ANDREI KOVALEV'S
MIDJOURNEY
GUIDE

HOW TO USE --NIJI
THE "ANIME VERSION"
OF MIDJOURNEY V4
DEC 23 2022
In Japanese,「niji」or「にじ」can mean either "rainbow" or "2D." The new niji model is tuned with a fine eye to produce anime and illustrative styles.

— from Midjourney's official Discord
Last week Midjourney in collaboration with the anime indie games and Artificial Intelligence developers, Spellbrush, presented something truly special—a gift to all Anime-fans called --niji. A new engine focused on Anime in all its diversity. In this research, we will take a closer look at the --niji modifier, take it to the limits with our traditional benchmark, and see how well it knows Anime styles and genres.
cute Tekkonkinkreet cat in Chibi anime style --niji
1970s Transformers movie poster in Mecha anime style --niji
Statue Of Liberty in Gurren Lagann style --niji
contemplating cyberpunk samurai scene by Katsuhiro Otomo --niji

DISCLAIMER

I am not an expert on Anime, and I apologize to all the hard-core Anime fans who will most definitely see my lack of knowledge. With this research, I am also trying to educate myself about a new domain of art. And if you catch my list missing a genre or a style, please—send me a note (there is the form at the bottom of this page). I will run all suggestions through our benchmark and update the research!

Contents

QUICK FACTS ABOUT --NIJI

  • 1
    Here is the official announcement from Midjourney's Discord channel:

    We're releasing a brand new anime model in collaboration with our friends at Spellbrush and we're calling it niji・journey!..

    — It has vastly more knowledge of anime, anime styles, and anime aesthetics
    — It's great at dynamic and action shots, and character-focused compositions in general.

    Thank you, Midjourney and Spellbrush!
  • 2
    To activate the superpowers of the niji model, you either add --niji to your prompt or select the "niji" option from /settings.
  • 3
    Unfortunately, --niji doesn't support --stylize at this moment. ⊙︿⊙
    Aspect Ratio (--ar), Quality (--q), and Remix Mode work.

BENCHMARK

You may already be familiar with the benchmark, so I'll make it short. We at the Library use nine standardized prompts to test Midourney styles. However, in --niji case, I will swap my portrait of Francis D. (the Image Prompt of our benchmark). I will explain the reasons and test Image Prompts in --niji in a separate section of this research.
Anime styles vary greatly depending on the artist, the Epoque, and other factors. In most cases, each prompt rendered quite different variants, so, at times, it was difficult to choose what to include in this research. I tried to pick the ones that are: a) (to my inexperienced eye) closer to the initial style, b) close to the prompt, and c) look cool.

When a style couldn't win a specific test prompt, I reduced the style's Midlibrary score by one. (づ─⍘─)づ

ANIME STYLES AND GENRES IN --NIJI

ANIME STYLE

Midlibrary score: 9/9
I used the in ... anime style formula to add styles to prompts and started with the most general modifier—in anime style --niji.
Anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Note, how the style varies from prompt to prompt. Still, every one of them is distinct Anime.

Chibi anime style

Midlibrary score: 9/9
Chibi, also known as the super-deformed style, features characters with exaggerated, childlike proportions (large heads, small bodies), often used to add humor or levity to a scene.
Examples: "Pani Poni Dash!" (2005), "Lucky Star" (2007), "Hetalia: Axis Powers" (2009).
Chibi anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Very strong style—diverse, yet distinct, and capable of penetrating each prompt in the benchmark.

Gakuen anime style

Midlibrary score: 7.5/9
Gakuen is a type of Anime where a story takes place in a school setting. It often focuses on the relationships and conflicts of its school-aged characters and may include romance, drama, or comedy elements.
Examples: "Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions" (2012), "The Pet Girl of Sakurasou" (2012), "Boarding School Juliet" (2018).
Gakuen anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Mainecoon is a total miss, however, Nazgul seems to be half-way there. Hence 7.5/9.

Gekiga anime style

Midlibrary score: 9/9
Gekiga is a type of Anime characterized by its dark, realistic, and adult themes. Gekiga anime often deals with social or political issues and may include elements of violence or sexual content.
Examples: "Akira" (1988), "Grave of the Fireflies" (1988), "Barefoot Gen" (1983).
Gekiga anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke

J Horror anime style

Midlibrary score: 9/9
J Horror is a type of Anime influenced by Japanese horror literature and cinema. J Horror often features supernatural elements, such as ghosts or monsters, and is designed to be suspenseful and frightening.
Examples: "The Ring" (1998), "Ju-on: The Grudge" (2002), "Death Note" (2006).
J Horror anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Very impressive, and quite horrifying. ゞ◎Д◎ヾ One of the best Thom Yorkes, for sure!

