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Midjourney Niji 5 vs. Niji 6: What’s New?

Niji 6 has been out for more than a month. So it’s time to take a step back and assess if it’s a massive improvement over its predecessor. In this comparison, we’ll discuss these two models’ differences in features and output quality.
Updated April 24, 2024
A new robot greets its older version, generated with Midjourney
A new robot greets its older version, generated with Midjourney

OpenAI and Meta tried, but they’ve failed to secure a foothold in the AI art space. The biggest reason for this is Midjourney: the most popular text-to-image model in the world. Part of Midjourney’s dominance is in its creativity and flexibility.

In fact, since anime is the most recognizable form of animation in the world, they introduced Niji in the market, a model which focuses on anime art. It’s gone through several iterations now, culminating in Niji 6 – the latest model as of March 2024.

Since we’ve already done a retrospective of Midjourney’s evolution throughout the years, why not do the same for Niji? Here’s everything you need to know about the changes made to the model, as well as a comparison of how these versions fare with the same prompt.

What is Niji?

Niji, which translates to "rainbow" in Japanese, is a model built within the popular text-to-image AI generator Midjourney. Compared to Midjourney's default model that leans towards photorealism and other forms of art, Niji has a deep understanding of anime aesthetics and techniques. This allows it to produce images that look like they jumped straight out of your favorite anime or manga.

Niji is developed by both Midjourney and Spellbrush, an indie game and AI developer. It goes beyond simply adding anime elements. Niji offers unique style parameters that let you further customize your creations, which we’ll get to in a bit.

Niji 5 vs. Niji 6: Features

Since Niji is built on top of Midjourney, its features depend on existing ones that are already rolled out to the model. That means, when Niji 5 first rolled out, it didn’t have features such as region variations. But it has them now.

As for specific features that still aren’t available on Niji 5, the biggest ones are improved creativity and text generation. With Niji 6, you could already also use style and character reference, which we’ve reviewed in-depth before.

Niji 5 vs. Niji 6: Output Quality

Fantasy Anime

Prompt: a woman in a kimono and her spirit friends, whimsical, dusk, in the style of studio ghibli, cozy, minimalist

Superhero Anime

Prompt: a teenager using his powers to control ice, steampunk setting, intricate, in the style of jujutsu kaisen

Sports Anime

Prompt: a woman at the finish line, track and field, closeup, sunset -

Mecha Anime

Prompt: an old beat up rusty robot terrorizing a neonpunk city, mecha anime

Horror Anime

Prompt: a woman whose mind is slowly taken over by a shikigami, ominous, intricate artwork, in the style of junji ito

Post-Apocalyptic Anime

Prompt: a cat walks through a dystopian city, eerie

Slice of Life Anime

Prompt: a couple sits next to each other in a rooftop while watching the sunset, slice of life, in the style of makoto shinkai

With Text

Prompt: a convenience store named "EATERY"

Thoughts on Quality

After seeing them side-by-side, I have to be honest: I struggle to see Niji 6 as a massive improvement over Niji 5. In my opinion, Niji 5’s output in the fantasy and superhero genre were far superior than its evolution, and the other ones are debatable at best. 

I have to give Niji 6 the win for the horror anime image though, that one gives me the creeps. Its sports anime entry was also another standout since it focuses on the little details, like the sweat dripping from her face and the crowd in the background.

One thing I’d like to point out is that Midjourney 6 has become way more coherent in the images they produce, and it seems that hasn’t trickled down to Niji yet. Most of these images don’t follow logic or simple human biology. This issue is most noticeable in Niji 6’s artwork if they have hands (superhero image, in particular) or the legs in Niji 5’s slice of life output.

As for text generation, it’s not perfect but Niji 6 is still way better than its predecessor in this regard. At the very least, it tries to write text, and not just ignore that part of the prompt.

Overall, I’d say Niji 6 is still a little bit better than 5, mostly for its text generation capabilities and slightly better creativity.

The Bottom Line

As much as I’d like to say that Niji 6 is a huge improvement over Niji 5, it simply isn’t. The fact that there’s a 50/50 chance of getting better output from the latter is proof that newer isn’t always better.

That’s not to say, however, that I’m uninterested in the next version of Niji. I am. It’s just that I believe they focused on improving creativity over image coherence. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter how pretty the image is. If the foreground exhibits some form of extra finger or anything similar, it’s all people are going to see.

Moving forward, this should be Midjourney and Spellbound’s focus if they want to improve Niji. They’ve already fixed this issue (for the most part) in Midjourney V6, so I can’t imagine why they can’t do the same for Niji. Better luck next time.

Interested in learning more about Midjourney? I highly recommend our articles like this one or this one. Happy reading!

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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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