Tomohiro Maki, president of animation production company Gainax, was arrested on charges of obscenity. He’s accused of “semi-compulsory obscenity” and taking photos of a girl who was trying to break into the voice actor profession. The girl was reported as “in her teens,” though the actual age was not released.
According to the report by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, in February of this year, Mr. Maki (age 50) took photos of her on four occasions, saying that he was “training her to take photos like a celebrity.” It was reported he also massaged her legs, saying, “Your legs are bloated, so I’ll massage them.”
In response to the police inquiry, Mr. Maki replied, “I was asked by the subject to take the pictures, and I did so.” The photos were taken in the company’s “female dormitory” used for raising voice actor talent and reported included nude photos.
Tomohiro Maki has been a member of Gainax for many years and was involved with the creation of 1995’s hit Neon Genesis Evangelion. Formerly a member of the board of the company, he assumed the role of president in October of this year.
Is this the end of an era? The once-great Gainax has produced some of the most legendary works of animation of the past 30 years, including Wings of Honneamise, Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, Nadia of the Mysterious Seas, Evangelion and FLCL.
But the company lost their soul with the departure of Eva director Hideaki Anno, who took his Evangelion IP and formed a new production company called Khara in 2006, and again in 2011 when Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiro Otsuka left the company to form Trigger. The “soul” of the two traditions of Gainax lives on in these two companies.
This isn’t the first legal trouble for Gainax. After the success of Evangelion, the company was charged with tax evasion. There’s an extensive interview with Michael House, the American employee of the company at the time, for any who are interested in the details.
A check of the Gainax official website revealed more bad news: the server is offline.
In what has to be the most ironic timing of my career as a blogger, this news hit as I was preparing to write a post that today, December 4, is the canon 18th birthday of iconic character Asuka Langley Sohryu.