Anime Expo 2014
by Bamboo Dong,
Fans poured into the Studio Trigger panel Thursday evening, excited to learn more about the studio's smash hit Kill La Kill, as well as their 2015 series Ninja Slayer. The panel was presented by Hiromi Wakabayashi, who served as the creative officer of Kill La Kill, in addition to developing the fourth episode and working on the second ending sequence. He spoke to an eager crowd, promising plenty of never-before-seen character art, key visuals, and storyboards from some of the studio's upcoming works.
Wakabayashi started things off with Kill La Kill, revealing artwork and storyboards not yet released in Japan. The first was a poster of Ryuko and Satsuki drawn by Sushio, the character designer for Kill La Kill, which will grace the cover of the volume 8 Bluray in Japan.
Fans were also given a glimpse at a key visual for episode 25 of Kill La Kill, which will be bundled with the Volume 9 DVD and BD in Japan. The episode, subtitled "Goodbye Once Again," fills in the events between the end of episode 24 and the final ending that shows Satsuki with short hair. According to Wakabayashi, "Our directors in Japan are working hard in Japan right now, so please look forward to it."
Wakabayashi next showed a key visual from Little Witch Academia 2, which was successfully crowdfunded last summer via Kickstarter. The visual shows main character Akko in normal clothing, wheeling a suitcase away from the academy. Other artwork included pencil sketches and storyboards from Yoshinari, some showing new characters, with others showing the girls running away from, or confronting, a variety of monsters. Those hoping for any spoilers were left hanging, however, with Wakabayashi coyly commenting, "I'm not sure if we're going to use [this new character] or not," and joking, "I don't think Mr. Yoshinari knows we're showing these to you right now." While some of the artwork was previously shown to Kickstarter backers, some of the pieces were new.
As for new projects, Trigger presented a promo video they cut just for Anime Expo of their fall series, Inou Battle With Everyday Life. Adapted from a light novel series by Kota Nozomi, the story follows a high school boy with a severe case of chuunibyo, and his struggles in everyday life. Said Wakabayashi, "Yes, we can do cute girls, too. The next series is going to be all about kawaii." He mentioned later that the series had, "an older sister type, a loli type… we have all of them," adding with a laugh, "the loli one, that's my favorite character."
Asked later during the Q&A session why Trigger decided to do an adaptation rather than an original series, Wakabayashi said that original series take roughly 4-5 years to complete, "like the Olympics schedule." To fill the void and stay productive, the studio looks for interesting material to adapt. Inou Battle with Everyday Life will premiere this October.
For fans excited to see more of Inferno Cop, the studio brought visuals from Inferno Cop II, teasing, "if we didn't get positive feedback here, we thought about just tossing it into the garbage." Amongst the artwork shown was three new characters drawn by Inferno Cop conceptual designer Shigeto Koyama.
Lastly was news about Ninja Slayer, which was introduced with an English-language PV. The series is supposedly adapted from a story by American creators "Bradley Bond and Philip [email protected] Morzez," who gave permission to two Japanese "agents" to translate and post the story on Twitter. While the backstory seems fun, it appears to be fictitious, adding to the mystique. Two special guests were brought on to introduce the character designs, men who introduced themselves as "agents" of the American authors, but who wore visors that obscured their eyes. The hero of the story is Kenji Fujikido, a salary man who becomes Ninja Slayer after his family is killed in a ninja battle. Also in the story is a voluptuous female hacker named Nancy Lee, Ninja Slayer's rival Dark Ninja, syndicate boss Laomoto Khan (said so-called Agent #2, "He puts sushi on naked girls! He's evil. Very evil!"), zombie ninja Genocide, katana and origami-wielding Yamoto Koki, Deathdrain, and former soba chef Rampage, who got his name after going on a deadly rampage.
Wakabayashi announced that the series will be directed by Akira Amemiya, who directed Inferno Cop. While there is no announcement yet of how many episodes the series will be, it is slated for a 2015 release.
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