JIDAIMONO anime style

Midlibrary score: 9/9
Jidaimono is a genre of Japanese historical drama that portrays events from Japan's past. It is popular in Japanese theater, particularly kabuki, and has also been adapted into anime and manga. Jidaimono stories often focus on themes of honor, loyalty, and bravery and often depict the lives of samurai and other historical figures.
Examples: "Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom" (2010), "The Tale of Genji" (1987), "Samurai Champloo" (2004).
Jidaimon anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Another great Thom Yorke, and at least one variant of Mainecoon that is not photo-realistic!

JOSEI ANIME STYLE

Midlibrary score: 8/9
Josei anime is a genre targeting a female audience and featuring more realistic and mature storylines and characters than other genres. It often focuses on relationships, personal growth, and social issues, and may depict adult themes such as romance, sexuality, and workplace issues.
Examples: "March Comes in Like a Lion" (2011), "Nana" (2006), "A Place Further Than the Universe" (2018).
Josei anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Of course, it couldn't overcome the cute Mainecoon cat... But suddenly, Nazgul seemed to be quite in place.

Kawaii anime style

Midlibrary score: 9/9
Kawaii anime style is a subgenre of Anime that focuses on cuteness and innocence. Characters in kawaii Anime often have large, expressive eyes and youthful appearances.
Examples: "Cardcaptor Sakura" (1998), "K-On!" (2009), "Lucky Star" (2007).
Kawaii anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke

Kemonomimi anime style

Midlibrary score: 8/9
Kemonomimi features characters with animal-like characteristics, such as animal ears or tails. These characters are often humanoid in appearance and may have other animal-like traits or abilities.
Examples: "Neko Atsume" (2014), "Kemono Friends" (2017), "The Rising of the Shield Hero" (2019)
Kemonomimi anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Nazgul generations were all inconclusive (again!) or didn't return any elements of the actual style in the resulting picture... 8/9.

Kodomomuke anime style

Midlibrary score: 8/9
Kodomomuke is aimed at a young audience and often features simple storylines and cute, childlike characters.
Examples: "Doraemon" (1973), "Anpanman" (1988) "Pokemon" (1997).
Kodomomuke anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
You guessed it, 8/9 because Nazgul. ╮(╯_╰)╭

Mecha anime style

Midlibrary score: 9/9
Mecha Anime features (often gigantic) robots as major characters and action-packed storylines involving battles and high-stakes conflicts.
Examples: "Gundam" (1979), "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (1995), "Code Geass" (2006)
Mecha anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
If all the misses with Nazguls in other styles were leading to this, it was worth it. Hands down—one of the best Nazguls across all our benchmarks!

It appeared challenging to get Thom Yorke's portrait from in Mecha anime style! Many generations showed generic anime characters in mecha armor. In others, the character's face was completely covered with a helmet or looked like a giant robot. Technically, there is no way of knowing if Thom Yorke was inside these. :)

Apart from that minor hiccup, Mecha style is fantastic in every way: it infiltrated every prompt, showing distinct visual signature every time.

Moe anime style

Midlibrary score: 8.5/9
Moe focuses on the cute and endearing qualities of its characters. They are often young, innocent, and naive and evoke feelings of protectiveness and affection in the viewer.
Examples: "K-On!" (2009), "Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions" (2012), "The Pet Girl of Sakurasou" (2012).
Moe anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Nazgul is suprisingly unique in Moe, not sure how Moe it is though ^_____^ 8.5/9.

Realistic anime style

Midlibrary score: 8/9
Realistic Anime, as follows from its name, is characterized by its attention to detail and realism in its art style.
Examples: "Grave of the Fireflies" (1988), "Barefoot Gen" (1983), "Ergo Proxy" (2006).
Realistic anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
One point off for Thom Yorke (for a change ಠ‿↼).

