One of the biggest complaints artists have about AI generated images is that, due to the nature of AI, it has to be fed data from somewhere in order to build a knowledge base before it can use that data to generate images based on user prompt. Usually, that data comes from artists whose works are used without their permission, leading to possible plagiarism, intentional or not. But this isn't about that, though, this is good ol' fashioned human plagiarism (allegedly) touched up with AI (definitely).
Since debuting on Korean site Naver Webtoon last week, the manhwa adaptation of the isekai web novel The Knight King Who Returned with a God by Blue Line Studios quickly became the most disliked new webtoon on the whole site. Fans thought some of the artwork looked to be made somewhat with AI, mainly the way the shadows didn't quite line up in certain panels, and the art style seems kinda inconsistent between pages.
Moreover, fans also saw more than a few resemblances to Mushoku Tensei. Some character designs are pretty similiar, particuarly the main character and Mushoku Tensei's Rudeus Greyrat, and some panels look to be straight-up traced from the Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation anime.
Left: The Knight King | Right: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
Blue Line Studios confirmed they used AI when making the webtoon, but only for post-processing after it had been drawn. They've reuploaded certain chapters to touch up the art and remove some of the most blatant examples of (supposed) plagiarism, including a character based on Marvel's Groot.
Ripping off Japanese anime/manga for a quick buck seems to be a big problem in the Korean manhwa/webtoon scene, and sadly this is just one of the more recent (supposed) examples. It also isn't doing AI artists any favors when it comes to worries about plagiarism, even if they claim they only used it to touch up the pages. Still, what do you guys think? Does this look like stolen art to you? Sound off below!