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Entry updated 30 August 2021. Tagged: Community, Film, TV.

One of the most important Japanese animation studios of the early twenty-first century, Studio Trigger (also known as Kabushiki-gaisha Torigā, Trigger Inc. or simply Trigger) was founded in 2011 by two former Gainax employees, Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Ōtsuka: other Gainax staff also joined the company. Previously, Imaishi had worked on Shinseiki Evangelion (1995-1995), FLCL (2000) and Fullmetal Alchemist (2003-2004) (see Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood [2009-2010]), before stepping up to direct Dead Leaves (2004), and the successful Gurren Lagann (2007) and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (2010).

First came a pair of releases on YouTube that used extremely limited animation: Inferno Cop (2012-2013), about a no-nonsense fiery-skulled policeman, and the non-genre Turning Girls (2013), about four women in their late twenties. These were cheaply produced, silly shows presumably intended to maintain public awareness of the studio whilst it worked on its first major Anime, Kill La Kill (2013-2014). The later online series Ninja Slayer From Animation (2015), about a ninja who slays ninjas because ninjas killed his family, was in the same vein.

Studio Trigger's characteristic style is seen as exhilarating adventure stories with exciting animation, broad Humour and Fan Service, as exemplified by the works directed by Imaishi: Kill La Kill, Space Patrol Luluco (2016) and Promare (2019) – and, to a lesser extent, Atsushi Nishigori's flawed Darling in the Franxx (2018). However, the studio also produces less frenetic shows, most notably Akira Amemiya's SSSS.Gridman (2018) and SSSS.Dynazenon (2021), which have more thoughtful stories (albeit interrupted by Mecha vs Kaiju battles), or Yoh Yoshinari's BNA: Brand New Animal (2020) and the charming Little Witch Academia (2017).

The preceding paragraph cites Trigger's most popular works, but mention should also be made of two lesser-known television series: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (2014), about the girls in a school's Literature Club who develop Superpowers and the problems this brings them, and Kiznaiver (2016), where high-schoolers participate in an experiment to share each others' physical and mental pain. The studio also does work for other anime studios and some western animation. Examples of the latter include staff member Takafumi Hori co-writing and co-storyboarding the 2016 Steven Universe episode "Mindful Education" and Imaishi storyboarding the opening credits for OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes (2017-2019); additionally, the 2021 anime anthology series Star Wars: Visions (see Star Wars) will have two stories by Studio Trigger, directed by Imaishi and Ōtsuka respectively. [SP]


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