Twin Engine announced that it will delay the release of the Mononoke movie. This is due to needing to find a new voice actor to replace its lead, Takahiro Sakurai. Sakurai would have reprised his role as the Medicine Seller from the show. While Twin Engine’s statement did not explicitly mention it, this recasting likely has something to do with the voice actor’s controversy regarding his infidelity.
According to Twin Engine’s statement on its Twitter account, the Mononoke movie takes place in Ooku. In Japanese history, the Ooku (literally “great interior”) was the women’s quarters within Edo Castle. Women with connections to the reigning shogun would reside in the Ooku and could not leave without express permission. If you were a woman inside the Ooku, you also could not have a relationship with a man. As such, one could consider life within the Ooku to be oppressive.
Since the Mononoke film aims to portray the suffering and the salvation of women within the Ooku, Twin Engine decided to recast Sakurai to stay in line with the moral themes of the film. For reference, Sakurai is in the middle of a controversy in which he was cheating on a total of at least three women over the course of over a decade. He is a highly prolific voice actor known for roles such as Cloud Strife (FFVII), Guntz (Klonoa), and Reigen Arataka (Mob Psycho 100). Anime Ayaka also recently opted to replace Sakurai, making Mononoke his second recast.
The Mononoke film is in development. Backers who supported it via crowdfunding will receive messages from Twin Engine on how Mononoke will proceed from here.