|Founded||December 24, 1984|
|Headquarters||Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan|
|Key people||Hiroyuki Yamaga (President)|
Neon Genesis Evangelion
This Ugly Yet Beautiful World
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
Petite Princess Yucie
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
Gainax Company, Limited (株式会社ガイナックス Kabushiki-gaisha Gainakkusu ) is a Japanese anime studio famous for productions such as Gunbuster, The Wings of Honneamise, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, FLCL, Gurren Lagann and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, which have gone on to critical acclaim and commercial success, as well as for their association with award-winning anime director and studio co-founder Hideaki Anno. The company is headquartered in Koganei, Tokyo.
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.
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 yen or about US$200,000). The studio changed its name to Gainax in 1985, basing the term "Gainax" on an obscure Tottori Prefecture term for "giant", with the English suffix -x added because it sounded "good and was international".
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 later in March 1992, before abandoning it for lack of funds).
The next release, the 1988 OVA Gunbuster, was a commercial success 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).
In 1995, Gainax produced perhaps their best known series, the commercially successful and critically acclaimed 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 yen worth of income (thereby failing to pay 560 million yen 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 withdraw 90% of the sums from the other company's accounts as cash and store it in safe deposit boxes (leaving 10% as a reward for the other company's assistance).
Gainax president Takeshi Sawamura and tax accountant Yoshikatsu Iwasaki were arrested on July 13, 1999 and later jailed for accounting fraud. 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."
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 Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007) and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (2010).
In August 2011, Gainax was sued by A.D. Vision, who claimed Gainax's refusal to accept an option payment for the perpetual live-action rights to Evangelion was a breach of contact and had resulted in losing an opportunity to produce the film with a major studio. A.D. Vision has asked to be awarded the live-action rights to Evangelion and any accruing legal fees.
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.
|Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise||1987||Hiroyuki Yamaga|
|Evangelion: Death and Rebirth||1997||Hideaki Anno
|The End of Evangelion||1997||Hideaki Anno
|Revival of Evangelion||1999||Hideaki Anno||Production I.G|
|Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door||2001||Shinichirō Watanabe||Gainax credited as outside animation team|
|Cutie Honey||2004||Hideaki Anno||Opening animation|
|Gunbuster vs. Diebuster||2006||Hideaki Anno
|Rebuild of Evangelion
(Four-part movie series)
|Produced by Anno's Studio Khara.
Gainax collaborated in the project.
|Gekijōban Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
(Two-part movie series)
OVAs and ONAs
||1988||Kazuyoshi Katayama||Bandai Visual|
|Top o Nerae! Gunbuster
("Aim for the Top! Gunbuster")
|Beat Shot||1989||Takashi Akimoto|
|Circuit no Ohkami 2 Modena no Tsurugi||1990||Yoshihide Kuriyama|
|Blazing Transfer Student||1991||Katsuhiko Nishijima|
|Money Wars||1991||Yusaku Saotome|
|Otaku no Video||1991||Takeshi Mori|
|Casshan: Robot Hunter||1993||Hiroyuki Fukushima||Tatsunoko (production)||Episode 4 only|
|Debutante Detective Corps||1996||Studio 4°C/FAI|
|FLCL||2000||Kazuya Tsurumaki||Production I.G|
|Anime Tenchou||2002||Hiroyuki Imaishi|
|Re: Cutie Honey||2004||Hideaki Anno||Toei Animation|
(Top o Nerae 2! or "Aim for the Top 2!")
|Wish Upon the Pleiades||2011||Shouji Saeki|
Daicon tokusatsu fan films
As Daicon Films, Gainax made a series of notable tokusatsu fan film shorts in the 1980s, usually parodies of monster movies and superhero shows, which received favorable media coverage:
|Patriotic Squadron Dai-Nippon (愛国戦隊大日本 Aikoku Sentai Dai-Nippon )||1982||Parody of the popular Super Sentai shows 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 replaced with a giant Hideaki Anno in a vinyl Ultraman trick-or-treat outfit and glasses.|
|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.|
|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)|
Gainax has also teamed with other groups to create various works, such as a 1987 promotional video for the song "Marionette" by Boøwy and the 2006 Momoko-based "Gainax Girls" fashion dolls created in collaboration with a Japanese fashion doll. Gainax also collaborated with Game Arts in 1992, resulting in the video game Alisia Dragoon.
Gainax has also produced a number of computer games, including a strip mahjong game featuring Evangelion characters and its most famous, the Princess Maker series (later adapted as Puchi Puri Yūshi).
Relationship to fan community
Since Gainax originated as a group of fans, it has maintained ties to the general otaku community, allowing dōjinshi of its work, fan-made action figures, promoting series like Evangelion at private festivals, and so on.
- "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", Issue 3.04 - Apr 1995, Wired Magazine
- The studio's works have garnered them Animage's coveted Anime Grand Prix award over ten times since 1990.
- Evangelion has reportedly grossed over 150 billion yen, or approximately 1.2 billion USD . In a discussion at the 2006 Tekkoshocon, Matt Greenfield claimed Evangelion has grossed over 2 billion USD ; Takeda 2002 reiterates that "It sold record numbers of laserdiscs in Japan, and the DVD is still selling well today." (pg 166).
- "会社概要." Gainax. Retrieved on February 26, 2010.
- Asahi Shimbun/ASAHI EVENING NEWS. November 13, 1998. "JAPAN- Animator hit for tax evasion" Pg. News.
- Takami Akai is from Tottori and suggested it.
- " "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"
- Electronic Brain Academy Scenario 1 (released November 1990) 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
- "Anime News Service - July 1999 Anime News: President Of Gainax Arrested". Yomiuri Shimbun. 1999-07-13. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- , 
- pg 170, Takeda 2002
- "A.D. Vision, Inc. sues Gainax Co., Ltd. over live-action Evangelion movie agreement". Crunchyroll. August 12, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
- "Gainax, Nobuhiro Yamashita Create Live-Action TV Show EA's Rock". Anime News Network. February 23, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- "Gainax Makes Blue Uru Film with Honneamise Yamaga, Sadamoto". Anime News Network. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Takeda 2002.
- Takeda 2002
- Momoko Doll as Gainax Girls
- Neon Genesis Evangelion - Eva and Good Friends The Stripping Project!
- "The creation of a sexy Rei is in fact legal because anime production studio Gainax Co. approves fan-made production under certain conditions. Normally, anime copyright owners do not grant individuals approval to use their characters. But Gainax permits fans to make and sell up to 200 action figures a year per project. Gainax receives some 50 applications every year for fan production. The company believes permitting these products 'helps to prevent undesirable alterations and to maintain the characters' popularity', an official at the company's rights planning department said." The Nikkei Weekly (Japan) December 17, 2007 Monday, "Hostile responses not enough in battles with infringers"
- Takeda, Yasuhiro; Yu Sugitani, Yasuhiro Kamimura, Takayoshi Miwa; translated by Javier Lopez, Jack Wiedrick, Brendan Frayne, Kay Bertrand, Gina Koerner, Hiroaki Fukuda, and Sheridan Jacobs (2002, 2005). The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax and the Men Who Created Evangelion. Houston: ADV Manga. ISBN 1-4139-0234-0.
- 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. "Heads Up, Mickey". Wired, issue 3.04, April 1995. An article on anime, focusing on the history of Gainax.
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