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Anime firm of legendary director Anno suing former company for 100 million yen

Hideaki Anno (Mainichi)

Anime production firm Khara Inc., run by Hideaki Anno, director of "Neon Genesis Evangelion" anime and the recent live action smash hit "Shin Godzilla" (Godzilla Resurgence), has filed suit against fellow animation company Gainax Co. for the repayment of a loan of some 100 million yen, it has been learned.

    The suit, filed with the Tokyo District Court's Tachikawa branch, was likely prompted by Gainax's difficulties raising new capital as it attempts to overcome financial difficulties. Anno once worked at Gainax, which was also involved in the production of the "Evangelion" anime.

    Gainax President Hiroyuki Yamaga and Anno have been friends since university, and Anno helped found the company in 1984. The two continued to collaborate after Anno left Gainax in 2007.

    According to the filed lawsuit and other sources, the two companies signed a contract stating that a set royalty would be paid by Gainax to Khara from proceeds earned by Gainax productions that Anno had been involved in. Gainax's liabilities to Khara swelled, while Khara also lent Gainax a total of some 100 million yen. Yamaga's firm fell behind on its debt payments, triggering the Khara suit calling for repayment of the some 100 million yen still outstanding.

    A Gainax representative declined to comment because the "dispute is ongoing," while an attorney representing Khara told the Mainichi Shimbun, "I must refrain from commenting in any detail."

    According to a credit research firm, Gainax hasn't had a major hit since the success of "Evangelion" in the 1990s, and the firm's business performance is slumping. It reported income of some 240 million yen for the business term ending in July 2016 -- just 10 percent of the figure five years ago -- and has debts exceeding 100 million yen.

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