Written by: Adrian Andulan
Published on: August 10, 2021 at PHT (GMT+8)
Already facing controversy, the ‘Tokyo Babylon 2021’ anime is at the center of a legal battle between the animation studio, GoHands, and entertainment company King Records citing delayed payments as the reason.
In an article by Anime News Network, the studio is reportedly suing for 450 million yen (or roughly 4.1 million USD) over non-payment for the production of the anime, with the lawsuit filed at the Tokyo District Court. The lawsuit states that GoHands was in a contract with King Records to produce and deliver 13 episodes of the anime by November 2020. King Records was to pay for the production in installments, with a cost of 314.6 million yen (2.87 million USD). However, only the first installment was given to the studio before being unilaterally canceled, according to claims by GoHands. The studio is now suing for the remaining installments amounting to 281.6 million yen (2.57 million USD), as well as payment for episodes 14 to 21 that amount to 171.82 million yen (1.57 million USD), though no contract had been formally signed for the latter, according to the lawsuit.
All of this follows the controversy surrounding allegations of plagiarism that were already faced prior by the studio. In October 2020, the first character visuals for the anime were unveiled but were then criticized for allegedly copying designs from the K-Pop group ‘Red Velvet’ and a Volks doll outfit without consent. This led the staff to apologize and delay the release of the anime until it was canceled completely. The production committee stated a “loss of faith in the production studio”, citing an investigation that revealed more issues of plagiarism.
GoHands’ lawyer claimed that no copyright infringement was made for the designs, though claimed that the designs were not properly evaluated. GoHands also claims that King Records requested for redesigns and that the studio had continued working to reach the release of the anime. However, GoHands claims that the company did not comply by refusing to pay the remaining installments.
King Records has yet to release a comment, stating to Asahi that it had yet to receive the legal complaint.
Synopsis by Aniradio:
The story follows Subaru Sumeragi, the head of the Sumeragi clan, and his sister Hokuto as they work to protect Tokyo from a myriad of supernatural perils.