Twelve Days of Anime is an annual blogging event in which bloggers across the anisphere, starting on December 14th and ceasing on Christmas day, write a blog post each day about an anime-related moment from the past year that they found notable.
Gainax has had a rough time the past decade. First a half of their talent left to form Studio Khara so they could dedicate ten years of their life working on the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy of films, and then a half-decade after that the rest of the talent left to form Studio Trigger; leaving Gainax to be nothing but a shell of it’s former glory with only the less experienced animators and directors to get it afloat. (Or maybe they hired new animators and directors altogehter? Admittadly I’m not too knowledgeable about the details of that.)
Gainax of course still made shows, but nothing quite as good as Gurren Lagaan or Panty & Stocking with Gartbelt. Medaka Box was decent, sure, but pretty cheaply animated so it didn’t give much confidence on Gainax’s actual abilities.
But still, Gainax was one of my favorite anime studios. The people who created the masterpieces which gave Gainax this respect of mine may have left, but I still held out hope that this new staff would do well to maintain the reputation of the Gainax name. “Gainax is dead,” others would say (and still do say); some mournfully while others mockingly, turning their backs on what was once revered to as the Otakings of Japanese animation. But not me. Gainax would never be dead to me. No matter what, they would still live on in my heart.
And so when Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu was announced I kept my hopes up that Gainax would produce something more impressive than Medaka Box. It was a reserved and cautious hope even from me though, but I still hoped nonetheless.
Finally the fated day came and I began to watch C3-bu. We see a Yura riding a cartoonish carriage, staring in wonder in the distance at an equally cartoonish castle. Then Yura wakes up, having been day dreaming; finding herself in a mundane and glum bus. The sense of wonder is quickly regained though as she gets of at her stop and gazes upon her new school, a large sprawling place not too different from the fantastical castle she envisioned before. She wanders around the marble laden place, sightseeing the wondrous place and thanking her parents for allowing her to attend there.
Then, another girl walks up to her, asking if Yura needs help finding the dormitories. To this Yura only fidgets and stands still, unable to think of what to say or do in such a situation; her confidence suddenly shattered as anxiety enables her unable to respond to the other girls question. The girl then find someone else to help, and then leads her away to the dormitories; leaving Yura behind, who still hasn’t said anything, now losing her chance to speak to someone…
And thus I was intrigued by what C3-bu had to offer, and as the rest of the episode developed I became more and more convinced that this would finally be something more worthwhile from Gainax. I was entertained by the survival game action and the C3-bu club’s antics and attempts at recruiting Yura, along with the underlying themes of social ineptness and wanting to fit in.
By the end of the episode, an endless stream of tears flowed through my eyes and down my face, as I was overcome with an immensely euphoric joy; it felt like a relative who I once thought to be missing has finally returned after a few long years. “Gainax is not dead…” I muttered to myself from my computer chair. Ever more loudly I shouted with the utmost passion, “Gainax is not dead! GAINAX IS NOT DEAD!” Proceeding then to frantically gush all over forums and twitter, typing those four words over and over again. This particular moment is what I choose for my first to blog about this year.