Most deaths are a result of the villain being stronger than dying character and as a result, the character dies from being overpowered. Ace’s death was especially powerful because:
- It could have been prevented. Luffy did everything right to save him, but because of one small loss of judgement, Ace threw it all away. That makes the death not only sad, but infuriating.
- It was very unpredictable. Given how One Piece arcs generally play out, it would be a far cry to think Ace would die right after being saved.
- It was realistic. Deaths do not just evoke sadness, but also a burning feeling of “why?” Why did it have to happen? Along with that come a bunch of “if only”‘s. If only Ace didn’t give in to Akainu’s trash talk. If only Ace kept running. If only Ace didn’t make such a stupid mistake. This is one of the few death scenes in manga where I felt this and the reason was because of the unpredictability and the harsh realism that imperfect decisions can lead to ruination, especially in the heat of war where people often aren’t thinking straight.