Location: Anime Expo 2019
Interview Date: 7/5/2019
Anime Herald: Promare had a very colorful design aesthetic. Was that the intent from the very beginning?
Trigger: Yes. That was the original concept. We wanted to make the colors stand out.
Anime Herald: Early in the movie it looked like the focus would be on Burning Rescue, the firefighting team. That turned out not to be the case. Was that a change in production or was that always the plan?
Trigger: The director wanted to focus more on Gallo, Lio, and Kray’s story. It can be said it was partially planned, and partially a matter of the limitations of reel time.
Anime Herald: Trigger has done [Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann], Kill la Kill, and now Promare. We’ve seen a couple of themes develop. The first is “JUSTICE!” The second is pairing an idiot with smart people who were originally enemies, who later become their friends and allies. Was that a theme Trigger intentionally is going for?
Trigger: (Laughs) We had a very similar question earlier today. If it fits in with future works, we’ll go with it. We won’t force it though if it doesn’t work.
Anime Herald: I very much enjoyed the deus ex machina in Promare. Is that another theme that Trigger wants to promote?
Trigger: The particular scene you’re referring to, where the professor comes out, was like an “on” switch for us, as well. We wanted to let the audience know our film was shifting to a different gear.
It’s also why we gave it that name.
“This kind of out of nowhere story shift is (Kazuki) Nakashima’s go-to method of storytelling.” -Hiroyuki Imaishi
Anime Herald: How important is it to Trigger to have, at least at times, their anime not make sense?
Anime Herald: Ryuko even talked about it in Kill la Kill.
Trigger: That was one of the themes of Kill la Kill. Random events. Ryuko and Senketsu don’t know what they are. They cooperate together to produce an unknown and unexpected result, that exceeds their expectations. That’s what we were going for.
Anime Herald: One of the themes of the main characters Kamina of Gurren Lagann, Ryuko of Kill la Kill, and Galo in Promare is that something in their childhood gives them a burning need to achieve a goal. Kamina wants to reach the sky, Ryuko wants revenge, and Galo wants to fight fires. Has anything in your childhood given you a burning need?
Trigger: I think I reflect a lot of my personal experiences into my films. I was obviously enticed by animation when I was in elementary school. I think that a lot of my senpai influenced me with their works.
Anime Herald: Is there any particular anime that enticed you to enter the industry?
Trigger: The first Gundam.
Anime Herald: Oh!
Trigger: Is that surprising?
Anime Herald: I was just talking about the original Gundam. There’s a translator here named Eiko Grafton. She said that she just built her first Gundam [model] in forty years. She liked the first Gundam, but then forgot about them. She said that the 40th anniversary reminded her of it, and she felt like maybe she should build another, and she did.
Trigger: (Wistfully) Yeah, it is the 40th anniversary.
Anime Herald: Can you remember your first Gundam?
Trigger: Imaishi: MS-07 Gouf. Wakanayashi: MSK-008 Dijeh (Char Aznable custom). Koyama LM312V04 Victory Gundam.
Anime Herald: Fits their personalities.
Anime Herald: Earlier this morning I received multiple DM’s about “Trigger anime Zootopia”
Trigger: Fake news? (Laughs)
I guess we can talk about it at our panel.
Anime Herald: So not fake news, but not officially released yet. Any comments about Shantae?
Trigger: We were fortunate enough to receive an offer from WayForward to do an opening for Shantae [and the Seven Sirens]. We thought “we have this highly talented rookie animator who will become one of our best hopes.” Kai Ikarashi. He was also the chief animator for Promare. Once Promare got out of production, we thought it would be a nice opportunity for Ikarashi to have his own piece of work. We let him do the character design and do a little bit of the execution for the opening sequence. We’ll share more information about this at our panel.
Anime Herald: This was a full feature film, Promare. What was it like when you finished all your work and got it out the door?
Trigger: We were still working. There’s two short prequel episodes that we were working on after the film was finished. We never got that sense of relief. It kind of dragged out. We were still in work mode after the film was finished.
Anime Herald: When can we expect Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt to return?
Trigger: (Laugs) We want to make it. We’re just waiting for the opportunity.
Sakura Productions had a brief Q&A with Trigger:
Q: Promare portrayed a very rich world with varied characters, which to me suggested a possibility for sequels and prequels. Are you considering follow on projects at this time?
A: No, we’re not ready to think about that, yet. Naturally, though, if there is a great deal of interest, we would consider it. For the time being, we are super interested in how Promare will be received by the US audience.
Q: How was Promare received in Japan?
A: Extremely well.
Q: How do you think it will be received in the US?
A: We have no idea whatsoever. That’s why we’re looking forward to seeing the reaction of the audience with a great deal of excitement (Yaaay!) when it premieres in the US this fall.
Q: Was there any deeper meaning or a message in Promare?
A: No. We simply wanted to create a film that moves and dazzles the audience – not with messages, but with colors, visuals, and action. We wanted to give the audience a sensory experience, such that each audience member can enjoy Promare in his/her own way.
Anime Herald: Have any of you watched the movie Spider Man: Into the Spiderverse? What were your thoughts?
Trigger: We liked the design of Kingpin. Also, Gwen’s hair after she buzzes it off.