Japanese media is reporting that animation studio GoHands has filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court on August 3rd against the entertainment company King Records, a Kodansha-affiliated company, for unpaid work related to the production costs for the now cancelled Tokyo Babylon 2021 TV anime.
According to the complaint, GoHands was contracted by King Records to produce a total of 13 episodes by the end of November of 2020. A total of 314.6 million yen (about US$2.87 million) in production costs were scheduled to be paid in installments between December of last year and August of this year. However, the company claimed that the contract was unilaterally cancelled in January after the first payment. In addition to the remaining 281.6 million yen, GoHands is demanding payment of an additional 171.82 million yen (about US$1.57 million) for episodes 14 through 21, which it had agreed to produce with King Records, although no formal contract had been signed.
The Tokyo Babylon 2021 TV anime had its broadcast cancelled in March of 2021 after it was pointed out on the Internet that the character designs drawn by GoHands and released in advance last November resembled the costumes of a Korean idol group and a doll costume from doll company Volks. The production committee, made up of King Records and other companies, announced in December that there had been some plagiarism.
GoHands claims that King Records had asked them to revise the design even after the incident, and that they had agreed to do so and were proceeding with the work for the broadcast, but King Records‘ policy changed and they refused to pay the rest. According to Japanese newspaper Asahi, when contacted, King Records said, “We have not received the complaint, so we will refrain from commenting on it.”
According to Tomonori Sugo, an attorney representing GoHands, it is widely used in the production of anime to use real designs as references, but the company compares the drawings with those used as references to check whether there are any problems under copyright law. This time, however, the person in charge of this task at GoHands was suddenly absent due to an illness, and the confirmation was not done sufficiently.
Mr. Sugo said, “It is true that there was a mistake, and I apologize to the fans. However, we had just received the request and were working on the correction. We are a much smaller company than King Records, and we are suffering a very big financial blow,” he explained.
This has taken much bigger proportions. Let’s watch and see how this goes…
We also learn for the first time that there were plans to produce another set of 8 episodes for a possible season 2.
May justice prevail.