The ‘One Piece’ Manga Leaks Are Out of Control
It was only within the past year that I caught up to the One Piece manga, but even before I fully caught up, I was well aware of how easy it is to be on social media and run headlong into One Piece spoilers—especially on Twitter. The frequency with which spoilers are actually tagged could be … improved.
Still, after I caught up, the deepest depths of the problem became immediately apparent. Like all manga that are featured in Weekly Shounen Jump, new One Piece chapters release on Sunday. So, why was I seeing so many posts about the upcoming chapter on Tuesdays and Wednesday?
The answer, unfortunately, is that One Piece leaks. Every single week. And a very significant portion of the fandom reads the leaks on release. Because One Piece is in its final saga and it’s getting wild, readers want to talk about the new chapter immediately—because that’s the joy of One Piece and being in a community of people who also love One Piece.
When you have such a significant portion of people reading the manga before its official release, and then talking and posting about it—often without properly tagging for the new chapter or for spoilers—issues arise. For one, the leaks have splintered the One Piece community’s reaction times. You have the wave of people who read the leak, and the wave who wait for Sunday. So what would usually be one giant explosion of excitement becomes two smaller ones. It’s just kind of a bummer.
But this splintered reaction is starting to have larger consequences. This week, searches related to chapter 1084 spiked significantly enough that any self-respecting SEO specialist would take the interest seriously. Some websites and YouTubers are starting to cover the leak, not the release. Covering the contents of a leak would be an issue, a huge no-no, for any other kind of media. I’ll pose this again later in the article, but why should a leak of a chapter of One Piece be treated as no big deal when a leak of, say, Tears of the Kingdom is treated with scorn?
The world takes notice
Spoilers and reactions around the leaked chapter have become harder and harder to simply scroll frantically past and ignore. It’s getting so bad that One Piece communities beyond North America are taking notice. One popular Japanese One Piece YouTuber, Super-KamikiKande, recently posted a plea to fans not to talk about the chapter ahead of time. In English. You know the choice to post in English was deliberate, because he expressed concern about how his English was in a reply. The message has a hearty number of retweets, mostly from Japanese fans.
He further notes, in Japanese, “It seems to me like people overseas are spreading (the chapter contents) without knowing the official release date.” This is incredibly generous. I think almost everyone posting about the chapters on social media knows that One Piece releases on Sunday. But, to be blunt, I think people have not been given enough reason to care.
One Piece is special because people all over the world love it and connect deeply with it. Right now, thanks to the leaks and the lack of decorum around them, American fans in particular are starting to get a bad reputation. Our reputation is getting bad enough as it is, for a whole bunch of other reasons! So please, please wait until Sunday to post about the chapter. And regardless of when you post, tag your posts for spoilers!
But more than that, I’m here to make the case that waiting until Sunday is important. You know how Tears of the Kingdom leaked a couple weeks early, and everyone was angry at Kotaku and other outlets for covering the contents of the leak? How is this not different? Because a single chapter is “smaller” than a hundred-plus-hour-long AAA game? It’s all someone’s work—why does that matter?
So please, if you’re reading this and you tend to read the new chapters when they leak, I encourage you to wait until Sunday. If you wait, you can share in the larger excitement boom with the rest of the international One Piece community. One Piece is incredibly special for that very reason. We have a lot of nakama, all over the world, who love this series very deeply. At the risk of sounding obscenely corny, why not celebrate it together?
(featured image: Eiichiro Oda/Shounen Jump)
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