A wise observer once described Gainax as two diametrically opposed anime studios in one. Good Gainax takes chances and creates interesting stuff. Evil Gainax does its best to ruin everything. Good Gainax made FLCL and those cool Daicon shorts, but Evil Gainax made Mahoromatic and He is My Master. Good Gainax made most of Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, but Evil Gainax made that scene. Good Gainax upended the anime industry with Evangelion, and then Evil Gainax exploited it with remakes and uncomfortable merchandise.
Where does the never-made Route 20: Galactic Airport fit into this tangle of heroism and villainy? We’ll never have a complete answer, since Gainax canceled the project over twenty years ago and hasn’t mentioned it since. Yet all available evidence points toward Good Gainax.
Route 20 apparently began life shortly after The Wings of Honneamise hit theaters. It was the 1980s, Japan’s bubble economy was surging to the skies, and Gainax had scored an unprecedentedly huge budget for Honneamise. A second ambitious film seemed natural, and early magazine previews suggested that Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and Mahiro Maeda’s Route 20 would be that film.