Viral Akira Remaster Sparks Outrage After Bringing in AI

One fan's Akira remaster is sparking outrage after introducing the anime to AI.

Few things live up to their hype, but there are always exceptions. In the world of anime, Akira ranks as this truth's shining example as the classic film ages better by the day. The Katsuhiro Otomo movie is renowned as one of the best sci-fi films in history, and its animation has inspired millions. So of course, debate was going to crop up when one fan decided to give Akira a remaster with the help of AI.

The whole thing came to light when Erica Groza took to Instagram to share a piece of AI-derived work they put together at home. They took Akira and used Adobe's Beta AI to reimagine how the anime flick looked on screen. Specifically, they wanted to give Akira better formatting for vertical screens, so they plugged footage from Akira into Adobe's emerging software.

"Using Adobe's Beta AI, I was able to extend the 16X9 backgrounds to a full-vertical shot. Complete in the art style of the original background paintings. Then I recomposed the scenes and edited them as an additional video layer. Why is this a big deal? Because this not a blurry-out-of-focus photo, it's a distinct style which the AI was able to replicate after lots of tinkering and error," Groza shared.

"This is why real artists will learn to love AI. ... Brands, productions, and animation studios often just crop into a horizontal image to make a vertical format – which cuts out part of the action and often reduces image quality. For artists, it means, that they can augment their style and scale their work. It's a win for the creative individual who wants to do more with their own hands."

As you can imagine, some tech heads were eager to see how this AI worked, but plenty more weren't pleased by the revision. The unofficial remaster toys with the intentional layout and composition that Otomo approved when creating Akira. Over on social media, this little clip has now reignited the war between AI and anime as the industry's wariness looms large. With dismal conditions at work, anime creators are rightfully worried about how AI might overtake the industry, and tests like this are leaving a bad taste in their mouths.

If you have never seen Akira to spot the difference in this clip, you can always find the film in stores or on Digital HD. For more details on Otomo's classic flick, you can read its official synopsis below: "In the future, Shotaro Kaneda and his motorcycle gang tear through Neo Tokyo, a city divided by growing tensions. But when caught in an accident, Kaneda's friend Tetsuo Shima discovers a secret government project and receives psychic abilities beyond his control."

What do you think about this Akira debate? Is there any future where AI and animation can coexist? Let us know what you think in the comments below as well as on Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me up @MeganPetersCB to share your take!