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Midjourney V6 vs. Niji 6: What’s the Difference?

Niji 6 has been out for a while, and Midjourney V6 even longer. We’ve tested both with regular prompts. But how do they both fare with anime? Can base V6 even beat Niji?
Updated April 18, 2024
Anime counterparts fighting each other, generated with Midjourney Niji 6
Anime counterparts fighting each other, generated with Midjourney Niji 6

Anime truly is Japan’s biggest export. And no, that’s not an opinion, but a fact backed up by statistics. It’s really no wonder why everyone, from Asia to the corners of South America, knows at least one anime show by heart.

It’s also why there are millions of anime fanart online. But looking for one that you like can take hours, if not days. That’s why Niji 6 is a godsend for everyone looking to create anime art for personal use. 

But is it really that much different from the base Midjourney model? Can you even tell the difference? Let’s talk about that.

What are Midjourney and Niji?

Midjourney needs no introduction on this website. But here’s one anyway: it’s an AI-powered tool that generates images based on text descriptions you provide. It used to only be available through their Discord bot, but they’re slowly giving access to their web interface to select users.

Niji, which means “rainbow” in Japanese, is a specific mode within Midjourney designed for anime and illustrative styles. This model is the result of a collaboration between Midjourney and Spellbrush to give you more control over anime aesthetics. In simple terms, think of Niji as a fine-tuned anime model for Midjourney.

Do They Have Different Features?

As of March 2024, Midjourney and Niji have the same features. Some features were just added a bit later to Niji 6 due to fine-tuning. So, if you want to use the Niji 6 model, you won’t lose access to your favorite features such as zooming, panning, upscaling, region variations, style reference, and character reference.

Midjourney V6 vs. Niji 6: Output Quality

Fantasy Anime

Prompt: fantasy anime still, a powerful woman sorceror casts a spell on a dark forest to control the plants, grand scale, dark fantasy, runes, heian period, wide shot

Horror Anime

Prompt: horror anime, a teacher walking down a dimly lit high school hallway at night, strange figures, obscured, inspired by Satoshi Kon

Sports Anime

Prompt: sports anime, a blue haired man spiking a volleyball

Mecha Anime

Prompt: mecha anime, a sleek black mecha with glowing red eyes flying in the sky, sunrise

Slice of Life Anime

Prompt: slice of life anime, a tired convenience store worker, night, 3am aesthetics

Thoughts On Their Output

What stands out to me most is that base Midjourney, at least in my opinion, generates better artwork than Niji 6. The main issue stems from the fact that the latter is obviously trained on pre-existing anime works, which is most noticeable on their sports anime output. As in the main character’s uniform looks eerily like the Karasuno uniforms from Haikyuu.

Base Midjourney creates more unique and imaginative artwork since a chunk of their training data isn’t anime artwork. This gives them the flexibility to think outside the box before turning their artwork into something that resembles anime.

I believe that, when creating anime stills, Midjourney is hands-down better than Niji 6. However, Niji 6 is better at character creation, especially with the details of their output. That’s not to say, however, that any of them did poorly in this comparison. These are two very capable models at generating anime art.

Which Emulates Existing Styles Better?

Studio Ghibli

Prompt: a black cat in the middle of the field, studio ghibli, hayao miyazaki, semi-minimalist

Akira Toriyama

Prompt: a child playing with an alien, drawn by Akira Toriyama, animated by Toei animation studio, 1985 Japanese anime

Eiichiro Oda

Prompt: still from the one piece anime, luffy

Makoto Shinkai

Prompt: a woman in a kimono watching a comet approach her, makoto shinkai

Junji Ito

Prompt: a spiral made of pure black appears in the sky, junji ito, lovecraftian

Overall Thoughts

Niji 6 is much better at emulating artists than Midjourney V6. This tracks with what we know of the former, since it’s trained using thousands, if not millions, of anime images. Niji is simply much more familiar with the source material than base V6.

As a side-note, it does amuse me a little that Midjourney’s idea of “alien” is the literal alien from James Cameron’s film. It does make for a funny crossover with the Dragon Ball universe.

All Said and Done

The bottom line is this: if you’re looking to create original and imaginative anime artwork, it’s better to use Midjourney as a base. However, if you want something that follows pre-existing anime art, then use Niji 6.

These models are the two best in the market when it comes to anime art. It’s truly too close to call which is better, but if I were to pick, I’d use base Midjourney V6. The flexibility it offers is just too good to pass up, especially since I rarely use AI art to create fanart anyway.That said, the choice is yours! If you’re looking to read more about Midjourney, we have an entire catalog dedicated to it. 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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