Gonzo Plans Ero-Anime to Avert Bankruptcy?


An animator with insider knowledge reports that troubled anime studio Gonzo is considering turning to ero-anime (as in hentai, rather than merely ecchi) to rescue itself, with sacking a quarter of its staff and reducing anime output by half apparently not sufficient to restore it to profitability.

The animator revealed the plan on his Mixi diary, apparently based on his conversation with a Gonzo employee:


Apparently, there are even problems paying employees? We also hear:

“If it’s Gonzo doing an ero-anime then the quality could be pretty good, right?”

“Only the worst, most useless staff are left…”

So a Gonzo produced H-anime may not be as great as one might hope.

It must be noted that this is otherwise unconfirmed, and so should be taken sceptically.

Observers point out that ero-anime titles such as eroge-adapted “Sora no Iro, Mizuiro”, with two OVA volumes, look to have strong sales, with those titles looking to manage some 20,000 in total.

In comparison, Gonzo has only two titles to have broken through the critical 10,000 copies sold milestone, those being Vandread and Strike Witches. Thus Gonzo might be lured into creating adult titles, which is considered something of a last resort in the industry.

Their other titles have managed only moderate sales of 5,000-7,500, and some have done much worse.

Below you can see the rather unimpressive sales data for Gonzo’s top sellers, showing week 1 sales for various first volume DVD releases (first number is the rank at the time, followed by first week sales and weekly period sales, with the number of weeks after):

12 *8,720 12,318 *3 ストライクウィッチーズ 1 / Strike Witches 1 LE
*8 *9,764 11,906 **2 ヴァンドレッド 1 / Vandread 1
16 *6,601 *6,601 **1 ラストエグザイル 1 / Last Exile 1 LE
*7 *6,124 *8,029 **2 ヴァンドレッド the second stage 1 / Vandread II 1
35 *5,092 *6,606 **2 ロザリオとバンパイア 1 / Rosario+Vampire
20 *3,423 *7,403 **2 ゲートキーパーズ 1  / Gatekeepers 1
19 *5,667 *6,992 **2 キディ・グレイド 1  / Kiddy Grade 1
17 *4,528 *6,376 **2 HELLSING 1
24 *4,568 *5,990 **2 最終兵器彼女 1 / Saishuuheiki Kanojo 1
21 *3,390 *5,558 **2 フルメタル・パニック! 1 / Full Metal Panic 1
29 *4,332 *4,332 **1 クロノクルセイド 1  / Chronocrusade 1
90 *3,998 *3,998 **1 BLACK CAT 1
52 *3,821 *3,821 **1 瀬戸の花嫁 1 / Seto no Hanayome 1
57 *2,759 *3,773 **2 ドルアーガの塔 ~the Aegis of URUK~ 1 / Druaga 1
53 *3,538 *3,538 **1 ウィッチブレイド 1  / Witchblade 1
50 *3,074 *3,074 **1 超重神グラヴィオンツヴァイ 1 / Gravion Zwei 1
64 *2,732 *2,732 **1 巌窟王 1 / Gankutsuou 1
67 *2,722 *2,722 **1 GANTZ 1
74 *1,978 *1,978 **1 風のスティグマ 1 / Kaze no Stigma 1
94 *1,802 *1,802 **1 ガドガード 1 / Gad Guard 1
84 *1,668 *1,668 **1 超重神グラヴィオン 1 / Gravion 1
64 *1,542 *1,542 **1 SAMURAI7 1
31 *1,508 *1,508 **1 SAMURAI GIRL Real Bout High School 1
73 *1,374 *1,374 **1 月面兎兵器ミーナ 1 / Getsumento Heiki Mina
79 *1,278 *1,278 **1 ブラスレイター 1 / Blassreiter 1

You can follow a good collation of sources here.

Perhaps they should try for a Strike Witches ero-anime? Whatever they try, Gonzo appears to be in truly dire straits…

Leave a Comment


  • I really dont think that they will make a Strike Witches ero a second season of the anime would be much more profitable imo. If they end up going ero they will probably make an entire new H-series, not just make ero versions of their current anime lineup

  • LOL!
    Just imagining here…
    Poor decent voice actors will have to dub non-decent hentai anime if Strike Witches becomes ero…
    Gonzo indeed needs to sort things out properly.
    Think logically and positively in any ways.
    Can’t say anymore but I really wanna have a Strike Witches second season.
    And if they should make an ero out of it, make it a separate series to not affect the main plot of the story. But that’s just a thought though. *grins*

