Otaku USA Magazine
Anime Dub VAs Speak Out Against Poor Pay and Treatment

Mob - "Things just got out of hand"

Anime continues to become more and more popular, but despite sales numbers and profits, anime dub actors continue to be poorly paid and often denied protections. Multiple dub actors spoke to In These Times for a lengthy article on the matter titled “Anime Voice Actors Speak Out: It’s Not Kawaii When We Aren’t Paid,” talking about their real experiences.

The article opens with Kyle McCarley, who got replaced as Mob in Mob Psycho 100 after asking Crunchyroll to have a good-faith conversation with the SAG-AFTRA union. “It seems like [Crunchyroll’s] plan is to just weather the storm and wait until people get tired of talking about it,” McCarley remarked. And he doesn’t believe money is the issue. “It very much feels like an ideological issue for them.”

Ben Diskin, known for playing Sai in Naruto Shippuden, was interviewed at length. “As you get older, and you start realizing how much damage you’ve done to yourself in your early career by engaging in all of these vocally abusive policies — when you start paying for it — you start getting a little more backbone,” he said, referencing the fact that unions would protect actors from overusing their voices and causing damage. Some dub actors have permanently damaged their voices while taking on screaming roles.

It was brought up that the movie Jujutsu Kaisen 0 has made more than $30 million in the United States alone — yet some of the actors who brought the characters to life for fans only received $150. Many actors live paycheck to paycheck and need to find other ways to make ends meet. Going to conventions could be a way for them to pick up their income, but they have to voice “popular” characters for that to work.

Still, more actors are speaking up, hoping to change their situation.

Source: In These Times


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.