On being larger than life.

The interesting thing about these works, these ludicrous grand and demented works that we love, is that their creators are so normal. Even, I blush to admit, boring at times.

I've never seen Gen Urobuchi eat a single baby. Yoshitoshi ABe and Yasuyuki Ueda, to my knowledge, were never yakuza hitmen. And Hideaki Anno, if he's ever destroyed the world, has at least put it back the same way each time.

Trigger, for example, we know through their work, and thus I suppose we subconsciously expect them to crash through the wall like a squad of Kool-Aid men. We expect their every word to have choral accompaniment, their heads to light on fire, their nipples to glow with blinding light. Their drills to pierce the heavens./

And we still don't know: why did they break from Gainax? What manner of person looks at Gainax, of all places, shrugs, and says "too conservative?" That mystery, that mystique, may account more than anything else for our surprise at finding them ordinary otaku like ourselves. Their founding, in some ways, has already passed into legend.

The fact is that the members of Trigger are shy production staff, unused to speaking to crowds. As are we all, and that's part of what makes their work so great. That shared cultural experience, of being a devoted fan of work so obscure that it may fairly be called occult.

It's kind of nice, really. But it doesn't make for interesting panels, and after a while I realized that I'd heard all this before. "Yes, we are influenced by older works, but we tried to put our own spin on it". "Yes, we also made this series that neither you nor anyone else in this room has ever heard of."

Of course we are joking. It's not that they're boring, because they're not. If anyone said such a thing, I would crush them to bits. But they're not the characters they've created, either. The map is not the territory.

—chris