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Netflix's number-one show One Piece just broke a huge viewing record

This could be the big Netflix success story of 2023

Netflix's number-one show One Piece just broke a huge viewing record
Andrew Williams
06 September 2023

Netflix’s live action manga and anime adaptation One Piece has broken records in its first few days on stream, having been released on August 31.

One Piece has shot to the number one slot in 86 countries according to Netflix stat aggregator Flixpatrol, a site that looks at the streamer’s top 10 listings across the world.

This opening has just pipped Netflix TV mega-success Wednesday, based on Flixpatrol’s opening week scoring system.

Could quirky pirate adventure One Piece become Netflix’s most popular English language show to date? Let’s examine some of the evidence.

One Piece reviews

Netflix's number-one show just broke a huge viewing record
Image Credit: Netflix

We had major trepidation when we heard One Piece was due out at the tail end of August. Anime adaptations rarely match the quality of their source material. However, the show has received remarkably good reviews, and an 84% Rotten Tomatoes rating that beats the 77% Wednesday achieved.

Critical reception is not everything, but does mean we could see the popularity of One Piece balloon, even after this strong start. After all, while One Piece is the best-selling manga series ever, it’s not as if those completely disconnected from the world of manga will know about it already.

The argument against is the cold, hard viewing figures released by Netflix’s Tudum website.

How popular is One Piece?

In its first week on stream, One Piece kept eyeballs glued for a collective 140.1 million hours. This is not close to the 341.2 million hours Wednesday corralled back in November 2022.

Wednesday did have an additional day on stream in these “first week” figures, but that doesn’t account for the difference in the numbers.

However, One Piece still stomps on the first week figures of big 2023 shows like FUBAR and The Witcher Season 3.

Only three 2023 TV have beaten its opening-weekend numbers. These are Bridgerton spin-off Queen Charlotte, The Night Agent and Ginny & Georgia season 2, which no doubt gained a bit from being released right at the beginning of the year when many are still off work.

You know what? We’re impressed. Shows like The Night Agent benefit from being ultra-mainstream, an ability to cross generations with an affably bland take on one of the most popular TV genres. One Piece? It’s something else, and could well see a healthy second-week boost if a strong start also translates to good word-of-mouth dissemination

While One Piece is an epic manga, we mostly know it from the anime adaptation that began airing in 1999. It now has well over 1000 episodes (1074 have aired at the time of writing).

Netflix’s One Piece? There are only eight episodes. But they cost a helluva lot more than the anime eps, a reported £14.4 million per episode.