Oshi No Ko anime has found itself embroiled in yet another controversy as fans criticized the anime’s English dub version over its portrayal of Akane Kurokawa.
Kristen McGuire, Akane’s English dub VA bore the brunt of the criticism, as a wave of negative comments flooded her social media by a group of extremist fans.
The controversy stems from the anime’s 7th episode which showcased a pivotal moment where Akane Kurokawa perfected her portrayal of Ai Hoshino, Aqua’s mother. In an attempt to impress Aqua, Akane performed in front of him, revealing a significant change in personality that is evident not only in her appearance but also in her voice.
This, according to many, was perfectly portrayed in Japanese dub. On the other hand, they were dissatisfied with the execution of the scene in the English dub, particularly regarding Kristen McGuire’s interpretation of Akane’s character. They argued that her voice lacked the timid and whispery qualities they felt were essential for Akane’s portrayal, especially when imitating Ai’s voice.
“I have nothing against the English voice actress, but to portray someone like Akane, you really need that timid and whispery voice, even in this scene when she mimics Ai’s voice.”
Some also raised concerns regarding its sound mixing, suggesting that the dubbing director and sound editor may have contributed to the unfavourable outcome. The English version was described as overly cheerful and loud compared to the more natural and nuanced Japanese performance, which some fans considered superior.
“It’s also a matter of sound mixing. It’s awful. The dubbing director is new, and I suppose the sound editor is too.”
They also made statements aimed at the voice actress noting that they refrained from listening to the dub to protect their ears, again emphasising on the cheerful and loud voice in English dub.
“No, I didn’t listen to the dub cuz I wanna save my ears lol but moot pointed that she’s yelling….like, tf.”
Kristen McGuire responded to the criticism on her official Twitter account by addressing the challenges inherent in voice acting and expressed gratitude for the support of the wider community.
“The hardest thing about voice acting for anime is knowing that no matter how much you love a project, how much you try to do it justice, there will still be people who hate it. I appreciate the kindness from the community. I will always do my best for the characters I voice.“
Jack Stansbury, who voiced Aqua in the English dub, came in support of Kristen emphasising that it’s okay for viewers to have different opinions on the English dub, however, urged fans from tagging him and his fellow actors in hate comments.
“If you don’t like the #OshiNoKo dub that’s totally cool! Nobody’s obligated to enjoy our work. What’s not cool is tagging me or my peers in your hate. It is, in fact, incredibly unkind. Please allow us to be proud of the work we do and allow those who do enjoy it to enjoy it. The internet’s a big place – no matter what your feelings are on the dub I promise there’s enough room for us to coexist peacefully without antagonizing each other.”
A vocal section of fans called out the individuals spreading hate towards Kristen, highlighting the irony of the their actions. These fans were frustrated and wondered why the community, which revolves around a series that addresses cyberbullying, seemed to lack self-awareness.
Oshi No Ko English dub cast includes:
- Donna Bella Litton as Ai Hoshino
- Chaney Moore as Aqua (Young)
- Jack Stansbury as Aqua
- Alyssa Marek as Ruby / Ruby (Young)
- Jeremy Gee as Goro
- Savanna Menzel as Sarina
- Natalie Rial as Kana
- Brandon Hearnsberger as Ichigo
- Christina Kelly as Miyako
- Ty Mahany as Taishi
Shannon D. Reed directed the English dub.
Oshi no Ko is a manga series written by Kaguya Sama: Love is War creator Aka Akasaka and illustrated by Mengo Yokoyari, who is author of Kuzu no Honkai. It has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump since April 2020, with its chapters collected in seven tankōbon volumes as of February 2022.
MAL describes the plot of the manga as follows;
Sixteen-year-old Ai Hoshino is a talented and beautiful idol who is adored by her fans. She is the personification of a pure, young maiden. But all that glitters is not gold.
Gorou Honda is a countryside gynaecologist and a big fan of Ai. So when the pregnant idol shows up at his hospital, he is beyond bewildered. Gorou promises her a safe delivery. Little does he know, an encounter with a mysterious figure would result in his untimely death—or so he thought.
Opening his eyes in the lap of his beloved idol, Gorou finds that he has been reborn as Aquamarine Hoshino—Ai’s newborn son! With his world turned upside down, Gorou soon learns that the world of showbiz is paved with thorns, where talent does not always beget success. Will he manage to protect Ai’s smile that he loves so much with the help of an eccentric and unexpected ally?