If I had to pick one panel to attend each year I’d do TRIGGER every time. This year was just solidified that feeling. Anime Expo is full of amazing panels and amazing news but no one quite gets it like TRIGGER. Their show started with their producers and creators coming down the aisles from the back using money guns to shoot Luluco dollar bills at the crowd. Talk about setting the tone!
Once everyone calmed down a bit they played the now-traditional Inferno Cop introduction video – this time featuring none other than Donald Trump himself trying to deport Inferno Cop out of New Jersey. Luckily Lotte, sporting American flag themed witch hat and cloak, was able to get the violence to stop by having the entire cast of Inferno Cop sing some horrible rendition of the national anthem… wait, what?
Anyway, after that it was time for them to discuss Little Witch Academia. There was the classic banter between Yoshinari (LWA director) and Wakabayashi (producer) arguing about how popular Inferno Cop is vs the work that went into LWA. The joking finished, we got statements from Yoshinari, Horigoshi, and the producer about LWA ending and thanking us for their support.
The next section was pretty awesome. It went along the lines of ‘if LWA had more episodes cough cough, what might they be about?’. Naturally the subject was story lines for some characters that either didn’t get a dedicated episode or Yoshinari feels could use a bit more love.
First up was American fan favorite Amanda. Yoh explained that she comes from a very wealthy family that made their fortune from her grandmother’s fortunetelling business. However, the business’s success didn’t come from just fortunetelling – they did some dirty work behind the scenes to best their rivals. After her grandmother passed, Amanda was forced to enroll at Luna Nova to be the breadwinner for her family and continue the family business. Amanda doesn’t like this, so she acts out a bit in hopes to get expelled. If we were to get another Amanda-centric episode it would focus around her resolving this conflict with her family.
Sucy’s tragic backstory followed with more narration by Yoshinari Yoh. By this point it’s obvious that his brain is teeming with ideas and he really wants to get some of them out. As it turns out, Sucy’s obsession with collecting poisons comes from her being abandoned by her parents as a child with just a vial of poison to know them by. She hopes to be able to reverse-engineer the toxin and track down her parents someday.
The next two were surprisingly dark and involved. Jasminka’s weight isn’t just because she likes food – she’s haunted by spirits from the Soviet famine. She’s constantly eating to keep their hunger sated. There was an idea for an episode where everyone tried to get her to diet (not because they don’t like her, but they figured it was the best way to get her to stop sharing her sweets…). After a while one of those demons haunting her possesses her, so the girls learn to just deal with Jasminka sharing her snacks!
The final crazy backstory comes from Constanze. She’s not (nearly) mute by choice. Constanze fell ill by a magical malady when she was younger so she had to have her spirit removed to stop its progression. Wakabayashi mentioned Voldemort by name here, so think a Horcrux. This is when her body stopped growing and when she became unable to speak. Her spirit is actually in that robot that’s always with her.
After a short word about the upcoming Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time video game it was time for the real star of TRIGGER’s show… three brand new announcements!
First up was the announcement of a new collaborative anime between TRIGGER and A-1 Pictures. A-1 producer Shimizu was brought on stage to help aid the announcement of DARLING in the FRANKXX. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of anything to talk about regarding the show. It’s a sci-fi show that has some danged good music judging by what was playing behind the poster. They were able to say that we’d have more announcements on July 5th at midnight Japan time – and that the staff list would be “quite shocking”
The second announcement was of SSSS Gridman, a joint between TRIGGER and Ultraman’s Tsuburaya studio, helmed by Inferno Cop and Ninjaslayer’s Akira Amemiya. Once again not much information was available but it was accompanied by a humorous video of director Amemiya at a shrine doing pretty much everything just slightly wrong etiquette-wise.
The last announcement from TRIGGER was the big one – a new project led by the directing/screenwriting duo of Imaishi and Nakashima… the same duo that brought us Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann! Titled PROMARE, the new project promises giant robots and the same hotblooded style of the duo’s previous shows. Wakabayashi assured us that we’re getting the Kill la Kill Imaishi and not the Luluco Imaishi.
It’s curious to note that XFLAG has a large part on the production committee for PROMARE – XLFAG is a mobile gaming company most famous for its Monster Strike game. Beyond that… there wasn’t much more information available. A video from Imaishi and Nakashima rounded out the announcements to much laughter and applause. It’s apparently taken them five years to get the script to a point where they’re both happy with it. We’ll be in for one heck of a treat.