Netflix’s new anime sparks controversy over its use of AI-generated graphics and backgrounds


AI + human.

The new Netflix animated short titled The Dog and the Boy was directed by WIT Studio, and the Netflix Japan Twitter account recently tweeted that the art and background used in the film were generated by AI. It didn’t take long for the backlash to set in, especially considering the image generation AI has been a major source of controversy as it’s widely considered unethical among animators and artists.

The tweet in question reads, “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 irony here is that the animation industry has long been plagued by problems such as low pay, high stress, long hours combined with high demand, leading to many burnouts among artists. Netflix Japan’s tweet therefore comes off as a bit deaf, as it’s not necessarily about the labor shortage per se, but about subpar working conditions in general.

Ironically, the credits also list the background designer as “AI + Human”, implying that human artists were involved in creating the art for the film, but the credits don’t seem to adequately reflect this. Needless to say, Netflix has received tons of criticism in tweet replies as fans and viewers alike are demanding better working conditions for animators and artists instead of relying on AI for image generation. Netflix’s new anime sparks controversy over its use of AI-generated graphics and backgrounds

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