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The donation announcement from several English dub groups of Rurouni Kenshin has outraged many anime fans, who believe the dub should never have been made in the first place.
Rurouni Kenshin became the subject of heated debate among anime fans after its creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki, was arrested in 2017 for possessing child pornography. However, Watsuki never served any jail time and continued to profit from the Rurouni Kenshin series, driving many old fans away from the iconic series. As detailed on Anime Hunch, the community began to speak out against Rurouni Kenshin (2023) on social networks after the release of the English dub. While members of the voice cast publicly donated their earnings to charity, many in the anime community remained angry about the actors’ involvement.
Recently, Howard Wang (@TheHowardWang), who plays Kenshin Himura, and Yong Yea (@YongYea), who plays Jin-e Udo, clarified that they do not condone Watsuki’s actions in any way. . Additionally, both actors collectively donated more than $1,300 to the Child Rescue Alliance – a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping law enforcement agencies track down and arrest child predators. Many of the actors’ followers congratulated them for their donation, saying it was in keeping with Himura’s heroic spirit. However, other viewers criticized them for participating in a project that financially benefited Watsuki. One user wrote that “no matter how much you donate, you are still part of a project that allows real-life predators to profit. The dubbing shouldn’t even happen.” Countless other users echoed this sentiment, saying “them donating his salary really does nothing to stop Watsuki from getting paid.”
It’s important to note that while voice actors have a say in the projects they take on, they generally don’t have a say in the execution of the English dub, as that decision largely lies with any individual. Which ADR company owns the rights to the series. Taking this into account, one user argued that, since actors cannot prevent the dub from being created, donating to charity is the “sensible thing” to do. However, other users interpreted the move as an empty gesture intended to absolve actors of moral responsibility for participating in voice acting – one user even labeled Wang’s contribution as a “ pampering” designed to buy them “peace of mind.”
Nobuhiro Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin series debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in April 1994. With the help of a 1996 anime adaptation, the series went on to gain a huge following in both Pacific coast. Liden Film’s 2023 reboot begins airing in Japan in July 2023, bringing the exciting story of Himura Kenshin and his companions to a whole new generation. Watsuki went on to release Rurouni Kenshin: The Hokkaido Arc, a direct sequel to the original manga.
As of March 2023, the Rurouni Kenshin manga had more than 72 million copies in circulation worldwide.
Source: X (formerly Twitter) via Anime Hunch