Fan artists have always been a truly impressive community within the fan culture. No matter the propety, no matter the character, there’s a drawn expression of absolute adoration.
One need only look to sites like Tumblr or Pixiv to see tens of thousands of images of characters well-known or obscure. Whether it’s a loving portrait of digital diva Hatsune Miku in the recording booth, or a birthday greeting for Love Live! cast member Eli Ayase, there seems to be no end to the amazing art.
At its best, fan art is clean, beautifully colored, and attractive. The gorgeous line work and depth of color lend a quality to the works that could easily be mistaken for official key visuals.
In rare cases, this is exactly what happens, leading to truly offbeat mishaps on a larger scale.
A couple of days ago, Adult Swim began running bumps to promote their Saturday line-ups. It was a silly bump, that gave a tongue-in-cheek assessment of each show’s fanservice content. As one would expect, Gurren Lagann an Kill la Kill were off the charts.
What’s interesting, though, is that the artwork used in the Kill la Kill section is not taken from official key visuals. Rather, the images appear to be fan works by DeviantArt user Not-A-Hazard.
Specifically, the characters were taken from “Birth Swap,” a pair of images which swapped the costumes of leading lady Ryuko Matoi and antagonist Satsuki Kiryuin.
We reached out to Not-a-Hazard about the matter, who stated “I was completely unaware, quite surprised actually. It annoys me a little, because if asked I’d happily let them use it.”
In a follow-up statement, the artist commented that “I’m not angry at them, and don’t mind they use my art. What I do mind is that they didn’t credit it, or even ask permission first. I don’t think I’d go as far as asking them to take it down. But I don’t want them to do it ever again, whichever the artist.”
We’ve sent an inquiry to Adult Swim, but did not receive a comment as of press time.
Not-a-Hazard notified Toonami co-creator Jason DeMarco via Twitter, though, who replied with an apology and noted that the art usage was likely not intentional.
@asdfghkun2 I'm sorry, I had no idea and I'm sure it wasn't intentional. Ask @adultswim about it.
— DUKE TOGO DEMARCO (@Clarknova1) February 11, 2015
How Adult Swim will react to the situation has yet to be seen. That said, though, it’s a fascinating testament to the quality of the work of some artists. For the network, it’s a moment of mild embarrassment, where a bit more due diligence could have avoided the inevitable “egg on face” moment.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how things develop going forward. We’ll be updating with details as they roll in.