One of the most popular anime titles in recent years is Demon Slayer and it has been a big franchise ever since as it drops two seasons of the anime adaptation plus a huge film that grossed big in the box office internationally. However, that doesn’t mean that the studio has a lot of cash as the founder of the studio, Ufotable, speaks up after being charged as guilty on his tax crime sentence.
Ufotable’s founder, Hikaru Kondo, has been recently found guilty for tax crimes in Japan and he finally speaks up as regards the situation. As reported in Japan’s Daily Shincho through Crunchyroll, notes from the trial that Kondo went through surfaced and it turns out that he thought he was saving the studio from financial strain when he misappropriated the money.
Kondo said, "If an anime doesn't become a hit, people won't buy merchandise or come to the cafes, so in having to work hard to make [a popular anime], we always end up in the red." This means that they would be earning below what they expected. Kondo added, “The quality demanded of anime keeps increasing ... but because the production costs offered by the clients are relatively low, every time we produce a work, we always end up in the red."
This resulted to Kondo trying to save Ufotable from going too far below their targeted revenue and he then illegally moved the money to let it circle around the company. The investigators found that Kondo is guilty for violating the Corporation Tax Act by misappropriating $1.25 million USD. Kondo hid in his house the money that Ufotable earned from café collaborations and the merchandise of the anime shows of the studio.
Half a million dollars was later found to be lying loose in the house of Kondo after it spilled on the floor. It was also used to pay the salaries of the staff including that of Kondo and his wife instead of building a new studio regional branch.
Kondo was given jail-time of 20 months in prison and a 3-year suspension.