Things have been bizarre for Tear Studio, which is behind the anime Fragtime and Why the Hell are You Here, Teacher!?. First, the studio disappeared completely from the internet, with 404 errors popping up when fans try to access their official website and Twitter account. Then, employees, many of whom haven’t received they wages yet, reported that they cannot contact the studio. But now, the credit research company, Tokyo Shoko Research (TSR), has reported that Tear Studio’s parent company, Next-Batter’s Circle, has started legal proceedings for bankruptcy filings.
According to TSR’s report, the studio officially ceased operations last December 13. They also reported that it has around 43 million yen in debt, and 8 million yen worth of unpaid wages for animators. Around 50 animators still have not received their payment from the studio yet.
Even the distributors of their latest anime, Fragtime, aren’t able to contact Next Batters School, the company that owns Tear Studio. The anime, which is currently screening in Japanese theaters, announced via their official website that they are currently contacting the parent company and will continue to try to contact their representatives to know what is happening. Here’s their announcement:
Since last week, there has been a lot of talk on the Internet and social media about Tear Studio, the studio that produced the theatrical OVA anime Fragtime.
We have a need to understand the situation, and for some time we have been attempting to secure a statement from Next Batters Circle’s representatives, but we remain unable to make contact with them.
In order to achieve an accurate grasp of the situation, we will be continuing to attempt to contact Next Batters Circle’s representatives in order to request a statement.
Studios that produce the anime don’t necessarily own the anime that they make. Sometimes, it’s the distributor or the production committee that owns the anime’s rights. In this case, for Frag Time, it’s the Frag Time Production Committee. Unfortunately, as their website revealed, even they could not contact the studio.
In the meantime, several freelance animators who have worked for the studio have revealed that they haven’t been paid yet as well. However, some have reported being paid already, probably before the studio suddenly vanished. Those unpaid animators, including Sato, are considering to file a class-action against the studio.
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source: Tokyo Shoko Research