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Animation Studio Gainax Declares Bankruptcy

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Jun 9, 11:22 PM
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Overkilled Red

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Gainax, once a titan in the anime industry, announced its bankruptcy on June 7, 2024, following a filing in the Tokyo District court on May 29, 2024. The announcement marks a somber conclusion to the storied history of the studio behind such classics as Shinseiki Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion) and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Gurren Lagann).

In a candid statement, Gainax's representative director Yasuhiro Kamimura detailed the series of unfortunate events and mismanagement decisions that led to the studio's financial decline, which began over a decade ago.

Financial Missteps and Decline
According to Kamimura, the studio's financial troubles started around 2012. Poor business decisions, including the mismanagement of a restaurant venture, the ill-fated establishment of a CG company, large unsecured loans to executives, and failed investments in new projects caused substantial debt accumulation. These missteps not only strained Gainax's finances but also eroded its reputation within the industry, leading to its removal from key production committees.

The situation worsened as executives who had established affiliate studios bearing the Gainax name took much of the talent and resources, leaving the original studio without an established production line. These affiliates later disclaimed any relationship with the original studio, further isolating Gainax.

Leadership Changes and Operational Shutdown
In 2018, the long-serving representative director transferred shares to an individual with no experience in animation production, with the approval of then-management. Shortly after becoming the president in 2019, the individual was arrested for sexual misconduct involving a minor, causing a complete operational shutdown while debts continued to mount.

Attempts at Revival and Final Collapse
A revamp of the management team in February 2020, in collaboration with animation studio Khara as a creditor, led to an extensive review of Gainax's financial and operational status. The investigation uncovered extensive borrowing, debt defaults, and unauthorized sales of intellectual property. Despite a coalition of companies working pro bono to address these issues, the efforts were hampered by the previous management's continued operations under the Gainax brand without regard for the dire financial situation. Faced with a lawsuit from a debt collection company in May, Gainax ultimately filed for bankruptcy, acknowledging its inability to continue as a business.

Gainax noted in the addendum that it has no current affiliation to Gaina and Fukushima Gaina (both formerly Fukushima Gainax), Gainax International, Gainax Kyoto, Yonago Gainax, Gainax Niigata, and Gainax West.

Khara's Intervention and Future Prospects
Khara, founded by Gainax co-founder Hideaki Anno, issued its statement following the bankruptcy announcement, providing additional context.

Khara had been aware of Gainax's financial struggles and debt for some time. Anno expressed his long-standing concerns and made proposals for management improvement; however, his attempts to implement corrective measures were unsuccessful. Despite these circumstances, Khara provided supportive loans at the request of the then-management.

Following this president's arrest, Anno sought to protect the reputation of the Evangelion franchise and related works. Khara enlisted the cooperation of Kadokawa, King Records, and animation studio Trigger, having representatives from these companies join Gainax's board to better understand and address the company's issues. The board looked to resolve unpaid debts to studios, authors, and creators within the industry, and prevent the dissipation of intellectual property and materials. However, by the time Khara fully grasped the internal situation, the company was already in an irreparable state of insolvency.

Khara, now the manager of the Gainax trademark, has pledged to work with production committees to confirm and transfer rights to the most suitable companies and individuals, ensuring that creators can continue their work. Although Khara considered providing further support, the possibility of supporting Gainax's debt repayment was deemed unfeasible by the company.

The future management of works previously overseen by Gainax will be announced following the conclusion of the bankruptcy proceedings.


While the closure of this long-standing animation studio comes as a shock to many in the anime community, its impact on the business side of the industry appears minimal. Gainax had already ceased producing new content since the 2015 series Houkago no Pleiades (Wish Upon the Pleiades) and had halted its production activities in recent years. The rights to its notable works have mostly been transferred to other companies, with Shinseiki Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion) now held by Khara and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt by Trigger.

