Since the beginning of the 20th century, the anime and manga industry has entertained a lot of people and made billions of dollars. But sometimes, jobs, roles and careers have been destroyed with one or more misdemeanors. Here are some cautionary tales for people wanting to work in the industry:
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- Many actors, musicians and producers in Japan have been removed from their works because of scandals. A large amount of them revolve around said creators being outed for drug possession and/or usage, which is treated as a much more serious crime there than in the west, though it is not the only type of misdemeanor that has tanked celebrity careers in Japan.
- Haruki Kadokawa's 18-year career as the second president of Kadokawa Shoten ended when he was accused of cocaine smuggling in 1993, ultimately leading him to resign and establish his own namesake company two years later. In the fallout, Rex: A Dinosaur Story, which was directed by Haruki, was quickly pulled from theaters and his younger brother, Tsuguhiko, became the company's third president. As for Haruki, he remains active as the chairman and president of his namesake company.
- A 13-disc box set of Hayao Miyazaki's works was recalled to remove the music video "On Your Mark" after Shigeaki Miyazaki (Aska of the musical group Chage and Aska and not related to Hayao himself) was arrested for drug possession. Even more, the group's former record label, Universal Music Japan (which also includes Miyazaki's regular collaborator Joe Hisaishi on their roster), removed everything involving the group they had contracts towards.
- Actress and singer Noriko Sakai, best known for performing the theme song for Gunbuster as well as narrating the Pikachu and Pichu short from Pokémon: The Series among others, was convicted for drug possession in April 2009 and shortly thereafter, placed on probation until 2012. She was dropped by her agency Sun Music and the Pikachu and Pichu short became a Missing Episode in Japan.
- Ai Takabe, who was primarily an on camera actress, but also voiced characters such as Fumi Manjome from Sweet Blue Flowers and Agiri Goshiki from Kill Me Baby, was dropped from her agency Oscar Promotion after she was charged with cocaine possession in October 2015. Though the charges were dropped, the damage was already done and Takabe left the entertainment industry altogether. Agiri was recast with Minami Shinoda for Kirara Fantasia.
- Kenji Yamamoto, the composer for Dragon Ball Z Kai and many Dragon Ball Z video games (such as the popular Budokai series), was dropped from his agency, Office Two One, in March 2011 after it was revealed he'd been plagiarising tracks going as far back as 1991. This resulted in Yamamoto's score for Kai being replaced by the original Shunsuke Kikuchi score from DBZ, both in later episodes and in DVD releases, as well as the Budokai HD Collection.
- In September 2018, TBS producer Yo-Kyo lost his job on ethics grounds over a kidnapping scandal.
- Three Studio Gainax staff members fell victim to this trope over the course of two decades:
- The accounting fraud charges stemming from the success of Neon Genesis Evangelion was this trope to Takeshi Sawamura's career as the studio's second president. Not long after Evangelion saved Gainax from bankruptcy, it was discovered that the studio kept 1.56 billion yen in profits, which allowed the company to avoid paying 560 million yen in corporate taxes. Sawamura was eventually arrested and convicted in 1999 along with tax accountant Yoshikatsu Iwasaki. He resigned from Gainax the following year and longtime co-founder Hiroyuki Yamaga took his spot as the company's third president.
- During the initial run of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the fourth episode, "Does Having So Many Faces Make You Great?" received heavy criticism from fans over at 2ch due to the Off-Model animation choices made during the episode. While discussing the episode, producer and studio co-founder Takami Akai made very negative comments towards the viewers and critics. Once this was revealed to the public, Akai resigned, leaving Yasuhiro Takeda as the show's sole animation producer.
- In December 2019, representative director Tomohiro Maki was arrested after it was outed he was a serial sexual harasser of underage girls. The incident would lead to co-founder Hideaki Anno's production company Studio Khara publicly distancing themselves from Gainax, leaving what was one of the most famous studios in the industry practically dead in the water. In February 2020, Yasuhiro Kamimura was selected to replace Maki. Even Anno, no stranger to controversy himself, was publicly disappointed that the studio's then-current management ranks allowed the situation with Maki to happen in the first place.
- The Western anime industry wasn't also left untouched by the "Weinstein effect", which saw quite a few actors and producers having their careers destroyed due to sexual misconduct allegations:
- For nearly 20 years, Vic Mignogna was one of the most famous people in the voice-over industry, appearing in a wide variety of works for well over a decade as an actor, singer, and voice director. But his career was abruptly halted in February 2019 when a string of allegations spanning back at least a decade, if not longer, regarding Mignogna engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior towards fans and his fellow voice actors arose, led to the hashtag #KickVic. This led to Funimation, Bang Zoom! Entertainment and Studiopolis dropping Mignogna from their ongoing projects and recasting his roles. Mignogna sued Funimation and several individuals that April for defamation and tortious interference. The case was initially dismissed in October of that year, and the judge ruled that Mignogna had to pay over $200,000 in attorney fees while granting Funimation right to continue charging him for any further investigations on their end, but then moved to the Court of Appeals in February 2020. The appeal was eventually rejected two years later, with paying even more to the people he sued, and he was later denied a court re-hearing in October 2022. He appealed to the Texas Supreme Court in November and denied in December.
