One Piece’s English Voice Cast on Episode 1000
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One Piece’s English Voice Cast on Episode 1000

Summary

  • One Piece has reached an impressive milestone of 1000 episodes, making it one of the longest-running animated series ever.
  • The series has a complex and engaging story, with new characters and enemies constantly being introduced.
  • The English voice actors of the main characters feel honored to be a part of such a popular and influential series, and they have seen its mainstream popularity grow in recent years.
  • SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

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    One Piece is one of the longest-running anime out there, and its English dub has just reached an impressive milestone of 1000 episodes. This makes it one of the longest-running animated series ever, cementing it as an immortal part of pop culture. Of course, the longevity of the series owes a large part to the quality of its story, production, and voice actors all of which work in harmony to create one of the best anime out there.

    The story of One Piece follows Monkey D. Luffy as he attempts to become the king of the pirates. This is a simple enough pitch, but the series quickly becomes more complex as new characters join Luffy’s crew and as they travel to new islands with new enemies to fight. Even 1000 episodes in the series still finds new ways to keep its viewers engaged with the current arc of Wano ranking among many One Piece fans’ favorite arcs.

    Related: One Piece Finally Ends One Of The Biggest Haki Misconceptions

    Ahead of the recent release of the latest episodes of the dub on Crunchyroll, Screen Rant sat down with Colleen Clinkenbeard, Luci Christian, Sonny Strait, and Eric Vale, the English voices of Luffy, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji respectively to hear their thoughts on hitting that 1000 episode milestone and what the series means to them.

    One Piece’s English Cast Share Their Thoughts On The Series

    Luffy in Wano

    Screen Rant: We’re here to discuss the thousandth episode and the episodes leading up to that thousandth episode. That is a huge milestone for One Piece in the series. What’s it like reaching that milestone? I mean a thousand episodes is an incredible achievement.

    Eric Vale: I’ve said before, it’s like finally getting to the top of a mountain and looking back and realizing “Holy crap, we quickly climbed a mountain.”

    Sonny Strait: Yeah, that’s why I deferred to Eric, cause I like the answer. That’s exactly what it feels like.

    Luci Christian: It’s a little bit surreal. We did not know we would make it here. So we’ve been working on this. We did the math at around 16 years, and you know, there were some hiatuses along the way. There were times when we were like, “Will we get to finish the show?” So yeah, when we got to go record the thousandth episode, I took a screenshot with my phone.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: Yeah, I was taking pictures with the director like, yeah, this looks like just any day in the booth, but it is a big day in the booth.

    Luci Christian: That’s right. Only as only we know, because we can’t spoil right when it’s happening. We have to wait.

    Screen Rant: Yeah. And it’s also ridiculous to put in the perspective of the longest-running American cartoon, The Simpsons right? And they’ve only hit 750 episodes. So I mean, I think you all are like voice-acting royalty at this point. And it’s awesome, too, because this month in particular we’ve seen One Piece sort of thrust itself into the mainstream. We’ve got the live-action show coming on, Netflix. We’ve got the Japanese broadcast currently breaking the Internet from what’s going on over there, and we’ve got the thousandth episode of the dub. Have you all felt like One Piece is in a place that’s different from where it’s been in the past?

    Sonny Strait: Oh definitely, especially since the pandemic. It’s blown up.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: Yeah, recording it the way we recorded it for so long with, you’re kind of recording into a void. You’re recording it, and then it goes away. And so eventually it comes out. And then you sometimes hear about what somebody thought of it. And that’s what we did for years and years. And now we’ve gotten to this point where everything is streaming very quickly and social media is so involved and invested, and everybody is watching things at the same time. And I just feel like the momentum and the hype has kind of gotten to this point where it’s part of the pop culture. We keep saying the word zeitgeist in this interview. But it’s part of the pop culture zeitgeist in a way that you can’t ignore. And it’s something that I’ve never experienced before, and I don’t know that we ever will again. Because we’re always going to be recording from now on in a place where social media picks it up from the beginning. But getting a chance to experience that sort of energy at the same time that you’re recording, it changes the game completely. It gets you so much more invested in everything that you’re doing. Everything feels immediate, and everything feels exciting, and you can’t wait to share it, and you can’t wait to talk about it. And it just makes you love the process all that much more.

