One Piece Fandom
During a writing club session, I asked the icebreaker question, “What’s one niche interest that if you found out that someone else liked, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll be friends?” My answer was the anime, One Piece. One Piece first aired in 1997, and I first started watching it in 2010 catching up to the 500 episodes at the time. I was 13 years old then. The show has been ongoing, releasing a new episode every Saturday evening, and I’ve watched every single episode since. I’m now 26 and I’ve been watching this show every week for half my life.
I have a few friends that are into the show, all of them have been into it for nearly a decade plus. At a company offsite, I learned that one of my coworkers is also a One Piece fan. He’s been watching it for 10 years. When school went online because of the pandemic, I noticed that one of my classmates had a One Piece profile picture on his Discord account. I asked him how long he’s been a fan, and he said 18 years.
One Piece is one of the most valuable media franchises. I remember when the 1000th episode aired, I saw a YouTube video of a theatre in France playing the opening of the episode in a packed room full of french fans singing every word of the theme song in Japanese. When I travelled to South America - (South Americans love Anime) - I saw numerous One Piece t-shirts, keychains, and even someone watching the show dubbed in Spanish in a cafe.
One Piece is a show that changed my life growing up. It’s taught me many lessons such as friendship, loyalty, and ambition. And as a creator, it taught me the level of excellence to hold myself to. There’s the concept of 1000 true fans. One Piece probably has 1M+ true fans. And it’s a combination of high quality, consistency, over a very long time scale (20 years+). I often think to myself that if I have a fraction of the impact of One Piece, then that’s a win in my books.