From Academic Kids

Gainax (ガイナックス) (pronounced 'guy-nax') is a Japanese anime studio most famous for the television series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Gainax is known for its commitment to experimental anime and twisting the conventions of typical anime genres. At the same time, Gainax has become infamous for some significant production and budget problems for several notable series, and sometimes had to rely heavily on limited animation. Gainax also has a strong, lingering merchandise force behind many of its series, most famously Evangelion, despite that series having ended nearly a decade ago.

In American fandom, Gainax popularized the term and usage of fanservice, and unusually precise animation of a woman's chest bouncing became known as "the Gainax bounce" or "gainaxing".

Although until Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gainax typically worked on in-house stories, the company has increasingly been adapting existing manga, like KareKano and Mahoromatic, into anime shows. Gainax is also known for putting references of past series into new ones, and thus been typified as an "otaku's company".

  • After a running gag where scenes were depicted in manga form on-screen, FLCL's characters make a tongue-in-cheek remark about the use of stills in animation (something for which Gainax had become notorious) being a cheap and annoying budget saving device.
  • Several Kare Kano animated sequences and clothing designs (the short of Miyazawa in Asuka's yellow dress) are remarkably similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion, as well as a handful of more overt references.
  • Fans note the unusally strong similarity of character designs from Nadia and Neon Genesis Evangelion, although this may simply be an effect of having the same designer.
  • Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi contains dozens references to anime, including Gainax. The third episode features a giant robot "suit up" sequence using musical identical to the EVA unit launching sequence in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • FLCL features one of the leads dressing as the Daicon Bunny (see below).


The studio was formed in the early 1980s as Daicon Film by university students Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Takami Akai, and Shinji Higuchi. Their first project was to make an animated short for the 20th Annual Japan National SF Convention, also known as Daicon III, held in 1981 in Osaka, Japan. The short is about a little girl who fights all sorts of monsters, robots, and spaceships from earlier science fiction TV shows (including Ultraman, Space Battleship Yamato, Star Trek, Star Wars, Godzilla, Genesis Climber Mospeada, and many others) until she finally reaches a desert plain and pours a glass of water on a daikon radish, which immediately grows into a huge spaceship and beams her aboard. While this animated short was ambitious, its animation quality was rough and low-quality.

The group made a much bigger splash at the 22nd Annual Japan National SF Convention, Daicon IV, in 1983. The short they produced for this convention started with a recap of the original short, showing highlights of the little girl's adventures with much better animation quality; then it showed the girl all grown up: wearing a Playboy bunny suit, fighting an even wider selection of creatures from all sorts of science fiction and fantasy movies and novels (appearances include Darth Vader, an Alien, a Macross Valkyrie, a Pern dragon, Aslan, a Klingon battle cruiser, Spider-Man, and a pan across a vast array of hundreds of other characters) as she surfs through the sky on the sword Excalibur. The action was set to the song Twilight from the group Electric Light Orchestra. This short firmly established Daicon Film as a talented new anime studio. The studio changed its name to Gainax in 1985.

The mascot for Studio Gainax is an SD Dr. Ritsuko Akagi.


Gainax works include (year given is that of first broadcast, theatre showing, or publishing):

Gainax has also produced a number of computer games, most recently a strip mahjong game featuring Evangelion characters, and its most famous game Princess Maker, which was later adapted as Puchi Puri Yūshi.

Daicon Tokusatsu Fan Films

As Daicon Films, Gainax was also notable for making a series of tokusatsu fan film shorts in the 1980s, usually parodies of monster movies and superhero shows, which have gotten lots of favorable media coverage. These productions included:

  • Patriotic Task Force Dai-Nippon (愛国戦隊 大日本 - Aikoku Sentai Dai-Nippon) (1982) - A parody of the popular Super Sentai shows, which is also a satire of the Russo-Japanese War. The title team is based on Japanese culture (of course), their giant robot is based on a shogun, and the villains are Russians (who look more like vikings), who confront our heroes with an impressive-looking giant shark mecha monster. Shinji Higuchi worked on the special effects.
  • Swift Hero Noutenki (快傑のーてんき - Kaiketsu Nōtenki) (1982) - A parody of Shotaro Ishinomori's Kaiketsu Zubat, and the name of the hero's alter-ego (Ken Hayakawa) is the same, but the hero wears a sillier costume! Daicon/Gainax producer Yasuhiro Takeda played Ken Hayakawa.
  • Return of Ultraman (帰ってきたウルトラマン - Kaettekita Urutoraman) (1983) - A same-title parody of Return of Ultraman, with some impressive special effects, even for a low budget. The usual Ultraman derring-do ensues, only replace New Ultraman/Ultraman Jack with a giant Hideaki Anno in a vinyl Ultraman trick-or-treat outfit and glasses! Anno directed while Takami Akai directed the special effects.
  • The Eight-Headed Serpent of Yamato Strikes Back (八岐之大蛇の逆襲 - Yamata no Orochi no Gyakushū) (1985) - Daicon's epic 72-minute sendup of daikaiju (giant monster) movies, with special effects by Shinji Higuchi. This was the most heavily promoted of their short films.

External links

ca:Gainax de:GAINAX es:Gainax fr:Studio Gainax ja:ガイナックス pl:Gainax ru:GAINAX sv:Studio Gainax th:สตูดิโอไกแน็กซ์ zh:GAINAX


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