    Sonny Strait: Yeah, we go to conventions all the time, and you know they tell you who their favorite characters are, and we all do many shows, but I’ve seen Usopp just come to the front of the line, which he wasn’t for a long time, you know.

    Luci Christian: Yeah, it’s wild to be at shows right now. It’s just electric. I mean talk about an honor. We are definitely along for this ride, you know.

    Sonny Strait: Yeah, we’re invested for sure.

    Luci Christian: Yeah, it’s amazing. Every time I see a new Nami I’ve seen people getting the tattoo for real. It’s so cool, just so cool.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: I had somebody at the convention I was at this past weekend ask me to draw the Jolly Roger on their arm, and then they went off to get it tattooed.

    Sonny Strait: I signed a tattoo of Usopp at the last convention, and they’re going to tattoo my signature next to his face.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: Yeah, I’ve had a few of those, but I’m not an artist. My Jolly Roger does not look like your Jolly Roger would have looked.

    Sonny Strait: Your Jolly Roger looks like something Luffy would draw.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: It 100% does, and that is what they tattoo. I tried to draw the one like Laboon, but I’m not a good enough artist to make it look bad on purpose.

    Screen Rant: What has changed the most over your time recording this series?

    Luci Christian: From a work standpoint. I mean, we’re blazing through the show right now. It has never been like this. But really, we started recording at home. We were in Whole Cake Island during the pandemic, and we just started really trucking, and we were all having such a good time, and we were all talking about that we were having such a good time, and we seem to just really be flying through the show, and I mean it has just it has felt like warp speed compared to what it used to be, you know.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: I also just think the animation has taken off. In a way every episode now looks like movie quality. And I think part of that is that they tend to try to make the arcs feel different, with different animation styles. Wano was such a distinct style change, though, it’s this new and modern and like electric version of animation that makes you want to watch it like I’ll stop and just watch and forget to record for a second, because I’m so into whatever is happening. It was really fun to go back from where we are recording right now to go back and start at episode one with my son because we just started to watch through. And so we’re at episode 180 right now. But starting at episode one while recording Onigashima, what a stark difference! And it was fun! It was really like, oh, you’re in for a ride.

    Screen Rant: Does your son recognize your voice as Luffy?

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: Oh, yes, yes, he’s 9, so he knows I’m Luffy. He kind of knows too much. He was like. It’s an honor to be your son, I was like, oh, you’ve been watching too much One Piece

    Sonny Strait: I’m waiting for the day. My grandson says that to me.

    Luci Christian: Well, I told my friends here that I’m watching this show with my kids. We’re only on Episode 72, but in the beginning they were straight up like, why is Nami such a bad friend? But you know the whole Arlong thing brought them around like she is lifting that dagger, and both of them are like, no, no, no.

    Sonny Strait: You guys have inspired me. I’m going to watch the whole thing with my grandson. And you were talking about the changes that the thing from then to now there are so many consequences that happen, that we now the honor playing these characters that have so much depth to them that I’ve never seen before. It’s amazing.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: Sanji especially. I mean, where he started and where he has come that’s a pretty big difference. I felt like the same character throughout. He just gets more powerful. You know he gains experience, and he gets closer to his goal. But he hasn’t changed. Who he is. I wonder if it’s that way for all the characters. I don’t think so.

    Sonny Strait: Not for Usopp. He’s definitely grown quite a bit. Luffy’s the uncarved block of Buddhism, you know. He’s malleable and can become anything, which makes sense as well, because he’s supposed to be that Zen thing.

    Screen Rant: You all brought up watching with your kids and grandkids, and it really is a show that appeals to all ages. And that’s one of the things that makes it so special. So do you find fans of all ages coming up to you at conventions?

