AnimeNEXT

Anime Next '14: Studio Trigger

Jun 16 // Jeff Chuang
1. During the [Kill la Kill] panel, you showed many different designs for Ryuuko from different designers. What was the process that took you to the final designs? Hiromi Wakabayshi (Wakabayashi): Before Ryuuko's design was 100% finalized, we had to begin the animation production for the first episode because we didn't have enough time. It was a scheduling issue. As the animators were drawing the first episode they were also refining the design as they went. The reason why it took forever it was because the character designer Sushio was a hardcore animator, we wanted the design to look comfortable in the style that he animates. 2. Why was Little Witch Academia crowdfunded through Kickstarter? What was the reaction from people in the studio? [Trigger PR and interpreter] Tatsuru Tatemoto: Kickstarter was my side of things. We uploaded Little Witch Academia episode 1 on Youtube and had about 800,000 views. About 60-70% of the viewers were Japanese but most comments on the video were in English. Many of the comments were about being unable to give us money or asking us to try Kickstarter or crowdfunding. I looked it up and asked my boss if we can try Kickstarter. He is an easy-going guy and agreed to try it out. That was why we started doing it. Wakabayashi: We were surprised at the amount of support and funds we received on Kickstarter. We were expecting to reach the goal in 30 days but we reached it in 4-5 hours. We were shocked. 3. Can you tell us about Ninja Slayer's staff? Wakabayashi: We can't announce the creative staff yet, but it will be from our studio. 4. Trigger's animation is a blend of 3D animation and 2D animation. Which do you prefer? Wakabayashi: We don't have a preference. If you watch our previous works like Panty & Stocking, we don't use 3D like a CG cut. We use 3D like an individual animator. There are scenes where 3D works better, such as scenes when camera angles switch vigorously. It's hard to do those scenes in analog animation. Since we treat the 3D portion like an animator I guess we prefer 2D animation. 5. What's different between Gainax and Trigger? Wakabayashi: We were all part of Gainax previously. It's just the Gurren Lagann and Panty & Stocking team went independent. As a result we still have the Gainax ideals within our studio as well. 6. The way Kill la Kill ended, was that something the team decided on towards the end after working on the show? Wakabayashi: We have our ending from the beginning. We didn't have an alternate ending in mind. We were pretty solid with the happy kind of a feeling, a high school girl graduating out of her uniform was the idea we had from since the beginning. 7. Why did you guys go independent from Gainax? Shigeto Koyama (Koyama): I'm technically not part of Trigger. I believe Trigger wanted to do everything by themselves. When we were doing Gurren Lagann at Gainax we were still considered as young animators. The Imaishi team felt like they should take responsibility for their own works so they went independent. 8. Who are some of the other animators that influenced you or mentored you? Koyama: I started out in Gainax so those animators. Particularly there's strong influence from Kazuya Tusurmaki, who is now working on the new Eva movies. And also Yoshiyuki Sadamoto in terms of design. Wakabayashi: I'm not a designer by default but for being able to tell good design, I was influenced by Koyama, Atsushi Nishigori and Hiroyuki Imaishi. 9. What was your thought process about creating powerful female characters? Studio Trigger has a lot of these. Wakabayashi: All the creative staff are masochists. We like to be dominated. (Everyone laughs.) Koyama: Director Imaishi loves strong women. Yeah, we are attracted to strong females and we think they are cool. 10. What are some new productions you are looking forward to? Wakabayashi: I can't say what it is, but I'm looking forward to Imaishi's next big project we're working on. And another big project from another director I can't name. Sorry I can't say what they are. Our next TV series is from a light novel and it's the first time for us doing an adaptation. It's called Inou-Battle. I personally also look forward to that. 11. You mentioned previously that many of the characters in Kill la Kill are designed inspired by toys. Are Ryuuko and Satsuki designed based on toys? And which ones? Wakabayashi: I don't think either of them are based on a toy, but the Elite Four and DTR are influenced by toys... Koyama: Mikisugi? Not really. But Gamagori and Tsumugu are definitely inspired by muscle-bound-type toys. We took ideas from Marvel toys, with bulky back and arms, like the Marvel Legends series of toys. 12. For Ninja Slayers, do you plan to keep the mythology of the authors in the adaptation? Wakabayashi: I personally think we should put them in the front lines. Maybe they are shy, I don't know! 13. How did you come up with the assembly sequence in Captain Earth starting with the rocket launch? Koyama: It was screenwriter Yoji Enokido's idea. In Japan, there are many different genres of robot anime. Recently there hasn't been a lot of "gattai" robots shows, so we decided to make something like that. Enokido explained that realistically with today's technology, it's hard to shuttle out a heavy object to outer space, so why not have the big parts already in space and combine them in space? That was the idea. We have a split between Earth's surface and things in space. We try to make things realistic on earth, but once we go into space we make it more fantastic. 14. How do you come up with the ideas for your anime? Wakabayashi: I believe everyone comes up with the ideas, we gather them and put it together. It's also case by case and it's up to the project. The director usually is in charge, and people like us would add to the ideas director came up with. We can try to make it more marketable and professional, refined. Also we need to see if the idea can be completed through the end of the production. Koyama: I work with a lot of different studios. Trigger is distinct from other studios and people like us would stir up ideas and dick around in the meeting to get people to come up with different ideas. 15. Can you talk about the symbolism in works like Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill? Is there an Amateresu reference in Kill la Kill? How about the fascism? Wakabayashi: In Kill la Kill, we didn't intend an Amateresu reference. But yes there is some fascism themes, reference to Germany, etc. For Gurren Lagann, it's more about Imaishi and Nakashima who grew up with the stuff, the old robot and shounen stories. For Nakashima, he is not just a script writer, but he worked as a shounen manga editor in the 70s, 80s and 90s. He's been working on shounen manga all his life and there are a lot of shounen manga references in his works. [And that's a wrap! Special thanks to interpreter Tatsuru Tatemoto and Anime Next. Also thanks to Ani-Gamers, Anime Next and Kingdom Heart World Podcast for the questions!]
Studio Trigger photo
With Hiromi Wakabayashi & Koyama Shigeto
At Anime Next 2014, the "Creative Officer" and "Creative Director" of Kill la Kill, Shigeto Koyama and Hiromi Wakabayashi, respectively, did some show-and-tell for the crowd. Their Saturday panel on Kill la Kill was not ...

