Darling in the Franxx is one of winter’s most talked about series and it’s thanks to the talented staff! It’s billed as a collaboration between Studio Trigger and A-1 Pictures, but many of the key staff formed a bond working on various Gainax projects.
If you love the style of Darling in the Franxx, you may want to check out some of these sweet older titles!
Director / Series Composer – Atsushi Nishigori
Nishigori is in the director’s chair and is co-writing the scripts with Plastic Memories creator Naotaka Hayashi. There’s no question that Nishigori’s sensibilities are all over Darling in the Franxx, which were fostered during his Gainax days as character designer and key artist.
His biggest collaborator tends to be Hiroyuki Imaishi, who is serving as Darling in the Franxx‘s action director. Some if Nishigori’s Gainax credits include Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (character design), Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (character design), and FLCL (in-between animation).
Fans of Nishigori’s direction will have to check out The iDOLM@STER and The iDOLM@STER Movie: Kagayaki no Mukougawa e!, which are his only other directorial credits. However, there is no question that his success with the hit idol series served as a bridge to connect Trigger with A-1 Pictures.
Mechanical Design – Shigeto Koyama
You can’t have a great mecha series without sweet designs! Koyama tends to favor sleek humanoid mechs, viewing the robots more as an extension of the pilots as opposed to war machines. Oh, and he also loves to use a MASSIVE SCALE, creating some of the largest mechas in the industry!
Koyama’s iconic mechanical designs can be found in Eureka Seven, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Rebuild of Evangelion, and Star Driver.
Chief Animation Director / Character Design – Masayoshi Tanaka
Tanaka has taken on the roles of chief animation director and character designer to make sure Darling in the Franxx maintains a consistent look during its run.
Tanaka has one of the most recognizable styles in the industry: his soft-lined, but expressive designs can be seen in Anohana, The Anthem of the Heart, Toradora!, and Your Name. Even if you have doubts about the sexually charged narrative found in Darling in the Franxx, you can rest assured that the series will look great!
Tanaka isn’t a Gainax alum like most of the key staff, but he did serve as a key animator on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann for two episodes.
Action Director – Hiroyuki Imaishi
Imaishi needs little introduction and it’s his guiding hand that is responsible for the exciting action scenes in Darling in the Franxx.
This luminary is responsible for creating pulse-pounding series like Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, and Space Patrol Luluco. Yeah, Imaishi was responsible for Gainax’s last great hits and kickstarting Studio Triggers’ popularity.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann serves as a common thread for Darling in the Franxx‘s main staff. Not only is the series a source of inspiration, it’s also where many of the staff members formed a professional bond. You also wouldn’t be too far off base crediting Darling in the Franxx as a Gainax production since so many of the staff rose through the studio.