  • 2008
    * October – Rosario + Vampire Capu2,[3] Linebarrels of Iron
    * July – Strike Witches
    * April – The Tower of Druaga: the Aegis of Uruk, Special A, Blassreiter
    * January – Rosario + Vampire[4]

    * October – Dragonaut -The Resonance-
    * July – The Five Killers[5] (in USA)
    * April – Romeo x Juliet, Bokurano, Kaze no Stigma, & Seto no Hanayome (With AIC)
    * March – Tenshi Sairin (Burst Angel: Infinity)
    * January – Afro Samurai & Getsumen to Heiki Mina

    * October – Red Garden & Pumpkin Scissors
    * July – Welcome to the N.H.K.
    * April – Legend of the Glass Fleet & Witchblade

    * October – SoltyRei (With AIC) & Black Cat
    * Densha Otoko Opening animation.
    * Fall – G.I. Joe: Sigma 6
    * July – Transformers: Cybertron
    * May – Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
    * April – Basilisk, Speed Grapher & Trinity Blood

    * October – Desert Punk (Sunabouzu) & Gankutsuou
    * June – Samurai 7
    * April – Gantz & Burst Angel (Bakuretsu Tenshi)
    * January – Gravion Zwei

    * November – Chrono Crusade
    * October – Peacemaker Kurogane
    * April – Kaleido Star, Last Exile & Gad Guard
    * February 2003 Digigirl Pop! STRAWBERRY&POP MIX FLAVOR

    * October – Kiddy Grade & Gravion
    * July – Saikano
    * April – Gatekeepers 21
    * January – Full Metal Panic!

    * October – Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Hellsing (TV series) & Vandread the Second Stage
    * July – Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School

    * October – Vandread
    * April – Gate Keepers

    From 2004-2007, not a single title reached 5,000 sales… and almost all of them were licensed overseas.

  • hmmm ero Strike Witches, something that I wont be watching tbh. They have left an open ending because they knew they were in trouble and wanted to see how DVD sales will prove themselves. And they did prove themselves, pretty good if you ask me.
    So i dont see why they just carry on with Strike Witches and drop some of the projects filled with phail like The Tower of Druaga. But thats just me 😛

    But you never know, GONZO might not survive 2009. I wonder, if they collapse, who will produce my second season of Strike Witches?!!!! T.T

  • kenjiharima says:

    Conspiracy or not one thing is for sure only Strike Witches is Gonzo’s salvation. As for the anime titles, I hate to say it, but some are pretty good manga’s turned anime which Gonzo deliberately destroyed. Just imagine all those animes turning ero…XD

  • I only care if Gonzo will survive. Saki is definitely one of my favorite manga, seeing it done by Gonzo, no doubt ecchi level will be boost in the anime. Then again, i have always liked Gonzo production accept for some really shitty series.

    Which is to my surprise that Gonzo out of so many other production company is facing bankruptcy… i smell conspiracy…

  • I think the most important question that presents itself is whether they will allow uncensored subbed version to be sold internationally through BOST (or streamed some other way).

    If they do, they’d suffer huge reverse imports (or “reverse download”), but would get bigger audience (and get the revenue directly). I know Lilith/Pixy got a nice number of downloads through English DLsite, even with mosaics.

  • But hold on. Waitaminute. Let’s think here:

    Last I checked, there are still people out there who only download anime and never buy. So that’s still a problem. The people who ran GonzoDH had panicked like headless chicken because of all the downloaders.

    Seondly and mainly; Gonzo DOES need to go back to making good anime. Actually; Gonzo needs to STOP making crap for the miserable otaku. They’ve proven that the only thing their here for is “virgin arse and nipples.”

    AND. They need to return to that spot of entertaining the international audience. Take a look at Funimation and why it done so well during this recession.

    But if they ARE gonna make ero; it probably won’t be of “Vanilla Series” quality. But they better not be of “Pink Pineapple” idealism where they make h-anime for the Japanese only. They should speak to Kitty Media’s John Sirabella about uncensored releases as well.

    They should stop beating up on the male leads from Linebarrels and Rosario+Vampire. Seriously.

    • –But hold on. Waitaminute. Let’s think here:

      –Last I checked, there are still people out there who only download anime and never buy. So that’s still a problem. The people who ran GonzoDH had panicked like headless chicken because of all the downloaders.

      Sigh, desu~
      When will companies figure out that there are some people who will /NEVER/ buy anything and if it weren’t available for download, they just wouldn’t get it. It’s not /lost income/ it’s income they were NEVER GONNA FUCKING GET in the first place…

  • Why don’t they just turn Kurogane no Linebarrels into a ero-anime where the pilots are all emo and screw each other in their free time?

