It is still going to be a little while before I get used to the fact that AnimeNEXT can get a packed room for anime production guests. It would be easy to assume that the hype around Kill la Kill lead to an unsustainable turn out for Studio Trigger last year. But the fact that the room for the Trigger panel was completely filled this year proves that if you properly bill the Japanese guests you can a full house in a big room. It was amazingly heartwarming. People WILL attend Japanese guests panels. I would love to see Otakon up their game and get a similar turn out with their Japanese guests.
But in turn Trigger brought their A game this year. Last year that really wowed the audience with never seen before Kill la Kill production sketches, great commentary, and a lively Q&A. This year they went one step beyond. They had a lot of hard to see or exclusive video. When they pulled out the big guns I think everyone was sufficiently blown away. If anything they had much less Q&A despite the panel being two hours because they had so much to show everyone. That alone made AnimeNEXT 2015 worth the price of admission. Everything past that was just a bonus.
The line up this year for AnimeNext was Shigeto Koyama, SUSHIO, Hiromi Wakabayashi, and Takafumi Hori. So it was the staff from last year now with some additional firepower. Sadly we did not get any of the staff for Ninja Slayer but they are probably busy enough working on the show that they could not take off the time to attend an American convention. Hopefully if Studio Trigger comes back in 2016 some of them will be able to come over. There was still enough staff to answer questions about Inferno Cop, Kill la Kill, and Little Witch Academia.
Oh and Turning Girls came up in the press Q&A. Because the people at the press Q&A are Anitwitter people and Turning Girls is Anitwitter catnip.
OK! Lets deal with the most important part of the whole panel: A new episode of Inferno Cop in which is a Inferno Cop and Little Witch Academia cross over. It is the combination we never thought of but always needed. You know that the crew at Studio Trigger are American comic fans because the cross over played out like every superhero comic cross over ever. At first Inferno Cop and the spell casters of Little Witch Academia are about to come to blows but then a more powerful foe makes them come together. They defeat the threat and becomes friends only to miss the real power who has been pulling the strings the whole time. It was a pitch perfect parody of the whole affair that never needed to wink at the camera yet let the audience know what is self-aware.
They did mention during the Q&A that the Inferno Cop crew was super excited to do more Inferno Cop and Little Witch Academia cross over material. The Little Witch Academia crew was not as enthusiastic to include the officer from Jack Knife Edge Town in their production. That is a shame because I think we would all love to see a spell slinging Inferno Cop. Maybe the world is not ready for Inferno Cop: The Hogwarts Years.
But the videos did not end with more Inferno Cop. They could have ended there but they did not. While you could see the 15th Animator Expo shorts online they do feel a bit underexposed so I am sure it was most of the audience’s first time seeing any of that footage. Sex and Violence with Mach Speed kept up the momentum with a distinctly Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt vibe. It has the same level of a crude subject manner at a hyperkinetic pace with a stylized sketchy art technique. It had shakedowns, mobsters, car chases, and weaponized dutch wives in a world of anthropomorphic animals.
I think the most popular short film was probably Obake-chan. It was a series of 4-koma styled vignettes about the daily life of a little ghost girl. There was a distinct mixture of slice of life humor with distinctly surreal humor as well. Some of the jokes are just Obake-chan having trouble waking up but other times she is pulling sword from stones that a Monty Python styled King Arthur cannot or raining down satellite laser fire. It had a brisk almost entirely wordless humor that made it very enjoyable.
The last of the set was I can Friday by day!. If you took the strangest parts of Obake-chan and made that into a long music video you would get I can Friday by day!. It is about a crew of small alien animals that pilot a robotic teenage girl and battle other such robotic mecha girls while infiltrating the human world. It has some of the most amusing teenage girl mecha battling you can watch. It is all brought together by a distinctly pastel art style that comes from Hajime Ueda being the character designer. Don’t worry! In the end sempai definitely notices her.
For a limited time you can see those three videos along with the rest of the 15th Animator Expo shorts here.
But all of that was not anywhere nearly as weird as the Momoiro Clover Z vs. KISS collaborative video. I will let that sink in for a bit. In the video Momoiro Clover Z’s colorful world is being drained of color by KISS. So they must engage in musical battle that is a mixture of live action and Kill La Kill styled animation. Oh and at points Momoiro Clover Z are ship girls. KISS did not need to transform. They are already strange enough. I’m vaguely surprised I had not seen this before AnimeNEXT 2015. It seems like something that should have made the rounds like Babymetal but maybe I just missed it.
Before they went to Q&A they played a little video of a live drawing from Anime Expo. If I was not already jealous of Anime Expo this did not help matters. (I’m even more miffed after they announced Ayako Kawasumi and Miki Yoshikawa. DAMN YOU EXPO!)
They mentioned that Little Witch Academia 2 was nearly done so it would be ready in time for its big premiere during AnimeExpo this year. I had hope they might have a little bit of a sneak preview but I’m guessing they wanted to save all of that for Expo.
They explained that the three girls on the badge are the new debuted Studio Trigger mascots called the Trigger Girls. The red-head is Trigger-chan, the blonde is Spring, and the burnette is Muzzle Brake. Right now they are just visuals but they would like to make some sort of animation surrounding them in the future.
I sadly could not attend the Press Q&A for Trigger but I know that the Ani-Gamers blog was there so I am sure they will have extensive coverage of what they said there.
Overall it was fairly clear that Studio Trigger has realized that they have a very western friendly animation style and have really embraced that fact. I’m wondering if they might become a staple of AnimeNEXT 2015 like Masao Maruyama has become at Otakon. If they bring this much material, and maintain an open attitude like they did this year, I will be happy to see them again and again.