K-Pop soloist Jeon Somi made her comeback with EP GAME PLAN and title track, certified club banger, “Fast Forward,” but it has been called out for alleged plagiarism.
A digital cover and scene from “Fast Forward” features a manga-style animated character meant to represent Somi. Yet, some have accused the design of ripping off a different character.
Netizens noticed a similarity between Somi’s character and Lumi from the 1978 Japanese manga series Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi.
Especially if you flip the cover of Urusei Yatsura while superimposing the shot from Somi’s MV, it looks very similar with slight differences. Their color scheme is even alike.
The character designs sparked an online debate. Netizens wondered if THE BLACK LABEL had the rights to use the original image because it appeared that Somi’s character might have been created through tracing. Tracing is a method of drawing that involves copying an existing artwork by drawing in a layer directly over the original. While it is a great tool for aspiring artists to learn with, it is considered plagiarism when used commercially without permission.
- Do you think they bought the rights…?
- It’s not just copying the style, but tracing… LOL.
- No, but Takahashi Rumiko (the original artist of the manga) is f*cking famous.
- Ugh, where’s their conscience.
- Do they think Rumiko and Adachi’s drawings are public resources or something… If people need something retro-styled, there are so f*cking many that copy these two artists’ works.
- Huh, I thought that they probably bought it or signed a contract because the artist is so famous LOL.
- Did they have to pick a really famous artist’s work if they had to copy…
- No, but their company isn’t a hole-in-the-wall, so why are they like that?
- Fans can probably tell at a glance.
Now, THE BLACK LABEL has addressed the controversy.
On August 9, Somi’s agency, THE BLACK LABEL, released a statement regarding the character design for “Fast Forward” and the plagiarism allegations. After internal discussions, THE BLACK LABEL issued an apology and decided to edit or delete the scene in question from the MV.
Hello, this is THEBLACKLABEL.
After the release of Somi’s ‘Fast Forward’ music video from her EP album, we immediately reviewed it after discovering that the animated character in the video had similar appearances to a different character’s works. We have decided to delete and modify the scene.
We will replace the scene as possible and do everything that we can.
As an agency, we sincerely apologize for being unable to take a closer look and for causing concern.
We will be more careful in the future so that something like this does not happen again.
— THE BLACK LABEL
At the time of writing, the animated character is still briefly featured in Somi’s “Fast Forward” MV.