Legendary Anime Studio Behind Neon Genesis Evangelion Files for Bankruptcy

Legendary Anime Studio Behind Neon Genesis Evangelion Files for Bankruptcy

It’s not every day that you wake up to find a company with a legacy like anime studio Gainax is shutting its doors. The prolific studio behind works like FLCL, Gurren Lagann, and the legendary Neon Genesis Evangelion has been struggling financially for several years. On June 7, the company announced it’s filing for bankruptcy and closing down.

Despite the prestige associated with the studio, Gainax has been dealing with financial woes throughout its nearly 40-year history. As IGN lays out, the studio had been marred by production issues, tax fraud in the ‘90s, and multiple lawsuits —including some involving Studio Khara, which was founded by Gainax founder and Evangelion director Hideaki Anno. All of these issues snowballed over the decades until finally a debt collection company filed a lawsuit against Gainax this May, leading to a bankruptcy filing on May 29. A statement on the company’s official website explains that the company had racked up a lot of debt, especially in the years since 2012. The studio lays the blame at the feet of company management, who operated the company as if it were their private property, according to Automaton’s translation.

The studio is closing, but the Gainax trademark has been transferred to Studio Khara. That company has released its own statement on its website, explaining that while Anno left the company in 2007 and became a shareholder at Gainax, attempts by him and others to correct the studio’s poor management could not right the ship given its decades of debt. Studio Khara will work to transfer IP rights to companies and creatives. The statement signs off expressing regret that Gainax’s work has ended on this note.

It is a shame that Gainax came crashing down like this, and even as someone who has watched all of Neon Genesis Evangelion and its movies, I didn’t realize just how fraught the studio’s situation had been over the years until I saw the bankruptcy news. Just another reminder that even companies that create some of the most beloved works in their medium can be a trainwreck internally. What a disaster.

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