The volume title gives it all away(why did you do that, volume title?!), so as you can tell, things aren’t going to be pretty. The war reaches its climax and a lot of emotions are going to flood the pages. Who makes it through alive and what next for Luffy? The death of a brother drives us back to the past as we leave a bloody battle.
We start straight away with the death of Ace and it is a heavy way to start a volume of One Piece. For the first time we see Luffy break down and as it seems the war is coming to an end, Whitebeard’s rampage and a surprise visit from a few unruly foes keep throwing us back into the madness. These moments are certainly the highlight of the war, and the moment Whitebeard screams out ‘The One Piece does exist’ is one of the most shiver inducing lines in the whole series. Blackbeard continues to be an amazing villain with his imperfections and increasingly disgusting crew and the only part which raises any eyebrows is Shanks sudden appearance. It’s awesome to see him pop up and bring the war to a close, but it feels a little flaky. Much like how Ace got hit last volume and how Whitebeard got hit the volume before. While the war has some killer scenes, it also has some of the cheapest in the series.
With the war over a flashback begins, showing Luffy, Ace and newly introduced kid, Sabo. We see how the three grew up and the adventure of the children really brings forward the feelings of adventure and dreams. It does feel like we should have got this back story a long time ago, but it is a nice change of pace from the gruelling Impel Down and Paramount War. And that’s just what we need to get over the deaths of the war.