Memory storage device company Kioxia has teamed up with a group of manga creators to create Phaedo, a new manga story inspired by the style of Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka – but with characters and a story created by an AI algorithm.
Here’s how Kioxia explains the process, which involved processing 130 of Tezuka’s stories through the AI and programming it to then generate its own story and characters in Tezuka’s style:
“The process of developing Phaedo involved using AI technology to generate the story and create the characters. As a first step, to learn the essence of Tezuka’s work and his characteristics as a writer, AI analyzed 130 manga episodes, written and drawn by Osamu Tezuka, including globally famous titles such as Astro Boy and Black Jack. Based on this analysis, the AI then generated 129 candidate storylines. As a next step, the AI studied 6000 images and applied transfer learning to generate visuals for the characters.
“By analyzing Tezuka’s works, AI was able to generate the physical characteristics of new characters, outlines of new stories, after which illustrators hand-drew clothing and other Tezuka inspired details and writers added dialogue. The project team consisted of engineers from Kioxia, who optimize semiconductor fab productivity and product performance using AI technology, illustrators and writers from Tezuka Productions Co., and AI researchers from Keio University and Future University Hakodate.”
Phaedo tells the story of a wandering philosopher who solves crimes alongside his pet bird, Apollo. Set in Tokyo in 2030, part of the goal of Phaedo is to present a Tezuka-inspired vision of our own future.
Previously released only in Japan, Phaedo is now available in the United States through Kioxia’s website.