Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Lagann and FLCL. All of these critical anime hits have come out of Studio Gainax. However, as of June 7, 2024, the company has officially filed for bankruptcy, ending its 40-year tenure in the animation industry. 

The Gainax Legacy

Gainax was founded back in the early 1980s by several university students including famed Neon Genesis Evangelion creator, Hideaki Anno. Over the years, the group began to grow in size, producing short animated films such as Daicon III and Daicon IV. They found critical and commercial success through titles such as Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise and OVA Gunbuster. Other more well-known hits include the aforementioned mecha hit, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.

A Troubled Past and Present

However, things weren’t all smooth sailing for Gainax. The company has consistently had legal trouble, such as accounting fraud in 1999 and a legal battle with A.D. Vision on live-action rights in 2004. Anno ended up leaving in 2006 to form Studio Khara and later in 2016, also sued Gainax for ¥100 million in unpaid royalties. Throughout the years, the company grew to have a reputation for accruing unpaid payments owed to other studios, writers and creators within the industry. 

As a result, the news of bankruptcy, while saddening, has been unsurprising for some fans, especially those that have been closely following Anno’s work to save the business. According to the official announcement from Studio Khara, Khara had been aware of Gainax’s poor management and debt for a long time with Anno frequently expressing concerns and making proposals (as a current shareholder) to improve the company’s management. Gainax’s situation hit an all time low in 2019 when the then-presidential director was hit with a criminal offense unrelated to company operations. While some restructuring occurred, it wasn’t enough to turn Gainax around, especially with the excessive debt the company owed.

It’s truly a sad way for Gainax to end. As for the managing and transferring of any existing rights, Studio Khara will be facilitating it to ensure that all intellectual property reaches its authors and creators. We hope that this marks a fresh start for those who were unfairly wronged by Gainax and that any former Gainax employees can find work at other studios.

Related Posts