What is the Gainax Pose?

Studio Gainax, founded in 1984, is one of the most prolific and influential production houses in the anime industry, having been responsible for mid-bending titles and defining the genre as the legendary classic, Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995), FLCL (2000) and gurren lagann (2007).

Animation studios all have their strengths, weaknesses and inclinations. Anime titles produced by this production studio tend to see their characters assert their dominance in an iconic standing pose seen in various personas. So who are Gainax and what exactly is Pose Gainax?


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The birth of a giant

Formed in 1980 as Daicon Film by seven university students: Shinji Higaki, Hiroyuki Yamaga, Yasuhiro Takeda, Toshio Okada, Akai Takami, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and Hideaki Anno. They created their first project for the Daikon III festival in Osaka in 1981, and it was an ambitious short animation featuring a little girl who engages in combat with various monsters, robots, and spaceships from popular fiction to head for a dried daikon radish. , which she then watered. They returned at the following Daikon convention held in 1983, where they did an updated take on their original draft with an even wider scope of characters than before.

This project will be the one that will propel the young production studio to its initial success. In 1985, the studio adopted the name “Gainax” by adding the suffix “-x” to an obscure term from Tottori Prefecture which meant giant. Gainax would go on to produce his first commercial project, the critically acclaimed animated film, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, which came out in 1987 and had a bumpy production run. The production of honesty went on to define Hideaki Anno’s relationship with the production process for the rest of his career.

The Magnum Opus

The series for which the studio became known and continues to be celebrated is the famous mecha anime classic, Neon Genesis Evangelion. It is one of the most influential pieces of fiction of all time and created new directions for sci-fi and mecha in anime. It was Gainax’s biggest commercial success, with the evangelization franchise spanning a promotional manga released in 1994 to spark interest in the upcoming anime, the original television anime released in 1995, as well as various film series, the latest of which is the Rebuilding Evangelion series announced in 2006. Rebuilding Evangelion concluded with a third film in March 2021. The franchise is praised for its rich and complex world and characters, both of which continue to have huge influences on other productions in various other media.

Despite this critical acclaim, the original television anime series was widely criticized for the confusing and convoluted conclusion to the story of the final two episodes, and the ending remains a polarizing discussion in the anime and manga community to this day. The Anime Grand Prize of Animage magazine was awarded to Neon Genesis Evangelion in the three consecutive years between 1996 and 1998, becoming the first anime series to do so. A TV Asahi poll released in 2007 found the series to be the second most liked and beloved anime in Japan. Neon Genesis EvangelionThe success of was unprecedented and earned the production studio ¥1.6 billion between the series’ debut in October 1995 and July 1997, and it remains one of the most defining titles in the mecha genre.

Click, Click, PUT!

One of the reasons Gainax has such an influential touch has to do with the studio’s focus on producing in-house creations, rather than adaptations of existing works. In this regard, Gainax resembles another legendary studio: Manglobe. This led to the refinement of Gainax’s signature stylizations – the famous Gainax plot twist and exaggerated, dramatic, fluid character movement in Gainax productions.

One of the things exhibited by various characters in the anime produced by Gainax is a particular stance that powerful characters take in an expression of complete confidence or an understanding of their absolute dominance. The stance involves the figure standing upright with their feet shoulder-width apart and their arms crossed as they stare ahead with a scowl of determination etched on their face. This superiority performance is known to fans simply as “Gaina Dachi– the “Gainax Pose”; or the “Gainax Stance”, also known to English audiences as the “Gunbuster Pose”.

It is not enough for the character to be standing with his arms crossed. A proper Gainax pose has several important elements, one of which is the aforementioned “scowl of determination”, or any type of imposing gaze from the subject. Another element is the atmosphere of such a scene – Gainax’s poses are notable because they are extremely dramatic in a way that can be understood as one of the main undercurrents of anime, but because they stage.

Therefore, an effective Gainax pose is one performed before an important moment, whether in the context of the series as a whole or individual character development; but they can also be gags. They also usually feature dramatic visual elements, such as sparks, flames, lightning, etc. Despite the name, Gainax’s poses are performed by characters from a plethora of different sources, clearly illustrating the studio’s influence.

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