Crunchyroll came under fire on Tuesday after announcing that the upcoming third season of Mob Psycho 100 would see a new English-language voice actor take over the series’ starring role. The news arrives just a few weeks before Mob Psycho 100’s season 3 premiere in early October.
In a video uploaded to YouTube and Twitter, voice actor Kyle McCarley, the original voice actor for Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, explained to fans that he would likely not be returning to perform the role of Mob in the upcoming third season of the Mob Psycho 100. The reasons, as he understood them, was due to a breakdown in negotiations between McCarley and Crunchyroll pertaining to the actor’s desire to work under a union contract.
“It has been abundantly clear to me that in the case of season three of Mob Psycho 100, Crunchyroll is not going to be producing that show on a SAG-AFTRA budget,” McCarley says in the video. “And I want to put this little note in here to be very, very clear, it’s not about money. They were prepared to pay me at least what I would be getting on a union-scale contract, possibly more. They just don’t want to put it on a union contract.”
McCarley goes on to explain that, in lieu of a SAG-AFTRA contract, he agreed to perform on the upcoming season of Mob Psycho 100 under a non-union contract on the condition that Crunchyroll would meet with SAG-AFTRA representatives to negotiate a potential contract intended for future productions.
“Crunchyroll has historically been very, very hesitant to take anything they produce onto a SAG-AFTRA contract, and because of the role that I have in this particular show, and this particular show’s popularity with you guys, it seemed like maybe there was an opportunity to change that.”
When asked for comment, Crunchyroll responded by announcing that the company would “need to recast some roles” in the English dub of the upcoming season of Mob Psycho 100. The response online has been heated, with anime voice actors, critics, and fans calling for greater action by Crunchyroll to recognize SAG-AFTRA and agree to good faith negotiations.
Here’s Crunchyroll’s official statement provided to Polygon:
Crunchyroll is excited to bring fans worldwide the dub for the third season of Mob Psycho 100 III as a SimulDub, the same day-and-date as the Japanese broadcast. We’ll be producing the English dub at our Dallas production studios, and to accomplish this seamlessly per our production and casting guidelines, we will need to recast some roles. We’re excited for fans to enjoy the new voice talent and greatly thank any departing cast for their contributions to previous seasons.
Crunchyroll made news in August of last year when it was announced that Funimation, the anime entertainment company and streaming service owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., had acquired the company for $1.175 billion. Following the acquisition, the Funimation library of anime titles was folded under Crunchyroll in March and rebranded as Crunchyroll, LLC. The company has only continued to grow and consolidate in the wake of its acquisition by Sony, with Crunchyroll purchasing Right Stuf, one of the largest online anime merchandise retailers, back in August, resulting in the “phasing out the Erotica genre content and product” on the retailer’s website. While Crunchyroll’s troubled relationship with voice-over actors, translators, and the growing demand for union representation in anime is an ongoing controversy in the industry, McCarley’s decision to voluntarily step away from Mob Psycho 100 season 3 marks one of the most visible moments of friction for the increasingly monolithic company.
Mob Psycho 100 season 3 premieres on Oct. 5 on Crunchyroll.