Netflix Release Anime Made Using AI, and People are Pissed
By Yung Namahage • 10 months ago

Discourse over art generated by AI has spread to all corners the web lately. Some think it's a helpful tool artists can use to make their job less tedious, while others believe corporations can use it to cut qualified artists out of the creative process entirely. After what Netflix have been pulling lately, it seems like the latter camp has been proven right.

The Dog & The Boy is a 3 minute short by WIT Studio, the people behindĀ Ranking of Kings andĀ Vinland Saga, among others. It's a touching story of a man and his robot dog at the end of the world. The most striking thing about it is the backgrounds were generated using AI, which Netflix claims was done as part of an "experiemental effort" due to the "labor shortage" in the anime industry.

But is there really a labor shortage in the anime industry? There are plenty of reports of Japanese studios overworking and underpaying their staff, and with the rising popularity of anime worldwide there's certainly a demand for animators. The problem is western companies like HBO and Netflix are notorious for laying off teams of animators, so in this case it looks like it was done by Netflix and WIT as a cost-saving measure.

Another point of contention is that the short itself credits the backgrounds as being created by "AI + human", as if the artist responsible for guiding the AI doesn't deserve to be credited for their work. First they don't pay their animators, then they find ways to make art without them, now they don't even credit the work they've done? It's things like this that make people believe Netflix and its consequences have been disastrous for the medium of television, whether it's animated or live-action. And don't even get me started on that password sharing debacle.

What do you guys think of this? Should AI be used to make anime? Sound off below!