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Netflix’s AI anime gets a roast for calling the artist a ‘human’

screenshot: Netflix / Kotaku

The anime community was widespread with controversy via AI-generated images. Today, Netflix has joined the hot new trend of being rated online for horrible AI shots. The streaming platform not only produced a commercial project using AI, but also tried to justify it with the “labor shortage” in the anime industry. Artists didn’t take this bullshit at face value, nor were they silent about it.

dog and boy is an animated film produced by Netflix Japan and Wit Studio (which produced Ranking of Kings and co-animated Spy x family). according to a Vice translationNetflix Japan tweeted, “In an attempt to help the anime industry, which is suffering from labor shortages, we used image generation technology for the background images of all three-minute video cuts!”

The production credits list AI as co-creator of the background art and music. Before you hit play, I want to make one thing clear: it doesn’t matter if the resulting video is good or bad. One of the wealthiest anime producers in the world has decided not to employ at least two living artists to create the film, and that doesn’t bode well for the future of animation. Or artists both as workers and as a community.

Worse, the artist who had to hold the AI ​​in their hands doesn’t seem to get credit at all. The background designer is called “AI (+ Human)”. Um, I’m pretty sure the human has a real name. So Netflix Japan didn’t just experiment with some ethically questionable technology, they show exactly how little they respect living background painters. If Japan has a shortage of animators, it’s because of industry pays freelancers a poverty wage to draw pictures by hand.

In Japan, artist salaries have not risen with the cost of living, making it impossible for some to survive in the industry. Even under these conditions, companies keep finding ways to underpay their employees. Despite the tremendous success, the studio is behind the film Promare and Cyberpunk: Edgerunner had to be content with its own staff about unpaid overtime. When artists don’t want to work, it’s probably because they can’t afford it.

Netflix could have easily solved this problem with higher pay. Instead, an attempt is made to shut down some artists entirely. kotaku reached out to Netflix and asked about the specific challenges they are having recruiting human artists, but received no response at the time of publication.

On Twitter, artists and creators, as the kids like to say, “slap Netflix in the butt in the quote retweets.” A Netflix showrunner wrote: “Nothing to be proud of, babes.” Even an AI engineer offered to profile Netflix animators looking for work while chiding the company for not “looking very closely.” The quote retweets are full of people demanding higher wages for animators, which even warms my cold, cynical heart.

“You want everything for free, but we need money to live” tweeted a Japanese comic artist. “And a lot of work that can worsen our health”

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