Anime Next '14: Cosplay

Jun 09 // Jeff Chuang
Cosplay photo
The Pool is open for business
Anime Next 2014 in Somerset, New Jersey, spotted some terrific weather. It was almost nicer outdoors than indoors because the air conditioning was having problems on Saturday at the Doubletree Hotel, where many of the panels ...

Anime Next photo
Anime Next

Anime Next brings Rookies and Luna to East Coast burbs


This weekend, catch the soul of Studio Trigger
Jun 05
// Jeff Chuang
Anime Next 2014 is this weekend, out in central New Jersey. This mid-size anime convention is pretty neat in that recently it has consistently pulled in some star power with solid musical acts, idols, and some really hip anim...
 photo

AnimeNEXT '10: 'Cosplay is Serious Business'-con


Jun 28
// Brad Rice
Cosplay is always serious business. As such, serious photographs are required.While Jeff and I were trolling the mean streets of Somerset to cover AnimeNEXT (our Kamiyama interview debuts later this week), Tomopop editor Anth...

 photo

AnimeNEXT is coming up this weekend, and one of the guests that I'm looking forward to is Kenji Kamiyama -- director of Eden of the East. He's got some other titles under his belt, like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alo...

 photo

East coast welcomes Eden of the East creator at AnimeNEXT


May 20
// Josh Tolentino
Live on the east coast (a.k.a. the beast coast)? If you do, you'd better get ready to drop your pants (more than usual, at least), for Kenji Kamiyama, director and creator of nudist tourism anime Eden of the East, is coming t...

Japanator interview: Vertical's Ed Chavez

Jun 16 // Brad Rice
Ed doesn't give off the same vibe as other industry panelists. He's much more quiet and reserved, and his mannerisms from his time in Japan are still very strong. But he won't lie or fluff things for you. He admitted that the manga they sell is far from their front-runner, meanwhile the sudoku and o'ekaki books sell like hotcakes. Same with the cute stuff: Aranzi Aronzo is one of their biggest sellers.And so, this brings us to the problem that Ed faces with Vertical: the company is so diversified in its offerings that they are stuck with all these different images. All of those different markets: cooking, health and wellness, manga, prose, and sudoku/o'ekaki, view them as just that. I'll admit to falling into that trap, thinking of Vertical as a botique manga publisher, releasing classic titles and ones I'd see out of labels like Beam Comix in Japan. Ed's job is to have people see beyond just the one area or the other. "I want people to experience this [Japanese] pop culture as a whole."Right now, the readers are very selective. He likened it to an anime con, where people will go and indulge in their specific interests, like cosplay, music, or whatever, but not really explore much outside of that. When I asked him about how readers, once they started buying something from Vertical, how they moved around to other areas, and all I got was a laugh. "They really don't," he said with a sigh.One of Vertical's most varied, and from what I can tell, really undervalued, sections are their books. Both non-fiction titles like Sayonara, Mr. Fatty and Walking Your Way to a Better Life as well as their fiction offerings, like Parasite Eve and Season of Infidelity offer a lot more of the Japanese experience to a Western audience. Ed stressed the fact that "this is popular fiction. It's what the masses are reading out there." These aren't high art, but all their authors are award-winners, after all. I mean, they published The Ring, one of the best-known stories from Japan in the last ten years. It's not high art, but it's certainly well known.In talking about the different prose that Vertical offered, Ed would get really excited. He'd smile, and an energy would fill him -- there was something special about it for him. He's a manga man at heart, and has put a lot of energy into expanding that area, but "prose will always be first," he told me. The titles jump all over the place, from BDSM to horror to memoirs, but the idea is that there's something for everyone.And in a sense, what I get from Ed is that they're trying to build a better otaku. Well, really, ditching the "otaku" part and reminding people that there's more to Japan than 2-D characters, moe blobs, and the weird and perverted. They have a wide range of literature -- something we tend not to see here unless the book is a true classic or the work of a famous artist. Vertical is trying to fix that, by bringing over some of the more popular titles that are good, but are also very accessable.In a flash of cockiness, he said, "We're going to change peoples' idea of Vertical, and at the same time, we're going to change our readers' idea of what manga is." Again, that same smile of excitement on his face. In that moment, I had a realization of sorts about Ed: he's dedicated to Vertical, 120%. While many of the people I meet really love the work they do, there is an active change that Ed wants to enact, and he's not going to stop until he does.While I'm excited for Vertical's upcoming releases in the manga field -- and still wish and pray that Hourou Musuko is one of them -- I'm much more excited to see how Vertical is going to work towards affecting the landscape of Japanese culture here in the U.S. I've got my full support behind them, and behind Ed.
 photo