Gainax's Legacy
Gainax was founded in 1984 by Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Takami Akai, Hiroyuki Yamaga, Yasuhiro Takeda, Shinji Higuchi, and Toshio Okada—with the purpose of producing the Ouritsu Uchuugun: Honneamise no Tsubasa (Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise) anime film. Originating from the anime fan group Daicon Film in Osaka, Gainax stood out in an era where most animation studios were established by former staff and producers from major studios.

The studio went on to create hits such as Fushigi no Umi no Nadia (Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water), Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (His and Her Circumstances), and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Gurren Lagann). Among these, Shinseiki Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion), which started as a television series in 1995, became a monumental success. However, from the 2000s onward, Gainax experienced significant talent departures, with Hideaki Anno leaving in 2007 to establish Khara and key staff from Gurren Lagann forming Trigger in 2011.

Gainax's bankruptcy signifies the end of an era, underscoring the importance of prudent management and safeguarding creative assets within the competitive landscape of the anime industry. Despite its closure, the legacy of Gainax's groundbreaking contributions to anime will endure.

Source: Animation Business Journal, IT Media, Tokyo Shoko Research
VindstotJun 9, 11:45 PM

Jun 9, 11:27 PM
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few years ago trigger already have the rights to gurren lagann https://x.com/Duune99/status/1374078656440643584 and now they are making panty and stocking sequel so they have the rights for that too

same with khara making the evangelion rebuilds so they also have the rights for it for a long time now

flcl rights is with production ig too for a while

so really gainax holds no good ip rights anymore for years
Jun 10, 12:29 AM
#3

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Reply to deg
few years ago trigger already have the rights to gurren lagann https://x.com/Duune99/status/1374078656440643584 and now they are making panty and stocking sequel so they have the rights for that too

same with khara making the evangelion rebuilds so they also have the rights for it for a long time now

flcl rights is with production ig too for a while

so really gainax holds no good ip rights anymore for years
@deg I love how very time when it comes to drama and especially studio drama you are among the first if not the first person to comment about it.....

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Jun 10, 12:42 AM
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@deg I love how very time when it comes to drama and especially studio drama you are among the first if not the first person to comment about it.....
@Yubisoft im also following the studios and staff happenings thats all
Jun 10, 1:12 AM
#5

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Things like these can be common occurrence but for a studio that defined a generation struggle like this, it is pretty sad to see something like this happen.
Jun 10, 1:27 AM
#6

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Sad, they made many good anime.
Jun 10, 1:48 AM
#7
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Such a shocking news. As an Evangelion fan, this makes me very sad. Great studio got corrupted by greedy and evil individuals.
Jun 10, 2:23 AM
#8
The Shrike

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RIP to one of the finest studios that ever was. When Gainax was at it's peak, they were the most original, dynamic and crazy studio out there and a huge influence on the medium as a whole. Trigger and Khara might be worthy heirs, but they cannot touch peak Gainax
"Perhaps there is a universal, absolute truth. Perhaps it justifies every question. But that's beyond the reach of these small hands." Mamoru Oshii

There is a cult of ignorance (...) nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Isaac Asimov

Jun 10, 2:36 AM
#9

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gunbuster and nadia rights will likely go to khara seeing anno directed both
Jun 10, 2:36 AM

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Reply to Farabeuf
RIP to one of the finest studios that ever was. When Gainax was at it's peak, they were the most original, dynamic and crazy studio out there and a huge influence on the medium as a whole. Trigger and Khara might be worthy heirs, but they cannot touch peak Gainax
@Farabeuf Trigger and Khara are too arthouse, if you know what I mean. Of course, they will receive huge praise and respect from critics, sakuga fans and seasoned viewers, but I'm not sure if they will be able to reach the same mainstream level as Gainax outside of enthusiasts. For example, at one time Shaft had the same reputation, but now I can’t even tell what projects they are working on at the moment.
Jun 10, 2:43 AM
fanservice<3

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i think everyone heard about this...

but tbh, i hadn't even known they were still around especially since Trigger kinda took over

anyway... THANK YOU for "Gainaxing"
Jun 10, 2:51 AM

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Reply to deg
gunbuster and nadia rights will likely go to khara seeing anno directed both
@deg I mean not like they are gonna do anything with Nadia.
Jun 10, 2:56 AM

