It’s no surprise that a title like One Piece would keep on getting more spinoffs. Ace is a really big character among the fanbase so it’s quite fitting that this mini series would be about him. He always was a fun character. I wouldn’t put him as one of my favorites or anything but his skills were good and the guy was always ready to jump into a fight. I can certainly admire that kind of dedication. The 4 chapters go by quickly but it’s a fun read and the battles are certainly intense.
The series picks up with a guy named Deuce who wants to write some amazing stories. Unfortunately he is stranded on an island and doesn’t really know what he should write about now. Well, one day Ace crash lands on the island and Deuce agrees to help him build a ship to get out of there. Deuce never imagined that he would be a pirate someday but hanging out with Ace has been fun. Ace is leading them down a dangerous path though as he says that his goal is to defeat one of the 4 Emperors, Whitebeard. This sounds like an impossible goal but Deuce figures that if anyone can do it…it would be Ace.
Naturally the bulk of the first chapter is the two characters meeting each other and Deuce slowly coming around. So that there is a little danger we do have a giant bird that appears which causes a bit of a misunderstanding at first. It’s quickly defeated which wraps up the first story. It introduces the setting and how things will be but at this point Boichi isn’t really trying to hide the Dr. Stone influences here. Deuce looks like he’s straight out of Dr. Stone and this chapter has a lot of building and crafting scenes as the characters build the boat. It’s an interesting look at how he might have tackled One Piece.
Then we get to chapter 2 where they finally get close to Whitebeard but first have to contend with Jinbei. Jinbei gets a really striking splash page. The realistic artstyle that this series uses certainly makes for some memorable shots. While I wouldn’t say that it beats One Piece’s standard art, it’s definitely fun to see the changes to how everyone looks. The fight between Jinbei and Ace is also a blast. It’s over quickly but both fighters get to show what they can do. Ultimately Ace comes out on top here I would say as he’s in better shape after the 5 days. I call foul on their actually fighting for 5 days though. I find that incredibly hard to believe. Whitebeard showing up at the end to get in a good fight was a nice way to end things off. Ace finally got to experience what a loss was and we get a classic look at the nice sky which turns into Gold D. Roger. It’s a nice little detail in the background.
Chapter 3 is the most action packed chapter as Ace keeps trying to take Whitebeard down over and over again but simply isn’t strong enough to do so. By this point he is slowly coming around to respecting Whitebeard although of course he can’t quite admit it. Whitebeard was always his goal to surpass after all so working under him just doesn’t feel right at the time. Still, he does recognize that they aren’t in the same league. Ace’s strongest attacks don’t even singe Whitebeard and the emperor has yet to use his devil fruit. It’s a fun chapter that balances comedy with the despair Ace feels at losing. Thing is, he starts to take it in stride too and this all becomes one big training session for him. It’s nice to see how understanding the crew is even if they would destroy Ace on the spot if he were to somehow destroy Whitebeard.
Finally we get to chapter 4 where Ace joins up with the crew and we get some flashforward scenes to the most influential Ace moments. We even get a few panels of Yamato showing up at the end which was neat. It shows how popular she has gotten to where she would even be squeezed into this adventure. This ends the adventure off on a nice note. You know that things ultimately don’t end well for Ace but at least he got to have a lot of fun in the meantime and really made a name for himself. His journey was brief but it was a good one.
One thing I definitely enjoyed here is how they retroactively added Haki to a lot of the scenes. Ace uses it to fight with Jinbei and also gets to experience it when fighting some of the challengers to Whitebeard. We see Ace learn how to mix it in with his logia abilities and it shows why he was a solid first commander. Now we see that every Yonko’s next in command had Haki so it wouldn’t have made sense if Whitebeard’s didn’t. I do think it’s hard to make everything connect since Haki wasn’t thought of for a while in the series but ultimately it’s a smooth addition here and does help show off Ace’s solid abilities.
The artwork also makes the most of his fire powers. The fire really stands out and we get some great spectacles. At one point Ace uses an attack where he creates a bunch of fire dragons and uses them to attack Whitebeard with. As someone who has mastery over fire, it’s nice to see Ace really getting creative here. There’s a whole lot you can do with fire after all even if the fire fist is his signature move. As a logia type there are few who can stop him. It’s why I wouldn’t mind a time travel arc where the heroes go back to save Ace. It would really tie things over well as Luffy finally saves him and they get a big teamup.
There’s not a whole lot more to discuss since the 4 chapters are over in an instant but you won’t be disappointed with this adventure. Ace really gets to show his stuff and it’s also fun to see Whitebeard again. We don’t get to see him fight very often and he really gets his proper respect here. No attack can really phase him and Whitebeard’s attacks are off the charts. It’s an intense story and this is also a title you can easily read even if you have not read One Piece. It’s still easy to see what’s going on since the story starts from the beginning and you understand Ace’s goals.
Overall, Episode A is a really solid mini series. With how the title is, it makes me wonder if they’ve already got Boichi ready to do some other stories. Like Episode S for Sabo, Episode Z for Zoro, etc. There are a whole lot of characters who could have fun little stories to themselves. Well, I guess we’ll see how that goes when it happens. In the meantime you should start by checking this story out anyway. There’s a good amount of action and adventure here with quality writing. You’ll be having a good time from start to finish as the story just carries you along for the ride. Each chapter is close to 50 pages but it won’t feel that long with all the big art pages and battles going on. The art is super clear which always makes reading the story that much easier.