Yesterday, the voice actor of Mob Psycho 100‘s protagonist, Kyle McCarley, a prominent proponent for the unionization of English dubs throughout the industry, announced on YouTube and Twitter he would likely not be reprising his role for the final season this Fall.
McCarley, when offered to reprise his role met it with the condition Crunchyroll would meet with SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. SAG-AFTRA is an American labor union representing voice actors, including those working on English dubs. McCarley proposed the meeting in hopes the show, and potentially future shows, would be recorded on a SAG contract. As a trade-off, Kyle would agree to work without a union contract on Mob Psycho 100 III. This would allow for higher pay for less-prominent actors and other benefits including health insurance and retirement.
As an active member of SAG-AFTRA, and part of their dubbing steering committee, McCarley has been vocal across his public appearances about the benefits of union work within the anime dubbing industry.
Unfortunately, Crunchyroll refused a meeting with SAG-AFTRA, leading to the above video. McCarley stated
…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.
While surprising to fans, Crunchyroll’s statement does not come as a surprise to industry, especially since its acquisition by Sony in August of 2021. Many involved in anime dubbing, including Morgan Lea, have been vocal about Crunchyroll’s active avoidance of union contracts. Back in April, Lea predicted Crunchyroll’s efforts to push anime dubbing back to being in-studio seemed like an attempt at “union-busting.”
Let me stress this again to take what I have to say with a grain (or more) of salt. The things that ARE definitive:
*Sony owns a brand new studio in TX that isn't getting used
*The option to remote record is being stripped away from local talent
*Unions can protect us from this
— 💀Morgan Lea | Fuck Authority (@morglea) April 9, 2022
Just four hours after McCarley published his video, Crunchyroll emailed a response to Kotaku.
Crunchyroll is excited to bring fans worldwide the dub for the third season of Mob Psycho 100 III as a SimulDub, the same day-to-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’s statement not only confirms McCarley’s re-casting, but further states other roles will be re-cast. It also mentions the dub would be produced in-house. This comes as a slight shock as Bang Zoom! produced the dub for the first two seasons. The entire production crew, including the audio engineers, scriptwriters and voice director would be completely different. While not un-heard of for anime with multiple seasons, it is rare for a decision like this to be made for the final season of a series. Especially one with an English dub as well-received as Mob Psycho 100‘s.
Soon after, Chris Cason tweeted about his departure from his role as the series’ ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) director yesterday.
It was my pleasure to have served as the ADR Director for both season one and season two of this fantastic show. Though I will no longer be involved in that capacity, it remains one of my favorite titles. pic.twitter.com/9ziPOGEbmu
— Chris Cason (@Casonworld) September 20, 2022
Mob Psycho 100 III premiers on Crunchyroll on October 5th. Will you be watching?