Studio Ghibli fans reject ‘live action’ AI renditions of ‘Spirited Away’ characters
By Ryan General
January 17, 2024
Fans of Studio Ghibli are rallying against artificial intelligence (AI) images of the iconic anime film “Spirited Away” that recently went viral online.
About the anime: “Spirited Away” is a 2001 animated fantasy film written and directed by legendary Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli. Lauded for its story and animation, the film is frequently regarded as one of the best films of the 21st century as well as one of the greatest animated films ever made.
About the post: The AI-generated “Spirited Away” images, compiled in a short video by artist Liber on Instagram and Twitter, depicts characters from the beloved film as how they would appear in a live-action adaptation. Characters such as Yubaba, Chihiro’s parents (transformed as pigs), No-Face, the White Dragon, Kamajī (the boiler man), the Kashira (the trio of heads), Aogeru (the frog spirit), Susuwatari (the soot sprites) and the Radish Spirit were all recreated using AI.
Fans weigh in: While the video has generated over 6.2 million views on Twitter and 2 million likes on Instagram, it has received a considerable amount of negative comments. Some criticized how the renders failed to capture the essence of the original animation, while others highlighted how the renditions are disrespectful towards Miyazaki, who has vehemently denounced AI-generated art.
Miyazaki’s stance on AI: AI art, which ranges from autonomous creations to real-time collaborative efforts, is often criticized for plagiarizing or remixing existing artwork. In a 2016 NHK documentary series, Miyazaki criticized an animated video made by AI as “an insult to life itself,” proclaiming that he “would never wish to incorporate this technology into my work at all.”
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