October is slated to be a stacked month in the realm of anime with the return of the popular shonen series Bleach, and the debut of the hotly anticipated devil-killing anime Chainsaw Man. However, it’s not looking like the English voice actor for everyone’s favorite milk-drinking psychic will be reprising his role in the upcoming season of Mob Psycho 100.
Today, Kyle McCarley, the English voice actor for Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, uploaded a video to YouTube titled “A Message to the Fans of Mob Psycho 100.” In it, he informed fans that they will most likely not hear his voice in Mob Psycho 100 season three, due to release on October 5, because Crunchyroll, the internet’s leading anime streaming service, allegedly refused to work with McCarley under a Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union contract.
“I know for some of you that probably sucks to hear, and believe me that sucks a lot to say. I’m really really bummed about this,” McCarley said in the video. “It has been made 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 contract.”
McCarley told Kotaku that Crunchyroll initially reached out to him on September 8 to ask about his availability in working on season three of the anime. According to McCarley, Crunchyroll typically goes for simuldubs of a show, meaning recording both the English and Japanese voiceover of a series whenever it can.
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“I thought it was odd they’d wait so long to ask me about that, given the season was announced in... January, I think it was? And the Funimation side of the company, pre-merger, had already replaced me in the Scarlet Nexus anime last year when I refused to work on that project non-union,” McCarley said.
McCarley told Kotaku that he’d be happy to reprise his role as Mob in season three of the anime if it were on a union contract. In his YouTube video, McCarley clarified that, as a SAG-AFTRA union member and a member of SAG-AFTRA’s dubbing steering committee, it is important to him that all the work he does is covered by a union contract, a contract that ensures McCarley won’t stress his vocal cords from screaming for too long, something shonen protagonists are wont to do, while recording his lines.
He also mentioned that the issue wasn’t about money, saying Crunchyroll was prepared to pay him the amount he would be getting under a union contract. And while he didn’t ask for a huge raise, he did ask for a union scale, which he could put toward health care coverage and retirement savings.
Because of the major role McCarley has as the anime’s lead character, McCarley said he approached Crunchyroll with an offer to work on season three under a non-union contract with the condition that the company agreed to sit down and meet with him and other SAG-AFTRA representatives to negotiate a potential contract for future anime shows.
“A good portion of the cast and I had a Zoom call that night to talk about it, which was when the idea of offering to do this job non-union in exchange for a meeting with SAG-AFTRA representatives was pitched,” McCarley told Kotaku.
After checking with Treslyn Williams, the head of the voiceover department at SAG-AFTRA, to see if a “Crunchyroll-specific agreement” along the lines of what contracts voice actors are offered under streaming services like Netflix, which signed a company-wide SAG-AFTRA contract in 2019, McCarley said SAG-AFTRA would be open to anything Crunchyroll was willing to agree to. After speaking with Williams, McCarley said one of his castmates reached out to the head of production at Crunchyroll directly to give him their pitch to negotiate a potential contract.
“When none of us had heard anything by last Thursday morning (the first day in their original availability window to start recording), I took it upon myself to ensure the terms of the offer were clearly articulated to everyone who might be weighing in on the decision,” McCarley said.
McCarley said he emailed Rahul Purini, the president of Crunchyroll, and cc’d the company’s chief content officer, chief people officer, chief operating officer, as well as the head of production to restate that he was only asking to have a meeting with them.
Yesterday morning, McCarley said he received a call from the head of production at Crunchyroll, saying the company was not going to agree to those terms. After reiterating that he wasn’t looking for a commitment to anything beyond a meeting, he said he received a call that afternoon from Crunchyroll confirming its stance on the matter.
“I could speculate about why they’ve taken this stance, but it would be speculation,” McCarley said. “I don’t know why they are so firmly anti-union that they won’t even agree to having a conversation about it. I felt like it was a pretty reasonable request, but you’d have to ask them why they appear to disagree.”
Kotaku reached out to Crunchyroll, but did not receive a comment in time for publication.
In terms of what’s next for McCarley, he told Kotaku that he’ll continue to keep working on union jobs that contribute to his pension and health and will continue to make efforts to organize the voiceover industry so that more work can be covered for actors under SAG-AFTRA contracts.
Mob Psycho 100, created by One, the mangaka behind One Punch Man, follows Mob, an all-powerful psychic whose powers are triggered whenever his emotions overflow. Mob Psycho 100 is streaming exclusively on Crunchyroll.
Update 09/20/2022 4:25 p.m. ET: A Crunchyroll representative sent Kotaku an email in response to McCarley’s role as Mob in season three of Mob Psycho 100, saying, “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.”