    Eric Vale: I think it was a few conventions back, but I would show up to the convention at the beginning of the day. At the front of the line was the same group of women. There’s 3 of them, and all of them were over 75, getting tons of stuff signed. And this wasn’t for their kids or grandkids, this was their thing! It was hysterical, and I loved it. They’re so cool.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: I love that.

    Screen Rant: Yeah. And I mean, I think this is part of what speaks to it being in the Zeitgeist right is that it’s not just a specific portion of the public. Everyone can enjoy it.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: You’re totally right, Luci and I talk about that all the time. That’s why It has the breadth that it does. And that’s why some other shows that pop up that have a lot of a lot of pep behind them, and everybody’s really excited about it. You’ll see it kind of wane after a bit. And that’s why One Piece isn’t doing that and isn’t going to do that because it’s multi-generational.

    Sonny Strait: My daughter works tables at conventions with me, and she told me last weekend she loves seeing these middle-aged men go. They’re very serious. They bring their kids and everything. And then I do a voice, and then they become little kids. And that’s the One Piece fandom. It runs the gamut, you never know who’s going to be there.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: Or like really tough looking dudes who come up, and I’ll be like, (in Luffy’s voice) “Okay, well, see, ya have a good day”, and they’ll be like ooooh!

    Luci Christian: my favorite ones are like the mothers that are like my son was watching it. And then he asked me to watch it. And now I’m on episode 874. When did you start? And they’ll say like March or something crazy. Do you know what I mean? Like they have been mainlining it. And it’s so much fun.

    Screen Rant: I feel like one of the interesting things about doing the dub is that there is a fair amount ahead that you know what’s coming. So does that sort of inform your performances in these roles, or do you sort of just go into it isolated from what’s to come and be like I’m going to put entirely my own spin on this thing?

    Eric Vale: I do that, but not the last part that you said. Like I try to come in completely uninformed, so that I’m surprised, and the director can walk me through what’s happening. Not necessarily to put my own spin. Of course, I bring what I bring to the table. But to do justice to the scene or to the episode.

    Sonny Strait: I’m with Eric on that. I used to read the book, and I got about halfway through the manga, and then I said, “I don’t want to know.” I want to live in that moment, you know.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: I don’t want spoilers for that same reason. I don’t want to read it while we’re doing this, because I want it to be fresh enough that I’m in the moment. But I have found that the spoilers that I get from the directors and the fans actually just increase my excitement about whatever’s going on, and I don’t know that it informs the performance ahead of time. Like I don’t think before Gear 5 I’m reading into where we’re headed any more than I’m seeing in the Japanese performance. But I do think I’m already excited about that while we’re recording other things. So hopefully it just adds energy to that. As I’m watching it with my son, I’m realizing that the spoilers that I’m trying to protect him from actually make it more fun for him. When you watch the series the opening song shows you when Robin is on the crew before Robin is actually on the crew. So as we’re watching the whole thing right now, she’s just Miss All Sunday, and she shows up in the opening song in the crew, and just that reaction was so visceral from him of sitting up in the hotel bed we were in and just going, “Mom is that a spoiler? Is that a big spoiler? Does Miss All Sunday join the crew? I love Miss All Sunday!” And then every episode when he would see her, he’d be like, “Oh, I love her! She’s gonna be really awesome on the crew!” He was so excited. And I actually think that it made it even better. So I don’t worry about spoilers, but I also don’t want to be completely enveloped in the moment before we’re in the moment.

    Luci Christian: Yeah same, I like that. I definitely feed off of everybody being excited about things that are coming. But I love that. I think that is so much fun. I generally do not read ahead, but I love it when people tell me about big things that are coming, and certainly I watch things. I mean, I watched the Japanese Gear 5. I watched that whole deal because I wanted to. I mean, you know, it’s there, and it’s exciting. And I can’t wait for my friend to get to rock that. She’s going to be so good!

    Sonny Strait: I watched that earlier today, and it was because everybody on Tiktok is telling me you’ve got to see Gear 5. And so I watched it, and I was like I can’t wait to see Colleen do this. I’ve never looked forward to another actor performing something ever.

    Screen Rant: Well, I was going to ask potentially, is there a chance that you could do a little bit of a sneak peak of Gear 5?

