Gainax Co., Ltd. (stylized as GAINAX; Japanese: 株式会社ガイナックス, Hepburn: Kabushiki-gaisha Gainakkusu) is a Japanese anime studio famous for productions such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Royal Space Force, Gunbuster, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Kare Kano, FLCL, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, and Gurren Lagann, which have garnered critical acclaim[1][2] and commercial success. Evangelion has reportedly grossed over ¥150 billion, or approximately US$1.2 billion.[3] In a discussion at the 2006 Tekkoshocon, Matt Greenfield claimed that Evangelion had grossed over US$2 billion;[4] Takeda reiterated in 2002 that "It sold record numbers of laserdiscs in Japan, and the DVD is still selling well today", as well as for their association with award-winning anime director and studio co-founder Hideaki Anno. The company is headquartered in Koganei, Tokyo.[5]

Native name
Kabushiki-gaisha Gainakkusu
Company typeKabushiki-gaisha
IndustryAnimation (anime)
PredecessorDaicon Film
FoundedDecember 24, 1984; 39 years ago (1984-12-24)
FoundersHideaki Anno
Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Hiroyuki Yamaga
Takami Akai
Toshio Okada
Yasuhiro Takeda
Shinji Higuchi
Studio Trigger
Studio Khara
Key people
Yasuhiro Kamimura
Yuko Takaishi
Atsushi Moriyama
Yoshiki Usa
Nobuhiko Hayashi
ProductsRoyal Space Force
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Gurren Lagann
Number of employees
  • Gainax Kyoto
  • Yonago Gainax

Until Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gainax typically worked on stories created in-house, but the studio has increasingly developed anime adaptations of existing manga like Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou and Mahoromatic. Series produced by Gainax are often known for their controversial twist endings. The Animage Anime Grand Prix has been awarded to Gainax for Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water in 1991, Neon Genesis Evangelion in 1995 and 1996, and The End of Evangelion in 1997.

History edit

Beginnings edit

DVD cover of North American release of Otaku no Video

The studio was formed in the early 1980s as Daicon Film by university students Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Hiroyuki Yamaga, Takami Akai, Toshio Okada, Yasuhiro Takeda and Shinji Higuchi. Their first project was an animated short for the 20th Annual Japan National SF Convention, also known as Daicon III, held in 1981 in Osaka, Japan. The short film is about a girl who fights monsters, robots, and spaceships from early science fiction TV shows and films (including Ultraman, Gundam, Space Runaway Ideon, Space Battleship Yamato, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Godzilla) until she finally reaches a desert plain and pours a glass of water on a dried-out daikon radish, which immediately resurrects itself, grows into a huge spaceship, and beams her aboard. Though the short had an ambitious scope, the animation was rough and low-quality.

The group made a much bigger splash with the short they produced for the 22nd Annual Japan National SF Convention, Daicon IV, in 1983. Starting with a better animated recap of their original 1981 short, the short then moves to the girl as a grown woman, wearing a bunny suit and fighting an even wider range of science fiction creatures (including various Mobile Suits from the Gundam series, Darth Vader, an Alien, a Macross Valkyrie, a Pern dragon, Aslan, a Klingon battle cruiser, Spider-Man, and a pan across a vast array of hundreds of other characters) while surfing through the sky on the sword Stormbringer. The action was all set to the Electric Light Orchestra song "Twilight", though the group's failure to properly license the song would prevent the short's official release on DVD (and make the limited laserdisc release of the Daicon shorts very rare and highly sought after items). The Daicon IV short firmly established Daicon Film as a talented new anime studio; albeit small and with only ¥20 million (about US$200,000).[6] The studio changed its name to Gainax in 1985, basing the term "Gainax" on an obscure Tottori Prefecture[7] term for "giant", with the English suffix -x added because it sounded "good and was international".[8]

Gainax's first work as a commercial entity was Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, released in 1987. Honneamise was (and still is) critically acclaimed and a classic anime movie; however, it had a tepid commercial reaction (Gainax did attempt to develop a sequel beginning in March 1992, but was unable to do it due to lack of funds). The next release, the 1988 OVA Gunbuster, was a commercial success[9] and put Gainax on a stabler footing to produce works like Nadia and Otaku no Video. During this period, Gainax also produced a number of items such as garage kit and adult video games (a major earner which kept Gainax afloat on occasion, though they were sometimes banned).[10]

Evangelion edit

Gainax's offices in Koganei, Tokyo, circa 2004. The studio since moved to a modest two-story premise, also in Koganei, before moving again to another premise.

