Evangelion Singer Yoko Takahashi Cancels Concert Appearance Over Use of AI

Maybe there is still some hope left for humans after all. The Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic is an upcoming concert series where orchestral renditions of iconic anime themes, with pieces from anime such as Dragon Ball, One Piece, Oshi no Ko, Ranma 1/2, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, are to be performed. The first performance is slated for July 10 at the Shibuya Sakura Hall in downtown Tokyo, and the plan was to start with a bang by including Yoko Takahashi, singer of Evangelion’s iconic opening theme, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis.”

However, on Wednesday, it was revealed that Takahashi, initially scheduled to perform as a guest in the orchestra’s highly anticipated July 10 performance, will no longer be able to join. This decision resulted from the orchestra’s recent use of generative AI for promotional art, a practice that has stirred controversy in the art community.

Takahashi’s statement reads:

Yoko Takahashi’s beliefs differ from the operational attitude of the Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic concert at which 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.

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Though not specifically mentioned in Takahashi’s statement, rumors had begun circulating before her withdrawal that generative AI had produced portions of the Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic’s promotional artwork.

Below is the AI generated flyer:

ai poster
AI Generated Image | Source: Twitter

The Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic has taken a proactive stance in response to the situation. They have openly acknowledged the issues and criticisms surrounding their use of generative AI, expressing their regret for not fully considering these factors.

Yo Matsushita, a respected musical artist who serves as the head of the Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic, took to social media on Friday to address the controversy. In a heartfelt post, he extended a personal apology to the other musicians, Takahashi, the sponsoring companies, and the other executive committee members.

“We are embarrassed, despite calling ourselves an anime-loving musical organization, at our lack of awareness surrounding recent issues regarding generative AI,” says the Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic committee.

As a musician deeply involved in the arts, Matsushita admitted his lack of awareness and understanding of the issues creators face due to generative AI. His sincere apology and commitment to learning from this experience reflect the orchestra’s dedication to growth and improvement. The Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic also says it will offer refunds for ticketholders who, like Takahashi, are no longer interested in attending. They have also released the new poster for the event.

The official proofreading of the temporary replacement flyer has just been completed. We have also updated our website. From now on, we will be using this image for advertising and announcements. HP https://ikeani.jp Ticket sales site (e+)

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Despite the unexpected change in the lineup, the Ikebukuro Anime Philharmonic remains resolute in its dedication to its audience and the event. While Takahashi will not be performing, the orchestra is working on a revised program that will still deliver a memorable experience. The July 10 performance is still on track.

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