Due to “various reasons,” the studio behind Ayaka recast Takahiro Sakurai as Haruaki Kurama. While the Ayaka Twitter account did not state the exact reason, it likely has to do with the multiple adultery allegations against Sakurai. In an update from our original story, news came out that Sakurai was cheating on a total of three women for over a decade.
This is only one role, which means that so far, all of Sakurai’s other ongoing roles are still him. As a reminder, Sakurai’s major ongoing roles include:
- Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII
- Suguru Geto in Jujutsu Kaisen
- Merlin, Proto Arthur in Fate/Grand Order
- Reigen Arataka in Mob Psycho 100
- Tomioka Giyu in Demon Slayer
- Su in Honkai Impact 3rd
- Passenger in Arknights
- Suzaku in Code Geass (and derivative works)
This is just a small sample of Sakurai’s major roles from current works. He is also an extremely prolific voice actor who has appeared as major and supporting characters in many anime and video games. Ayaka may be the only work that drops Sakurai in favor of a less controversial voice actor. However, other companies and studios may also choose to recast Takahiro Sakurai due to the scandals that surround him.
Ayaka: A Story of Bonds and Wounds will start airing some time in 2023, and more information on who will replace Sakurai as Haruaki Kurama will appear later. As for Sakurai’s other roles, it is unclear if he will keep them going forth or if other companies plan on replacing him.