In 1995, Gainax produced perhaps their best known series, the commercially successful and critically lauded Neon Genesis Evangelion. In the wake of Evangelion's success, however, Gainax was audited by the National Tax Agency at the urging of the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau on suspicion of committing tax evasion on the massive profits accruing from various Evangelion properties. It was later revealed that Gainax had concealed ¥1.56 billion worth of income (thereby failing to pay ¥560 million due in corporate taxes) which it had earned between the release of Evangelion and July 1997 by paying closely related companies various large fees, ostensibly to pay for animation expenses, but then immediately withdrawing 90% of the sums from the other company's accounts as cash and storing it in safe deposit boxes (leaving 10% as a reward for the other company's assistance).[6]

Gainax president Takeshi Sawamura and tax accountant Yoshikatsu Iwasaki were arrested on July 13, 1999, and later jailed for accounting fraud.[11][12][13] Yasuhiro Takeda later defended Sawamura's actions as being a reaction to Gainax's perpetually precarious finances and the shaky accounting procedures internally:

Sawamura understood our financial situation better than anyone, so when Evangelion took off and the money really started rolling in, he saw it as possibly our one and only opportunity to set something aside for the future. I guess he was vulnerable to temptation at that point, because no one knew how long the Evangelion goose would keep laying golden eggs. I don't think he purposely set out with the goal of evading taxes. It was more that our level of accounting knowledge wasn't up to the task of dealing with revenues on such a large scale.[14]

21st century edit

Former Gainax headquarters in Koganei, Tokyo since 2013. In 2016, Gainax moved to a room in an apartment in Musashino, Tokyo.

In 2004, Gainax marked their 20th anniversary with the production of Diebuster, the sequel to Gunbuster. Gainax's most recent successes on television have been the popular anime series Gurren Lagann (2007) and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (2010). In August 2011, Gainax was sued by A.D. Vision, which claimed Gainax's refusal to accept an option payment for the perpetual live-action rights to Evangelion was a breach of contract and had resulted in losing an opportunity to produce the film with a major studio.[15] A.D. Vision asked to be awarded the live-action rights to Evangelion and any accruing legal fees.

In 2012, Gainax announced it would be producing its first live-action television series, EA's Rock, with director Nobuhiro Yamashita.[16] At the 2013 Tokyo Anime Fair, Gainax announced that they would be making once-dead Blue Uru film with Hiroyuki Yamaga as the director and screenwriter and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto as the character designer.[17] In March 2015, a new studio and museum were opened in Miharu, Fukushima, with the studio named Fukushima Gainax.[18]

In 2016, Gainax was sued by Studio Khara for ¥100 million in unpaid royalties from an agreement that Khara would earn royalties from income received on works and properties that founder Hideaki Anno had worked on. The suit alleged that Gainax delayed on paying royalties and incurred a large debt with Khara, which had loaned ¥100 million in August 2014, but had yet to receive payment on the loan.[19][20] In 2017 the suit was ruled on by a judge at the Tokyo District Court which ordered Gainax, to pay the full amount in debt owed to Khara. Further, it was reported that Gainax was not expected to appeal the ruling.[21][22] Gainax president Hiroyuki Yamaga posted a public apology on the Gainax website stating the company was now undergoing restructuring.[23] In December 2019 Anno claimed no one from Gainax had yet contacted him personally with any kind of apology or explanation.[24][25]

In August 2018, it was announced that Fukushima Gainax had been acquired by Kinoshita Group Holdings on July 26, making it Kinoshita's new subsidiary. Fukushima Gainax changed its studio name to Gaina and relocated to Koganei, Tokyo on August 9.[26] In December 2019, representative director Tomohiro Maki was arrested on allegations of quasi-forcible indecency on an aspiring voice actress. Maki had been appointed representative director in October, but had been a board director of the company since 2015 and previously served as head of Gainax International, a separate company that trained voice actors and other talents, at the time of the alleged incidents.[27]

In February 2020, Groundworks representative director Yasuhiro Kamimura was appointed the company's new representative director and a new board of directors was hired on to the company with Yuko Takaishi (Kadokawa Anime Business Department Anime Production Division head), Atsushi Moriyama (King Records Rights Division senior operating officer), and Yoshiki Usa (Trigger representative director vice president) being the ones chosen to be at the board.[28] In December 2020, it was reported that Tomohiro Maki has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for committing indecent acts.[29]

