Top 5 Studio Trigger Projects

Studio Trigger is a Japanese animation studio founded by two former Gainax employees Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Otsuka. The Studio Trigger is considered a successor to Gainax. Studio Trigger, Sanzigen, and Ordet joined the holding company Ultra Super Pictures. In 2018, Studio Trigger started a Patreon account that now raises $6,000 monthly. Since 2011, Studio Trigger a produced several high-quality anime series with a similar style to the Gurren Lagann series. 

Darling in the Franxx

science fiction romance series produced by Cloverworks and animated by Studio Trigger and A-1 Pictures, Darling in the Franxx is set in a dystopian future. In the Franxx universe, young people are manufactured to defend civilization. The story follows ten pilots, focusing on the pair, Hiro and Zero Two. The series uses symbolism from the mythological Jian. The series was praised for its “coming of age elements,” however, some of its content was criticized for sexually innuendo and pacing. 

Promare

Promare is one of the three films produced so far by Studio Trigger. Co-produced with XFLAG, Promare is set after a “calamity known as the Great World Blaze.” Half of the human population is killed. Several humans developed pyrokinetic abilities becoming known as Burnish. The firefighting group, Burning Rescue battles against the Mad Burnish, a terrorist group. Despite having a story that’s similar to the Fire Force series, Promare was generally well-received. Its colorful visuals, storytelling, and style received rave reviews. 

Kill La Kill

The first series created by Studio Trigger, Kill La Kill is an original work from the company. Kill La Kill tells the revenge story of Ryuko Matoi, as she seeks to avenge her father. She attends Honnouji Academy, where she comes into conflict with Satsuki Kiryuin. Kill La Kill features fanservice for both genders, high-quality animation, action, humor, and a shocking twist towards the end. The series was described as “magical girl anime on speed.” 

SSSS.Gridman

SSSS.Gridman tells the story of Yuta Hibiki, a high school student with amnesia. He’s given the mission to fight against Kaiju by Hyper Agent Gridman. Together they merge to defeat the Kaiju, aided by the Gridman Alliance. SSSS.Gridman has an intriguing villain and is an interesting mystery. Based on the series Denko Choujin GridmanSSSS.Gridman was a surprise hit in 2018. 

Little Witch Academia

The Little Witch Academia series has spawned two moviesLittle Witch Academia and Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade, as well as a television series. Atsuko “Akko” Kagari enrolls in the magical school, Luna Nova Magical Academy. Determined to become a witch like her hero Shiny Chariot, Akko sets off to accomplish her dream. Akko is hard working but lacks magical abilities because of her non-magical bloodline. However, Akko’s belief in magic is second to none and she finally discovers her magical abilities. 

SSSS.Gridman Episode 1 & 2 Review

Anime Movie Review: Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade

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Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade is the Kickstarter-funded sequel to the acclaimed “Little Witch Academia”, released in 2013. This sequel has proven to be a worthy heir to its predecessor. The story continues to follow the story from the previous movie. Akko Kagari, the nerdy Lotte Yanson and the gothic Sucy Manbavaran, continue their magical education at Luna Nova Magical Academy and appear to be performing inadequately.

They create a monstrosity out of “brownie and a poisonous mushroom”, poisoning their classmates. They are punished (again) for their poor behavior and are tasked with organizing this year’s “Witch Festival”. Joined by thief Amanda O’Neill, Constanze Braunschweig Albrechtsberger manufacturer and seller of illegal high-tech devices and Jasminka Antonenko food thief.

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Akko takes Charge

Akko decides that she will take charge and change the narrative of the tradition festival, showing witches in a positive light. She shows that she is immature and self-centered. She ignores the opinions of her friends and alienates them in the process. Feel down and out after a series of setbacks Akko becomes inspired by her idol Chariot. She heads to the library and begins to study magic in preparation of the festival. Akko invites her friends to join her, she along with Amanda use a rod to steal some magic for the festival.

During the festival, things start off well. However, several of the towns boys harass them and steal their magical rod. The stolen rod’s magic awakens a sleeping giant that attacks the townspeople. Ursula, the teacher of Akko uses her magic to distract the townspeople and include the attack into the festival itself. Together the witches come together to subdue the giant and improve the perception of the Witches.

