Bandai Namco Filmworks, the anime studio responsible for Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, is facing backlash for altering an interview in which the marriage status between two characters, Suletta Mercury and Miorine Rembran, was confirmed. The September 2023 issue of Gundam Ace included an interview with the Japanese voice actresses for Suletta and Miorine, Kana Ichinose and Lynn, respectively. In the interview, Ichinose mentioned that Suletta and Miorine are a married couple, specifically referring to their epilogue scene in the series finale. However, the digital version of the interview did not include this mention of marriage.
Bandai Namco Filmworks issued a statement addressing the controversy, stating that the statements in the article were based on speculation from the Gundam Ace editors. The company claimed to have requested corrections during the proofreading process, but they were not included in the published issue. Bandai Namco Filmworks believes in allowing viewers to interpret and perceive the main story as they wish and has made the necessary corrections to the digital version of the interview.
Fans of The Witch from Mercury are accusing the company of queerbaiting, as much of the marketing for the series focused on the same-sex relationship between Suletta and Miorine. The premise of the show revolves around Suletta becoming engaged to Miorine after defeating her previous fiancé in a Gundam duel. The series finale features a scene where Suletta and Miorine are shown embracing each other as lovers and wearing wedding rings. This is not the first time that Ichinose has referred to them as a married couple.
The backlash against Bandai Namco stems from the perceived erasure of the characters’ marriage and the disappointment of fans who were excited about the portrayal of a same-sex relationship. The controversy highlights the importance of accurate representation and inclusivity in media, particularly for marginalized communities. As the anime industry continues to grow and diversify, it is crucial for studios and creators to listen to and respect the voices of their audience, ensuring that their storytelling aligns with the expectations and desires of the fans.
In conclusion, Bandai Namco Filmworks has received backlash for altering an interview that confirmed the marriage status of two characters from Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury. The controversy surrounding this alteration highlights the significance of accurate representation and the responsibility of studios to listen to the voices of their audience.