When Trigger first started up, the natural inclination was to assume they’d be a kind of post-Gainax studio. But much more than Gainax, they’ve come to resemble Shaft (or at least what Shaft has become) – a vanity project reflecting the style of its major director, and one which tries to mask appallingly cheap animation with equally cheap visual trickery, and substitute self-aware pretentiousness for wit and intelligence. And one whose every move smacks of immense commercial calculation.
Ninja Slayer is I suppose an attempt to be a follow-up to Inferno Cop, Trigger’s original work. Unfortunately Inferno Cop pretty much sucked to begin with, but compared to Ninja Slayer it’s Seirei no Moribito. I’m over Trigger – anything positive that comes out of the studio will be a surprise. Their creative high-water mark came early with Little Witch Academia – which while clearly marketing-driven and not remotely ambitious, was at least attractive, honest and modestly fun.
It’s been all downhill from there, and the current body of work from the studio is remarkably soulless and generally terrible to look at. I realize this trifle is intended as a cheap (even by Trigger standards) knockaround internet lark and not truly representative of Trigger’s output, but it’s symbolically the epitome of why they suck as badly as they do. Imaishi has talent – he couldn’t have done the work he did at Gainax (culminating in TTGL) if he didn’t – but he’s spent the last eight years systematically arguing the case that he doesn’t. He may not have directed Ninja Slayer (Inferno Cop’s Amemiya Akira, a fellow Gainax exile, did) but his fingerprints are all over it. Dropped, with extreme prejudice.