Hideaki Anno wants everyone to know that Gainax is no longer associated with the Evangelion franchise. Many media outlets reporting on the December 5 arrest of Gainax president Tomohiro Maki for indecent assault charges against a teenager cited Evangelion as one of the studio’s works. This must have hit one of Anno’s nerves, as he unloaded on his former studio, one he helped co-found, in a blistering op-ed published on Japanese business magazine Diamond Weekly‘s website.
In the op-ed, Anno states that no one involved in the production of Evangelion still works at Gainax. He goes on to clarify that the copyright for Evangelion is now owned by Anno’s current studio, Khara, as the result of a lawsuit filed against Gainax for unpaid royalties.
Anno goes further and lays out his history with Gainax, including his relationship with former president Hiroyuki Yamaga who took a loan of almost $1,000,000 from Anno in 2014 to keep Gainax afloat. Yamaga didn’t repay the money, and he even sold off the rights and Anno’s directorial debut, Gunbuster, to another studio after Anno had made an offer to purchase it and FLCL to help Gainax stay afloat. According to Anno, Gainax still owes Khara money.
This isn’t the first time Anno has had to make a public statement about Gainax’s behavior. In 1999, the studio was caught evading taxes, and Anno had to apologize to TV Toyko, the station airing Evangelion, on behalf of Gainax. This, along with other issues, led Anno to leave Gainax and form Khara in 2007.
It’s not surprising Anno doesn’t want any negative press around himself, his studio, or the Evangelion franchise, especially right now. After an eight-year wait, the fourth and final Rebuild of Evangelion film, Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0, will be releasing June 27, 2020. In the op-ed, Anno asks the media to refrain from using Evangelion as a sample of Gainax’s work in headlines to protect the series from being besmirched by Maki’s behavior.