Well this is weird, for once someone else is posting a thread on the OPP Forums. Well I just felt like doing this, hopefully Zach will approve. Anyway I had a few words I wanted to put into the 100th episode that I didn't get to, so I wanted to put this out here and I thought this was an appropriate place. But fortunately (or unfortunately) this is about to go from few words to a lot of words .
So yeah, 100 episodes huh? You know it's weird, this is big but it doesn't feel quite that big a deal to me personally. Why? Well we've done so many episodes in such a short amount of time, it just happened so quickly without much of a moment of anticipation. How 'bout the thousandth episode, or the tenth anniversary? Now that'll be big, if it happens, and I wouldn't be surprised. But seriously, yeah, this is honestly worth celebrating, the fact that Zach and Ed's crew has been able to make so much progress in such a relatively short amount of time is a testament to the dedication that goes into it. The One Piece Podcast was created with heavy prospects, as an outlet for the "One Piece" fan community and as a way to spread awareness of what is perhaps the most under-represented of the Holy Shonen Trinity.
Now the podcast helping create more fans of the series? I don't know, but it's certainly popular. The site gets a lot of visitors, and it's gotten great rankings worldwide. There's some great word-of-mouth, some great PR, and some great con presence. The fact that the podcast is popular shows that "One Piece" itself is obviously popular. If the podcast gets more listeners, perhaps it correlates to "One Piece" getting more popular. Who knows, I like to think it's just more already-established "One Piece" fans tuning in, but the enthusiasm that goes into the podcast could be infectious enough to get fans to say, "Hey you gotta check out this series," to their friends, or people saying, "Hey if this podcast can get so many people so riled up there must be something to it". Either way, the podcast itself is doing something right I'm not, I haven't been successful in trying to convert people to "One Piece" fans.
But what's really interesting is that the history of the podcast is quite similar to the journey of the "One Piece" storyline. It started out small with some big aspirations in a big world of podcasts and anime fandom out there looking for their own niche to conquer. It was just two guys in an apartment with some computers and recording equipment, much like Luffy wandering on his little boat in East Blue. In just a year or so they've reached out as much as they could, journeying into social networking and live podcasting. Some help from some reliable sources have helped them get better equipment for recording, much like the transition to bigger and better ships. More importantly on it's way the ship that is the One Piece Podcast has gathered quite an impressive crew on the high seas of the interwebs. More and more aspiring members have come on onboard over the last year to show off their own special something that contributes to the podcast experience, whether it's specializing in hosting a specific segment or just that quirky or sweet personality that helps everyone keep it together. There are hurdles to overcome, squabbles among the crew, but in the end we keep it together.
And it's certainly paid off. Much like how Luffy and his rookie cew have garnered the attention of the entire world ,the podcast has captured the attention of people that actually work on "One Piece", and in the process has created strong allies and connections that have tremendously helped in speeding up the epic journey. Quite motivating isn't it? And on top of that the recent big convention circuit has become a metaphor for the Grand Line. Each convention has become like an island that the podcast stops at to gather strength and progress in-between the podcast recordings that represent ocean that infinitely stretches beyond the shining horizon. The whole thing has just been one big fun ride, the ultimate freedom in the face of dedication.
And looking back it's quite weird that I'm even part of the cast. I was just one of the first listeners with some ideas for the podcast, and out of nowhere I actually got on. I guess you could say I was lucky. I was lucky to even be host of the news segment, since it's something anybody of the podcast can do as long as you have the sources. But I don't mind, regardless of whether I host it or not it's always been my favorite segment, I'm just a sucker for anime news stories. I feel kind of like my favorite "One Piece" character looking back at my history with the podcast, which would be Usopp. I don't really have any special skills, I feel kind of weak on the inside, but I like to have fun. I've been incredibly lucky that I've been able to stick around with the recording sessions, over the months right from the start the crew and the listeners have had to put up with a lot of shit from me. I guess Zach and the rest see something in me that's kept me onboard, and thankfully it's given me a chance to learn from my mistakes and become a better part of the crew. Like Usopp I have my own dreams and goals with intense struggle that gets in the way, so it's nice to have the podcast to lean onto when I need that pep to keep me going.
But enough about me, what about the future of the podcast? Well I don't produce the show so I can only speculate, but I see this lasting for a long time. I'm pretty sure most of us on the podcast are set to be lifelong fans so I like to think were willing to keep this thing going as long as we can. Much like the long-running anime/manga maybe we'll break some records, I mean for a fan-run podcast we do A LOT of episodes. We're all young now so eventually we'll move on with our lives with new responsibilities, which probably means less time to devote to the OPP. That's why I firmly believe the podcast is currently in it's creative prime and it's the best time to listen to it. But it's a great hobby, like I said it'll stick around. The podcast's ability to draw so much material out of just one series will continue to impress, that's one of the secrets to its success. What about when "One Piece" ends? Well I like said there's more to "One Piece" discussion than just recapping new episodes and chapters. I'd like to see the recaps actually go back to the very beginning. That's all I can think of for now.
So with my final words for this damn thing, I'd once again like to reiterate how thankful I am for the podcast's existence, I feel like actually being a part of it is such a privilege. It's amazing to imagine I've been fan of this series for almost half a decade, to sound cliched it almost feels like just yesterday. "One Piece" means a lot to me that's worth a whole 'nother essay, but it's definitely one of my all-time favorite pieces of fiction, and it's truly a testament I haven't gotten tired of it already. So thanks everybody, till the day we ever may meet, keep listening to the podcast!