The 2nd Dimension

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Takami Akai pulls an Imus

Takami Akai— one of the founding members of Studio Gainax — recently resigned from the studio after a harsh exchange of words with some critics of his latest anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann on the 2channel online forum. His name has even been removed from Gurren anime starting with the fifth episode.

According to the article:

The controversy started with the premiere of Gurren Lagann on April 1. After a few members of the 2channel forums criticized the first episode, a Gainax production staffer identified as Keiko Mimori posted an entry in her journal on mixi, a social networking site. According to her April 4 journal entry under the name Kani@Drill Tamashii ("Crab@Drill Soul"), she wanted to survey the reaction to the series premiere. She found a 2channel thread that said the first episode of Gurren Lagann had "C-level animation" and wrote she could not understand the complaints. She then wrote that she "despises 2channel from the bottom of [her] heart" and these "stupid, stupid, disgusting otaku should die!!" Akai, under the name Magi no Suke, responded that personally reading the comments on 2channel was "like putting [his] face next to an anus and breathing deeply."

On April 22, episode 4 of Gurren Lagann aired with pronounced artistic differences from the previous three episodes. Negative reactions filled 2channel's anime boards, the official Gainax blog, and the BBS of that episode's new animation director and storyboarder, Osamu Kobayashi. This led Mimori to post in the mixi journal under the Kani@Drill Tamashii alias that the animation quality had not dropped and that only the characters' appearances and faces changed. She then said that the staffers shouldn't listen to comments from amateurs who don't know better, but only those from anime industry people.

Members of 2channel discovered this later comment on mixi, but their reaction wouldn't develop into a full uproar until after Mimori and Akai's earlier comments from April 4 were discovered. This and the resulting surge in negative responses led to the removal of comments and eventually even main site content from the sites of Mimori, Akai, and Akai's private company Nine Lives. Finally, on April 27, Gainax posted Akai's open letter announcing his resignation, and Mimori and Akai posted additional statements of regret on mixi.

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