Neon Genesis Evangelion producer and once anime giant, Gainax shuts down due to bankruptcy

You are an Anime nerd? And you not living under a rock? Then it is not easy to wake up one morning and find that a legacy anime company with such a rich history –Gainax – has dropped its shutters.

Studio Khara acquires the Gainax trademark(Gainax/Studio Khara)
Studio Khara acquires the Gainax trademark(Gainax/Studio Khara)

Why the sudden shutdown?

Studio Gainax, the producers of FLCL, Gurren Lagann, Neon Genesis Evangelion and other popular and critically acclaimed animé series and movies, has been experiencing financial loss for a few years now. And on June 7, the company declared bankruptcy and shut down business operations.

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Despite the glittering legacy, the studio has been dealing with financial woes throughout its nearly 40-year history.

As IGN details, the studio has been marred by production issues, tax fraud in the ’90s, and multiple lawsuits, including some involving Studio Khara, which was founded by Gainax founder and Evangelion director Hideaki Anno.

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All these setbacks accumulated over the years and toward the current year; a debt collection company sued Gainax this May, which saw the company declare bankruptcy on the 29th of May. An official statement from the specific company’s site states that the company had a lot of debt, especially since 2012. The volume cites management incompetence as the reason, which, in Automaton’s translation, saw the running of the company as their own property.

Studio Khara said they ‘accepted the offer from the management team’

Although the studio is closing, the Gainax trademark has been transferred to Studio Khara. That company has released its own statement on its website, explaining, “Gainax was the former company of our Color representative director Hideaki Anno, but Anno founded Color in 2006 and retired from Gainax the following year in 2007, and subsequently became a shareholder of Gainax. I am.”

“We accepted the offer from the management team at the time and provided supportive loans as a way of closing the deal. However, the situation at Gainax did not change, and the situation continued to worsen, to the point where the then representative director was arrested in 2019 on a criminal case unrelated to corporate management.”

Studio Khara will work to transfer intellectual property (IP) rights to other companies and creatives.

“It is a shame that an animation studio with a history of just under 40 years has come to an end like this. As stated in the release from Gainax, the trademark and title of GAINAX are acquired and managed by our company,” the statement concluded (originally the statement was in Japanese).

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It is such a pity that a studio that was behind such profound projects loses its way at one point or another, and in this case, it is Gainax. The importance of this studio for the anime business is indisputable, and one cannot deny that this studio was the creator of a unique series whose imprint remains. However, this particular bankruptcy shows that even companies responsible for some of the best work in their respective meatspace industry can have deep-seated problems.

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