Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Studio Gainax

Go To

"['Gainaxy'?] I never know what people mean when they say that. It started out to mean big, bouncy breasts, then became existentialist angst, then became hyper-kinetic psycho-sexual slapstick. What's it mean now?"
"All of that, at once."

Gainax Co., Ltd. is a Japanese anime studio founded in 1984 by Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Hiroyuki Yamaga, Takami Akai, Toshio Okada, Yasuhiro Takeda and Shinji Higuchi. It is best known for producing works such as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Their work provides the origin for terms such as Gainaxing and the Gainax Ending.

Gainax is known for their impressive visuals, gripping storylines, and confusing (but no less engaging) plot points. On a less flattering note, they also had a tendency to run out of money before finishing some of their longer projects, with the last episodes of Gainax series often being lower in quality and taking a lot of creative shortcuts. The most famous example of this are the last two episodes of Evangelion, which mostly consisted of reused clips from previous episodes with different dialogue due to the show's main sponsor leaving the project out of frustration with the production. Thankfully, they seemed to have learned their lesson about production planning and budgeting by the mid-2000s.

A crowd picture for some of the many characters created by Gainax over its lifetime is available.note 

While Gainax has collaborated with a good number of other anime studios on the majority of its projects for years, it shared its closest business relationship with Production I.G, who did quite a lot of work on End of Evangelion and FLCL.

However, Gainax is not what it used to be. During the latter half of the 2000s, the studio began to lose some of its longstanding and most noteworthy talent. In 2006, Anno would depart to form Studio Khara and take the Evangelion IP with him. A few years later in 2011, fellow alumnus Hiroyuki Imaishi would follow suit and establish Studio TRIGGER. Then there's the situation with Gaina (note the lack of an "X"), previously known as Fukushima Gainax: despite being founded by the company in 2015, it soon became a legally-distinct entity that was later bought out in 2018; a sale which included the rights to Gainax properties such as Gunbuster and Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnęamise sequel Uru in Blue. Toss in a number of troubling financial and legal issues, and the end result is an anime studio that was all but dead by the end of the 2010s, now operating out of an apartment. Perhaps most damning, Anno would publicly express severe disappointment towards the conduct of his old employers in an open letter published in 2020, saying the studio had taken several large loans from Studio Khara in the first half of the 2010s, but so far have failed to pay any of them back, and even all but outright stating that he strongly suspected that all that was left of the company was little more than an embezzlement scheme. But whatever may befall Gainax in the 2020s, be it a decisive death or surprise comeback, at least the "Daicon Spirit" lives on through their aforementioned descendant studios.

Studio Gainax has created the following:

    Original Productions 

Daicon Film-era: The period during which the founders were producing hobbyist films for showcasing at fan conventions.

  • Daicon III & IV: Two introductory animated short films for III (1981) and IV (1983), both iterations of a major Science Fiction convention in Japan. These were their first creations, before they had really formed the studio. Due to the truly staggering amounts of shout-outs to both anime and American science fiction in both, plus the latter using Electric Light Orchestra's song "Twilight" and featuring the protagonist in a Playboy Bunny costume (which is copyrighted by Playboy in the US), any release above and beyond 8mm copies sold at the convention and an unauthorized LaserDisc version based on said 8mm copies have been vetoed by pretty much every license holder.
  • Aikoku Sentai Dai-Nippon, a parody of the Super Sentai series. The first of several tokusatsu parodies made by them in the '80s. At this point, they weren't called Gainax yet, but Daicon Film.

Era One: Loosely defined as the period from the studio's official establishment in the mid-80s to the financial troubles of the 90s.

Era Two: The period from the mid-90s to the late 2000s, marked by the studio's high commercial and critical success.

Era Three: The current era, categorized as following the talent exodus of 2011 and plagued with financial and legal trouble.

    Production Assistance 

Studio Gainax and their works provide examples of:

Alternative Title(s): Gainax