The Original Studio Behind Evangelion Is Filing for Bankruptcy

The Original Studio Behind Evangelion Is Filing for Bankruptcy

Gainax is one of the most legendary names in anime—the studio born from Hideaki Anno’s collaboration with his fellow university students on the famous Daicon III short film that went on to spearhead legendary works like Gunbuster, FLCL, Gurren Lagann, and, of course, Neon Genesis Evangelion. But for many years, it’s mostly been that: a name, a shell of its former self due to years of financial mismanagement. Now, it’s preparing to vanish into the ether entirely.

Anime News Network reports that Gainax has formally announced that it has filed for bankruptcy in Japan, almost 40 years after the studio—the original architects of which have gone on to spawn other iconic anime studios, like Anno’s own Studio Khara, as well as Studio Trigger—was originally founded. With the announcement, Khara, which has sued Gainax several times in recent years over unpaid creditor debts, has formally taken over the Gainax trademark in the process. The studio confirmed in its own statement acknowledging the bankruptcy notice that as the new manager of Gainax’s trademark, it will begin attempting to distribute the remaining intellectual property rights Gainax held back to suitable companies and individual creators, in order to “ensure that creators, original authors, and writers can continue to manage and produce their works.”

According to ANN, both Gainax and Khara’s statements detail a long history of financial mismanagement at the studio, a situation that worsened around 2012 due to the fallout of a failed restaurant and the launch of a CG studio, as well as the establishment of several smaller regional affiliates that later cut ties with Gainax, hampering the studio’s ability to produce new anime. Furthermore, the statements add that studio head Tomohiro Maki transferred a significant number of shares in the company to an unknown outside figure in 2018—a year before Maki himself was arrested for unrelated indecent acts, allegedly taking lewd photos of, and inappropriately touching, a young voice actress. Maki was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

With new management brought in in 2020, alongside Khara as a creditor (which, at the time, was continuing to work on the Evangelion rebuild movie series), to explore Gainax’s financial situation, even further mismanagement was discovered, including defaulted loans and the trading of IP rights without the permission of the original rights holders. Although Khara and Gainax have worked together in the four years since to attempt to manage its remaining rights and settle its debts, Gainax was sued by collectors in May 2024, leading to the conclusion that the studio could no longer afford to sustain itself.

It’s a bizarre end to one of the most legendary and influential animation studios in Japanese history—even if much of its legacy and talent has now moved on to other studios like the aforementioned Khara and Trigger. But now, it seems, what little remained of Gainax is now going to vanish almost entirely, too.

Need more entertainment? Pedestrian Television has launched on 9Now where you can watch iconic TV series like Just Shoot Me, cult classic movies like Fright Night, and homegrown content like Eternal Family. Watch all that and more for free, 24/7 on 9Now