TRIGGER’s Hiromi Wakabayashi does a Reddit AMA, answering fan questions about DARLING in the FRANXX

In a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, Hiromi Wakabayashi, a prominent figure at TRIGGER studio, took the opportunity to address burning fan questions about the popular anime series DARLING in the FRANXX. The AMA, hosted on the /r/anime subreddit, provided insights into various aspects of the show and TRIGGER’s collaboration with A-1 Pictures.

One of the key topics discussed was the co-production between A-1 Pictures and TRIGGER for DARLING in the FRANXX. When asked about the benefits and drawbacks of having two studios working on a single anime, Wakabayashi explained that TRIGGER’s strength lies in creating original content, particularly in concept planning and development. On the other hand, A-1 Pictures excels in producing multiple titles with high quality throughout the year. Although managing a project with two studios doubled the number of staff involved, Wakabayashi emphasized that it was not a demerit but rather a unique challenge.

The decision to collaborate with A-1 Pictures was driven by the director’s request, with TRIGGER focusing on pre-production and A-1 Pictures handling the majority of the actual animation process. Wakabayashi mentioned that while TRIGGER was responsible for some episodes and designs, A-1 Pictures also contributed their creative input to the project.

Another interesting topic raised during the AMA was the episode length of TRIGGER’s TV anime works. Unlike many other studios that follow the standard 12-13 episode format, TRIGGER often produces longer series with 24-25 episodes. Wakabayashi explained that as a studio fortunate enough to receive numerous opportunities to create original content, they wanted the audience to fully enjoy the characters they had meticulously developed. Additionally, longer episode lengths provided a wider span of time for the production committee to market and sell merchandise related to the series.

One of the intriguing questions posed to Wakabayashi was about the roles of TRIGGER and A-1 Pictures in the context of the Stamen and Pistil analogy used in the anime. Wakabayashi humorously assigned TRIGGER as the Stamen, reflecting the studio’s rowdy and rascal-like vibe. He clarified that in the world of DARLING in the FRANXX, the girls are primarily responsible for the ignition, while the boys pilot the Franxx. The girls also hold the initiative for the Franxx’s functionality, as they can activate the machine without the boys in a mode known as “stampede mode.” However, only Zero Two, a female character, possesses this ability, highlighting her unique role in the story.

The AMA also delved into the inspirations behind the character designs, with Atsushi Nisigori (Director) and Masayoshi Tanaka (Character design) being credited for Zero Two’s visually stunning design. Furthermore, Wakabayashi expressed appreciation for the fans’ recognition of the series’ connection to previous GAINAX mech series like Evangelion, Diebuster, and Gurren Lagann. He hinted that DARLING in the FRANXX follows the trend of blurring the line between characters and robots, but refrained from disclosing further details, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the rest of the series.

In addition to discussing DARLING in the FRANXX, Wakabayashi shared insights into TRIGGER’s animation philosophies. He emphasized the importance of characterization and the expressive nature of animation. By thoughtfully portraying character motives and reactions, TRIGGER aims to create bold and emotionally impactful animations.

The conversation also delved into Wakabayashi’s personal preferences. When asked about his favorite Japanese animations, he mentioned FLCL for OVA, DIGIMON ADVENTURE CHILDREN’S WAR GAME! for feature film, and Kaleido Star for TV series. As for Western cartoons, he cited favorites such as The Simpsons, Billy and Mandy, Kim Possible, Drawn Together, and Gravity Falls.

The discussion expanded beyond DARLING in the FRANXX to TRIGGER’s other works. A fan expressed admiration for Space Patrol Luluco and wondered if there were plans for more short anime series. Wakabayashi revealed that both himself and director Imaishi are fond of Space Patrol Luluco’s format, hinting at the possibility of future series featuring all three Trigger girls.

Overall, the Reddit AMA provided an engaging platform for fans to gain deeper insights into TRIGGER’s creative process, the dynamics of co-productions, and the inspirations behind their acclaimed anime series.

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