One Piece is known for many things, but cheap deaths aren’t one of them. I give the popular franchise a ton of flak, but honestly speaking, out of all the Big 3 anime of the era, it is possibly the most popular. And it owes much of that hype to its polished world-building and well-thought writing. Sure, sometimes it might introduce characters and forget what to do with them, but not always. So, when a character like Sabo is vaguely shown to be deceased, it’s best to take it with a grain of salt.
Sabo, also known as the ‘Flame Emperor,’ is one of the Straw Hat Pirate crew’s most trusted allies and someone fans fear is dead due to a newspaper article. However, we believe that he isn’t dead, mostly because this isn’t the first time Sabo’s death was used as a Red Herring. Hence, it wouldn’t make any sense to bring him back from the dead, only to kill him again for a cheap shot to force emotion.
Mentioning a character as dead in canon when they are just MIA (Missing In Action) is a pretty common trope in Shonen works. It just makes it that much sweeter when they are found to be alive and kicking later on. With Sabo, we’ve already seen him play this trope before. He was shown to be deceased in a flashback, only to turn up in the Dressrosa arc, protecting his sworn little brother, Monkey D. Luffy, aka our beloved protagonist. And Sabo is an important plot point in the story of Luffy and his journey as a Pirate Captain.
But how can we be sure that the commander of the Revolutionary Army is unharmed? Well, for that, we’ll have to dive into Lore Analysis – where we comb through the mythos of a story to see just where it’s headed. And if we’re lucky, some crumbs can help us predict where a certain character’s journey is starting and where it’s ending. Today, let’s see if Sabo is on the chopping block or biding his time to come back victorious!
Sabo: The Rebel Noble With A Cause!
Sabo is an oddball. He was born into a high noble family in the Goa Kingdom who wouldn’t be caught dead philandering about with the lesser folk, let alone criminals such as pirates. But that’s what makes Sabo so special, considering he never put on airs to pretend like he was more.
His home country has always been obsessed with ‘segregation’ between the nobles and the less fortunate, which is what caused Sabo to ask himself what the world was really like outside the walls of High Town and outside the island itself. And when he learned how life can be when you leave the ideals of rich and poor behind, it was like he was born anew.
He rejected the status quo he was brought up in and ran away from home. He went on to live in the Gray Terminal, forfeiting his noble heritage and stating how ashamed he was of his noble status. Sabo’s dream involved traveling worldwide as a pirate, who would archive everything they experienced in a book to pass on to others.
What Happened At The Reverie?
In the last few volumes, it was clear something big was going down between the Admirals and the Revolution Army, with the two getting together at the Reverie.
While it isn’t clear what exactly happened, Morgan’s Newspaper showed an article on the front page about how the Chief Of Staff of The Revolutionary Army was involved in a huge event. But what got fans scared was when it was revealed that there was a single casualty at that event, and those in touch with Sabo were the first ones to react.
Talk about ominous! Though, it is likely that he has been captured by the Marines and set for execution like Ace was. This would then set up an arc that mirrors Marineford.
Here’s Why Sabo Isn’t Dead Yet!
Killing Sabo off would be a cheap tactic considering that we already saw him die back during the flashback arc to Luffy’s childhood. Only to have survived and risen to the rank of second in command of the Revolutionary Army by the time he makes his appearance in the Dressarosa arc, where he acquires Ace’s Devil Fruit.
Especially given recent events where his supposed assassination of King Cobra of Alabasta has set him up as a messiah-like figure for nations who’ve been pushed around by the World Government for so long. It’d just be such a waste of his character arc.
Getting rid of him now after this would be poor in taste as it would replicate the circumstances regarding how Ace was killed (lineage, devil fruit, high ranking position in an antigovernment post, etc). And at that point, there is no reason to do it outside of shock value.