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Predictable but well done

Overall, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade takes what made the previous movie in the series so exceptional, and expands on the world and the characters. Studio Trigger continues to impress with their animation style that made other series like Kill La Kill, Gurren Lagann and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt stand out Anime. The fluid nature of the animation with the muted color gives a lively feel. The series alludes to the “history” of witches being persecuted.

I think it should have expanded on this aspect of the universe, instead it was glossing over it. Finally, the rules of magic haven’t been explained. The series doesn’t leave the viewer completely ignorant of the magic system, but adding more depth would have been appreciated. While the story was predictable and the characters were formulaic, LWA remains a standard for good anime.

Little Witch Academia Episode 1 Review


Top 20 Anime from the 2010’s (Part 1)

I intended to keep this list short at ten, however, I just couldn’t leave out the many top anime from 2010-2019. If the late 80’s and 90’s are known as the greatest era of anime, the 2010’s should be known as the most prolific. With that said, let’s get to the list.


20. Dororo (2019)

Hyakkimaru and Tahomaru clash

Studio: MAPPA | MAL: 8.23 | Genre: Samurai, Historical

Dororo would rank higher if it wasn’t for the dramatic dip in animation quality throughout the series. However, despite that, Dororo remains one of the best anime of the decade. The series focuses on the orphan girl, Dororo and the samurai she befriends Hyakkimaru. The child of the power hungry Lord Daigo Kagemitsu, Hyakkimaru body sacrificed to demons. Born with no limbs, nose, eyes, ears or skin, Hyakkimaru is saved by a doctor. Armed with prosthetic limbs with weapons embedded within them, Dororo and Hyakkimaru, aim to defeat demon to restores his body. Dororo explores whether the sacrifice of the few is ever acceptable if it benefits the many.

Check Out My Review of Dororo Episode 1


19. SSSS.Gridman (2018)

Yuta and the Girdman Alliance
Yuta and the Girdman Alliance

Studio: Trigger | MAL: 7.31 | Genre: Mecha

After the disappointing Darling in the Franxx, I was surprised with SSSS.Gridman. Based on Denkou Choujin Gridman (1993), Gridman follows Yuta Hibiki. A high school freshman who wakes up in the home of his classmate Rikka Takarada. With no memory, Yuta hears a mysterious figure calling to him from an old computer. He’s the only one that can see and hear he figure and the giant Kaiju’s outside. Yuta starts to wonder if he’s going insane. Tasked with the mission giving to him, he merges with Gridman to fight against the Kaiju. SSSS.Gridman is a series with gorgeous animation, an intriguing story and several complex characters. One day I’ll give Darling in the Franxx a second look, but right now of the two SSSS.Gridman is the superior series.

Check Out My Review of SSSS.Gridman Episode 1


18. Tokyo Ghoul (2014)

Ken Kaneki after his surgery

Studio: Pierrot | MAL: 7.93 | Genre: Horror

I rarely watch horror anime, but I heard so much about Tokyo Ghoul I had to give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed. Based on the best-selling manga of the same name, Tokyo Ghoul follows Ken Kaneki as he is forced into the world of ghouls by Rize Kamishiro. Set in an alternate world where ghouls (humanoid beings that eat human flesh) live in secrecy. Half-ghouls can be born or created artificially. They’re usually stronger than pure blooded ghouls. After experimental surgery, Kaneki becomes a hybrid of a ghoul and human. He’s taken in by ghouls that manage the coffee shop “Anteiku”. He must struggle to find out where he fits in a world when the societies of the ghouls and humanity are in conflict.

Check Out My Review of Tokyo Ghoul Episode 1


17. Devilman Crybaby (2018)

Devilman Crybaby, Netflix

Studio: Science SARU | MAL: 7.94 | Genre: Supernatural

If somewhat graphic sex, ultra violence and gore are off putting to you then Devilman Crybaby isn’t for you. However, if you want an anime series that will push your boundaries, Devilman is your best choice. The sensitive Akira Fudou is asked by childhood friend Ryou Asuka to aid him with uncovering devils. To Akira’s shock, Ryou takes him to a Sabbath, a party full of debauchery. During the party, demons possess the party goers including Akira. Merged with the devil Amon, Akira becomes the Devilman.

