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The Meaning of Ace’s Tattoo in One Piece Explained

The Meaning of Ace’s Tattoo in One Piece Explained

Anime, a captivating and immersive mode of storytelling, often uses intricate design symbols to accomplish deep characterisation. One Piece, a renowned Japanese anime by Eiichiro Oda, stands tall in this domain particularly through the mesmerizing character of Portgas D. Ace, whose intriguing tattoo has left viewers and enthusiasts engrossed and engaged. This striking visual element, Ace’s tattoo, carries substantial weight in the One Piece universe, bearing layers of symbolism linked not only to Ace’s own story but also to the broader narrative themes of the series.

Background of One Piece and Ace’s Character

One Piece and the Character of Portgas D. Ace

One Piece, created by Eiichiro Oda, is a renowned Japanese manga and anime series that has achieved significant popularity, particularly for its distinct artwork, encompassing storyline, and a multitude of uniquely designed and well-developed characters. One character that stands out among the rest is Portgas D. Ace, sometimes known as Fire Fist Ace, due to his explosive ability to conjure and manipulate fire.

Portgas D. Ace is distinguished by his laid-back and carefree personality that masks his intense loyalty and strong sense of justice. He is the adopted brother of the protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, and the son of the former Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. Famous for being the commander of Whitebeard Pirates’ 2nd division, Ace is exceptionally powerful and skilled in combat. His notable abilities include the Mera Mera no Mi, a Logia-type Devil Fruit that allows him to create, control, and transform into fire at will.

The Significance of Ace’s Tattoo

Portgas D. Ace, widely known as Ace, is a much-loved character in One Piece, partly due to his unique blazing powers and partly due to the intriguing tattoo on his upper arm. This tattoo bears the letters ‘ASCE’ with a strikethrough on ‘S.’ The tattoo has become symbolic to Ace’s character, capturing key elements of his life and past.

Interestingly, the tattoo signifies the names of his fellow crew members of the Spade Pirates – ‘Ace’, ‘Spade’, ‘Craig’, and ‘Edward.’ The ‘S’ stands for Sabo, Ace’s blood brother who was believed to have died. Upon losing Sabo, Ace crossed out the ‘S’ from his tattoo, a painful reminder of his beloved brother’s death and the immense grief it brought.

Beyond grief, the tattoo also represents Ace’s intense connection with those he cares about and his profound sense of loyalty. The crossing out of the ‘S’ is a crucial turning point in Ace’s life, a permanent memo of the ruthless world he belongs to and the meaningful relationships he has lost during his journey.

In conclusion, Ace’s tattoo is a vital component of his character, more than just a physical embellishment. It’s a visual storyteller of his past, relationships, and inherent character traits that have made him one of the most adored and multifaceted characters in One Piece. It emphasizes on elements that are the backbone of the One Piece story – importance of personal bonds, a tribute to the past, and relentless ambition despite daunting challenges.


Design of Ace’s Tattoo

Breaking Down the Design of Ace’s Tattoo in One Piece

In the “One Piece” anime, the character Portgas D Ace, also known simply as Ace, is distinguished by a marked tattoo. The tattoo includes the letters ‘ASCE’ with a strikethrough on the ‘S’, exhibited on Ace’s left arm. This design is more than just a visual representation; it holds several symbolic layers.

The tattoo is a blend of black and orange shades, a reflection of Ace’s personality and abilities. The black denotes his serious nature, strength, and resolution, whereas the orange resonates with his dynamic flaming power and intense determination to guard his loved ones.

The ‘ASCE’ tattoo signifies Ace’s name. However, fans often perceive the strikethrough on ‘S’ as a homage to Ace’s deceased surrogate brother, Thatch, who was betrayed and killed by Blackbeard. The crossed out ‘S’ stands as a sign of regard and mourning for his dead companion. This part of the tattoo varies based on the different story arcs, mirroring Ace’s emotional state accurately.

In the Summit War Arc, the tattoo seems to be more conspicuous, embodying Ace’s bitterness, rage, and determination to fight against his brother’s murderer. This change accentuates the significance of this tattoo for Ace, conveying more than just a contribution to his character design but a strong reflection of his emotions and purpose.

There is also speculation among fans that the ‘S’ could denote Sabo, Ace’s other blood brother assumed dead but found alive later. This theory proposes that Ace was always aware of Sabo’s survival and he crossed out his name to keep him safe.

