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Is the dubbed version of One Piece catching up with the original version?

Is the dubbed version of One Piece catching up with the original version?

The modern English dub of One Piece has always been infamous for falling behind the Japanese episodes. This is because Funimation, now part of Crunchyroll, only started working on the series in 2004. However, the One Piece anime debuted in 1999. This five-year gap between the English dubbing and Japanese subtitles remained standard for a long time.

However, something has changed in recent years. The dubbed episodes came out much faster than the subtitled episodes, helping to close the gap. The One Piece dub is less than three years behind the subtitles with the latest set of episodes. At the rate things are going, it’s only a matter of time before the voice acting is fully caught up.

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How long will it take for the dubbing of One Piece to catch up with the translations?
An image from the One Piece anime shows Kaido towering over Luffy, as he stands near some buildings.
To know how long it will take for the dubbed version to catch up with the subtitled version, you have to look at how quickly new versions have been released. In 2022, episodes 759-914 were released in English, which puts the dub around the start of Luffy’s first match against Kaidō. That’s a total of 156 new dubbed episodes, an average of 13 episodes per month.

For comparison, episodes 1005 to 1045 aired throughout 2022. That makes a total of 46 episodes; which should place their average production around three to four episodes per month. There is still a difference of 131 episodes between sub and dub, but that difference seems much more surmountable given the speed at which dub moves forward.

If the dubbing and subtitling continue at their current rate, the dubbing could reach episode 1070 by the end of the year 2023. By then, the sub should reach episode 1093 at most. In March, or even February 2024, the dub could theoretically release episodes a few weeks after they originally aired in Japanese.

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The reason the dubbing has ramped up production in recent years likely has to do with the nature of modern anime viewing. Previously, it was not very serious that a dubbing was a year late, if not more. Today, however, most anime are expected to be dubbed within weeks or months of airing in Japan. In this context, it would be almost inexcusable for One Piece to remain so late. The person who made the decision must have recognized this and taken the appropriate steps to get things done.

Either way, it’s a good thing that the dubbing is slowly but surely catching up with the subtitles. This means that those who love the dub and want to follow it can do so with much less risk of being spoiled by those watching the original version. If things hadn’t turned out like this, English fans would still be at the start of the Whole Cake Island Arc; technically there is only one arc of difference, but there is a lot going on in that time frame. With the current rate of dubs, English fans will finally be able to have a conversation with their friends who only watch the subtitles. As for those who watch the Toonami series and are still on Punk Hazard, they will have to wait a little longer to have this conversation.