Crunchyroll Fumbled the Bag with Mob Psycho 100 Season 3

””For the anime community, Mob Psycho 100 season 3 was one of the most anticipated drops of the 2022 fall season. The show is a modern anime classic, quickly moving up the ranks to be rated one of the best animes of all time. Created by manga author One, who also created One-Punch Man, the series focuses on a middle-schooler with psychic powers trying to navigate life and his emotions. It is a mix of genres, with some episodes having a slice-of-life feel while others are more action-based. The show has a hilarious cast of characters (including a con artist mentor, an evil spirit best friend, and an enemy-turned-friend with a ridiculously large wig) while still having a mature narrative. And on top of that, the animation done by Studio Bones is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Every frame is hand-drawn (it is the only show currently on air able to claim that), and different mediums and styles are used interchangeably to create something so visually unique.

Yet Crunchyroll, the American streaming and simulcast company that also produces the English dubbing of the show, has completely mishandled the new season. The problems first started with their promotions. Despite Mob Psycho 100 being an extremely popular show with a large, dedicated fanbase, Crunchyroll was practically silent about the new season coming out. Other anticipated shows that came out this fall, like Chainsaw Man and Spy x Family, received constant ads and articles on Crunchyroll’s website and social media, creating hype and build-up for their releases. Meanwhile, Mob Psycho 100 got none of the same treatment. Crunchyroll didn’t even provide information about the day and time when the show was going to be simulcast on their platform until a week before the premiere.

On top of that, one of the only articles they posted about the new season was about how many of the English dub voice actors would not be coming back for season 3. The reason why was upsetting for many fans. Prior to the Crunchyroll article coming out, Kyle McCarley, the original voice actor for the main character Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, posted a video to his YouTube stating he had been let go from his role. He specified that the issue was not money, but rather Crunchyroll’s refusal “to produce the show on a SAG-AFTRA [Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists] contract.” Afterward, having already assumed that Crunchyroll would not accept a union contract, McCarley tried to use his position as the lead to get them to just “meet with SAG-AFTRA representatives for the purposes of negotiating a potential contract for them to use on future productions.” Even that proposal was met with rejection. Because of this, McCarley and many other prominent members of the English voice actor cast who were a part of this union were recast. This news came out only a few short weeks before the show was to premiere, adding to the shock of fans.

This recasting has not been taken well by Mob Psycho 100’s audience. Many have refused to watch the show through Crunchyroll, even going so far as to cancel their entire subscription to the streaming service. A large part of this is because fans want to support these voice actors, so they are against Crunchyroll being anti-union. But another part is the sound of the show itself. English dubs are very hit-or-miss with anime audiences, as many viewers prefer to watch the show in sub (AKA in Japanese with subtitles). Mob Psycho 100 was one of the few English dubs that fans loved and recommended, feeling that the voice actors were perfect for their roles which brought the show to life. For those who have been waiting for the new season for years, it is heartbreaking to know Mob Psycho 100 has lost some of its spark due to the recastings.

Moreover, Crunchyroll kept on an English voice actor who has been blacklisted by much of the acting world. Christopher Niosi, who voiced Mob’s con artist mentor, Arataka Reigen, has been replaced in many of his other voice-acting roles after admitting to emotionally abusing ex-partners, friends, and colleagues. Yet he came back to voice Reigen in season 3.

All that said, Mob Psycho 100 season 3 is an incredible piece of media. The animation studio once again delivered sheer art to the screen. As the last season of the show, there are a lot of important plot points and character developments covered, making it a fun and interesting, though sometimes heartbreaking, watch. If you are sad about the English dub recasting, have no fear. Watch it in the original Japanese, as that voice-acting cast continues to deliver amazing quality.

Writer: Sarah Moloney
Artist: Judah Bachmann