wano Country Arc seems like a good enough reason to assemble the Whitebeard Pirates that include former Spade Pirates.
We see Nekomamushi attempt to recruit Marco into the alliance created by Luffy to take down 2 members – Kaido and Charlotte – in Wano Country.
Marco initially refuses as he doesn’t wish to leave the village unguarded however he asks Nekomamushi to deliver a message to Luffy – that he’d arrive in Wano but late.
Surprisingly, we see Marco arrive at Wano at the same time as Nekomamushi and the former commander of Whitebeard Pirates’ 16th division, Izo.
Marco’s decision to come out of retirement will definitely be a catalyst for the rest of the members to follow suit.
Other links between the Whitebeard Pirates crew and Wano is the reveal of Kikujo’s sister being Izo.
Even Kozuki Oden, the former daimyo of Kuri in Wano Country, had a close relationship with the Whitebeard Pirates as revealed in the flashbacks.
His death at the hands of the pirate Kaido is enough reason for the Whitebeard Pirates to show their support to the alliance.
We also see Tama who had a special link with Ace have a role in the Wano Country Arc. And finally, the most concrete reason for their return would be Whitebeard’s final request.
He asks his crew to support Luffy. What better way to support Luffy than by joining his quest to take down 2 Emperors?
4. Where is Striker – The Spade Pirates’ Ship?
In the Water 7 Saga, Ace uses Striker to approach Blackbeard on Banaro Island. Ace’s fight against Blackbeard ends with his defeat.
There is no evidence or sign of what happened to Striker after Ace’s arrest. Given the years that have passed since the incident, it is safe to assume that the ship washed up on the shore of Banaro Island.
Striker is powered by Ace’s Mera Mera no Mi powers so it is likely that it was unable to sustain itself after his arrest.
5. Is One Piece: Ace’s Story Canon?
One Piece: Ace’s Story is considered canon. The authors of novel are Shou Hinata and Tatsuya Hamazaki and not Eiichiro Oda.
However, the story was supervised by Oda with the cover art illustrated by him. Other than that, the novel was officially published by Shueisha on April 8, 2018 and further translated into English and published by Viz Media on May 5th, 2020.
6. About One Piece
One Piece is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since July 22, 1997.
The man who had acquired everything in this world, the Pirate King, is Gol D. Roger.
The final words he said at the execution tower were “My treasures? If you want it, I’ll let you have it. Look for it; I left all of it at that place.”
These words sent many to the seas, chasing their dreams, headed toward the Grand Line, in search of One Piece. Thus began a new age!
Seeking to be the greatest pirate in the world, young Monkey D. Luffy also heads toward the Grand Line in search of One Piece.
His diverse crew is joining him along the way, consisting of a swordsman, marksman, navigator, cook, doctor, archaeologist, and cyborg-shipwright, this will be one memorable adventure.Originally Written By Epic Dope