The official twitter account of Netflix Japan put out the platform’s latest collaboration work, a short anime movie titled ‘Dog and The Boy’ on Jan 31, 2023. The streaming site claimed in their tweet that they had used AI based Image Generation Technology for the all the background cuts in the 3-minute long video.
The reason for resorting to AI was due to ‘labor shortage’ according to Netflix, and this experimental movie was supposed to help the anime industry in this aspect.
However, fans took Netflix for a ride, as they ridiculed the decision to opt for AI technology to paint the backgrounds in the anime, which was produced jointly by Netflix Anime Creators Base, Rinna Inc., and WIT STUDIO, instead of using actual labor.
A twitter user pointed out that they knew tons of animators who were currently on the lookout for work and Netflix should have searched harder in their search to find one.
“I know a ton of animators looking for work if you guys are struggling to find them (are you looking very hard?),” the user wrote.
I know a ton of animators looking for work if you guys are struggling to find them (are you looking very hard?)
— DJ Fresh (@DJFreshUK) February 1, 2023
Another user replied saying if Netflix had stated scheduling conflict to be a reason why they resorted to AI Generated backgrounds, it would have made more sense than saying it was due to labor shortage.
“I can see scheduling conflicts but labor shortages? The future looks bleak. Let’s agree that human beings aren’t disposable or optional,” the user replied.
WIT STUDIO too came under fire for supporting the decision of replacing artists, especially because they were reduced to a mere token in credits. The background artist of the movie is listed as AI + Human in the end credits scene.
R we supposed to believe actual artists couldn’t this? Expected more frm @WIT_STUDIO. The anime world, should be up in arms after being reduced a token “+ human” in credits. This is a slap in face of lifetime’s worth of blood, sweat & tears anime artists spend honing their craft pic.twitter.com/qE2Psgr40t
— Jinath Hyder🇨🇦 (@JinathHyder) February 1, 2023
There were also people who chimed in saying the backgrounds were not up to the mark, and that Netflix should have used human artists for the job. Others were of the opinion that even if the backgrounds had turned out to be good, studios should still hire human artists.
Another user pointed out the awkwardness in programmers getting more credits than animators in an anime movie.
That awkward moment when more programers are credited than animators… pic.twitter.com/IL4Ey5AtyE
— Matthew Senn (@Magooster14) February 1, 2023
Fans also hinted at Netflix killing off the animators. Their emotions were perfectly summed up in a meme that a user posted.
— b l u e s c r e e n (@TylerEllis18) February 1, 2023
The anime industry is already notorious for underpaying its artists, and it rise of AI generated art is only making the situation worse for artists.
A section of fans have been repeatedly calling for better wages for animators, as the demand for anime too has increased multifold in recent times. The industry has gone on to cross USD 18 billion dollars in revenue, however, it has not been reflected in the pay given artists.