Gainax, the studio behind Evangelion and more, has gone bust

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Gainax, the Japanese animation studio behind such classics as Evangelion and Nadia: The Secret Of Blue Water, has reportedly filed for bankruptcy.

The studio behind some of the most successful anime movies and TV shows of all time has reportedly gone bust

Gainax, founded in 1984 and responsible for Neon Genesis Evangelion, Nadia: The Secret Of Blue Water and more besides, filed for bankruptcy in a Tokyo court in late May according to Japanese outlet Automaton Media.

Per its report (translated by Google), the company’s struggles were due to a string of bad business decisions and investments made since 2012.

Gainax’s co-founder Hideaki Anno – and creator of those above anime works – founded a separate animation studio called Khara in 2006. That company has issued its own statement that confirms Gainax’s bankruptcy, published on the 7th June.

“Our company had been aware of Gainax’s poor management and debt for some time,” the statement reads, “and Anno expressed his concerns to management and made proposals for improving the company’s management, but these were not accepted for a long time. Even in such a situation, we accepted the proposals of the management at the time and even provided supportive loans from Color”

The statement then mentions the 2019 arrest of former Gainax CEO Maki Tomohiro on charges of indecent assault. Anno sought to “revamp the management team” in the wake of the scandal according to the statement, but discovered that the levels of “excessive debt couldn’t be managed.”

Gainax’s management problems had plagued the company for years, then, and its output had visibly slowed in the 2010s. All the same, the closure of one of Japan’s key animation houses is a sad moment for the medium. Although less famous in its own right than Studio Ghibli, Gainax was capable of producing its own bold, exquisitely-animated work; its first animated feature, 1987’s Royal Space Force: The Wings Of Honneamise, was a sprawling sci-fi fantasy epic about a steampunk space programme.

Founded by Anno and six other animators in December 1984 while they were still university students, Gainax’s biggest cultural export was Evangelion, a sci-fi mecha series that began in 1995 and became a sprawling franchise that is still going today. The rights to the series, after a bitter bout of legal wrangling, passed to Khara in 2006.

Of Gainax’s closure, Khara’s statement concludes, “We are very sad that an animation studio with a history of nearly 40 years has come to an end like this.”

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