Anime Expo 2018: Studio TRIGGER Industry Panel Recap
This year, TRIGGER provided updates on Darling in the FRANXX, the upcoming Kill la Kill game, Indivisible, SSSS.Gridman, and Promare. The panel was followed by a world premiere screening of SSSS.Gridman, which will be simulcast beginning this week on Crunchyroll.
The panel was well-attended by TRIGGER executives and staff. The panel featured:
- Hiromi Wakabayashi, creative producer for Darling in the FRANXX
- Shigeto Koyama, character designer for Darling in the FRANXX, Promare
- SUSHIO, character designer for Kill la Kill and lead animator for Promare
- Will Feng, associate producer at Titmouse
- Masaru Sakamoto, character designer for Gridman
- Masato Takeuchi, producer for Gridman
Darling in the FRANXX
The first part of the panel was dedicated to Darling in the FRANXX. Hiromi Wakabayashi began by telling fans that he had just received word that episode 24 was finally completed, and asked the crowd to look forward to the finale tomorrow (April 7th). He commented that the last episode would “hopefully be good for Zero Two fans.” Mr. Wakabayashi went on to show off early concept art of the Franxx mechs. The early mech designs had the female pilots’ faces visible, a design choice that was originally scrapped. Zero Two’s appearance in Strelizia in episode 24 is a callback to this early design. The team also showed off alternative Franxx designs, including sharper and more aggressive mechs painted in black and orange – nearly the exact opposite of the final mechs.
Kill la Kill
The next segment of the panel focused on the Kill la Kill game, a collaboration between TRIGGER and Arc System Works slated for release in 2019. The game will feature Satsuki as the protagonist – Ryuuko is missing from the key visual and may not play a large part (if any) in the game. The game also features Satsuki’s Kamui’s final form – Junketsu Shinzui (lit. Junketsu’s Quintessence). SUSHIO, the character designer for Kill la Kill and the KLK game, commented that he’s “happy that his characters will live on in a different form,” and is excited for the reinterpretation of the original Kill la Kill series.
TRIGGER has a history of reaching out to their Western fans. They’ve used Anime Expo in the past for major announcements such as the initial announcement of Promare and Darling in the FRANXX and the original premiere of Little Witch Academia. TRIGGER was also one of the first studios to reach out directly to Western fans, using Kickstarter to fund the original run of Little Witch Academia. Today, TRIGGER announced the launch of a Patreon to fund yet-to-be-announced fan outreach projects. The team was light on details as to how the money will actually be spent, but fans who donate can expect to receive invites to regular live drawing sessions, as well as gain access to the original art files from those live drawings.
Next on the list of updates is Indivisible, a new game being created by Lab Zero (of Skullgirls fame) alongside Studio TRIGGER and Titmouse (an American studio, best known for The Venture Bros and other Adult Swim shows). Will Feng, a producer from Titmouse, announced that TRIGGER would be animating the opening sequence and other key animation for the game. We were then shown a 30 second teaser preview of the opening sequence. The team also showed off the character design sheets for the five main characters of the game.
Promare is the next mainline TRIGGER anime. It’s being directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and Kazuki Nakashima, and features character and mech design from Shigeto Koyama. SUSHIO is also working on the project, taking the role of lead animator. SUSHIO commented that he enjoyed working on projects led by Mr. Imaishi, and that working under him allows SUSHIO to work to his full potential. SUSHIO also talked a bit about his continuing idol addiction, and that being able to work on Promare would hopefully keep him from falling too far into the idol abyss.
Shigeto Koyama showed off a finished drawing of Galo, the main character of Promare. Galo is the new recruit of a rescue team, working to protect people from a yet-to-be-announced adversary. Galo’s character design is heavily inspired by Kamina’s design from Gurren Lagann. Hiromi Wakabayashi admitted the similarity, but pointed out that Galo’s crazy hairstyle is a signature of all of Mr. Imaishi works. He also commented on Galo’s character, mentioning that he’s “quite stupid. Stupid, but the heart is strong.” Despite this being a photography-restricted panel, the team allowed us to snap photos of Galo.
Mr. Koyama additionally displayed the design sheet for Matoi-Tech, the mech used by Galo in Promare. Matoi refers to a Japanese firefighter. It will play a key role in Promare.
Lastly, we were shown a few drawings of the setting of the show. The graphical style of Promare differs greatly from earlier TRIGGER works. The anime is set in a modern-day American city (strongly influenced by New York), and the conceptual drawings show very light and spacious streets, along with bright, nearly-pastel colors. The art style for the settings are more simplistic than earlier TRIGGER shows, as well.
More information about Promare should be announced this fall.
The final segment of TRIGGER’s industry panel was dedicated to SSSS.Gridman, a new series that premieres at this year’s Anime Expo. Producer Masato Takeuchi and character designer Masuru Sakamoto were welcomed to the stage to discuss the project. SSSS.Gridman is a new interpretation of Gridman, a children’s live action show that aired in Japan in the 1980s. The show additionally aired in the United States with a differing storyline. Mr. Takeuchi commented that the show “should be designed for both American and Japanese fans of Gridman,” and assured the crowd that Kill la Kill fans (and diehard TRIGGER fans) should find the show enjoyable as well.
Mr. Sakamoto showed off character design sheets for the show, introducing us to Akane, a key character in the show’s plot, and Rikka, Yuuta’s close friend. We were also shown two mech designs for SSSS.Gridman, Gridman-A-01 and Gridman-A-03. Mr. Wakabayashi additionally introduced us to Alexis, who will likely be the main villain of the show.
As usual, the panel ended with a giveaway. This year, TRIGGER gave out original signed artboards and merch to a lucky few attendees.