- AnimeCon.org CEO Ryan Kopf has had a storied career of allegations involving sexual misconduct towards minors, tax fraud, and other forms of misconduct throughout much of the 2010s, but his career momentum stopped abruptly towards the end of June 2019 after an investigation into a sexual assault incident that allegedly took place at Anime Milwaukee 2018.
- Eric Torgersen, a staffer at the AnimeNEXT convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was suspended from the event in May 2019 after allegations of sexual assault began to surface.
- Funimation examples:
- Scott Freeman was arrested and convicted for possession of child pornography in 2015. He was dropped by Funimation and all of his ongoing roles were recast, especially his most famous ones as Issei Hyoudou from High School D×D (who was replaced by Josh Grelle from BorN onwards), Ian Dietrich from Attack on Titan (who was recast with Garret Storms in Attack on Titan: Junior High) and England from Hetalia: Axis Powers (played by Taliesin Jaffe in the World Twinkle dub). Even though Freeman was eventually paroled in December 2016 and moved to Nebraska a few years later, fellow Funimation voice actor/producer Justin Cook said Freeman would likely never be invited to voice act again.
- Chris Thurman, who played Daiki Kurosawa in the English dub of King's Game: The Animation among others, was dropped by Funimation in October 2020 after he admitted in a since-deleted Twitter post that he sent nude photos to an underage fan.
- Alison Viktorin, best known for voicing Kuroko Shirai in A Certain Magical Index, Conan Edogawa in Case Closed and QT in Space☆Dandy among others, retired from voice acting in March 2021 due to her posting (and then deleting) several comments in support of the controversial pro-Donald Trump Capitol Riots to her public social media accounts, as well as the COVID-19 Pandemic. Viktorin has since been working on her personal blog.
- Toei Animation had a long history of conflict with Team Four Star for their famous Dragon Ball Z Abridged series, which culminated in their roles in the English dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai getting cut and replaced with audio from the original series and the voice actors involved getting "greylisted" from working at Funimation. The drama only heated up when TFS announced DBZA's cancellation due to Toei's repeated takedowns of the episodes as well as a severe case of burnout.
- After Illich Guardiola's 2014 arrest on charges of inappropriate sexual relations with a minor, he didn't receive many more voice-acting roles, and his other career as an acting teacher was dead as well. That didn't stop him from marrying the 16-year-old girl in question, however.
- Voice actress and singer Aya Hirano was dropped by Lantis (her music agency) in August 2011 after they caught wind of her affairs with her male co-workers. She fell on her sword later that month, resigning from Space Craft (her voice acting agency). Fortunately, this was a mere hiccup for her, as Hirano went to her respective voice acting and music agencies, Grick and Universal Sigma, not long after.
- Actor Norio Imamura, who was the inspiration and original voice of Emporio Ivankov in One Piece, was arrested in July 2010 for posting indecent body art of him on the internet. Ivankov was ultimately recast with Mitsuo Iwata for later episodes as well as the home media releases.
- After Jinkaku Radio vocalist Yuuki made disparaging remarks about Yui Horie in December 2011, the band disassociated themselves from the animated adaptation of Daily Lives of High School Boys, which means the song "Hikizan", which was intended as the show's closing theme, was replaced by Amesaki Annainin's "O-hi-sama". "Hikizan" was supposed to have its own single releasing in February 2012 to go along with the anime but got canceled. However, it was included in their album Yui.
- The serialization of Pro Wrestling Superstar Retsuden ended in 1983 after co-creator and writer Ikki Kajiwara was arrested for assaulting his editor. During the trial, Kajiwara's history of violence resurfaced, and many of his manga subsequently went out of print. Kajiwara only had one other notable work after his arrest, an autobiography entitled Otoko no Seiza ("The Constellation of a Man"), which was left unfinished after succumbing to pancreatitis in 1987. It wasn't until the mid-1990s, several years after his death, that his works got critically reevaluated and his past manga started getting reprinted again.
- In November 2014, animator Yumi Kuroiwa was dropped by Production I.G for posting explicit artwork on Haikyuu!! characters and complaining about her working atmosphere at the studio on Twitter (which has since been taken down).
- Pop singer Blake Lewis, the runner-up on the sixth season of American Idol, announced on Twitter in late February 2015 he was reprising his role of Kasuka Heiwajima for season 2 of Durarara!!. Announcing news like this before Aniplex of America confirmed that there would even be a dub was a violation of the non-disclosure agreement all voice actors must sign. When the cast was officially announced that March, Kasuka was recast with Vic Mignogna.
- Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro's original Shonen Jump manga Seikimatsu Leader den Takeshi! was cut after five years due to his conviction of soliciting an underage prostitute. However, his sentence was suspended, and two years later, he was working in the manga industry again. Shimabukuro later went on to create Toriko.
- Shojo mangaka Yuki Suegetsu's career was temporarily halted in 2005 when it was discovered she had plagiarized Takehiko Inoue in multiple places, leading to her series Flower of Eden being canceled and pulled from store shelves. Suegetsu would spend the next two years struggling to find work before she made a comeback with the publication of Chihayafuru in 2007.
- Voice actor and singer Tatsuhisa Suzuki went into a brief hiatus in August 2021 after Shūkan Bunshun revealed he cheated on his wife, J-Pop singer LiSA, along with allegations of breaking NDA. Because of this, several of his roles for that year were recast. Though he eventually resumed to his voice acting career with very few roles in March 2022, his band OLDCODEX disbanded at the end of May.
- Rurouni Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki was charged for possession of child pornography after the police discovered DVDs with nude footage of young girls in their early teens in his office in Tokyo back in October 2017. As a result, Shueisha put the then-ongoing Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc on a hiatus. After Watsuki posted bail in April 2018 and expressed regret for his actions, Shueisha allowed him to continue working on the manga. However, his fandom remains divided whether they'll continue to support his work or not, and Viz has ceased publication of his manga in the English version of Shonen Jump.
- Tom Wayland, best known for his work on Pokémon: The Series among others, was accused of rape in 2014, which led to him exiting the show one year later; Lisa Ortiz replaced him as the ADR director.
- Recovery of an MMO Junkie director Kazuyoshi Yaginuma was dropped by animation studio Signal.MD in February 2018 after fans discovered he had been posting, retweeting, and liking anti-semitic, Holocaust-denying, and pro-Hitler tweets (that have since been deleted) since joining Twitter in 2011.
- Infamously, anime director Yutaka "Yamakan" Yamamoto left the anime adaptation of Lucky Star after only four episodes. While no official statement was made as to why, most evidence suggests that Kyoto Animation fired him due to Yamakan's reputation for being an abrasive, caustic personality.
- After Act-age writer Tatsuya Matsuki was arrested in August 2020 on suspicion of groping two middle school students (which he admitted to), Shueisha immediately cancelled the manga after discussing the matter with the artist Shiro Usazaki. This was when the manga's popularity was rapidly rising and a stageplay adaptation (as well as, purportedly, an anime) was already in the works.
- Kemono Friends director (and widely agreed true father of the franchise) TATSUKI was fired by Kadokawa in September 2017 over a special episode he made for fans without Kadokawa's permission, despite using his own money for the production and having the permission of character designer Mine Yoshizaki. This combined with Kadokawa's perceived cowardly moves in response to the incident (including getting the voice actors to apologize for "hindering" Kadokawa) led to a furious backlash, with the hashtag #NoTatsukiNoTanoshi trending on Japanese twitter for days.
- The character of Yuuichi Tate in My-HiME was supposedly not recycled into My-Otome because his voice actor, Tomokazu Seki, spoiled the ending of the former series. In Japan, keeping spoilers of such caliber under wraps is considered extremely serious: some people have gotten in huge legal trouble for breaking that law.
- A planned adaptation of Tokyo Babylon was scrubbed in March 2021 after the production committee discovered numerous plagiarism incidents relating to the series that involved its very staff.
- This trope happened to two voice actors involved in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise:
- According to rumors, demands of a higher salary from Kenichiro "KENN" Ohashi halfway through the production of season 4 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX forced him to be axed and the entire season being Cut Short. This became less surprising when one figures that lead character Judai Yuki was becoming way too over-focused in the anime, enough so that a salary raise wasn't out of the question.
- During the production of the second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Carly's first season voice actress, Li-Mei Chiang, was rumored to be a member of the Roma Sophie Association, a real-life dangerous cult that was at the time under investigation by Japanese authorities. This led to Carly being recast with Aki Kanada and the production staff covering up anything that might make the series seem pro-occult, like Aki's powers or the existence of Psychic Duelists on a whole, and several parts of the story were quickly hit with retcons to remove the occult nature of the backstory. However, the show's Genre Shift from sci-fi/fantasy to sci-fi outright was already underway before the discoveries were brought to light, so it only reinforced the choice. Unfortunately, this meant that both Aki and Carly had to be Demoted to Extra to get around these aspects, with the latter's entire development with Jack having to be hit with amnesia to justify her downplayed importance.
- Anime Punch, a convention organization based in Columbus, Ohio, was shut down in September 2017 after its organizer, Michael Beuerlein, was convicted of sexual battery and registered as a sex offender."The unacceptable behavior from the top of the organization has lead [sic] to this decision from the staff. There is no excusing what has happened."