On Monday, January 29, 2024, the latest chapter of author and illustrator Eiichiro Oda’s flagship One Piece manga series in Japan was released at 12 am Japanese Standard Time. The international and translated releases of the issue also happened concurrently, with English-speaking fans noticing a suspect translation choice in the issue.
While not as egregious as Viz Media’s missteps with other series, the One Piece translation is unique due to how significantly it recontextualizes a scene from the unofficial scanlations.
Likewise, the translation is centered around the status of Roronoa Zoro and his fight with Rob Lucci, which is why fans are up in arms.
More specifically, the latest translated release of the One Piece manga makes it seem as though Zoro is struggling against Lucci. Before this translation, many fans had asserted this wasn’t the case, hence the controversy.
Furthermore, the storied inaccuracies of Viz Media’s translations with other series brings into question how accurate the phrasing for Oda’s is.
One Piece’s latest translation has Zoro fans praising TCB as superior source yet again
The translation difference, which many One Piece fans are upset over comes from a line of Nami’s dialogue in the issue.
As Vinsmoke Sanji and Nami are updating each other, she claims that Zoro is “still being held up by Lucci,” forcing crewmate Jinbe to “put a stop to that” and also “keep (Zoro) from getting lost.”
Much of the commotion regarding this translation stems from its allegedly stark difference to unofficial translation group TCB’s interpretation of the dialogue. TCB’s version instead sees Nami claim “Zoro’s still off dealing with Lucci,” and that Jinbe was specifically sent “so (Zoro) doesn’t get lost” rather than to help in the fight, as the official translation implies.
Generally speaking, One Piece fans have preferred the TCB translations for many pieces of dialogue throughout the story. However, this instance is unique in its centering on Zoro, with diehard fans of Zoro and Sanji arguing with each other regarding the latest official translation.
There’s also the fact that Viz has had several translative missteps throughout the year with series like My Hero Academia and Jujutsu Kaisen. A mistake in the former series saw a climactic scene for Ochaco Uraraka and Himiko Toga’s relationship recontextualized.
A similar mistake in the latter saw the implication that Shoko Ieiri was in love with either one or both of Satoru Gojo and Suguru Geto.
As mentioned above, sects of the series’ fanbase are at each other’s throats with the latest translation difference.
Some are staunchly defending Zoro, saying that the official translation doesn’t change much, if anything at all, from the unofficial. Others are asserting that Zoro is struggling against Lucci, claiming that his place in the series’ powerscaling hierarchy is undeserved, given this struggle.
It’s also worth mentioning that those involved in this debate primarily seem to be those readers who would call themselves Zoro or Sanji fans specifically.
While there are some general members of the series’ community sharing their thoughts, the space is being largely dominated by diehard fans of the two beloved characters.