Gainax, The Once Legendary Studio Just filed for Bankruptcy…

Article at a glance:

  • The financial peril of Gainax began in 2012 due to failed ventures, unsecured loans to executives, and loss of resources to affiliate studios.
  • Inexperienced leadership and the arrest of a new director in 2019 led to further chaos and mounting debts.
  • Despite Khara’s efforts to stabilize Gainax, large debts and mismanagement led to bankruptcy, with Khara now managing the studio’s trademark and IPs.
Image from Wikipedia

There was a time when Gainax was one of the biggest studios in the business. Evangelion, one of the most iconic animes of all time was an original anime made by this studio. They’d go on to follow Evangelion with another massive hit, Gurren Lagann which once again, was an original anime by this studio. So how did a giant like this fall to its knees? If you ask me, I am surprised the studio managed to hold for this long. According to recently released information, their financial troubles started all way back in 2012.

And if you look it up, the last proper TV anime by the studio came out all the way back in 2015. The studio never really managed to recreate the success of Evangelion and Gurren Lagann. Let’s take a look at what lead Gainax down this path of ruin. Yasuhiro Kamimura, the representative director revealed a bunch of info on what led to this situation. I won’t go into too much detail here but don’t worry, I’ll cover all the important bits.

The Beginnings

The studio’s financial issues started back in 2012. This was due to a combination of multiple failed ventures like a restaurant, a CG company, and multiple failed anime projects. As if this wasn’t enough, The management also gave large unsecured loans to some executives. All this not only impacted the financial situation of the studio, it also cost them their reputation. Also, certain executives who had affiliate studios took a lot of staff and resources from the main studio and later denied any relationship with the main studio.

Leadership Issues

In 2018, the then-representative director transferred shares to a certain individual. This new director had no experience in anime production. But that wasn’t the main issue. This individual later got arrested in 2019 because… as Kendrick would put it “A-Minorrrrrrrrrr”… They not like us, FR. As you might expect, this plunged the whole management into chaos while the debts continued to stack up.

Khara and Attempts at Reviving Gainax

Khara is a studio owned by Gainax co-founder, Hideaki Anno. They acted as a creditor trying to stabilize and investigate the issues. And well, they found out pretty much what you’d expect. Large debts, multiple defaults, unauthorized sale of IPs, you name it. They brought in more people from other studios to help. But that didn’t work out because the previous management continued doing “stuff” under the studio’s name despite the financial conditions.

The bankruptcy was officially filed when the studio was sued by a debt collection company.

What will happen to Gainax now?

The future of the management will be decided after the bankruptcy procedures are complete. Anno really wanted to protect the studio, more than that, he wanted to protect his IP, Evangelion and he brought in people from Trigger and Kadokawa but it was too late by the time they understood the whole situation. For now, Khara is the manager of the studio’s trademark. They did think of paying off the debts but that was deemed unfeasible by Khara, understandably so.

Khara will pass on the rights and talent to the most suitable companies, ensuring that the creators can continue their work.

That is all for now

Writing this article made me really sad. Especially because I just did an article on Evangelion last week. I had no idea that the company had been hollowed out this much. You can read Yasuhiro Kamimura’s full public notice here on Gainax’s official website. But yeah, I will take my leave here. See ya.

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