Filmography edit

TV series edit

Title Year(s) Director(s) Co-production companies
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water 1990–1991 Hideaki Anno Group TAC
Neon Genesis Evangelion 1995–1996 Hideaki Anno Tatsunoko
His and Her Circumstances 1998–1999 Hideaki Anno
Hiroki Sato (16–26)
Modern Love's Silliness 1999 Issei Kume Group TAC
Oruchuban Ebichu 1999 Makoto Moriwaki Group TAC
Mahoromatic 2001–2003, 2009 Hiroyuki Yamaga
Shouji Saeki (Specials)
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi 2002 Hiroyuki Yamaga Madhouse
Petite Princess Yucie 2002–2003 Masahiko Otsuka AIC
This Ugly yet Beautiful World 2004 Shouji Saeki Shaft
He Is My Master 2005 Shouji Saeki Shaft
Gurren Lagann 2007 Hiroyuki Imaishi
Corpse Princess 2008 Masahiko Murata Feel
Hanamaru Kindergarten 2010 Seiji Mizushima
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt 2010 Hiroyuki Imaishi
The Mystic Archives of Dantalian 2011 Yutaka Uemura
Medaka Box / Medaka Box Abnormal 2012 Shouji Saeki
Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³ 2013 Masayoshi Kawajiri
Magica Wars 2014 Ayano Ohnoki
Wish Upon the Pleiades 2015 Shouji Saeki
Beyblade X 2023-2024 Hiroyuki Imaishi

Films edit

Title Year(s) Director(s) Co-production companies Notes
Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise 1987 Hiroyuki Yamaga
Nadia: The Movie 1991 Sho Aono Sei Young
Evangelion: Death and Rebirth 1997 Hideaki Anno
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Tatsunoko (Death)
Production I.G (Rebirth)
The End of Evangelion 1997 Hideaki Anno
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Production I.G
Revival of Evangelion 1999 Hideaki Anno Production I.G
Cutie Honey 2004 Hideaki Anno Opening animation
Gunbuster vs. Diebuster 2006 Hideaki Anno
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Gekijōban Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
(Two-part movie series)
2008–2009 Hiroyuki Imaishi
Zero Century
(Three-part movie series)
TBA Hiroyuki Yamaga Production Good Book A film trilogy based on Leiji Matsumoto's works
Gainax Kyoto

OVAs and ONAs edit

Title Year Director Co-production Notes
1988 Kazuyoshi Katayama
Mahjong Hishō-den: Naki no Ryū 1988-1990 Satoshi Dezaki Magic Bus
Gunbuster 1988–1989 Hideaki Anno
Beat Shot 1989 Takashi Akimoto
Circuit no Ohkami 2 Modena no Tsurugi 1990 Yoshihide Kuriyama
Honō no Tenkōsei 1991 Katsuhiko Nishijima
Money Wars 1991 Yusaku Saotome
Otaku no Video 1991 Takeshi Mori
FLCL 2000 Kazuya Tsurumaki Production I.G
Anime Tenchou 2002 Hiroyuki Imaishi
Re: Cutie Honey 2004 Hideaki Anno Toei Animation
Diebuster 2004 Kazuya Tsurumaki
Wish Upon the Pleiades 2011 Shouji Saeki
Masamune Datenicle 2016–2018 Yoshinori Asao (Chief)
Satoru Kiyomaru

