For many years, the One Piece community has had an issue with spoilers. There’s always been a divide between the official release and the scans a couple days prior, as way as the “spoilers” a day prior to it. However, due to an internal leak, this problem has become much bigger, to the point where spoilers are coming out before the previous chapter is even out, both in official or scan form. This is a critical problem that might outright ruin the One Piece experience for so many, so I want to help explain it below:
WHAT ARE ONE PIECE SPOILERS?
As you likely know, One Piece is distributed in Japan physically under the weekly magazine Shonen Jump. This magazine is sent to some retailers ahead of its release so that they can prepare to sell it on Mondays. Because of this however, some stores practice what is called “breaking street date”, or essentially selling a product before the intended release date. This results in some stores selling Shonen Jump early, which leads to people scanning it and translating it online before the official release. Additionally, retailers, magazine distributors, and any middle men are said to often leak Shonen Jump on their own, which has led for a long time to have the situation we’ve had: scanned versions of the chapter releasing on Friday, before the official release on Sundays (Japanese Mondays). However, even before the scan release is the appearance of “spoilers”, which are the middle men in possession of those early chapters before they are scanned outright spoiling the details of the chapter online. Think of it like someone working for a cinema spoiling you who dies in a movie before the movie has released.
When MangaStream shut down due to a copyright takedown in 2019, the other prevalent scan site, Jaimini’s Box, opted to cease their translations for One Piece chapters for the sake of leaving path to the official release, but as I outlined in an article I wrote at the time, this would be unlikely to really change in the long run, which has unfortunately become the case. Despite an admirable effort by Shueisha to make Shonen Jump more available than ever before, through the site of MANGAPlus being available worldwide and for free, the problem of chapters leaking early has remained very much the same for the past few years. Unfortunately however, the situation is now becoming much worse.
THE NEW ERA OF ONE PIECE SPOILERS
Very recently, there has been an internal breach in the Shonen Jump publishing system. The details of said breach have not been made public, which is why I am only speaking of what has been openly mentioned, but put simply, this means that now some people have gotten access to the chapters way earlier than before. And I mean WAY earlier.
How early are spoilers coming out now? Over 10 days before the chapter comes out.
Yes, it’s hard to believe, but while the scans used to be about two days before the official release, and spoilers about three or so days, now spoilers have come out a record 10 days before the official release. As an example, this week we already had a spoiler summary before the PREVIOUS Shonen Jump issue was even officially out, and early spoiler descriptions were out before even the scans for the previous Shonen Jump issue were out. This number fluctuates a little week by week, but this only means it can get even worse.
Put simply, spoilers are coming out before the official or even scans of the previous chapter are out.
Some of these are vague, but others really aren’t. Blatant outright spoilers of major events have been brought up by spoiler providers before the previous chapter releases, and even vague ones can be not vague at all when the context is very clear. Saying that “Buggy fans will be very happy when it comes to the new Yonko system“ or “Yamato for nakama fans will be very happy with this chapter” is far from being even remotely subtle, and other times they don’t even bother being subtle and outright spoil things, which just makes things so much worse, all for those 15 minutes of attention which cause a much larger problem.
People spoiling others is a problem as old as time for spoilers of any series, but it’s so much worse when it comes to One Piece, especially as things are now. This isn’t a matter of staying offline for a week before a movie comes out, this is outright having to avoid the internet EVERY week. But now it’s even worse because with spoilers all week around, outside of break weeks it’ll be IMPOSSIBLE to even enter the One Piece community.
