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Meta AI Image Generator vs Midjourney Niji V6: Can They Make Anime Art

Midjourney’s Niji model has become ubiquitous with AI anime art. Can Meta’s Imagine make a claim for the top?
Updated June 14, 2024
A single ship mid-journey clashes with a blue AI, generated with Midjourney Niji
A single ship mid-journey clashes with a blue AI, generated with Midjourney Niji

Anime is perhaps one, if not the, most recognizable animation type in the world. Since Japan is a diverse country, there’s really no defining characteristic to anime artwork. But I guarantee you, you’ll know something is an anime when you see it.

For years, creating anime art was always reserved for the most talented artists. However, this has since changed since AI made creating artwork accessible. Now, everyone and their mothers can create anime-like images just from a few words.

If you’re creating anime artwork, almost everyone in the AI community will recommend Midjourney’s Niji model. But we must keep an open mind and try other models as well. To that vein, does Meta’s Imagine have what it takes to take down the king? Let’s find out.

What are Meta and Midjourney Niji?

Meta is the broad term for, well, Meta’s complete AI suite. It comprises their own LLM and other AI-powered hardware devices. One of their latest additions is Imagine: an AI image generator that’s similar to, you guessed it, Midjourney. You can read more about it in our full review here.

So, what’s Niji? It’s a model built using Midjourney’s base AI model (which is now on its sixth iteration) and an extensive anime-based training set from Spellbound. You can access it by adding a “--niji 6” parameter to the end of your Midjourney prompts. If you’re interested, we wrote a full review of Niji 6 when it came out.

Meta AI vs. Midjourney Niji V6: Feature Battle

Meta’s Imagine is a lot more bare than Niji. Apart from its AI image generation, the only features it has is four variations per prompt and chat history, which is something that wasn’t available a few months ago.

On the other hand, Midjourney Niji 6 has the same features as base Midjourney, which is a lot. Here’s a rundown of some of its most popular features:

  • Pan & Zoom: Expands the Midjourney output.
  • Upscaler: Upscales the original resolution of the output.
  • Variations: Creates variations of an image.
  • Aspect Ratio Customization: Lets you specify the aspect ratio of the output.
  • Chaos: Controls the randomness of the outputs.
  • Stylize: Controls how stylized the outputs will be.
  • Prompt Weights: Assigns priority levels on specific parts of your prompts.
  • Style Reference: Allows you to input any image and use the image’s style as your prompt. 
  • Character Reference: Similar to style reference, but for subjects of the image.

Meta AI vs. Midjourney Niji V6: Anime Battle

Character Creation

Prompt: character design, a teenage woman who can control lightning, superhero anime, storm weather, hurricane, atmospheric

Shonen Anime

Prompt: shonen anime, a teenage boy training to be an alchemist, runes

Horror or Thriller Anime

Prompt: horror anime, a grotesque stalker at night, full moon, moonlight, lonely streets, satoshi kon

Fantasy Anime

Prompt: fantasy anime, a woman who can control butterflies, whimsy, pastel colors, fairycore, cottagecore

Slice-of-Life Anime

Prompt: romance anime, a young couple running across a field, sunrise, minimalist, earth tones

With Text

Prompt: a cuddly bear holding a "FREE HUGS" sign, whimsical

Overall Thoughts

To be honest, Meta did better than I thought it would considering that it’s up against one of the few pure AI anime art generators in the market. Some of these are genuine attempts at creating anime-like art, which was something Adobe Firefly couldn’t do.

But good efforts aside, I still wouldn’t pick Meta over Midjourney, and I have two reasons.

Number one: ethics. Let’s face it, every AI image generator is ethically gray at best. However, Meta took this to a different level. The fact that they used public images from Facebook and Instagram as part of their training sets the bar high for data privacy violations. People were rightfully outraged by this, and as far as I can tell, there hasn’t been any acknowledgement from Meta’s side on this issue.

But the second reason is much more straightforward: creativity. I’ve sung praises of Meta’s lifelike AI images in the past, but that creativity hasn’t extended to anime artwork. All these images are good attempts, but they’re nothing more than that. On the other hand, Midjourney Niji continues to create unbelievably amazing anime artwork no matter the prompt.

I do want to give Meta props for being one of the few AI image generators that can write text into images though. From what I’ve seen, they’re on par with Midjourney in text generation, which is a good sign moving forward.

Meta AI vs. Midjourney Niji V6: Pricing Battle

Meta’s Imagine is completely free, but there’s a catch. Right now, you can only use this AI image generator in the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom. 

On the other hand, Midjourney’s cost starts at $10 per month for personal use and increases up to $120 per month for heavy users.

All Said And Done

Midjourney Niji 6 is the winner of this AI anime art comparison, and it wasn’t even remotely close. 

All images Niji made look straight out of an anime, while Meta’s best attempts look like it came from DeviantArt, but not in a bad way. Their outputs just have that amateur-ish feel to them. I couldn’t help but wonder if the fact that their training set came from Facebook and Instagram (where users upload their own art) is a contributing factor to this.

Even considering the price, I struggle to recommend Meta for anime art, but it definitely has its own strengths. To find out, I highly suggest reading our articles about Meta like this one or this one. Have fun!

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Written by John Angelo Yap
Hi, I'm Angelo. I'm currently an undergraduate student studying Software Engineering. Now, you might be wondering, what is a computer science student doing writing for Gold Penguin? I took up studying computer science because it was practical and because I was good at it. But, if I had the chance, I'd be writing for a career. Building worlds and adjectivizing nouns for no other reason other than they sound good. And that's why I'm here.
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