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Creator / Studio Gainax

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"['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."

Studio Gainax 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, the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise, FLCL, and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Their work provides the origin for terms such as Gainaxing and the Gainax Ending.

Gainax is known for impressive visuals, gripping storylines, confusing plot points, and running out of money before the series is finished. This last tendency has been a particular problem in the past; the last episodes of Gainax series tend to be lower in quality and take a lot of shortcuts. The last two episodes of Evangelion were produced when the studio had been cut off by the main sponsor, and mostly reused clips from previous episodes with different dialogue. Still shots are frequent as well. The final episode of Aim For The Top! (also known as GunBuster) is due to the black and white presentation often thrown into this bin, a common misconception as the black and white animation was actually more expensive. Thankfully, they seemed to have learned their lesson by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (see below).


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

As a small note, they have a good relationship with Production I.G, who did quite a lot of work on End of Evangelion and FLCL. The director of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and one episode of FLCL also worked with Production I.G on Dead Leaves.

However, Gainax is not what it used to be. Most of their remaining staff nowadays has left to some combination of Studio Trigger, Studio Khara, Production I.G, and Cloverworks (former A-1 Pictures subdivision). Others have been shuttled off to Gainax of Fukushima with then became similarly-named but legally distinct Gaina (mostly notable at this point for owning the rights to Aim For The Top! and Uru in Blue) and relocated to Koganei, Tokio. The studio is effectively all but dead as of late 2018, unfortunately, but the so-called "Daicon Spirit" lives on through several of their aforementioned descendant studios.


Studio Gainax has created the following:

Daicon Film era (pre Gainax).

  • Two original animated introductory films for Daicon III and Daicon IV, 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 shoutouts 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 a Laserdisc version in the early '80s have been vetoed by pretty much every license holder.

Pre-Evangelion Gainax

  • Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, Gainax's first feature film. Like the Daicon shorts, the short pilot version of this was animated and shot on 8mm film in Hiroyuki Yamaga's garage.
  • Top wo Nerae! (Aim for the Top!), a.k.a. GunBuster- Produced in cooperation with Studio Fantasia.
    • There is also a sequel - Top wo Nerae 2! (a.k.a. DieBuster or GunBuster 2) which was released 16 years after the original.
  • Appleseed - The original 1988 OVA. Produced in cooperation with AIC.
  • Sakyo Komatsu's Animation Theater - Produced in cooperation with AIC.
  • Beat Shot!!, a one shot OVA based on a Manga of the same name. Also produced in cooperation with AIC.
  • Circuit no Ohkami II: Modena no Tsurugi
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, animation co-produced with Group TAC and Korean studio Sei Young.
  • The Princess Maker videogame series, which had the player take responsibility for raising an orphaned girl to adulthood.
    • The anime Petite Princess Yucie was an adaptation of several of the games in the series. Also produced in cooperation with AIC.
    • Gainax also released variations of the game focused around Evangelion characters, such as The Rei Ayanami/Shinji Ikari Raising Project.
  • Otaku no Video, a mockumentary-style look at otaku in Japan interspersed with an animated story about the life of one budding Otaking (Otaku King), whose company is a parody of Gainax itself.
    • Otaking is a real person — Toshio Okada, one of the Gainax founders, who left the studio in The '90s for academia and now is a moderately renowned anime scholar (and an epic troll to boot).
  • Route 20 - Galactic Airport: An unfinished movie based on a Manga of the same name. Originally set for 1993, the only thing ever released was a three minute trailer.

Golden Age Gainax

Post-Trigger Gainax

The company has also done minor work in the following:

Studio Gainax and their works provide examples of:


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