Trigger Studios had a reputation even before they made their first major series, and its founding employees represented the legacy of GAINAX, which gave us shows like Gurren Lagann and Panties and stockings. More than 10 years later, they are going strong and continue to create new hits, but there is one thing that may be the key to their continued success: the writers.
The studio was founded by Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Otsuka in 2011, and Imaishi in particular has been one of the defining leaders of the studio and the public’s perception of their style. After all, he is the director Kill La Kill, Promareand Cyberpunk: Edgerunnersand the hype surrounding the studio was primarily due to past Imaishi works as Gurren Lagann. In many ways, Imaishi is still the dominant presence at Trigger, and the influence of Kaneda’s highly stylized animation, made up of his work and that of his colleagues, is rooted in much of the studio’s portfolio. These stories can be very different and involve many ideas and influences, but at times they can seem quite similar.
What defines a trigger project
Despite being credited primarily as a director rather than a screenwriter, the way Imaishi talks about his works and the process of creating them gives a sense of partial ownership of these narratives. He’s incredibly talented at creating huge, ever-expanding, crazy sagas around themes and motifs that permeate every square inch of the story. Subtlety is an afterthought, and fans are here for it.
in Gurren Laganndrill motif related to the main themes of the story—evolution, maturity, and the human spirit. in Kill to killthread and thread cutting worked in tandem with motifs such as clothing and nudity to discuss the duality of life and existence. Promare used fire and water to echo the previous two stories to tell a story about the human spirit and duality through the lens of revolution and self-expression. As a bonus, it has a pretty weird subtext.
And aside from all that analytical bullshit, these were just fun and weird shows, and Imaishi was very good at creating controlled chaos like this on screen. But he wasn’t the screenwriter—that title belongs to Kazuki Nakashima, the screenwriter for all three Imaishi series above, including their manga adaptations where they exist.
Apart from Luluko Space Patrolwhich Imaishi wrote himself, Nakashima has scripted every major series that Imaishi has directed since they worked together on Re: Cutie Honey in 2004. He took ideas and concepts from directors like Imaishi and Yo Yoshinari and turned them into full series/movies. These are complex designs with simple appeals and unforgettable impressions.
Nakashima has largely helped define the studio over the years, but that brings us to the criticism of the studio that has been seen over the past few years. The complaint is that Trigger’s core appeal is exaggerated and that their designs tend to look and feel the same. While many would dispute the merits of their visual and storytelling style, their greatest works feature many of the same people directing the art direction.
Time of change
Nakashima’s scripts are not always equally impressive. BNA it was a fun series but he found it difficult to juggle his myriad ideas as elegant or interesting as his past work with Imaishi. They are a great pair, as evidenced by their subsequent collaboration on the first volume Star Wars. vision with “twins.”
What does Cyberpunk Edgerunners As fascinating as the studio’s biggest recent success is how different it is in terms of writing. Yes, the film is directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, but the story is written by Polish writer Bartosz Stybor and showrunner Rafal Yaki, and the script is written by Trigger co-founder and industry legend Masahiko Otsuka, who directed another short film Trigger from Star Wars. vision“Senior“
Edge Runners is probably Trigger’s first screenplay adaptation, and the script is unlike any other story the studio has produced since its inception. Imaishi’s directorial efforts are on full display, but the tone is completely differentinvariably more serious and somber, with the frivolity being a respite from the harsh realities of Night City rather than the norm.
And Edgerunners isn’t the first to deviate from Trigger’s standard tone – it’s simply the most successful. One of their best decisions was letting Akira Amemiya direct SSSS. Gridman and SSSS. Dynazenon. At first glance, their frenetic pace and ridiculous action are incredibly on brand, but the longer the shows go on, the quieter they become.
Amemia’s use of silence is so unlike Imaishi’s roar. Gridman and Dynazenon there are big over-the-top battles between giant robots and kaiju, but in between the action scenes, the characters are written with a realism that feels down to earth in a way that’s uncharacteristic of Trigger. Screenplay by Keiichi Hasegawa gives tangible weight to the personal drama of the heroes.
Trigger has always been and always will be at its best thanks to the work of its artists, but their efforts are wasted without good stories to propel their work forward. Creators like Imaishi and Nakajima continue to live up to their reputations, but if the studio wants to keep going higher and higher, they need to take risks with new writers, new stories, and new ways to become a “trigger production.”
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