[Honey’s Anime Interview] Studio Trigger President, Producer, and Chief Animator (Otakon 2018)

Honey-chan was a busy bee at Otakon but still managed to land an exclusive interview with Masahiko Otsuka the president of Studio Trigger. Masahiko Otsuka brought along two of the key members of his team that make Studio Trigger one of the best studios in the business, Producer Naoko Tsutsumi and Yoh Yoshinari, Chief Animator. Honey-chan was the only member of the media given the chance to sit down and talk to the Trigger team before their press conference at Otakon.


Masahiko Otsuka

Naoko Tsutsumi

Yoh Yoshinari
(Chief Animator)
Interview with Studio Trigger (Otakon 2018)

Studio Trigger has two very recognizable heroines in Akko from Little Witch Academia and Ryuko from Kill la Kill. We think you could also mention Zero Two, Ichigo, and Ikuno from Darling in the Franxx as part of that list, is promoting strong female characters a focus? or does it just happen?

We feel in a modern age filled with strong females, that having strong female characters is just a sign of the times.

What is the role of the producer in making anime?

I think the roles of producers can be largely separated into two types of roles. You have the producers that oversee production in the studio and those who oversee funding.

Studio Trigger has a particular style to their animation that makes it easily recognizable. Is that stylistic choice intentional branding?

I think the biggest contributing factor to that is that a lot of the staff came from Gainax. The style is a reflection of Gainax because it's where a lot of our training came from.

(To Yoshinari) You have done the key animation for a lot of amazing scenes in anime. Are there any that stand out to you or were difficult for you?

My main involvement for most of those was at the animator level so it's hard to be specific because I just work my hardest on them. And to be honest, I don’t remember a lot of the scenes that I worked on back then. I did work on an anime at Gainax called Gurren Lagann where I worked on the mecha design. It is one that stands out in my memory and one of the first times I became very individually involved.

We think Darling in the Franxx was an incredible piece of science fiction. The series seemed to draw influences from classic science fiction literature like 1984, A Brave New World, and The Handmaid’s Tale, with sophisticated storylines. Was it a response saying that today’s audiences are more sophisticated or is it just a way to make a good story?

The director Atsushi Nishigori was central to the construction of the plot and a lot of his ideas were reflected in the final product. The story was also a collaborative product of the staff and I think they drew from past science fiction works that influenced them and made a condensed ode to those works.

Is there a chance for more Darling in the Franxx?

We hadn’t realized that Darling in the Franxx had such a following since the anime wasn’t well received in Japan. But, with all the support they’re seeing in the United States, we might have to talk to the director about doing more.

You have received huge support from fans across the globe with your Patreon account. Did you expect so many people to sign up? Do you think other studios will follow suit?

A lot of the crowdfunding projects is run by one of our members that speaks English. The big push behind it was really the fans who were like “hey, how about you try crowdfunding something?” We started it at Anime Expo and were successful but are really in the beginning stages of it and aren’t sure where it will go from here.

What we weren’t expecting is that to be successful at it required a lot of extra work and that we’d actually have to get staff that could manage it. So, if other studios asked about whether they should do crowdfunding we’d tell them to really think about it first.

What keeps you excited about the anime industry? What challenges does the industry face?

Our staff is always devoted to creating a very interesting anime. The goal of the anime we produce is to be enthralling so that it inspires the next generation to want to create anime. We want to create an anime that brings new blood into the industry. The other side of that is we still have a situation with inadequate funding and low wages for animators. I have to find ways, as a producer of anime, to give back to the studio.

You say you learned a lot in your time at Gainax. Can you elaborate for us?

I grew up watching Studio Gainax in middle school. They are huge and have a huge legacy. We can’t be better than they are. They are a company we have undying respect for.

How do you feel about seeing people cosplay characters from your anime?

Though I don’t have a hidden desire to cosplay, I find it very inspirational to see the attention and do see the dedication that people put into cosplaying a character or franchise. It is truly a gauge of the popularity of a franchise.

Are there any announcements about new projects you can tell us about?

I know we already announced it at Anime Expo, but we’d like to remind you that we do have a new series called Gridman coming out. We also have another new work coming out after that by director Hiroyuki Imaishi called Promare.

Final Thoughts

We would love to thank Masahiko Otsuka, Naoko Tsutsumi, and Yoh Yoshinari for taking time to speak with us about Studio Trigger. We look forward to the all the upcoming shows they have in the works and thank them for working so hard to make such quality anime. Honey-chan would also like to thank Zeke-Senpai and Sloan-san for their hard work on this interview and all their coverage at Otakon.

099 [Honey’s Anime Interview] Studio Trigger President, Producer, and Chief Animator (Otakon 2018)


Author: Sloan The Female Otaku

Sup everyone! I’m your female otaku. And that’s the intro I use for my Youtube videos. After being an otaku for 5 years, and a lover of film editing for 8, I decided to explore my horizons by writing articles on anime and otaku culture. I also love cosplaying and making people laugh. Please subscribe to my channel at Sloan The Female Otaku if you want to see more. Sayonara!

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