HOW SPOILERS ARE RUINING ONE PIECE CHAPTERS
I don’t want to exaggerate this, but this new spoiler system could outright ruin the entire One Piece weekly experience for many people for the following reasons:
1) It’ll become increasingly impossible to not be spoiled: before, those following the scan release or the official release had to leave the internet and the community for a few days when the spoilers were out. This was bad enough as they could not be involved for a big part of the week in the community, but now, aside from break weeks, you won’t even be able to discuss the official or scan release, because the spoilers of the next chapter will already be out. It’s either be spoiled and have your experience ruined, or just leave the community. This has already happened in the week prior to the break
2) A big FOMO (fear of missing out) will increase pressure of risking being spoiled: this will force a lot of people to follow spoilers even if they don’t enjoy them, or instead feel left out and like they aren’t part of the community because they have to stay offline. Even previously, official readers have often felt punished for wanting to support One Piece officially, because they can’t be part of the conversation when it’s relevant. It’s hard to blame people following the scan release due to the troubles of waiting for the official, but at the same time, it’s frustrating to not be able to support One Piece and enjoy the benefits of the official release. Now however, that could become far worse
3) This could kill weekly theorycrafting entirely: Oda often loves to set up mysteries in a chapter and show the answer in the next one. But now, aside from long-term mysteries, any weekly cliffhanger Oda leaves will already be spoiled in advance, so it’ll be impossible to theorycraft for the next week. Even if you don’t look at spoilers, people will accuse you of having read the spoilers if you’re right or ignore you if you’re wrong because they already know the answer
4) The hype cycle becomes scattered: this has unfortunately been an issue already for a while, but with people following different releases, those big groundbreaking hype moments simply don’t hit the same way. Chapter hype ends up being broken between spoilers, scans, and official release, meaning we don’t have those days anymore when everyone gets together and gets excited. Whichever one you follow, it can often feel like there’s not enough hype because a lot of people haven’t read yet, or have already long since read. Compare this to something like big anime episodes like 1015 which felt like big community moments. Even big chapters like 1044, hype as they were, didn’t hit their full potential as much as they could’ve due to the scattered hype
All of these things unfortunately hurt the weekly cycle for so many. For the longest time, many of these problems already permeated the scan vs official release issue, but now it’s not even about scans vs official anymore.
It’s manga readers VS people who want to be spoiled.
HOW SPOILERS ARE BECOMING HARDER TO AVOID
Regardless of if you read scans or official, now spoilers are taking the main stage. What’s even worse is that restraint for spoilers has loosened up a lot over the One Piece community, so now it’s becoming harder and harder to remain unspoiled. After Chapter 1044 in particular and with the increasing hype of the final saga, people now don’t hesitate to openly spoil on social media, despite no physically readable version of the chapter in any capacity being available publicly. Despite sites like Twitter featuring a spoiler feature, or sites like reddit prohibiting talk of the spoilers outside its dedicated thread, people simply don’t follow those rules. Very few bother to use Twitter’s spoiler feature, and the reddit mods have mentioned having to ban hundreds upon hundreds of users every single time spoilers come out for talking outside the thread because… people don’t care.
The truth is, people who willingly spoil themselves often just don’t care about spoiling others, because they themselves have already been spoiled. People love to tease others or even outright spoil them because they don’t understand wanting to restrain themselves to enjoy a product more naturally since they aren’t used to that mentality. It’s important to recognize that there are people who do enjoy spoilers and the weekly cycle that comes with them, and that’s perfectly fine, but it’s also important to recognize those that want to enjoy the chapters as intended. For many readers, being spoiled about the chapter VS reading it with the panels as Oda intended is like night and day. Moments like “he laughed” don’t hit the same way if someone just spoils you “Roger laughed when he found the One Piece”. Some people don’t mind because they consume content differently, and like I said it’s fine, but those tend to be a minority. Hell, many people don’t even enjoy reading spoilers but simply can’t resist due to difficulty in self-control and wish that spoilers were gone. Many will likely shrug this off and be like “well, this doesn’t affect me, so stop complaining”, but we can’t have a community where these people are unwilling to coexist with everyone else.
ONE PIECE YOUTUBERS AND SPOILER THUMBNAILS
A lot of users often like to blame One Piece YouTubers for featuring spoiler thumbnails in their videos and yes, I do think that in theory, that is a very fair point. Putting spoilers in thumbnails prior to the official release (putting spoilers after the official release is a separate argument, which I personally think is a lot more fair, but that is another discussion) can be understandably argued to be disrespectful to one’s audience. However, at the same time, I don’t think the YouTubers themselves are the core issue.
