Chapter 552 is titled "Ace and Whitebeard".
Straw Hat's Separation Serial: Chopper's 'I'm not food, dammit' Vol. 1 "Runaway raccoon stew".
As the Impel Down escapees head towards Marineford, Monkey D. Luffy reveals to them that Ace's father is Gol D. Roger. At Marineford, everyone is startled by the sudden appearance of the Whitebeard Pirates. Whitebeard begins his attack, cracking the air with his Gura Gura no Mi powers. Ace remembers his adventure in the Grand Line, fighting Jinbe and later losing to Whitebeard. Ace then remembers how he became a member of the Whitebeard Pirates after trying to kill Whitebeard numerous times, and eventually became a commander. Finally, Ace recalls when Marshall D. Teach killed Thatch and Ace went to capture him against his captain's wishes. Back at Marineford, Ace yells that getting captured was his own fault, but Whitebeard says that he told him to go. Ace tries to argue, but his crew says that no one touches a member of their crew and gets away with it. Whitebeard's attack then arrives in the form of two huge tsunamis, beginning the Battle of Marineford.
In the Tarai Current, Ivankov is seen wondering if Dragon and his Revolutionary army would turn up. Luffy asks why and Ivankov states that Dragon would not stand his son being executed. Luffy simply reveals that he knows about the link between Roger and Ace. This surprises the whole ship, when Luffy tells them not to tell anyone as it was a secret.
At Marineford, Sengoku is in awe at the sudden arrival of the Whitebeard Pirates. What appears to be the Division Commanders of the Whitebeard Pirates stand around, simply watching. Whitebeard looks up and punches the air, "cracking" it with the use of his Devil Fruit, the Gura Gura no Mi. This causes a gigantic tremor, rippling through the Marine ranks. Two massive explosions erupt but no one is harmed however it causes alarm through the ranks of the Marines.
Back at the Tarai Current, Luffy states that he could not see the Marines or the Whitebeard Pirates yet because of the fog. Meanwhile, Ace enters a series of flashbacks.
A younger version of Ace told Luffy that he would leave now to become a pirate. Luffy told him that he would set out in three years and be stronger by that time. However, Garp was angry that Ace had decided to become a pirate rather than be a Marine. Soon, Ace is known all around the world as the infamous and strong captain of the Spade Pirates. Sengoku was seen asking about this new rookie, while Whitebeard commented on the invitation to Ace as a Shichibukai and his rejection.
Some time afterward, Ace found Shanks. He asked if Ace wanted to greet him, grabbing his sword and threatening him. However, unfazed by the threat, Ace states that he was the brother of Luffy, saying that Luffy bragged about Shanks and he had decided to come see the real thing. Shanks became overjoyed, saying that this was a reason to celebrate.
Some time later, Jinbe stood in Ace's way, stating that even though he was not part of the Whitebeard Pirate, he would not let a "young reckless boy" have a go at the "old man", referring to Whitebeard. The Spade Pirates recognized Jinbe and his Shichibukai status, warning Ace. However, Ace and Jinbe go head to head. Thus, they battled for 5 days straight with no clear victor. At this point, Whitebeard himself appears to the Spade Pirates, stating that the challenger should stand forth, that this was the chance to take his head. Whitebeard goes alone, defeating most of the Spade Pirates. Ace stands back up, calling up a wall of fire using his Devil Fruit. Ace tells his crew to run and that he would face Whitebeard alone. Whitebeard calls Ace a "cheeky little brat" and attacks Ace. After what appears to be a long hard battle, Whitebeard comments about Ace, saying that it would be a pity if he was to die there. He states that if Ace still wanted to cause havoc on the seas, Ace should bear the symbol of Whitebeard and become his "son".
When Ace awakes after his defeat to Whitebeard, Thatch greets Ace, telling him of his position as the 4th Division Commander of the Whitebeard Pirates. Thatch tells Ace about what happened after he passed out, saying that the Spade Pirates had come to get Ace, only to be beaten up by Thatch and his division. However, they were aboard this ship. Ace asks how Thatch could be so comfortable without him being in handcuffs or anyone guarding him as a prisoner. And soon, Ace's attempts to kill Whitebeard begin. Ace begins with trying to kill Whitebeard in his sleep. Whitebeard wakes up at the last second and sends Ace flying, soon falling back asleep. Ace tries again, this time using an ax. Whitebeard fends off this attack, throwing Ace into the sea. Ace tries day after day, soon passing the 100 mark. One day, Marco passes Ace a bowl of soup. Ace asks Marco why everyone called Whitebeard "Pops". Marco replies with that Whitebeard called them his "sons", that while they were hated around the world, words like those made them happy. Marco presents Ace with a decision, if he would take Whitebeard's name on his back.
Some time after the talk with Marco, the Whitebeard Pirates cheer as Ace celebrates another victory by taking down Doma and his crew. He later has the chance to take up the position of 2nd Division Commander. Ace asks around and pretty much everyone gives their consent, even a younger version of Blackbeard, still a Whitebeard Pirate. While Ace's reputation grows, Ace reveals his father to Whitebeard. The old man laughs, saying that Ace and Roger have different personalities. Ace asks if he was to be kicked out but Whitebeard refuses, saying that everyone was a "child of the sea".
After Blackbeard murdered Thatch, some men are seen holding Ace back, saying that Whitebeard had made an exception. Ace, outraged, shouts about Blackbeard, stating he was a traitor, that he had to go after him as he had committed the ultimate crime and he was under his division. Marco and Jozu attempt to stop him, but Ace runs.
Back to the present at Marineford, Ace shouts at the Whitebeard Pirates, that he should have been left for dead as he had refused to listen and set out. Whitebeard states that he had told Ace to go, only to be rebutted by Ace, saying that Whitebeard and the others had said not to go. However, Whitebeard calls up Marco and asks if he had told Ace to go. Marco answers yes, saying that Whitebeard told Ace to go. Everyone cheers, saying that they would save the 2nd Division Commander. The Marine admirals prepare themselves, all commenting about the coming war. Suddenly everything rumbles, causing alarm through Marines, even to some of the Shichibukai. It is then revealed that Whitebeard was a "Quakeman", having eaten the Gura Gura no Mi. Sengoku tells everyone to fight, saying that the Marines might be the ones that could face the end, not the Whitebeard Pirates. The two sides begin to fight, with two tsunamis on either side of Marineford as the war begins.
- Chopper runs for his life from the natives.
- The Gura Gura no Mi is revealed with Edward Newgate as the consumer.
- The beginning of Ace's journey as a pirate is shown.
- It is confirmed that Whitebeard has Haki, due to his ability to hit Ace, a Logia user.
- The Battle of Marineford begins.
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