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Reply to RobertBobert
@Farabeuf Trigger and Khara are too arthouse, if you know what I mean. Of course, they will receive huge praise and respect from critics, sakuga fans and seasoned viewers, but I'm not sure if they will be able to reach the same mainstream level as Gainax outside of enthusiasts. For example, at one time Shaft had the same reputation, but now I can’t even tell what projects they are working on at the moment.
RobertBobert said:
For example, at one time Shaft had the same reputation, but now I can’t even tell what projects they are working on at the moment
They are working on Monogatari series new season atm and also made the 5 toubun special. Their other recent works were very profitable in japan too iirc.
Jun 10, 2:57 AM

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@deg I mean not like they are gonna do anything with Nadia.
@MegamiRem just saying who will have its rights since the news mention transferring them
Jun 10, 2:58 AM

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Reply to deg
@MegamiRem just saying who will have its rights since the news mention transferring them
@deg Ye I get it, I was also just saying.
Jun 10, 3:20 AM

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Reply to MegamiRem
RobertBobert said:
For example, at one time Shaft had the same reputation, but now I can’t even tell what projects they are working on at the moment
They are working on Monogatari series new season atm and also made the 5 toubun special. Their other recent works were very profitable in japan too iirc.
@MegamiRem But with the exception of Monogatari, have they almost moved away from creating shows with their own signature style?
Jun 10, 3:52 AM
The Shrike

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Reply to RobertBobert
@Farabeuf Trigger and Khara are too arthouse, if you know what I mean. Of course, they will receive huge praise and respect from critics, sakuga fans and seasoned viewers, but I'm not sure if they will be able to reach the same mainstream level as Gainax outside of enthusiasts. For example, at one time Shaft had the same reputation, but now I can’t even tell what projects they are working on at the moment.
@RobertBobert Good points and spot on about Shaft.
"Perhaps there is a universal, absolute truth. Perhaps it justifies every question. But that's beyond the reach of these small hands." Mamoru Oshii

There is a cult of ignorance (...) nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Isaac Asimov

Jun 10, 6:04 AM

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As long as the people whom studios like these produced stay active, the legacy of Gainax will live on.
Jun 10, 7:32 AM
The Komori

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RIP to one of the legends in the anime game
Jun 10, 8:00 AM

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Same people who were responsible for mismanagement and horrible decision making would go somewhere else and bankrupt that place as well. Always happens in corporate.
Jun 10, 9:38 AM

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Reply to Farabeuf
@RobertBobert Good points and spot on about Shaft.
@Farabeuf That was sarcasm, wasn't it?
Jun 10, 10:08 AM

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Reply to deg
gunbuster and nadia rights will likely go to khara seeing anno directed both
@deg Gainax hasn't owned Nadia since the 90s, so those are unlikely to ever get to Anno. And unless I missed something, Gunbuster (and Diebuster) were in Gaina for their Aim for the Top 3 that stalled years ago.
Jun 10, 10:19 AM

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Nice writeup.

I never expected that Zero Century film trilogy to materialize anyway.
Jun 10, 12:01 PM

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Reply to RobertBobert
@Farabeuf Trigger and Khara are too arthouse, if you know what I mean. Of course, they will receive huge praise and respect from critics, sakuga fans and seasoned viewers, but I'm not sure if they will be able to reach the same mainstream level as Gainax outside of enthusiasts. For example, at one time Shaft had the same reputation, but now I can’t even tell what projects they are working on at the moment.
RobertBobert said:
For example, at one time Shaft had the same reputation, but now I can’t even tell what projects they are working on at the moment.
I think the only real noteworthy project Shaft's got in the pipeline right now is the Madoka Magica Rebellion sequel, which I'm being very cautiously optimistic about.
Jun 10, 12:14 PM

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Damn man another one gone and all that keeps coming up are the CGI studios. RIP Gainax the OG's
Jun 10, 12:55 PM
The Shrike