As GrandLineReview explained very well in a video, spoilers on YouTube are only there because of the massively high demand. People are demanding spoilers in high quantities, to the point that it’s not even a matter of greed or profit, but being able to survive in the YouTube space. Not following scans/spoilers and putting them in your thumbnail is outright detrimental or even not viable in a lot of cases, to the point that so many YouTubers have been pressured to follow the scan release and spoil more because of the pressure and demand. In fact, it’s been proven that being more vague in one’s titles can lead to more controversy and backlash since people will accuse you of being vague and misleading, so there’s even more pressure to be more specific and spoil. This isn’t a problem of YouTubers alone, this is a community-wide problem. Spoiler accounts outright spoiling without restraint are getting dozens of thousands of followers on Twitter, spoiler terms often trend worldwide, yet a lot of people like to scapegoat YouTubers as the sole problem because it’s easier to have a clear target. Accusing YouTubers of spoiling but then going on twitter and talking openly about spoilers is simply hypocritical. Put simply, while YouTubers should be held accountable too, this issue comes from the irresponsibility of the entire community as a whole.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO CHANGE THIS?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to say what can really be done to change this. Spoiler providers will likely continue to spoil no matter how much we might ask them to stop, and the community simply cannot be counted upon to hold back for restraint. It would be great if people became more responsible about it, but as we’ve seen it’ll likely only get worse, especially as the final saga heats up with reveals.
Ideally, the one that can change this is Shueisha. If they decide to move to a digital-first release for Shonen Jump, such as a week in advance, then it could outright solve all the problems. But Shueisha is very old-fashioned and still sticks so much to the physical medium, so while it will unavoidably have to get to this point one day, they’ll try to delay it as much as possible until it’s unavoidable. This is frustrating, because they above all else, understandably, are pressuring creators and the community to follow the official release, but at the same time, it’s becoming increasingly punishing to follow the official, which is starting to outright ruin the experience for many of us, not to speak how even scan readers are at risk now.
Regardless though, I think it’s very important to bring up this problem and have people pay attention to it. One of the most important aspects of tackling any problem is to bring it to attention to the public and protest about it, even when a direct solution doesn’t seem apparent. I might sound alarming here, but being alarming is important to be able to change things. We need to make it clear how unreasonable this situation is to put more pressure on where the problem originates from, so I hope you can do your part to bring this issue more to light.
WHAT CAN I DO TO CHANGE THIS?
So here I’d like to talk for a more personal perspective as a content creator. If you don’t follow my content this won’t matter to you so you can skip straight to the TL;DR, but I wanted to talk about how I’ll need to change my content going forward.
For the past few years, I’ve been very diligent about following the official release. I want to act as a good role model for readers about how you should support One Piece officially, but this has unfortunately affected my experience in a lot of ways. It’s been very difficult avoiding spoilers prior to the official release, it has affected my views a lot, and I’ve felt very pressured to create content as quick as possible on Sundays following the official release (as waiting any longer would severely affect the view performance of my content), leading to pulling all-nighters every Sunday and cramming a lot of work which no doubt has affected my worsening health over the past year.
As such, I find it difficult to stick to the official schedule I have currently been on. I’ve been considering following the scan release (or more specifically, the raws in Japanese published alongside it) to then have comfortable time to release my content by the time Sunday rolls around. As I’m looking into getting an editor to work on my videos for my channel too, it also feels very unrealistic not to work on my content before the Sunday release. With the worsening situation, I hope I don’t have to change to releasing when scans are out altogether or even worse being unable to create content, but I don’t know what much more I can do beyond that. I personally don’t want to release content or tweet prior to the official release because it feels unfair to spoil it for those waiting, but I feel worried by the increasing pressure that comes with it all.
Regardless, I wanted to be transparent about it and ask for your opinion regarding the situation and if it’s okay for me to make this change. I want to support One Piece officially from the bottom of my heart, but as the situation is, I find it’s becoming harder and harder to do so, especially since it comes at the cost of my enjoyment of One Piece and my own health too. So I’d appreciate if you could let me know how you think I could best tackle this as a creator and that you can help bring more attention to this problem so that hopefully things can change. I’m hoping to be back with content very soon as I get back into things, so I hope to see you there!
TL;DR: Due to a change in how One Piece leaks, spoilers are now coming out before the previous chapter has even been released, both for the official release and the scan release. So if you are reading the scans for Chapter 1055 for example, it’s likely spoilers for Chapter 1056 will already be out in some capacity, and a summary before the official is even out. This is likely to break the entire release cycle and ruin the experience for many One Piece fans, making this an alarmingly dangerous problem that we need to find a way to fight against as a community