Daicon tokusatsu fan films edit

Title Year Synopsis
Patriotic Squadron Dai-Nippon (愛国戦隊大日本, Aikoku Sentai Dai-Nippon) 1982 Parody of the popular Super Sentai shows (mostly from footage in Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan) and the Russo-Japanese War, with the members of the title team (AiKamikaze, AiHarakiri, AiSukiyaki, AiGeisha, and AiTenpura) fighting the evil plan of the Red Bear Empire (led by "Death Kremlin") to brainwash the children of Japan by replacing the pages of their textbooks with red paper in this "episode".
Swift Hero Noutenki (快傑のーてんき, Kaiketsu Nōtenki) 1982 Parody of Shotaro Ishinomori's Kaiketsu Zubat
Return of Ultraman (帰ってきたウルトラマン, Kaettekita Urutoraman) 1983 Parody of a title of the same name, with New Ultraman/Ultraman Jack portrayed by Hideaki Anno wearing a jacket with Ultraman's signature red and silver pattern.[30]
Kaiketsu Nōtenki 2 - Pure Love in Minato City (快傑の-てんき2 純愛港町篇, Kaiketsu Nōtenki 2 - Junai Minato-cho Hen) 1984 Parody of Shotaro Ishinomori's Kaiketsu Zubat, in which the titular hero faces off against Mecha Noutenki, a mechanical clone of himself.
Kaiketsu Nōtenki in USA (快傑の-てんき in USA) 1984 Parody of Shotaro Ishinomori's Kaiketsu Zubat, in which the titular hero sightsees in San Francisco, California (while in costume)
The Eight-Headed Giant Serpent Strikes Back (八岐之大蛇の逆襲, Yamata no Orochi no Gyakushū) 1985 A 72-minute sendup of daikaiju (giant monster) movies and the most heavily promoted of the Daicon tokusatsu short films.[31]
Roleplaying Nōtenki in Seoul (ロールプレイングの-てんき in ソウル) 1988 Role-playing parody of Shotaro Ishinomori's Kaiketsu Zubat, in which the titular hero sightsees in San Francisco, California (while in costume)

Other works edit

Gainax had some involvement with K.O. Beast directed by Hiroshi Negishi. It teamed with other groups to create various works, such as a 1987 promotional video for the song "Marionette" by Boøwy[31] and the 2006 Momoko-based "Gainax Girls" fashion dolls created in collaboration with a Japanese fashion doll.[32] Gainax also collaborated with Game Arts in 1992, resulting in the video game Alisia Dragoon. In 2004, Gainax penned Melody of Oblivion for J.C.Staff. Gainax has also produced a number of computer games, including a strip mahjong game featuring Evangelion characters[33] and its most famous, the Princess Maker series (later adapted as Puchi Puri Yūshi). It collaborated with Saudi Arabian media content company ARiNAT on a three-minute anime trailer titled "Desert Knight" (Sabaku no Kishi), which debuted at the "ANI:ME" Japanese pop culture festival in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.[34] Gainax also created the Mahoromatic Digital Maiden 1 - 3 PC game series in 1998 which allowed Konami to publish the PS2 game exclusive Mahoromatic in Japan that is lesser known to the public.[35][36]

See also edit

  • Gaina—previous Gainax subsidiary, formerly known as Fukushima Gainax.
  • Gonzo—studio founded by Gainax co-founder Shinji Higuchi and other ex-Gainax staff
  • Khara—studio founded by Gainax co-founder Hideaki Anno
  • Shaft—Gainax worked closely with Shaft in the early-to-mid 2000s; ex-Gainax director Shouji Saeki currently works exclusively with Shaft
  • Trigger—studio founded by ex-Gainax staff

