Anime fans were in for a surprise when it was announced that Yoruichi’s voice actress would be recast for the highly anticipated Bleach Thousand Year Blood War adaptation. Anairis Quiñones, known for her roles as Mirko in My Hero Academia and Kimberly in Street Fighter 6, was initially cast as the voice of Yoruichi. However, things took an unexpected turn when it was revealed that the role would be given back to the original voice actress, Wendee Lee. This decision has sparked a fierce debate within the anime community.
The controversy began when Quiñones, who is an Afro Latina voice actress, announced on October 21, 2023, that she would no longer be voicing Yoruichi in Bleach Thousand Year Blood War. Her recordings were set to be replaced, and the reason given was that “the studio and client decided to go in a different direction.” This abrupt change left many fans puzzled and curious about the decision-making process behind such a significant recasting.
Wendee Lee, the original voice actress for Yoruichi in the Bleach anime series, was handed back the role, and this is where things got contentious. Lee, who has had a long and successful career in voice acting, made controversial remarks on social media, which added fuel to the fire. Her behavior and statements further divided the fanbase, with some supporting her return and others questioning the decision.
One of the major concerns that emerged from this situation was the issue of diversity in casting and the representation of characters of color in media. Quiñones, being an Afro Latina voice actress, was seen by many as an opportunity for better representation. However, the sudden recasting and the subsequent controversial remarks by Lee raised questions about the industry’s commitment to diversity.
The decision to reverse the casting choice for Yoruichi in Bleach Thousand Year Blood War has led to heated discussions online. While some argue that it’s essential to prioritize the integrity of a character’s voice and the original cast, others believe that diverse representation should be a priority. The clash of opinions highlights the ongoing debate within the anime community about who should be cast for characters of different ethnic backgrounds.
Unfortunately, this controversy also brought to the forefront a darker side of the anime fandom: racist fans who are quick to express their negative opinions. It’s disheartening that those with prejudiced views often become the default “people to please” in some situations, leaving many fans frustrated and disappointed.
By contrast, Jamieson Price who voices Chad, was much more gracious in stepping down from the role. This is a rea; Chad move.