In the latest of many, many self-inflicted controversies faced by the anime streaming platform in recent months, English-language voice actor Laura Post has accused Crunchyroll of having actively blocked her and her fellow Tower of God dub voice actors from reprising their roles for the series’ upcoming mobile game.
In development from veteran mobile developer Netmarble, Tower of God: New World is “a new collectible card game RPG” based on the world of S.I.U’s popular Korean manhwa.
“The game includes an exclusive storyline that can only be experienced through gameplay, providing an additional source of enjoyment for fans of the original work,” detailed Netmarble. Not only the story but also the characters have been created to reflect the original work. Characters like ‘Twenty-Fifth Bam,’ ‘Ha Yuri Zahard,’ and ‘Khun’ are designed using the original settings, incorporating their abilities, skills, etc. The quality of the animations has been enhanced to allow players to relive the character’s ultimate moves from the original work.”
However, while many fans were intrigued at what an opportunity to team up with Bam, Khun, and Rak could offer, Post was less than elated at the announcement.
On June 2nd, Post, who voices a number of characters in the English dub of Tower of God including the singular-goggled red-head Hwa Ryun and Anaak’s mother, took to her personal Twitter account to detail why “you may (or may not) have noticed that the cast (full of totally awesome people who have our blessing) is different from the anime!”
“FIRST THINGS FIRST: As you may have noticed in the first post, ALL THE ACTORS INVOLVED ARE GREAT PEOPLE,” she acknowledged in the opening to her thread. “So many people reached out to the original cast when the auditions went out, and every single one has the original cast’s blessing. Support them. Cheer them on!”
Further noting that “the English production team? Studio? Director? Also great!”, Post then asserted that the villain “responsible for this situation” was in fact Crunchyroll themselves.
“You see, when the client making the game approached a studio to begin recording the English localization” claimed Post. “CR went directly to the client and told them they ‘owned the voice prints’ of the original cast (they do not.)”
“They went on to say that the netmarble could legally not use ANY of the cast in the game in *any* capacity,” she further recalled.
“Not even as new characters or different characters than we originally played,” detailed Post. “We could not even *audition* for new or different characters. We were blacklisted.”
However, despite the streaming platform’s confidence in their claim of ownership over the cast’s “voice prints”, Post asserted that “What CR said is completely, 100%, untrue.”
“I personally review[ed] my contracts to be sure that there was no such clause,” she explained, noting that “some jobs do actually have clauses where you can’t perform a character outside of ‘official capacity’ – it’s why I don’t do voice requests”.
“In addition,” the voice of Persona 5 Royal‘s Kasumi Yoshizawa asserted, “I also had MULTIPLE LAWYERS look over the contract, and they agreed. There is nothing in there to stop us from being part of the project, at the very least as new or different characters.”
All of this revealed, Post declared that “CR was completely out of line, not just ethically (like come on, your actors need to pay rent) but also legally.”
“They have no ground to stand on to prohibit us from playing different or new characters,” she added. “And any ground they have to prevent us from reprising is weak at best.”
However, despite having ostensibly been wronged by Crunchyroll, she lamented that unfortunately, “the damage was [already] done. The client was too scared to get involved in an overseas legal battle, so they would not entertain the idea of including any original cast members in their game.”
Looking for a silver lining, Post noted that in the end, Netmarble “thankfully decided to do their own thing, and [did] not try to voice match us.”
Concluding her thread with a warning for her fellow voice actors, Post summated, “Moral of the story? We already knew CR was not actor friendly, but in my opinion this was a whole new level.”
“They obviously have no problem going to potential future clients *without your knowledge* and robbing you as an actor of the opportunity to even audition for work,” said the voice actress behind One-Punch Man‘s English-language Fubuki.
“Personally, I will not be working with Crunchyroll on *any* future projects without the protection of a union contract,” she ultimately declared.. “I strongly encourage other actors thinking about working with Crunchyroll in the future to consider that as well.”
As of writing, Crunchyroll has not publicly commented on Post’s accusations.
Pre-registration for Tower of God: New World is now open ahead of the game’s late July release window.