At AnimeNEXT, Ed Chavez took the stage in front of a few dozen people. It created a bit of despair for the panel -- one of the industry's smaller publishers was put into the largest panel room (FUNimation, meanwhile, was in t...

 photo

Anime Next '09: FUNi announces Dragonaut cast


Jun 14
// Brad Rice
With bated breath, Jeff and I waited at FUNi's panel at AnimeNEXT for the announcements they'd have in store. But alas, all we got was a dub cast and a blanket statement that they're looking, but haven't yet gotten any of the...
 photo

Japanator will be at AnimeNEXT this weekend!


Jun 11
// Brad Rice
Just a reminder to all of you in the tri-state area: Jeff Chuang and I will be wandering around AnimeNEXT this weekend, covering some of the panels and taking some photos. Right now, I'm planning on attending the Vertical and...
 photo

FAKE? coming to perform at AnimeNEXT


Mar 31
// Eva Duenas
I didn't realize just how many music artist were coming to the US until Zac made this post. It's pretty overwhelming, especially for people who really want to see every single artist that will be here. I guess I could say I'm...
 photo

Super secret awesome post


Feb 07
// God Len
“What are we going to do about this?” asked Dr. Fernwood as he slapped the stack of papers within his grip. He took the fist paper in the stack and tossed it onto the desk that was opposite the one in which he slo...
 photo

Podtoid-san 63: I'm In Ur AnimeNEXT, Blogging Your Panels edition


Jun 29
// Brad Rice
Gia and I had a fantastic time at AnimeNEXT, let me tell you. The only thing that marred the whole time was John, who refused to do Podtoid-san, leaving it up to Gia and me to record the show. Of course, we were lacking micro...
 photo

AnimeNEXT 08: Thanks for all the fish


Jun 24
// Brad Rice
I just wanted to take a moment out of everything to say thanks to a bunch of people who made AnimeNEXT a lot more enjoyable than I expected it to be. First off, I want to thank Trisha Sebastian, the director of publicity for ...
 photo

AnimeNEXT 08: Translating Manga 101 - Points and Pitfalls Panel


Jun 24
// Brad Rice
Hosted by Mari Marimoto, with Steve Bennett popping into the panel, this one was of particular interest to me. I've spent about three years now trying to learn Japanese, and of course, translating manga and anime was on my li...
 photo

AnimeNEXT 08: Media Blasters panel


Jun 22
// Brad Rice
I'll admit -- the Media Blasters panel was a little less than exciting this year. They don't do panels all that often, and so to do this one, and repeatedly say that you've got no acquisitions to announce, why hold the panel ...
 photo

AnimeNEXT 08: Del Rey talks on how to break into the manga industry


Jun 21
// Brad Rice
The second part of the Del Rey panel was definitely the most interesting part. Dallas gave us a good perspective on how to break into the industry with your own work. Del Rey is starting to test the waters of OEL manga, but a...
 photo

AnimeNEXT 08: Yoshitaka Amano confirmed for Bra-- er, NYAF


Jun 21
// Brad Rice
Coming out of the New York Anime Fest panel, Peter Tatara -- the Conference Manager for NYAF -- has announced that Yoshitaka Amano will be the guest of honor for the New York Anime Fest '08. He'll be there at the con to talk,...
 photo

Podtoid-san 63: I'm In Ur AnimeNext, Blogging Ur Panels Edition


Jun 20
// giapet
Hey everyone, it'sa me! Gia!So Brad and I are yucking it up at Anime Next with any number of people, including reader KuronoK, AnimeAlmanac's Scott, Ani-Gamers' Vampt Vo, Anime Next staffer Trisha, and anyone else who can sta...
 photo

AnimeNEXT 08: Del Rey panel


Jun 20
// Brad Rice
Del Rey, much to my disappointment, didn't want to announce anything new at AnimeNEXT. Sure, they've got announcements coming up, but nothing that they wanted to share with the fine folks here in Jersey. Namely Gia, Scott, an...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...