Semi-realistic anime style

Midlibrary score: 6/9
Semi-realistic Anime combines elements of realism with more fantastical or exaggerated elements. It often blends realistic character designs and settings with fantasy or science fiction.
Examples: "Ghost in the Shell" (1995), "Cowboy Bebop" (1998), "Fullmetal Alchemist" (2003).
Semi-realistic anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Not sure if Mainecoon cat and Thom Yorke in this test qualify as Anime at all, not to say about Semi-realistic anime style. And Nazgul is generic yet again. ⊙︿⊙

Seinen anime style

Midlibrary score: 8/9
Seinen Anime aims at a male adult audience, explores mature themes, and may include action, horror, or psychological drama elements.
Examples: "Akira" (1988), "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (1995), "Death Note" (2006).
Seinen anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Very inconclusive and generic Nazgul, minus one point. Look at Thom, though!

Shojo anime style

Midlibrary score: 8/9
Shojo Anime aims at a female adolescent audience. Shojo Anime often features romance, drama, and coming-of-age themes and focuses on the growth and development of its female protagonists.
Examples: "Sailor Moon" (1992), "Fushigi Yugi" (1995), "Cardcaptor Sakura" (1998).
Shojo anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Nazgul is definitely a miss, 8/9.

Shonen anime style

Midlibrary score: 9/9
Shonen Anime aims at a male adolescent audience and features action, tale, and friendship as key themes.
Examples: "Dragon Ball" (1986), "Naruto" (2002), "One Piece" (1999).
Shonen anime style --niji
cyberpunk character
Nazgul over sleeping town
decaying peonies
tech genius teenage girl
cute Mainecoon cat
Chernobog
bioarchitecture
Thom Yorke
Quite a distinct sleeping town!

IMAGE PROMPTS

I started testing --niji with my traditional benchmark image—a photograph of Francis D. However, the results looked... unsettling, so I decided to switch the subject. ≧◔◡◔≦
[ORIGINAL PHOTO]
Kawaii anime style
Realistic anime style
Anime style
Meet Katherine Brook, my friend and a magically talented photographer↗ based in New Zealand.

For this test, I used a portrait I took of her some years ago. Here are the results.
[ORIGINAL PHOTO]
Anime style
Chibi anime style
Gakuen anime style
Gekiga anime style
J Horror anime style
Kawaii anime style
Kemonomimi anime style
Kodomomuke anime style
Mecha anime style
Moe anime style
Realistic anime style
Seinen anime style
Semi-realistic anime style
Shojo anime style
Shonen anime style
Okay, I couldn't discard Francis completely—so I tried him in the styles that seemed appropriate for such a subject or added prompt modifiers that helped define the character.
Dragon Ball Z style
Ghost In The Shell style
Mecha anime style
J Horror anime style
by Katsushiro Otomo
Dark Souls style
No points were taken from any style—all of them passed the Image Prompt test. 。^ ‿ ^。

ANIME TITLES, ARTISTS, STUDIOS IN --NIJI

Apart from a few misses, niji・journey is great with Anime styles! What about Anime Titles, though?

With the help of more knowledgeable friends, my own research, and even a chat with an AI, I compiled the lists of some of the iconic Anime titles, anime artists, studios, and games—and fed it to mid-niji.
147 niji anime styles:

Styles and Genres, Artists, Titles, Game Titles and Studios.

Check out the NIJI LIBRARY →
This research returned mostly positive results. However, not without surprises: --niji seems not to know Satoshi Kon's iconic Paprika, Hayao Miayazaki's Laputa, and many of the legendary anime studios. (◕o◕)

Conclusions

  • 1
    The niji・journey is fun to play with! It's versatile and contains knowledge about the principal Anime styles and genres, leading authors, titles, and characters.
  • 2
    The average Midlibrary score for all tested styles is high! --niji is powerful—even with basic prompting strategies—it easily penetrates even complex prompts with most anime styles. :) Nazguls and Mainecoon cats seem to be --niji's weak points, though.
  • 3
    Using Image Prompts with --niji is an amusing experience!
Max Ernst artworks
niji・journey is a whole new world for Midjourney artists. It opens many creative possibilities and is definitely worth exploring, even if you're not an Anime fan! (✿•́ヮ •̀)

Yours,
Andrei
CLIFFHANGER: --niji works with other Midjourney styles in interesting (and unexpected!) ways. I will make a separate post with my findings—along with some more Image Prompts insights and a special Manga update. Stay tuned for Season Two!
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ANDREI KOVALEV'S
MIDJOURNEY
GUIDE

Series of observations and lab experiments exploring and showcasing various aspects of Midjourney AI and its applications in real life!

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