Evangelion studio Gainax files for bankruptcy

Gainax, the animation studio behind works such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL, and Gurren Lagann, has filed for bankruptcy.

According to the Automaton report and translation, Gainax acknowledged a May 29 Tokyo District Court filing had been accepted. The company stated its cause for bankruptcy was due to mismanagement that began around 2012. Those troubles reportedly surfaced when management and executives began operating the company to suit their private goals, which involved various unprofitable ventures and taking out risky loans.

Hideaki Anno and Gainax

Evangelion series creator Hideaki Anno has always been known for having a complicated relationship with his work and especially its fans. The problem might’ve been caused or fueled by Gainax itself. Despite the success of Evangelion, Anno claims he ended up never receiving fair compensation for the profits the series had earned. Anno ended up leaving the company in 2007.

Anno went on to form studio Khara, which then acquired the rights to Evangelion and made the Rebuild series. This all unfolded as part of Gainax’s attempt to stay afloat by selling its popular IPs, but that was far from the painless separation one might have anticipated.

In 2019, Gainax president Tomohiro Maki was arrested for sexual misconduct. Anno had long departed the company, but was still associated with Gainax in the public eye. The Evangelion creator went on to publicly thank those affected for speaking out.

The slow end of Gainax

Though the studio is known for animating a library of classics over its 40 years of existence, it was never a stranger to turmoil. Even back in 1992, when Gainax was seemingly at the top of its game during the heyday of Evangelion, it saw the departure of important figures such as Shinji Higuchi, the known filmmaker and namesake of Evangelion’s Shinji Ikari.

Mismanagement caused Gainax to enter a slow decline in the 2010s, and what kept it from going under before was the support received from Anno’s Khara. Still, the company’s leadership was incapable of dealing with the large amount of debt that the company had accumulated over many years of poor decisions.

It’s disappointing to see the studio fall, but ultimately, it had been in decline for years before its financial ruin. The Gainax of 2024 is a stark contrast from the days of Evangelion, FLCL, and Gurren Lagann.

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