Evangelion Singer Quits Concert After AI Controversy
By Yung Namahage • 3 weeks ago

Generative art programs are available to pretty much anyone now, so it's natural that AI-generated images are becoming more common. Unfortunately, in most cases it's used to either scam or decieve people or plagiarize an artist's work, so opinions on AI art are mixed to say the least.

A recent high-profile case of AI art involved the Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic, an orchestra that cosplays while performing music from anime. They were supposed to hold their first concert with a special guest appearance from none other than Yoko Takahashi, the iconic voice behind a number of songs featured in anime, namely Cruel Angel's ThesisFly Me to the Moon and others from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The concert was scheduled for July 10 at the Sakura Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo. A lot of people were pretty excited for it, until they saw this poster used to advertise it.

Between the odd hand placements, inconsistent art styles and odd details of the 3 illustrations, it doesn't take a programmer to realize these are AI-generated images. Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic recieved a lot of unhappy comments online by people who were disappointed they weren't using "real" art to promote a show meant to celebrate art made by people. And eventually, Takahashi issued a statement on Twitter to say she was dropping out of the concert. It said:

"Yoko Takahashi’s beliefs differ from the attitude of the Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic concert where she was scheduled to appear on July 10. As an artist, she is unable to see eye-to-eye with the organizers, and after much difficult consideration, she is declining to take part in the event. She deeply apologizes to all those who were looking forward to seeing her, and wishes to place the highest value on the feelings of anime lovers."

Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic issued an announcement of their own on their website and social media channels to apologize, saying:

"In response to this situation, we received word from singer Yoko Takahashi, who was scheduled to be a specual guest, that as a person involved in anime music, it would be undesirable for her to perform under these circumstances. Furthermore, since we discovered that there was a difference in their attitudes toward creativity, we came to the conclusion that it would be difficult for her to perform at this event, and she has made the decision not to perform at our first concert.

Despite calling ourselves an anime-loving orchestra, we are ashamed at our lack of awareness of the recent issues surrounding generative AI. In addition, the executive committee has realized that we were unable to understand the consideration given to the work and the feelings of everyone who loves anime, and all of us on the executive committee are deeply regretful. We sincerely apologize for the great inconvenience caused to so many people due to this inconvenience.

The concert is still scheduled to go ahead without Yoko Takahashi, and refunds are available to people who bought tickets but no longer plan to attend. They're also advertising it using a new poster featuring an illustration from an artist they commissioned, but people have stil spotted the old AI one in the wild, apparently.

What do you guys think of this? Is the outrage over the use of AI justified? Which poster do you prefer? Leave your thoughts below!