Kinoshita Acquires Fukushima Gainax, Moves Studio to Tokyo Under New Name

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Separate new company takes over Fukushima museum, Fukushima events

Animation studio Fukushima Gainax and Kinoshita Group Holdings announced on Monday that Kinoshita Group Holdings acquired 100% of Fukushima Gainax's stock on July 26 — thus making Fukushima Gainax a wholly owned subsidiary under Kinoshita Group Holdings. Fukushima Gainax changed its name to Gaina on August 9, and relocated its headquarters to Koganei, Tokyo. Yoshinori Asao remains the company's representative director and president, and Naoya Kinoshita is now the company's board chairperson.

In addition, Gaina transferred control of its Fukushima Sakura Yūgakusha animation museum to a separate, new company named Fukushima Gaina, which was established on August 8. Fukushima Gaina is functionally separate from the Tokyo-based Gaina company, even though Asao and Kinoshita are the president and board chairperson, respectively, of both companies. Fukushima Gaina is still based in Tamura District in Fukushima north of Tokyo, and it also manages events in the local Fukushima area.

Kinoshita plans to make its Tokyo-based Gaina subsidiary a pillar of its new anime production efforts in order to expand its business profile. Many other anime studios and animators are located in western Tokyo at or near Koganei. Fukushima Gainax had already established a Tokyo studio in Koganei in September 2016, before moving its headquarters to Koganei under its new Gaina name this month.

The original Gainax animation studio founded the Fukushima Gainax studio and its accompanying museum in 2015. Fukushima locals hoped that the museum and studio would draw tourists from abroad as well as from within Japan, and would help revive Fukushima tourism in the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The new studio and museum made use of a closed junior high school building.

While Fukushima Gainax carried its former parent company's name, the original Gainax studio and Fukushima Gainax separated their capital ties and became independent companies in December 2015. Fukushima Gainax announced its Flying Babies anime project in November 2016 that is set in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. The studio also debuted its "Miharu no Arumiigo" online series and its "Omoi no Kakera" (Fragments of Feelings) animated short to promote Fukushima in 2016.

Fukushima Gainax debuted its "Kumo no Kanata" short in March 2017. The company most recently worked on The Piano Forest anime (pictured above left), which premiered in April. The anime will get a second season in January.

Sources: Kinoshita Group Holdings website, Fukushima Gainax website, Animation Business Journal (Tadashi Sudo)

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