Khara Distances Itself From Gainax After Studio Representative Director's Arrest
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Anime Studio Khara issued a statement on its official website in response to Gainax representative director Tomohiro Maki's arrest on Thursday. The studio noted that some news reports about the arrest referenced Neon Genesis Evangelion and Evangelion franchise works. Khara said, "There is no truth to [Maki's] involvement in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Evangelion franchise works, and our company has absolutely no connection to him."
Khara further stated that Evangelion creator and Khara founder Hideaki Anno, as well as Khara board member and Evangelion anime director Kazuya Tsurumaki "have absolutely no acquaintance or relationship" with Maki. The statement also emphasized that Khara, Anno, and Tsurumaki have no business relationship with Gainax, and Gainax holds no rights related to the Evangelion franchise.
Khara added that it has an ongoing legal dispute with Gainax over loan repayment. Khara had filed a lawsuit against Gainax in December 2016, and a judge ordered Gainax to pay Khara 100 million yen (about US$899,000) in June 2017.
Khara called the references to Evangelion in news reports about Maki "very regrettable" and stated that it "strongly objects" to them. Khara asked news agencies to refrain from similar remarks going forward. Khara is considering taking legal action if such media references continue, potentially causing damage to the studio's brand value and spreading libel against its creators.
Khara confirmed that Maki's arrest will have no bearing on the production or release of Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 (Shin Evangelion Gekijō-ban :||), its new Evangelion film, in June 2020. The studio ended its statement by offering sympathy to the woman that Maki allegedly assaulted and wishing for her swift recovery.
In addition, anime industry members with established relationships with Gainax said on Twitter on Thursday that they are unfamiliar with Maki. Tadashi Hiramatsu (chief animation director for Yuri!!! on Ice, His and Her Circumstances) said that, though Maki is representative director of Gainax, he does not know him. He cast doubt on Maki's prominence in the anime industry. Keisuke Kojima, who formerly worked as an in-betweener for Gainax, said that he does not recognize Maki's name at all.
Police arrested Maki on Thursday on the charge of quasi-forcible indecency. Maki allegedly committed indecent acts on an aspiring voice actress. The arrest report stated that Maki allegedly sexually harassed the woman, then in her late teens, at Gainax's girls' dormitory in February. Maki reportedly photographed the woman naked and inappropriately touched her. Maki has denied the claims.