Sony Wants To Make Anime As Big As Movies But There’s A Terrible Catch

By Christopher Isaac | Updated

sony anime

Many anime fans experience frequent frustration that the medium is often not taken as seriously as live-action stories. So it would initially sound like fantastic news that Sony just announced that they want to make anime be seen as big as movies are. But unfortunately, it sounds like Sony may also be using artificial intelligence to produce more anime, potentially shutting many animators out of their jobs.

Locking Animators Out Of Work

sony anime

As of 2021, Sony also owns the anime streaming service Crunchyroll. So based on that it makes perfect sense for their business plan to take anime more seriously.

But that also means if they move forward with their plan to use artificial intelligence to create anime, it could effectively create a situation where animators are locked out of working with the biggest anime streaming service and having their shows featured.

The CEO of Sony Group Corp, Kenichiro Yoshida, shared the plans for how they will be handling anime in the future in a press conference in Tokyo last week. “Animation has grown from what used to be a niche genre to a world-class form of entertainment,” he said. “We want to contribute to the industry.”

It Isn’t Clear How They Will Use AI

Sony further said that they want to make anime as competitive as the market for video games, movies, and music. And as part of their plan to achieve that, they were open that they will be utilizing animation-creation software and artificial intelligence to speed up production.

To be clear, that statement does not necessarily mean the worst case scenario of Sony producing entire anime using only artificial intelligence. They might mean that they will simply be using this software as a tool that animators can make use of to refine their own processes as human creators.

But seeing how quickly AI has been utilized to start creating fake photographs and works of fiction, it is understandable why people would be worried.

Eliminating Unique Signatures

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One of the best things about anime is how each show has its own distinct personality through the animation style. Each artist is distinct enough that fans can pretty quickly guess if certain famous animators are involved in a project and will notice if animators switch between seasons. If Sony does intend on using AI to produce entire anime, it will eliminate that distinct style.

A Sad Irony

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However, the biggest fear is of course that this initiative could turn being an animator into a dead career. When businesses start talking about wanting to be more competitive and profitable, it does often seem to come with having discovered methods to make significant layoffs.

Sony has not said anything to suggest that much, but it would be a sad irony if their desire to make anime a more competitive market meant less jobs for animators.

Sony And the Anime Monopoly

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With Sony already owning Crunchyroll, it is looking like they hold a lot of power for what happens with the anime industry. This is why many are vocal against monopolies developing, as competition prevents there being no alternative to companies being free to do whatever they please.

Many anime fans will no doubt be watching this situation closely, but it is unclear what recourse would be available if Sony started gutting its animator department.

Source: Kyodo News