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The release of a giant, unaltered portrait of Kim Jong Un had an inevitable response

This photo was distributed May 11 by the North Korean government. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Last week, North Korea took a step that surprised some outside analysts. It released a giant, high-resolution portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Remarkably, the photograph appeared not to have been digitally edited. This was the real Kim, flaws and all.

It was a seemingly out-of-character move for a country with a long history of digitally altering photographs for propaganda purposes. Some analysts even reasoned that the North Korean state might be trying to send a message with the image, perhaps even portraying North Korea as a “normal” country whose leader, while treated like a god by North Korean citizens, wasn’t vain at all.

What life looks like inside North Korea

epa05271691 A picture made available on 22 April 2016 shows a young girl performing ballet at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace in Pyongyang suburbs, North Korea, 14 April 2016. The Mangyongdae Children's Palace is a large facility for extracurricular activities. Opened in May 1989, the building has hundreds of rooms for various activities including, mathematics, chemistry, computer science, sports, music and dance practice. EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON (Franck Robichon/EPA)

Watch: North Korea's capital has a new nickname, 'Pyonghattan'

Whatever the intention, if any, behind the release of the image, the response was inevitable: a race to digitally edit Kim.

At least three battles are taking place, the Huffington Post reports, on the websites Bored Panda, Twitter and Reddit. You can see a small selection of those images below.

This creation below comes from the Bored Panda user .

There’s plenty more out there.

This is, of course, far from the first time that Kim has found himself a target of mockery online. He has become a regular guest in Reddit’s PhotoshopBattles — take a look here, here, here and here. Whatever the horrors of the North Korean regime, the desire not to take Kim seriously is certainly persistent.

The Washington Post's Anna Fifield has been to North Korea seven times. Here's how media access has changed over the years. (Video: Jason Aldag, Anna Fifield/The Washington Post)

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