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: I’m not there yet! They’ve watched the Gear 5 thing because they wanted to see it. I don’t want to see it until I’m watching it with the directors. We have this whole plan. We’re gonna watch it all together. Have a meeting and watch the whole thing. And then we’re all gonna work on it together. Like, rather than one director getting that episode, we’re all gonna work on it together. So I don’t know what it sounds like yet.

    Sonny Strait: And the blend of animations on that is just so incredible.

    Luci Christian: Next level. I’ve never seen anything like that.

    Screen Rant: It’s taking the series to another level. I think we’re all very excited for that moment to make it to the dub, and hearing that sort of process, and that y’all are taking that much care into it. It’s very good to hear.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: You’re aware of what it is, and I’m gonna have to let go of the nervousness before I can do it.

    Screen Rant: Speaking of the 1,000 episodes you know, those episodes are coming out soon. And there are some big moments in the 10 that are released in this latest chunk. So are there any moments that y’all are really excited for fans to get to see?

    Sonny Strait: There’s some great scenes with Usopp and Nami, and also Usopp and Chopper that I can’t wait for the fans to see.

    Luci Christian: Yes, and I loved that in the thousandth episode. I really loved how it gives a nod to where everybody’s been, and how far we’ve come. The most precious one is when it’s Chopper, and he’s like Tony Tony Chopper: 100 berries. But that’s such a perfect way to jettison us into episode 1,001 with all of us behind him, saying, “Oh, captain, my captain, yes, let’s go. We are behind you. We’ve got your back.” And then it’s that lovely thanks and also to be continued like. So good.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: I’m excited about Red Rock, but I don’t know the episode number it shows up. But I don’t even feel like those words are a spoiler.

    Luci Christian: Some fights have been super fun. Zeus has been super fun. For Nami.

    Screen Rant: I feel like each Straw Hat has gotten a chance to shine at some point in the Raid, or at least we’ll get that chance going forward. The Raid has been one of the biggest fight scenes and battles in the series for quite some time. So do you all enjoy that sort of arc in the series? Is it better voicing and putting your performance into that where everyone gets that chance to shine? Or do you prefer the more ensemble moments where the crews just sort of hang together?

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: As an audience member or as a performer? As an audience member those battles are awesome. As a performer, they hurt so much. So like every time you guys go off and do your own thing, fighting people or doing whatever it’s like, I feel like I’m just doing this. And this is what we’re doing. And it’s gonna hurt every session. And then we all come back together and it’s like let’s talk!

    Sonny Strait: I used to complain a lot about how much Usopp screams, and I directed Colleen in one episode and I went, “Oh, my God. She has to do this all the time.”

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: I want to be Zorro.

    Screen Rant: Yeah the strong, silent type. And that’s actually an interesting question. If you could voice any one of the other Straw Hats which would it be?

    Sonny Strait: I would never give up Usopp for anything.

    Luci Christian: None of us would.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: I mean are you forcing us? Then I’ll say Chopper.

    Luci Christian: Oh, Chopper, that was a good pick.

    Sonny Strait: Yeah I’d like to play Chopper, too. We’d all play Chopper.

    Luci Christian: I would love to play Robin. I’m just not as Stephanie Young. I mean that would be a fun challenge. That’d be a fun challenge.

    Sonny Strait: You’re right, I want to play Robin, too.

    Screen Rant: So we’re almost out of time now in the interview, unfortunately. But are there any sort of like last thoughts that you want to get out there to the fans, with the thousandth episode coming up? Anything you want to say to them?

    Luci Christian: You guys are awesome. Thank you. Thank you for coming along.

    Sonny Strait: It’s been the greatest honor of my career to do this. And you guys have just made it so worthwhile.

    Colleen Clinkenbeard: We love you, we love these characters, and we are doing our absolute best to bring them to you in exactly the way that would do them justice. So I hope you know that that is being done with care.

    Eric Vale: And show a friend.

    Luci Christian: Share the one piece that’s right!

    All 1000 episodes of the English dub of One Piece are now available to stream on Crunchyroll.

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