World’s First AI-drawn Manga Has Been Officially Released

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made significant strides in recent years, as evidenced by an AI-generated image winning an art exhibition and an individual using AI to steal someone’s artwork. Additionally, a renowned mangaka experimented with the latest AI software, CHATGPT. With these advancements, it is clear that AI is slowly but surely making its mark on the world. Recently, the first AI-drawn manga was published in Japan, and its author discussed the experience in an interview with CNN.

Cyberpunk: Peach John is the first manga drawn by an AI program. It was created by a 37-year-old mangaka who goes by the pen name Rootport. By utilizing AI to draw the entire manga, Rootport has potentially made history. In an email interview with CNN, Rootport discussed the influence of AI on manga quality and its potential impact on the future of the manga industry.

On March 9, 2023, “Cyberpunk: Peach John” was officially released in Japan as a physical volume, marking the debut of the first AI-drawn manga series. The following day, CNN published an interview with Rootport on their website. Rootport is a manga author who typically provides the story for a manga series and assigns a manga artist to create the illustrations. However, for this project, he enlisted the help of AI.

CNN Interview with the author

Throughout the email interview with CNN, Rootport, who did not disclose his real name for privacy reasons, explained that he completed the 100-page volume, which includes colored drawings, in just six weeks. This feat would normally take a traditional mangaka nearly a year to accomplish. The artwork in “Cyberpunk: Peach John” bears some resemblance to that of Sui Ishida, the mangaka of Tokyo Ghoul and Choujin X.

Interview with First AI-Drawn Manga Author: Exploring the Future of Manga Creation

Rootport used AI drawing tools such as DALL-E 2, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and Google Imagen to create the manga. These tools have been publicly available since last year, with Midjourney being the most frequently used.

Rootport explained that one of the challenges he faced while using AI software was depicting different facial expressions for the characters. The AI struggled to replicate the same character in various scenes and emotions consistently. To differentiate characters, Rootport gave each one unique features, such as dog ears or pink hair.

Another challenge was drawing hands, as AI tended to produce hands with too many fingers. As a result, Rootport made a “significant compromise” and minimized the number of panels featuring hands. He described the AI-rendered hands as appearing “as if they were melting.

AI should not be treated differently!

In the official manga release, Rootport included a ten-page guide on how to draw manga using AI. He argued that this work should be considered a “piece of art” and cited examples like Andy Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ and Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ to demonstrate how artists have utilized existing industrial products in their creations and received praise. Rootport believes AI should not be treated differently in his case, as he also used the available resources to create his work.

Will AI take the job of talented mangakas?

Rootport believes it is too early for AI to render human manga artists obsolete. He argued that while both humans and AI can create images based on data, humans have the ability to improvise and incorporate emotions and experiences, something AI currently lacks. Consequently, human assistance remains essential for creating manga, as AI cannot produce a perfect image independently.

AI Can Help Mangas Meet Deadlines

Japanese official and manga artist Ken Akamatsu, the first mangaka elected into the Japanese Government, has suggested that manga artists avoid uploading their works to databases used to train AI programs. If they do upload their work, they should seek compensation.

Rootport, on the other hand, believes AI can help manga artists meet deadlines and alleviate health issues caused by overworking to meet tight schedules for weekly or monthly publications. By reducing the workload for manga artists, AI could provide them more time to focus on creativity and originality, ultimately leading to a more diverse and expansive manga industry.

The Reaction of the Masses

Public opinion on the AI-drawn manga is mixed, with some expressing dissatisfaction. For example, comments on Twitter included:

  • An absolute insult to manga and mangaka (manga artists) everywhere.
  • Weird to publish a manga by AI when your country (has) some of the most talented artists.

Given the abundance of talented manga artists in Japan, such as Yuusuke Murata, Junji Ito, Tatsuki Fujimoto, and many others, these sentiments are understandable.

Interview with First AI-Drawn Manga Author: Exploring the Future of Manga Creation

What’s the Story of Cyberpunk: Peach John?

Cyberpunk: Peach John takes place in a future urban setting. Peach John, a pink-haired protagonist with amnesia, is entrusted with the vital task of protecting valuable information. As he embarks on his mission, Peach John unexpectedly finds himself reliving the iconic Japanese tale of Momotaro. Along the way, he lends a helping hand to an elderly couple, collaborates with a skilled hacker, and deals with a purveyor of stolen data, all while masterminding money laundering through a strip club. Accompanied by Wanko, his loyal assistant with dog-like ears, Peach John’s fate hangs in the balance as he navigates this high-tech world.

Final thoughts

Forming a definitive opinion on this matter is complex. On the one hand, AI can help reduce the burden on manga artists by eliminating the need to hire assistants for background and minor details, potentially increasing revenue for the manga community. On the other hand, using AI may stifle the emergence of new manga artists, as many begin their careers as assistants to established mangakas. Ultimately, only time will reveal the true impact of AI on the manga industry.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think AI will threaten the careers of manga artists in the future? Share your opinions in the comments below. We at Anime Senpai would love to hear what you think!

Source: CNN News


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