Hey everyone, so like every year, I’m doing an update for the new year where I reflect back at the old year and look forward to what we can expect in the new one. Given how this year went I decided to be more honest and serious about the matter and properly talk about the problems that happened across this year, but while it might be a bit long, it would mean a lot if you took the time to read it out for me.
For the fun of it I decided to format it similarly to Oda’s Jump Festa year-in-review messages, but if you find it uncomfortable to read from an image just scroll down for the text version.
(click on the image to enlarge it)
Hello everyone! 2020 has just ended and looking back on it, it’s been quite the hard year… or was it?
Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of overgeneralizing years for everyone. The individual years of every single person are so fundamentally different that it feels silly to consider a year universally good or bad. That said though, there is no denying how tragic the spread of Corona across 2019 and 2020 has been. It really hasn’t been as equally hard on everyone which is why I feel it it doesn’t feel right to generalize it so much considering how lucky some of us have been all things considered, but to anyone who has been seriously affected by the loss of a loved one, or even by economical hardship or by sheer stress, I hope from the bottom of my heart that you can heal and recover over time.
Yet, for completely different reasons unrelated to these events, 2020 has coincidentally been incredibly hard on me. Potentially one of the hardest years of my life. It was mostly a result of a series of negative events all happening at once at certain points and the loss of things important to me that really tested the limits of my mental and physical health. I don’t like to talk about this stuff much since I don’t like worrying others, but while I know it wasn’t as bad as those who’ve had it the worst and I’d never dare to pretend that’s the case, there were points in this year where it felt like a struggle to just push on.
Unfortunately, while it’s not really comparable to my personal life struggles, 2020 has also been one of the most difficult years for my content as well. For starters, 2020 just had less chapters, less events, and less stuff to cover as a One Piece fan. But I had even bigger problems than that: I was very happy about finally switching to the official release at the end of 2019, but the truth is that it had a horrible effect on my views. While my site has been growing and has made up over time, for a long while my content has decreased in views and viewers since it depends a lot on relevance algorithms on search engines (it’s quite a bit different from YouTube too, where the transition isn’t as bad), so while I was happy to do something I’ve wanted to do for so long, it was also demoralizing to be punished for it. I know many other content creators who are also afraid to do the same for this very reason and it just sucks.
A lot of people also took the matter very… very personally. I already imagined, which is what took the transition so long to happen in 2019 since I was dreading this, but I ended up getting a lot of harassment for switching to the official release, both from scan followers who wanted my content right away and from official followers saying I was only doing it for clout, etc. I made some mistakes along the way in handling it, I know fully well I did and I’ve owned up to them, but some people just kept condemning me for it all. There were also other similar instances, such as people sending me threats for referring to Yamato as male (not referring to anyone who disagreed with me here, nothing wrong with that, I’m specifically mentioning those that sent me direct threats), and other silly things like that. I know these are just petty comments I should ignore, but the sheer amount of them at some points became almost a bit overwhelming when coupled with how depressed I was at times, to the point they had a serious negative effect on me.
In that regard you could say that 2020 was pretty awful for me in a lot of ways, but… I could never really say that myself. I know it’s mostly played for laughs, but the idea of blaming a four digit number for all of life’s problems just feels silly to me. For all the struggles life has thrown at me this year, and all the regrets I might’ve had, I could never say I regret living through this year. Despite all the sorrow it has thrown at me, there were bright times among that darkness.
Switching to the official might’ve hurt the relevance of my content, yet being able to work from the official Japanese release made it so much higher quality by being able to analyze how Japanese is used in One Piece, and I feel I’ve learned to be much more professional and careful when approaching these things to become a trusted source of information. And as someone who has always liked supporting series officially, it’s so relieving to finally support Oda officially.
The Yamato drama might’ve been stressful but fuck it all, Yamato’s one of my favorite characters in recent times and no dumb discussion can take away how much I love him. Even the lack of overall content to cover was made up by the absolutely legendary event that was the release of Return to the Reverie; the sheer hype and emotion around those days of releasing it was absolutely incredible and I’m really happy I was able to bring such an ambitious project to fruition. I also have to thank Gemini for working with me to the end and being such a great friend. The stuff we created this year has been nothing short of incredible and I’ve felt very proud to finally see her grow so much as an artist and creator. Furthermore, by the end of the year, I was finally able to get into a rhythm of uploading weekly and my channel has been blowing up since with a massive amount of support I can’t thank you enough for. It really feels like things have turned around.
Obviously, there’s also been a lot of personal issues, which have been far bigger than those related to my content. But like I said, at the same time, there were also pockets of hope across this year. So I could never bring myself to say that I’ve hated or regretted living through 2020. I don’t want the hardships I’ve endured to make me have any regrets. Because even the struggles have made me a better and stronger person and have made me even more capable to overcome anything life might throw at me in the future.
I know it’s hard to think of the positives when the human brain tends to focus so much on the negatives, but I hope there is something positive you can take out of this year as well. So for everything you’ve given to me, good or bad, thank you 2020. Farewell.
Okay, that’s enough of being sappy! The future is here and 2021 is already getting exciting!! Woo!!!
We’re kicking off with the legendary release of Chapter 1000 and wether the chapter lives or doesn’t live to expectations doesn’t even matter, because its advent alone is something worth celebrating. In fact, it is something we will be celebrating! I’ve got a really big surprise coming alongside the release of Chapter 1000 that you’ll be hearing about very soon, potentially the biggest crossover we’ve ever pulled off as a community!! And in terms of my own content, there’s a lot of things I want to cover this upcoming year. I really hope to finally grow my YouTube channel (while also still keeping my site going, don’t worry) and to interact with a lot of the wonderful folks from all over the world. I have so much to look forward to!
But it’s not fair to just speak vaguely like this, right? So let me leave you with a proper sneak peek: A year ago, during the release of Chapter 967, I had hinted at the fact I had developed a very strong idea of what the One Piece is!! At first I felt like there was no way it could be, yet the more time that passed across the year, the more certain I’ve become of it. I’m not Oda and it’s obviously just a theory, so I hope I’m not sounding conceited, yet it makes so much undeniable sense in my head that I hope you can at least allow me to be a bit confident about my prediction.
But I’m not going to be annoying and keep it a secret.
This year, I finally spill the beans!!! Not on just that, but on everything else I’ve been holding on for years. This year I hope to bring to fruition some of the biggest projects I’ve ever worked on, so I hope you can look forward to those! Expect some proper announcements around the end of January or so.
There’s a lot of other things I wish to pull off this year on a personal level as well. For a very long time I’ve been hoping for 2021 to be the year where I move to Japan (not permanently for life obviously, but at least for a good while). Obviously with the current situation a lot of this depends on regulations and seeing how things shift, and I also need to make sure my mental health is in its best state so I can pull everything off, but while I wouldn’t mind if I need to wait just a little longer to make sure all goes right, I’d really like to be able to pull it off this year, alongside other things in my personal life as well. So while some of this stuff might not affect you so much directly in terms of my content, I hope you can still join me as I go on this journey.
So here is to a great 2021! To those of you who have also struggled across 2020, I hope 2021 can help you heal and recover, and I hope that all of you are also able to make something special out of 2021 so you can look back at it fondly.
Thank you all for your neverending support. You guys mean the world to me. I love you all!