Ace’s arm tattoo betrays his rebellious spirit, his pirate identity, his unwavering resolve, and the impact his close relationships have on him. Ace’s tattoo is thus a brilliantly symbolic design that adds profundity to his character and establishes ties with the larger story arc.


Symbolism and Implications of Ace’s Tattoo

Deeper Implications of Ace’s Tattoo in ‘One Piece’

Fashioned as “ASCE” with a slashed “S”, Ace’s tattoo in “One Piece” is more than a mere body marking, holding key narrative significance. The simplest interpretation of this design is merely the misspelled name of Ace. However, the crossed-out “S” has sparked numerous conjectures. Analyzing this unusual spelling led some to surmise if it signifies programming syntax, or more intriguingly, if it pays homage to Sabo, his another sworn brother who was believed to be dead.

Symbolism of the Letters

There lies a deeper implication within every letter in Ace’s tattoo. The ’A’ naturally stands for “Ace”, symbolizing his identity. The ’S’ with a line striking through it represents “Sabo”, another significant character in One Piece. The intriguing part is the strike through the ’S’. This can be interpreted as symbolizing Ace’s grief and denial over Sabo’s assumed death, hence the void felt in his heart reflected by nullifying the ‘S’ in his tattoo.

Importance of the Design

Ace’s deliberate choice in tattoo design may also hint at his strong emotional bond with Sabo. The specific design symbolizes the profoundness of their friendship and the substantial impact Sabo made on Ace’s life. At the same time, it serves as a lasting memory of Sabo to remind Ace of the lessons learned and experiences shared.

Color and Its Connotation

Although the tattoo’s color hasn’t been explicitly explained in the series, the bold, dark hue adopted for the tattoo might reflect Ace’s sorrow and mourning over Sabo’s supposed demise. It also adheres to the typical aesthetic of pirate tattoos within the One Piece universe, creating a consistent visual narrative.

The Reveal of Sabo’s Survival

One of the most impacting moments in the One Piece series was the revelation that Sabo was alive. This twofold revelation acted as a tribute to Ace’s memory and to the intricate meaning behind Ace’s tattoo. Upon discovering Sabo’s survival, viewers revisited the significance of the tattoo, deepening the emotional connection and adding a layer of depth to Ace’s character.

In-Depth Understanding of Ace’s Character

The physical pain endured getting the tattoo can be perceived as a metaphor for the emotional pain Ace carried within him over Sabo’s alleged death. His tattoo thus provides valuable insight into Ace’s personality, outlook on life, and relationships with other characters. Indirectly, the tattoo also mirrors Ace’s brave, rebellious, yet deeply emotional character in One Piece storytelling.


Ace’s tattoo in One Piece carries far more meaning than meets the eye. This complex symbol, associated with Ace’s storyline, mirrors the depth and careful character crafting that goes on in the series. As a testament to brotherhood, sacrifice, and emotional voyage Ace undertook, the tattoo provides viewers a profound insight into his character.

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Ace’s Tattoo in the Fandom

The Meaning Behind Ace’s Tattoo in One Piece

Renowned as one of the most memorable tattoos in the anime world, the ink on Portgas D. Ace (commonly known as Ace) from One Piece has been a topic of much interest. The tattoo, a bold “ASCE” design with a strikethrough on the ‘S’, is prominently displayed on his upper left arm. The intrigue and speculation among the fans primarily stem from the crossed-out ‘S’.

Fan Interpretations and Theories

Many fans initially thought that the ‘S’ was a mistake by the artist, but it was later clarified to be intentional. Several intriguing theories have popped up within the fandom. Some suggest that the crossed-out ‘S’ stands for Sabo, Ace’s adoptive brother, symbolizing his believed-to-be death. This theory gained momentum especially due to the deep bonds and brotherly love showcased among Ace, Sabo, and Luffy in the anime series.

In-Series Explanation

However, Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, clarified the true meaning of Ace’s tattoo in a SBS question and answer corner. The ‘S’ stands for Ace’s former crew, the Spade Pirates, and it is crossed out because he has left that crew to join the Whitebeard Pirates. The letters ‘A’,’C,’ and ‘E’ are the initials for Ace.

Influence on Fandom

The tattoo has developed a life of its own within the fandom. It has not only become an iconic element of Ace’s character design, but has also served as inspiration for fan art, cosplays, and merchandise. Fans have embraced the tattoo, getting their versions of it, thereby expressing their love for Ace and the series. It has also fueled narrative speculation and discussions, keeping the fandom engaged and active. The tattoo serves as a gateway for fans to delve deeper into Ace’s character, his relationships, and his evolving role in the series.