References edit

  1. ^ "Considered one of the top 10 films of 1987 by Japanese film critics, The Wings of Honneamise is..." "Heads Up, Mickey: Anime may be Japan's first really big cultural export" Archived 2012-11-02 at the Wayback Machine, Issue 3.04 - Apr 1995, Wired
  2. ^ The studio's works have garnered them Animage's coveted Anime Grand Prix award over ten times since 1990.
  3. ^ "スポニチ Sponichi Annex ニュース 芸能". Archived from the original on 14 February 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  4. ^ Greenfield, Matt (April 2, 2006). Evangelion: 10 years of Death and Re:Birth (Speech). Tekkoshocon 2006. Pittsbugh.
  5. ^ Gainax Internet Section. "GAINAX NET|会社案内|会社概要". Archived from the original on 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  6. ^ a b Asahi Shimbun/ASAHI EVENING NEWS. November 13, 1998. "JAPAN- Animator hit for tax evasion" Pg. News.
  7. ^ Takami Akai is from Tottori and suggested it.
  8. ^ "Bienvenue sur le site internet de Sekai Project". Archived from the original on 2015-06-03. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  9. ^ " "The first commercial success of the fan-turned-pro studio Gainax, "Gunbuster" ("Aim for the Top!") was the first anime OVA (original video animation) made by and for the "otaku generation" — a series for those who love anime. Not tied to any pre-existing manga or toy campaign, "Gunbuster" was a declaration that anime could be made for its own sake." Business Wire. October 24, 2006 Tuesday 1:00 PM GMT "Image Entertainment and Bandai Visual USA to Release Classic Anime Series Gunbuster"
  10. ^ The first Dennou Gakuen (電脳学園) game(released July 1989) was banned in July 1992 in Miyazaki Prefecture, the first to be so banned in Japan; Gainax sued, charging the ban was unconstitutional, but lost. See Japan Economic Newswire JANUARY 24, 1994, MONDAY. "Court backs ban on sale, lease of porno computer game". By Miyazaki, Jan. 24 Kyodo
  11. ^ "7-13-99—- President Of Gainax Arrested - July 1999 Anime News". Anime News Service. Yomiuri Shimbun. 13 July 1999. Archived from the original on 7 January 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Gainax, company president admit tax evasion - News". Anime News Network. 12 November 1998. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  13. ^ "7-14-99—- President Of Gainax Arrested (More) - July 1999 Anime News". Anime News Service. Yomiuri Shimbun. 14 July 1999. Archived from the original on 7 January 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  14. ^ Takeda 2002, p. 170.
  15. ^ "A.D. Vision, Inc. sues Gainax Co., Ltd. over live-action Evangelion movie agreement". Crunchyroll. August 12, 2011. Archived from the original on September 20, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  16. ^ "Gainax, Nobuhiro Yamashita Create Live-Action TV Show EA's Rock". Anime News Network. February 23, 2012. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  17. ^ "Gainax Makes Blue Uru Film with Honneamise Yamaga, Sadamoto". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 23 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  18. ^ "Gainax Sets Up Studio, Museum in Fukushima". Anime News Network. January 16, 2015. Archived from the original on February 1, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  19. ^ Makita, Masanori (2 December 2016). "経営の「カラー」が古巣「ガイナックス」を提訴". The Mainichi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  20. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (1 December 2016). "Evangelion Studio Khara Sues Gainax for 100 Million Yen in Royalties". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  21. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (23 June 2017). "Gainax Ordered to Pay Studio Khara 100 Million Yen". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  22. ^ "アニメ制作会社「ガイナックス」に1億円支払い命令 庵野秀明監督の経営会社が古巣訴えた訴訟". The Sankei Shimbun. 23 June 2017. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  23. ^ Ressler, Karen (6 December 2016). "Gainax Posts Apology After Khara's Lawsuit". Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  24. ^ Morissy, Kim (30 December 2019). "Hideaki Anno Details His Falling Out With Gainax". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  25. ^ "【庵野監督・特別寄稿】『エヴァ』の名を悪用したガイナックスと報道に強く憤る理由". Diamond Online. 30 December 2019. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  26. ^ "Kinoshita Acquires Fukushima Gainax, Moves Studio to Tokyo Under New Name". Anime News Network. August 20, 2018. Archived from the original on August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  27. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (4 December 2019). "Gainax Representative Director Tomohiro Maki Arrested for Alleged Indecent Acts". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  28. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (21 February 2020). "Yasuhiro Kamimura Becomes New Representative Director of Gainax". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 21 February 2020.
  29. ^ "Former Gainax Representative Director Tomohiro Maki Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison".
  30. ^ Takeda 2002.
  31. ^ a b Takeda 2002
  32. ^ "". Archived from the original on 20 December 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  33. ^ "警告:アダルトコンテンツ". Archived from the original on 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  34. ^ "Gainax, Saudi Arabia's Arinat Make 3-Minute 'Desert Knight' Trailer". Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Mahoromatic 3 Digital Maiden Reg". Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  36. ^ "Mahoromatic: Moetto ≠ Kirakira Maid-san". Retrieved 2020-04-15.

Further reading edit

  • Hernandez, Lea. "The Curse of Urusei Yatsura", interview by PULP magazine, vol. 5, no. 8 (August 2001): 24–29. ISSN 1096-0228.
  • Howell, Shon. "The Fabulous Dog and Pony Show: An Interview with Shon Howell". By Ben Dunn. Mangazine, vol. 2, no. 23 (May 1993): 11–18. Shon Howell was the second vice president of Gainax in charge of United States operations (General Products) after Lea Hernandez (the first) quit.
  • Howell, Shon. "The Fabulous Dog and Pony Show". Mangazine, vol. 2, nos. 24 (June 1993), 25 (July 1993), 27 (September 1993), 30 (December 1993), 31 (January 1994), 32 (February 1994). A column further detailing Shon Howell's experiences with Gainax.
  • Leonard, Andrew (April 1995). "Heads Up, Mickey". Wired, issue 3.04. An article on anime, focusing on the history of Gainax.
  • Takeda, Yasuhiro (2002). The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax and the Men Who Created Evangelion. Houston: ADV Manga. ISBN 1-4139-0234-0.

External links edit