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Stars Align Production Committee Apologizes For Copying Dance Choreography Without Permission

posted on by Kim Morrissy

The Stars Align official Twitter account posted a message from the production committee on Thursday apologizing for the ending animation's use of Miko Nanakawa and Melochin's dance choreography without prior permission. "There was not a sufficient consciousness regarding creative ownership," the notice stated.

The notice also stated that the two dancers are now working with the anime team.

On October 23, independent online dancers Miko Nanakawa and Melochin pointed out strong similarities between their dance choreography and the ED animation of the original television anime Stars Align (Hoshiai no Sora). Both dancers said that they sent an inquiry to the studio regarding the matter. The dancers have posted comparison videos highlighting the similarities and have mentioned that they were not contacted by any of the anime's staff members before seeing the animation.

Nanakawa has been an active dancer online since 2009. The full dance video which she accuses the anime of referencing from was first posted in 2018 and is embedded below:

Melochin has been an active dancer online since 2010. His full dance video was first posted in 2016 and is embedded below:

Ryōma Ebata is credited as the storyboard artist, director, and sole key animator of the Stars Align ending sequence. Series character designer Yūichi Takahashi is credited as the chief animation director. Maaya Imanishi is credited as an in-between animator and check. 8-Bit, Yūichirō Minami, Kaho Iida, Mizuki Tachida, Chiharu Satō, P.A. Works, and Khara are also credited for in-between animation.

Under Japanese Copyright law, dance choreography is considered a work of authorship. It is not uncommon for anime to feature sequences referencing real-life dancers and choreographers with permission. For example, Nagisa Sugao is credited as the choreographer for the Kaguya-sama: Love is War anime's third episode ending sequence. Similarly, Kenji Miyamoto is credited as the choreographer for Yuri!!! on Ice's figure skating sequences. Thomas Romain, who assisted on the world setting in Carole & Tuesday, tweeted that dancers and musicians were paid to be used as reference for the anime.

The Stars Align case has prompted comparisons to the lawsuits around the dance moves featured in the video game Fortnite, which various dancers have claimed to be plagiarism. In February, the U.S. Copyright Office denied a request by actor Alfonso Ribeiro to register the "Carlton" dance move he created on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because a single dance move could not be defined as choreography. Ribeiro dropped the lawsuit in March. Four other lawsuits also went on hold in March due to the need to obtain a response from the U.S. Copyright Office before suing.

Stars Align premiered on October 10. Kazuki Akane (Escaflowne series and film, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, Birdy the Mighty: Decode, Noein - to your other self) is directing the anime at 8-Bit and is also supervising and writing the series scripts. The teen adolescence story revolves around the coming of age of boys in a junior high school's soft tennis team, which is on the verge of shutting down.

Source: Stars Align Official Twitter account

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