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The Top 5 Studio Trigger Anime

by Jacki Jing & Zac Bertschy,

Studio Trigger is legendary for the sheer amount of power and intense animation behind their incredible anime – and their latest work, a theatrical feature called Promare, is out in theaters here in the US this September, so we thought it would be fitting to run down the five best pieces of giant art from this astonishing group of artists that have become legends in the eight years since their founding.


This one might be a little much for most people, but if you're a weirdo who likes cartoons, INFERNO COP is for you. This show is about a cop whose head is just a skull, constantly aflame, and his bizarre, dumb adventures. Intentionally cheaply animated – and intentionally stupid – INFERNO COP represents Studio Trigger's sense of humor on a broad scale, and remains a fan favorite as a result.


Some would argue that KILL LA KILL is Studio Trigger's landmark work, and it impacted anime fandom like almost nothing else – back in 2013. This rollicking action show finds underdog student Ryuko Matoi and her sentient outfit doing combat with an enormous scissor – endlessly - with the fascist student council at her bizarre high school – and it all ends up in space, of course. If you haven't seen KILL LA KILL yet for some reason, it's not for the faint of heart, but that doesn't mean you should skip it.


Trigger's enormous homage to the tokusatsu genre nearly turned it upside down. Formally an adaptation of a tokusatsu show from the 90s – which you may remember as Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad – SSSS.Gridman becomes so much more than that, commenting deeply on the genre itself and providing strong characters that became fandom legends, including the complex and challenging villain Akane. GRIDMAN isn't just a tokusatsu show – Trigger set out to make sure the audience knew this would be different, and it is, in wonderful and fascinating ways.


Perhaps the lightest entry – but one of the strongest – on this list, LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA began life as a short film and then had a second OVA that was famously crowdfunded, followed by an entire 25-episode series that follows the lighthearted, magical adventures of the good-hearted Akko as she navigates the world of witch school. Comparisons to Harry Potter might be obvious, but Little Witch Academia brings the trademark Trigger creativity to the entire concept. It's on Netflix – don't miss it.


In theaters this month, you have the chance to see Trigger's biggest work yet – a rowdy, intense, big-screen ode to everything the studio has ever been about. World-famous director Hiroyuki Imaishi – one of the studio's founders, and the man behind virtually everything on this list – crafted the tale of a big-hearted firefighter who does combat with a race of people called the Burnish who can burst flames from their very hands – and eventually learns to empathize with them. The film is overwhelming, extremely fun, and functions as a flawless distillation of Trigger's ethos – and you have the chance to see it in theaters this month.

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