For a considerable time, the English dub of the popular anime "One Piece" had gained notoriety for lagging significantly behind the Japanese episode releases. This delay could be attributed to Funimation, now a part of Crunchyroll, only commencing work on the series in 2004, despite the anime's original launch in 1999. As a result, a five-year gap between the English dub and Japanese subtitles persisted for an extended period.However, a notable shift has occurred in recent years.
The release of dubbed episodes has accelerated, surpassing the pace of subbed episodes, leading to a gradual closure of the gap. The "One Piece" dub is now making strides to catch up with the latest batch of episodes. If this trend continues, it is only a matter of time before the dub reaches a point of complete synchronization with the ongoing releases.
*Updated on July 26, 2023 by Jennifer Melzer: In light of the announcement from Anime Expo 2023, this article has been updated to include information about the One Piece English dub and its current availability on Crunchyroll.
How Many Episodes of One Piece Are Dubbed?
Anime Expo 2023 brought exciting news to One Piece fans waiting for the English dub to come to Crunchyroll. Starting on July 5, 2023, viewers would be able to stream the English dub, eventually reaching the "Wano Country" arc. Anime Expo attendees were treated to a glimpse at the 1000th episode, "Overwhelming Strength! The Straw Hats Come Together!," in English. With over 1069 episodes of the anime available as of July 16, 2023, it seems as though the English dub is catching up more quickly than anticipated, but fans shouldn't expect all those episodes to drop at once.
Crunchyroll will be airing the newly dubbed episodes in batches. As of July 25, Episodes 977-988 are available to stream on the platform. Hulu currently only has the English dub through Episode 517, with Netflix only airing up through Episode 381 in English.
How Long Until the One Piece Dub Catches Up to the Sub?
Figuring out how long it will take for the dub to catch up to the subs will require a look at how fast new dubs have been coming out. Throughout 2022, Episodes 759-914 were released in English, putting the dub right around the start of Luffy's first match with Kaidō. That makes for a total of 156 new dubbed episodes, which averages a clean 13 episodes per month.
For comparison, the subs put out episodes 1005 to 1045 throughout 2022. That makes a total of 46 episodes; this should put their average output at around three to four episodes a month. With Crunchyroll finally airing new dubs, the gap between the sub and the dub is no longer so wide.
If the dub and the sub continue going at their current rate, the dub could potentially make it up to Episode 1070 by the end of 2023, but that's probably asking a bit much. By that same point, the sub should be up to Episode 1093 at the most. By March, or even February 2024, the dub could theoretically be putting out episodes within weeks of their original Japanese broadcast.
As for why the dub has ramped up production in recent years, it probably has to do with the nature of modern anime viewing. Before, it wasn't a big deal if a dub was a year ore more behind. Now, however, most anime are expected to be dubbed within a few weeks or months of their Japanese broadcast. For One Piece to remain as far behind as it was in this environment would be nigh inexcusable. Whoever's decision it was must have recognized this and taken the appropriate measures to move things along.
In any case, it's for the best that the dub is slowly but surely catching up to the subs. It means those who like the dub and want to keep up with it can do so with much less risk of being spoiled by those watching the subs. If things hadn't gone started moving forward a little more quickly, English fans would still be at the stuck in the middle of the "Whole Cake Island" arc. With the dubs going at their current pace, English audiences will finally be able to hold a conversation with their sub-only friends without having plot points spoiled or getting lost.