Formed by a small group of university students in the early 1980s, Studio Gainax is now one of the most adventurous and widely esteemed anime companies on the scene. Although the company’s immense popularity is a factor that of itself could justify a study of its members and their diverse creations, the studio is even more intriguing for its unique approach to animation. Formal experimentation, genre-straddling, self-reflexivity, unpredictable plot twists, a gourmet palate for stylishness, proverbially controversial endings, and a singularly iconoclastic world view are some of the hallmarks of Gainax’s output.This documentation of the studio’s achievements provides a critical overview of both the company and its prolific catalog of films. It begins by detailing Gainax’s rise to success, outlining the most salient aspects of the company’s professional development and assessing the studio’s distinctive aesthetic vision. Next follow in-depth examinations of particular Gainax titles that best represent the company’s overall work, including television series such as “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, and feature films such as “Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise” and “Gunbuster vs. Diebuster”. Each chapter highlights the specific contribution made by a production to the progressive evolution of the company’s mission. A final chapter offers a panoramic recapitulation of Gainax’s impact on the world of anime, with a focus on the studio’s aesthetic and ethical priorities.
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