Studio Trigger Panel at Anime NYC

by Kyle Cardine,

At Studio Trigger's Anime NYC panel, the first question Tatsuru Tatemono (Tattun) asked was “who here has visited from the west coast?” For their first convention in New York, it was in many ways an update to their Anime Expo panel with Hiromi Wakabayashi, Shigeto Koyama, and special guest voice actress Mayumi Shintani showing off production materials and updated information for DARLING in the FRANXX, Kill la Kill the Game -If-, Indivisible, SSSS.Gridman and Promare.

Starting with DARLING in the FRANXX, Wakabayashi gave a quick postmortem on the project and Trigger's involvement. He continued to emphasize that Trigger was only part of the beginning planning, behind the core designs and the earlier half of the show with A-1 Pictures taking the larger heft of the responsibility. Wakabayashi added they received comments that the story was very “Trigger-like,” but said it was primarily from the director Atsushi Nishigori. “Everyone says it was Trigger's fault that it ended up in space, but that's not true!”

Wakabayashi showed off Koyama's early concept mech designs, which originally had the pilot's faces, and also explained why the mechs look so feminine. “[Nishigori] was the character designer for Gurren Lagann. After that, he directed THE [email protected] [email protected] is cute, right? My understanding is that he loves cute stuff. That's why I drew up the cute designs for the robots.”

Since Arc System Works brought a special demo of Kill La Kill the Game -If- to Anime NYC, Shintani got a big kick out of talking about reprising her role as Nonon Jakuzure in the game. “It has been five years, so I was a little worried if I could get in character,” said Shintani. “So before the recording, I downloaded all the episodes on Amazon Prime and checked out my part in the series. I was like copying myself. Once I started acting, everything came back quickly. The audio director wanted to take baby steps, like one or two recordings per session, but I said 'nah, let's go through it all the way.'”

Wakabayashi also showed off Koyama's concept art of Satsuki's final form, Junketsu Shinzui, which was teased at Anime Expo. The best way to describe the design is that it looks like an abstracted mix of a Hannya Noh mask and the Predator's open mandible, with Junketsu's shoulder pads sprouting up like long horns and double energy scythes coming out like hooked teeth. It looks rad as hell.

After showing the sneak peek for the opening of Lab Zero games' Indivisible, Shintani expressed that she wanted to voice the little green creature that shows up. Wakabayashi asked what kind of voice Shintani would use. She replied with what I can only describe as an annoying gremlin squeal. Tattun chimed in saying, “I'm surprised to find out the creature is sentient.”

The seventh episode of SSSS.Gridman premiered the same day as the panel and a large part of the audience cheered when asked if they were tuning in. Headed by the younger Trigger staff (nicknamed “Young Justice”) and director Akira Amemiya (described as “perhaps a padawan to Hiroyuki Imaishi”), Wakabayashi pointed out they had not seen the original US release of Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad. Talking about the cast, Wakabayashi commented that Japanese fans have now nicknamed Utsumi as “Turbo-Senpai,” and that he thinks Rikka is more popular in America, where Akane is more popular in Japan. He added that Samurai Calibur also seems to be another popular character in Japan.

After showing a hybrid Promare trailer with scenes from the teaser shown at AX and the public promo, Wakabayashi showed off exclusive model sheets of the main cast. Wakabayashi returned to his defense that the main character Galo is not Kamina, pointing to the variations in hairstyles.“The difference is as big as the original Saber from Fate/Stay Night to Saber Alter. Big difference!” Wakabayashi also insisted that the red-haired, side ponytailed Aina (“Not Yoko!”), the blonde-bunned Luchia, and the blue-haired, glasses wearing Remy were original designs. (Though the first two also share a striking resemblance to the studio mascots Trigger-chan and Spring. Does that mean Muzzle will show up too?) Also from Shintani's reaction to Luchia, it sure does sound like she will be voicing the character. The main villain is also named “Mad Burnish” and looks like if Trigger designed a Zone of the Enders mech, with namesake flames coming off the body and all.

“I'm sure a lot of people would want an entire series, but we would like to try with a theatrical length project,” said Wakabayashi. “If you can expect something along the lines of Kill la Kill, Gurren Lagann or Panty and Stocking concentrated into a two-hour length, I don't think you'll be disappointed.”

Even though staff told the Trigger to wrap up the panel in haste, there was still an air of excitement coming out of the room. Promare, in particular, seems to be flexing Trigger's most artistic muscles, so it will be exciting to see the final product. In the meantime, there's plenty of Trigger productions to enjoy in anticipation.

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