    C’mon Gonzo… fail train is leaving the station. CHOOO CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

        • Has that ever stopped Japan before? Though fully aged stars are more often, there is still a decent number of H-anime out their with underage characters, such as The Story of Little Monica and the Boku no Pico OVA series. If they do release a Strike Witches H-series as some of us are hoping, then wouldn’t it simply be released to DVD and not aired on TV? Strike Witches makes Gonzo the most money in DVD sales, and I’m thinking that they would make a fairly large sum of moolah from a Strike Witches H-series.

          Though yes, UNICEF may have a field day with it if they did.

  • relentlessflame says:

    There’s a bit more to the story in terms of Gonzo’s DVD sales. More than most production companies, a lot of Gonzo shows were aimed at least as much (if not more so) at the North American and International markets. Shows like Hellsing, Witchblade, and Trinity Blood may have had mediocre DVD sales in Japan, but sold extremely well in North America. This is also why, until recently, every show that Gonzo produced was sure-to-be licensed. Gonzo’s business model depended on the North American and other global markets.

    Of course, what happened in the meantime is that the North American market (in particular) has dried up nearly entirely. You’ll remember that was the big news about a year ago. As always, it takes a year or two for the effects of market shifts to actually hit the production line (because production begins on shows at least 12-18 months before it airs), but that’s why you saw Gonzo shift towards more otaku-targeted titles like Strike Witches (which proved to be a big success for them in Japan, but no indication of it being licensed anytime soon — a sign of the times).

    In short, if you look at Gonzo’s DVD sales alone, you might wonder how it is that they ever made money, but their business model was always a little bit different and more dependent on international sales. As times changed, their old business model proved to be no longer sustainable, hence all the recent restructuring. They might be able to come out of this, but they’ll probably be a nearly-completely different company in the end.

    • I’m sorry but I do not think you can take American sales as anything of any worth in a discussion about Japan and anime. For several reasons.

      American market is very small. So small that it cannot rightly be called a ‘Market’ We have some consumers here. But the bare fact is, Japanese anime make a bare fraction of any sales. When asking the normal guy on the street about Anime, they will say something like ‘Avatar the Last Airbender’ is an awesome Anime. But the truth is, it isn’t an anime. It is a cartoon made by Nick.

      Most anime come through companies like Funamation and 4kids being the largest licensees of anime, and if you look at that, it’s mostly Shonen. You will not see many Shoujo, Josie, Seinen, anywhere on American TV. You see a bare fraction ‘anime’ marketed items. Compared to Disney and other American Cartoons.

      America is not a market for Japanese anime and companies. We do not have even a bare fraction. and as long as we do not have any real market, we will not see anything major coming to America.

      • Okay, you just took his post about Gonzo’s past business model, and tried to apply it to the anime industry as a whole. And a couple years ago the anime market in america was booming and growing, and projected to grow even bigger, and no company is ever gonna completely ignore a prospective customer. And i don’t really think anime, even in japan, is a huge mainstream trend, or at least the titles that relentlessflame mentioned. Ergo Proxy is another anime that was made with an American audience in mind… they even had radiohead as the ending theme. That wasn’t Gonzo though. Afro Samurai however, that’s an obvious sign of reliance on american markets.

        Also, learn demographics. The people who were mostly purchasing anime in america during the time it was growing were teenagers and college kids, not “random guy on street.” And most non-anime fans would probably say pokemon over Avatar, and wouldn’t say they were good.

        Gonzo and Geneon were probably the only companies i can think of that had a lot invested into the american market potential. But Geneon got out fast when the sales weren’t coming in, and Gonzo… is Gonzo.

    • Very interesting. I recall from their restructuring plan that GDH stressed the international component of their business. Without digging through their financial reports I’m not too sure what proportion of their revenues actually came from overseas distribution though?

      I can’t help but wonder why they are so desperate to cling to their brand… I presume they have ruled out just breaking up the studio and selling the IP to other studios. Possibly less risky for investors.

      • It might also be a matter of pride. The original management team (who still sit on the restructured board) built GDH from ground up and led the company through some glorious years. In a way, I can see why they’d want to keep fighting until the bitter end.

        With many companies, we don’t see massive dismantling until new managers (who have no emotional investment in the firm’s legacy) take over. I think GDH is halfway there, given Iwakaze’s Capital’s acquisition of a controlling stake.

    • relentlessflame says:

      (Incidentally, regarding Strike Witches licensing, I meant in the traditional DVD sense. They did stream it with subtitles, and for free in most place — even more of a sign of the times for a company that used to depend on the North American market for a good chunk of their revenue.)