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Business trends

AI redraws Japan's labor-intensive anime industry

Machine learning enables 8K image processing and fast manga translation

The coronavirus has put additional pressure on the stretched-thin Japanese anime industry, which is attracting high-tech startups looking to ease production overhead.

TOKYO -- Stuck at home with no place to go as the new coronavirus lingers, many people remain glued to streaming services for a way to while away the time. The perfect window for mainstream anime and manga to pick up their game and pump out more hits, one would think.

Unfortunately not. Like its audience, Japan's animation industry is stuck, unable to update popular titles like "One Piece," "Digimon Adventure" and "Healin' Good Precure," work on which has slowed as the outbreak shuts down an army of production crews.

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