ATEEZ animal characters hit by plagiarism accusation

ATEEZ is in the news again, but this time it’s not because of their latest chart achievements. The group. Instead, it’s their latest merchandise reveal – the adorable ANITEEZ characters – that’s causing a stir.

These charming animal avatars, designed to represent the ATEEZ members, were meant to add a sprinkle of fun to the group’s branding. However, they’ve ended up sparking a debate, drawing comparisons to Stray Kids’ beloved SKZOO characters.

KQ Entertainment, the agency behind ATEEZ, is currently facing accusations of plagiarism due to the similarities between the two.


JYP Entertainment introduced SKZOO after the release of STRAY KIDS’ God’s Menu in 2021. SKZOO is a set of cartoon characters representing each STRAY KIDS member.

The characters quickly became a significant part of STRAY KIDS’ branding. They were featured in various merchandise items, including plushies and specially designed clothing.

Some of the ANITEEZ, ATEEZ’s own set of animal characters, look similar to SKZOO. Both lines feature similar animals, such as dogs, chicks and rabbits.

The new ANITEEZ characters (left); and SKZOO characters (right).

Fan reactions to the drama

Reactions to the ANITEEZ launch has been mixed. While many fans expressed excitement over ANITEEZ, anticipating future content and merchandise, others felt that the concept was too similar to SKZOO.

Here are some of the comments that were spotted online:

  • “Seen some STAYS already having a meltdown they ‘look like SKZOO’ when really fans just aren’t super imaginative when assigning animals in the first place.”
  • “And they be acting they were the first to do animal characters when SKZ weren’t even the first JYPE group to HAVE animal characters. DAY6 had Denimalz before them.”
  • “Obviously they didn’t copy SKZOO or anything since animal themes are common, I mean every group has their animal emojis even.”
  • “The fans recycle same animals for all groups and both groups have 8 members so it makes sense they are similar.”

Debate over originality

However, some argue that the idea of animal-representative characters is not new and has been a part of K-pop for over a decade. They cite examples of other JYP Entertainment groups and fan-made dolls of idols as animal avatars.

While both groups have similar characters, many argued that these are just popular choices, and not a direct ‘copy’. In addition, the art styles of the animal characters are different, and easy for fans to tell apart.

So far, there has been no comment from either ATEEZ or KQ Entertainment regarding the situation.

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