Tattoo’s Role

The tattoo of Ace also had an indirect influence on the series plot development. The crossed-out ’S’ in his tattoo added a layer of mystery that was later unravelled with the introduction of Sabo, adding a new dimension to the plot. The tattoo, therefore, not only served as a significant emblem for Ace’s character but also as an intricate part of the One Piece storyline, enhancing the overall depth and complexity of the series.

Interpreting the Meaning behind Ace’s Tattoo in One Piece

The intricate tattoo found on Ace’s bicep in the popular anime ‘One Piece’ encapsulates the essence of his character’s past, affiliations, and critical choices made throughout the series. These small yet meaningful details hidden within his tattoo animate his character development while propelling the plot forward. The depth of symbolization imbued within Ace’s tattoo underlines its prowess to intrigue audiences, adding an extra layer of complexity and detail to the overarching narrative.


Comparison of Ace’s Tattoo with Other Anime Tattoos

Going Deeper into Ace’s Tattoo

Portgas D. Ace, affectionately termed as “Ace,” is a beloved character from the renowned anime series One Piece. His distinctively marked bicep sets him apart from other characters, adding a unique layer to his persona. The tattoo proves to be a narrative tool that enhances his characterization, making Ace stand out in an array of tattooed characters across various anime shows.

The tattoo comprises a culmination of letters and symbols: “ASCE,” with the “S” being conspicuously crossed-out. Fans and critics have propounded an array of theories regarding its intended meaning. A popular interpretation suggests that the tattoo is a tribute to his precious friendships. The “A” stands for Ace, the crossed out “S” symbolizes Sabo, while the “C” and “E” represents his brother, Monkey D. Luffy. This embedded symbolism showcases the unyielding bonds of camaraderie and brotherhood ubiquitous throughout the series.

Comparing Ace’s Tattoo with Other Anime Tattoos

Comparatively, the tattoos in anime series like Naruto, Bleach, Fairy Tail, and Fullmetal Alchemist carry different but equally significant meanings. For example, Natsu’s tattoo in Fairy Tail represents his affiliation to his guild, while Gaara’s forehead tattoo in Naruto symbolizes “love” as a form of resistance against his traumatic past.

However, Ace’s tattoo stands out for its emotional depth and simplicity. Unlike the elaborate and mystical designs in Fullmetal Alchemist or complex sacred seals in Naruto, Ace’s tattoo is direct and personal, carrying the weight of his relationships.

Uniqueness and Symbolism of Ace’s Tattoo

Ace’s tattoo in One Piece has unique attributes that add to his characterization and the show’s narrative. While anime such as Bleach use tattoos as a form of showcasing character power or Fairy Tail highlighting guild affiliations, One Piece uses Ace’s tattoo to depict personal relations and emotional bonds. This is notable as it emphasizes One Piece’s focus on the value of bonds and friendship over individual strength or affiliation.

One Piece, through Ace’s tattoo, uses a simple outlook to convey deep feelings of love, loss, friendship and family ties. Thus, the symbolism in Ace’s tattoo pushes One Piece’s storytelling into realms that most other shonen anime fail to explore in such detail.

Additionally, the crossed-out “S” distinguishes Ace’s tattoo in design and narrative. It acts as a memorial to Sabo, his presumed dead brother, signifying the impact of their bond on Ace. It’s a visual portrayal of Ace’s feelings and memories, making his character multi-dimensional and clearly showing his values.

Influence of Ace’s Tattoo in One Piece

Ace’s tattoo in One Piece is not just a design but a narrative tool that has influenced the anime’s storyline and characters dynamics, setting it apart in the genre. It has inspired a deeper understanding and connection to character motives in the audience. Similarly, it has influenced the characterization of other One Piece characters around Ace, intensifying the impact of his character in the anime series. This characteristic of Ace’s tattoo has become a template for other animes to create a deeper connection to their characters and plot.


Simply put, Ace’s tattoo stands as a testament to the intricate storytelling of One Piece. Just like the world it derives from, it’s a bold and complex symbol, laden with rich historical connections and personal significance that transcends the ordinary. It extends well beyond its aesthetic appeal, acting as a focal point in fan discussions and interpretations. So, whether you’re learning about this classic emblem for the first time or revisiting it with fresh eyes, its stature as one of the most meaningful and distinctive tattoos in anime history remains uncontested.