The team behind Studio Trigger's new anime film Promare spoke with CBR in July, before the film's U.S. premiere at Anime Expo 2019 in Los Angeles. We talked with director Hiroyuki Imaishi, creative director Hiromi Wakabayashi, and designer Shigeto Koyama about the inspirations behind the exciting new movie, the process of making it, and what we might expect for the future of the "Trigger universe" as a whole.
CBR: One of the reasons I think Trigger and Imaishi's work is so successful among American fans is that you take inspiration not only from Japanese anime, but from other cartoons and pop culture all around the world. What were some of your biggest influences on Promare?
Group answer: We took a strong influence from The Fast and the Furious. It's not as simple as a just borrowing visuals, but their take on the use of the medium of film as pure entertainment is what we're heavily influenced by.
Imaishi-san, you said in an interview that your original idea for Promare was a version of Les Miserables with zombies. How the hell do you get from zombie Les Mis to Promare, and is there any chance of seeing this zombie Les Mis movie made? Because that sounds awesome.
Imaishi: It’s obviously a joke. There is no way we could come up with that. Just a Japanese-style joke.
There’s a layer of political commentary in Promare that I think American viewers will find especially relevant and interesting. Were you thinking about current events when developing Promare?
Imaishi and Wakabayashi's joint answer: The simple answer will be no. We only incorporated these political aspects because we wanted to project a near-future modern world very similar to ours. We just wanted to throw a little reality into the film, and in order to do that, we have to make a resemblance. It wasn't intentionally about a message.
How did you plan for the movie's unique blend of 2D and CG animation?
Koyama: Since it’s gonna be both 2D and 3D, I paid special care to the level of details so not one information is overpowering others. Form, color, everything will be at the same level. It's simpler design. For example, the Burnish’s fire is simplified, because if we were to make the fire a little realistic, it kind of brings out to the viewer that a certain portion is out of design and doesn’t match the entire field of the film.
Koyama-san, is Lio the cutest bishounen you've ever drawn?
Koyama: There is no first or second in my book. I love all the characters I’ve created.
Imaishi, are there any past works of yours you’d want to revisit for a sequel or spinoff?
Imaishi: Space Patrol Luluco.
Since Luluco was a crossover show, do you envision any crossovers happening with Promare? Is Promare set in the same universe as other Trigger anime?
Wakabayashi: Any project or series animated by us, the baseline requirement is to be included in the Trigger universe, so I guess [it's possible].
Who would win in a fight: Galo or Kamina [from Gurren Lagann]?
Group answer: After a terrible negotiation amongst us, Simon [from Gurren Lagann] would win. Kamina is dead.
Promare will open in limited release on Sept. 20, following Fathom Events screenings on Sept. 17 and Sept. 19.