Check Out My Review of Devilman Crybaby


16. Inuyashiki (2017)

Ichiro Inuyashiki becomes an electromechanical cyborg

Studio: MAPPA | MAL: 7.79 | Genre: Sci-Fi

Generally anime focuses on teenagers as the main protagonists. Inuyashiki takes a departure from this trope focusing on a 58 year old protagonists. Personally, I think that Inuyashiki looks more like an 80 year old. Regardless, he’s going through a tough time. His family doesn’t appreciate him (they seem to hate him), he has back problems and to top things off he learns that he has stomach cancer. With three months left to live, Inuyashiki becomes distraught. While standing in a nearby field he is transformed into a cyborg by mysterious extraterrestrials. Saved from his death sentence, Inuyashiki finds purpose in being a hero, rescuing citizens from the psychopathic Hiro.

Check Out My Review of Inuyashiki Episode 1

SSSS.Gridman Episode 1 & 2 Review

Rikka, Yuta and Utsumi

SSSS.Gridman is a series produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Studio Trigger. Based on the series Denkou Choujin Gridman and Denkou Choujin Gridman: boys invent great hero, although it’s not considered a reboot. Gridman focuses on Yuta Hibiki, a freshman in high school that awakens in the home of classmate Rikka Takarada’s house with amnesia. 

He quickly beings hearing Gridman calling to him from a old computer. He begins hallucinating Kaiju and apparently is the only one that can see or hear Gridman. He’s told by Gridman that he must “awaken” and complete his “mission.” He doesn’t clarify what this means. The following morning Sho Utsumi tells his friend (he doesn’t remember) about Gridman. 

The first Kaiju

After school they head to Rikka’s house. Yuta’s hallucination proves to be prophetic as a real Kaiju arrives and begins destroying the city. Yuta get’s sucked into the computer terminal and appears in the real world as Gridman. With the aid of Utsumi and Rikka he defeats the Kaiju. When they return to school the following morning, the school that was on fire the previous night is restored. 

The following episode, Restoration, explores what happen to the school after the fight. The damage that resulted from the battle was gone, with nobody having any memory of it. However, several of the students that were “killed” desks have disappeared and no one but Yuta, Utsumi and Rikka remember them. We also see that Akane is working with a computer robot like Gridman named Alexis. 

Gridman

At the shop, we are introduced to a new character named Samurai Caliber. He proceeds to optimize the computer and already knows about Gridman. After he finishes all three are able to hear Gridman and see the Kaiju. Rikka and the others go in search of the missing students. Shockingly, they learn that Sakiru Tonkawa, and the other students died in middle school years ago. Akane sends a Kaiju after her teacher for his rudeness.

Gridman and Yuta face off against it. However, he’s overpowered by the Kaiju. However, Samurai Caliber turns out to be a weapon, Gridman Caliber and together they quickly defeat it. I must say SSSS.Gridman has been a revelation. After my disappointment with Darling in the Franxx, I wasn’t expecting much from this Trigger production. Don’t get me wrong the animation is top notch and even the CGI is good. The movement of the characters are fluid, featuring the overall quality you can expect from them.

The homeroom teacher

This series is well directed. Adding layers of intrigue where I assumed none. If you ever watched any of those afternoon television series like, Power Rangers or V.R. Troopers, Gridman feels familiar. I expected there to be a monster of the week, followed by Gridman appearing, then future monsters would get stronger and Gridman would too. This formula would repeat until the end.

However, several mysteries are introduced in this series. Strangely, the battles with the Kaiju seem to take a back seat to the characters themselves. Akane is an unexpected villain, appearing innocent and adorable it turn out that she’s a sociopath. Having killed he classmates for interrupting her lunch. The little details matter in this series, as Akane paints he homeroom teacher as rude for failing to apologize when he bumped into her.

At the end of episode 2 she witness him apologizing to Yuta for the same thing. The question is why didn’t he died like Akane classmates? She did express ambivalence regarding him dying. Does her will matter? Did he apologize because she wanted him too and that’s the effect of her sending a Kaiju after him? I don’t know but that’s why I going to keep watching this series. 

Akane’s evil stare