AI Manga Generator infuriates Japanese fans on social media

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AI art generators are a controversial tool in the art industry. With tools capable of recreating any artists’ style, an AI manga generator has received backlash from fans of the Japanese art form.

As AI art tools like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion use datasets to create artwork, they’re all based on pre-existing works. This means that you can directly recreate the style of an artist you like in a form of pseudo-plagiarism.

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Reported by Rest of World, Japanese AI startup Radius5 has created Mimic, an AI manga generator. However, the anime community has met the tool with a large degree of fervour.

In the report, it’s revealed that Japanese social media users turned against the tool. An advertising stunt involving five manga artists using the service led fans to send hate messages to artists claiming they were helping to cheapen the art form.

Radius5 quickly released a statement damning Twitter users for defamatory statements. In a roughly translated version of the post, the company said:

“Thank you very much for your many opinions. We are currently preparing our views on the opinions we have received after consultation… Some people have received comments such as criticism and slander to the creators who cooperated with us. Please refrain from such things.”

Despite this, the online backlash continued. In Japan, the phrase “No AI Learning” became a trending topic, albeit in Japanese instead of English.

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The Mimic service is designed to be used by mangakas to speed up aspects of work. As manga creation is an intensely time consuming process, the tool allows an artist to upload their work and create images in a similar style. This could be used for backgrounds or other ideas that could be touched up afterwards.

However, Japanese fans believe that the tool will be abused by those who are not official manga artists. As it turns out, they were right, and Mimic’s beta has already been closed as users began uploading other artists’ work to copy.

Mimic will return in the near future, but manga fans are still upset at the AI manga generator. In response to a recent tweet, one Twitter user called the tool “Pandora’s Box” whereas others claimed it still “other people's data for learning”.

As commenters state, the release of AI art tools will result in copycats stealing art styles for themselves. At this point, that is unavoidable; Pandora’s Box has indeed been opened.