Studio Trigger (officially "Trigger Inc.") is a Japanese anime studio founded in 2011 by Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Ōtsuka. Prior to this, the duo had spent the previous fifteen years as animators and directors on various Studio Gainax productions; most notably Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. In addition, much of the company's founding staff are also former Gainax employees who had worked on these projects, as well as a fair number of ex-Studio 4°C staff members who were stationed between Telecom, Gainax, and Kyoto Animation at the time of its founding.
The studio's first major production was 2013's Kill la Kill, a Magical Girl series that made their creative mission statement more than clear: all the over-the-top comedy, kinetic and stylish use of Limited Animation, and fun and captivating stories that can border on Mind Screw that these creatives brought to you while working at other studios? Prepare to have that turned Up to Eleven.
Other major works from Studio Trigger include the satirical crime webtoon Inferno Cop, the Wizarding School comedy Little Witch Academia, and a toku re-imagining in SSSS.GRIDMAN. In July 2018, Trigger launched their own Patreon, with the money serving as additional funding for their various animation projects and production of merchandise.
Works produced by Trigger:
- Kill la Kill (2013-2014)
- When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (2014)
- Space Patrol Luluco (2016)
- Kiznaiver (2016)
- Little Witch Academia (2017)
- DARLING in the FRANXX (2018)note
- Gridman Universenote
- BNA: Brand New Animal (2020)
- Cyberpunk Edgerunners (2022) note
Original net animation
- Inferno Cop (2012-2013)
- Turning Girls (2013) a set of 7 5-minute shorts made entirely by the non-production staff (secretaries, accountants, even the Janitor)
- Ninja Slayer From Animation (2015)
- Japan Animator Expo shorts (2015)
- Denkou Choujin Gridman: boys invent great hero
- Power Plant No. 33
- SEX and VIOLENCE with MACHSPEED
- Bureau of Proto Society
- 18if: In-Between Animation
- Aikatsu!: Key Animation for episode 159 through Hiroyuki Imaishi
- Akame ga Kill!: In-Between Animation
- Atom: The Beginning: In-Between Animation
- Black Dynamite: 2nd Season Opening
- Black★Rock Shooter: Animation Production Cooperation
- Dance with Devils: In-Between Animation
- The Devil Is a Part-Timer!: Key Animation
- Flip Flappers: In-Between Animation
- FLCL Progressive & Alternative: 2nd Key & In-Between Animation
- Hackadoll: Key Animation
- Haikyuu!!: 2nd Key & In-Between Animation
- The iDOLM@STER: Animation Production Cooperation
- Idolish 7: Crescent Rise Music Video
- Indivisible: Animated intro
- Kiratto Pri☆Chan: In-Between Animation for the first opening animation
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: 2nd Key Animation for the 2012 series; In-Between Animation for Stardust Crusaders
- Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!: In-Between Animation
- Made in Abyss: In-Between Animation
- Magi: Labyrinth of Magic: Production Assistance
- Mob Psycho 100: In-Between Animation
- Monster Strike: Production Assistance for episode 4
- Mutafukaz: In-Between Animation
- My Hero Academia: 2nd key & In-Between Animation
- Nerdland: Animation for the "Video XV" sequence, through Hiroyuki Imaishi
- OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: Intro animation storyboards, through Hiroyuki Imaishi with Digital eMation.
- The Perfect Insider: In-Between Animation
- Persona 5: In-Between Animation for cutscenes.
- Pokémon the Series: XY: 2nd Key Animation
- Pokémon: The Power of Us: Production Coordination
- Project X Zone: Opening, first thing done by Trigger
- Punch Line: 2nd Key Animation
- Recovery of an MMO Junkie: Key, 2nd Key & In-Between Animation
- Rinne no Lagrange: Kamogawa Days: Key Animation
- Seraph of the End: Background Art for "Vampire Reign"; In-Between Animation for "Battle in Nagoya"
- Shantae and the Seven Sirens: Opening Animation
- Space Dandy: In-Between Animation for Season 2
- Steven Universe: Layout and Key Animation for "Mindful Education" and additional animation for The Movie, both through Takafumi Hori note
- Sword Art Online: Animation Production Cooperation for episode 17
- Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online: In-Between Animation
- Tokyo Ravens: In-Between Animation
- Toy Story That Time Forgot: Battlesaurs short
- Transformers: Indirectly. Several animators, including Imaishi, would contribute to the "More than Just a Geek Spark" artbook released in 2016.
- Valvrave the Liberator: 2nd Key Animation
Tropes associated with Studio Trigger:
- Animation Bump:
- Arms and Armor Theme Naming: The Trigger Girls are all named after gun parts: the orange-haired one is named "Trigger", the blue-haired one "Muzzle", and the blonde one "Spring".
- Author Appeal: Limited Animation and Off-Model are always featured in their series, as well as shout-outs to their favorite Western properties.
- The Cameo: Elements from one of the company's various properties will often appear in the background of another of its works. For example, Akko appears as a background student in SSSS.GRIDMAN, while a jumbotron in the first episode of BNA: Brand New Animal plays an episode of Inferno Cop.
- Creator Thumbprint: Their works prominently feature four-pointed stars: the stars on Goku Uniforms in Kill la Kill, the seven stars of the Shiny Rod in Little Witch Academia, the scars in Kiznaiver, and much, much more.
- Deranged Animation: A lot of the visual gags wouldn't look out of place in a Tex Avery cartoon.
- Fanservice: In general, they aren't shy to invoke this trope. Kill la Kill is even built on it, with the main character needing to become more at ease with wearing a skimpy combat outfit in public if she wants to unlock its full capabilities.
- Lighter and Softer: Any series helmed by Yoh Yoshinari, such as Little Witch Academia and BNA: Brand New Animal, compared to the works of the studio's other directors. His shows showcase no gore or fanservice, and while they do have their darker moments, there's nothing would be out of place in any given animated series aimed at children or families.
- Limited Animation:
- Invoked as all of their series exhibit this, with Ninja Slayer, Turning Girls, Inferno Cop and Space Patrol Luluco being the most blatant cases. It's not a bad thing though.
- Kiznaiver averts this, as generally does anything directed by Yoh Yoshinari.
- As of Brand New Animal, they seem to be finding a Signature Style that elevates it into a sort of Quality over Quantity approach, pouring Scenery Porn and stylish detailing into still shots while mixing in slick animations where it counts.
- Mascot: The Trigger Girls, who the company unveiled on their 5th anniversary. Specifically their de facto leader, Trigger-chan. While the prospect of an anime starring them started out as an April Fools' Day joke, it's eventually revealed that Trigger-chan is actually Luluco herself.
- Motif: a large, 4-pointed star is seen regularly in Trigger animations. Most prominently in Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia, and Space Patrol Luluco.
- Off-Model: Invoked as almost all of their series feature this. It's not a bad thing though.
- Shout-Out: Trigger loves to put nods, homages, and shoutouts to older Anime, Western cartoons, and Live Action TV shows and movies. Any Trigger show with its own page, usually has a full page of Shout Outs.
- The 'Verse: Space Patrol Luluco ends up sharing one with at least four other Trigger works and is the origin story of the studio's mascot. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, despite not being a Trigger property, is also part of this universe.