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Reply to RobertBobert
@Farabeuf That was sarcasm, wasn't it?
@RobertBobert No, not at all. I thought you made some good points on those 3 studios you mentioned that I agree with to a great extent.
"Perhaps there is a universal, absolute truth. Perhaps it justifies every question. But that's beyond the reach of these small hands." Mamoru Oshii

There is a cult of ignorance (...) nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Isaac Asimov

Jun 10, 3:41 PM

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Reply to Stygian_Prisoner
RobertBobert said:
For example, at one time Shaft had the same reputation, but now I can’t even tell what projects they are working on at the moment.
I think the only real noteworthy project Shaft's got in the pipeline right now is the Madoka Magica Rebellion sequel, which I'm being very cautiously optimistic about.
@Stygian_Prisoner I don't know what they're going to cook up, because as far as I know, even the director of the franchise admitted that Urobuchi didn't want to milk the franchise or overuse fan service for the fans. But I find it intriguing that outside of their old properties, they've all but abandoned their style.
Jun 10, 10:46 PM
Trickster

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A terrible shame to hear. Gainax were the kings back in the 90s and early 2000s. The always pushed the envelope and raised the bar with whatever they did. Their style was unmistakable and their influence was undeniable. It will be a sad day in the industry when they officially close their doors for good.
Jun 11, 10:19 AM

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Unfortunate. Probably the most significant closure since Manglobe went under (shoutout to Arms) though arguably much more impactful.

It's been an honor.
Jun 11, 10:21 AM

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Very saddening to know.
Jun 11, 11:25 AM
Supreme Tsundere

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A terrible shame to hear. Gainax were the kings back in the 90s and early 2000s. The always pushed the envelope and raised the bar with whatever they did. Their style was unmistakable and their influence was undeniable. It will be a sad day in the industry when they officially close their doors for good.
@takkun_
There is nothing to feel shame for, Gainax lost all its talent in the 2000's, and their last highlight project was Medaka Box S2 in 2012, it has been 12 years and they only produced SHIT.

I m surprised it took them this long to go bankrupt. I think Anno and the rest of the talent that left, despite all grievances with the management of Gainax (which had them leave over the years), still were loyal, and are a reason only now Gainax is going under.

If anything credit has to be given to Anno, he still tried to save them, but you cant save a bad management leadership that REFUSES to learn, FUCK THEM.

All the actors that gave me some of my favorite franchises still are active and endure, Gainax was just a name after all, because the rest as long left the company, and when I see Trigger and Khara stuff, I don't feel, that we lose anything with Gainax name itself ending.
Jun 12, 5:06 AM
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Welp, that's that, I guess. Unfortunately this isn't going to be the last anime studio to go.
Jun 12, 6:24 AM
Lewd Depresso

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Think Medaka Box was last thing I've heard from them.

but Medaka Box, Dantalian No Shoka, Panty & Stocking, Mahoromatic, Tengen Toppa were some most memorable works from them. R.I.P for them. Made some good stuff.
Jun 12, 10:20 AM

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That's sad, but the writing has been on the wall for a while.
Bum Bum Dum Dum

Jun 12, 7:22 PM
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Holy sh*t! Is Hideaki Ano a main protag?
A prince ran away from his former country, due to his brother's assasination attempts, and established a new country. The new country is small but flourished, whilst the original country were declining due to the new rulers tyrany and corruptions. Sympathesing with his former ppl, the prince returns to the country, took down his brother the corrupt prince, and saved the ppl.
This is really like a plot of a country mgmt/building or a tactical RPG collosal epics.... Fire Emblem style. And Hideaki Ano is appearently the main protag.... Kadokawa should make an LN out of this!!!!

PS: I really hope Hideo Kojima could do the same with Konami, but I doubt it'll work....
uncleqrowJun 12, 7:26 PM
Python is the best programming language ever. FIGHT ME!
Jun 13, 3:22 AM
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I will really miss the work they created. Thank you, thank you for your hard work so far

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