Culture

You can't unsee this deepfake of Napoleon singing the 'Evangelion' theme

Filed under: horrifying things you can't look away from.

Deepfakes have given us "Tom Cruise" golfing, "Bob Ross" hawking Mountain Dew, they've impersonated world leaders, they've given us, uh, whatever this is, and now, they're coming for one of the most cutthroat and skilled generals to ever don a Bicorne hat – all in the name of sending up one of the most beloved animes ever made.

🎥: Mountain Dew

We present to you, 'Napoleon Genesis Evangelion.

In this short clip, originally posted by Reddit user, qqavmbad, Napoleon's carefully painted visage is brought to life using AI designed to lipsync images to music, which in this case means the (very iconic) opening theme to Hideaki Anno's classic anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion.

There are a few reasons why this particular deepfake is worth noting. For one, well, just look at it...

Shutterstock

Does this exude welcoming vibes?

While some of deepfakes (notably the recent "Tom Cruise" TikTok) are the result of advanced software and some not-so-amateur editing skills, this creepy little number appears to have been mostly orchestrated by way of this software from Aliaksandr Siarohin and a few others according to the website Catsuka, which highlighted the deepfake on Twitter.

🎥: Siarohin's Github

The tool is similar to another deepfake algorithm called Deep Nostalgia, which is used by the ancestry site, MyHeritage, though the lip-syncing ability makes Siarohin's system more advanced. As seen in the demonstration below, Deep Nostalgia is similarly capable of animating old pictures, presumably so that you can ruin all of your most sacred familial memories.

🎥: MyHeritage

Secondly, the deepfake also comes with particularly apt timing. Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time, a long-awaited feature film in the franchise, was released this week in Japan after a couple delays caused by the pandemic.

South China Morning Post/South China Morning Post/Getty Images

You can currently (legally) watch the first 12 minutes here.

Deepfakes have been getting a lot of attention in the past couple of weeks, between this "Tom Cruise" golf excursion made by splicing the actor's face onto an impersonator, and this ad campaign from Mountain Dew which is using the painter's resemblance to conjure up an "episode" of The Joy of Painting that features some pretty obvious product placement.

🎥: VFXChris Ume

The Cruise fake in particular netted enough attention to warrant a behind-the-scenes video explaining how the fake was made by the video's creator, Chris Ume. Thankfully, Ume is something of a master in the craft, making the feat a little less terrifying.

Whatever your thoughts are on deepfakes (probably negative) the one thing that seems to remain the same across the spectrum is their ability to simultaneously amuse and terrify us. We can safely say that this is one siege that Napoleon didn't see coming.

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