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I’ve actually never seen any of the Toy Story movies. I hear they’re entertaining and poignant, but my extremely busy lifestyle only leaves me so much time for watching cartoons, and I generally prefer my animation to be hand-drawn and Japanese.

But I may just have to check out the newest Toy Story Blu-ray release, since it contains a piece of original animation from Trigger, one of Japan’s hottest anime studios.

If you grew up in the 1980s or ‘90s, you probably have fond memories of sitting down in front of the TV to catch the latest installment of whatever action figure-based animated action extravaganza was the talk of the schoolyard. Without fail, the coolest part was the opening sequence, full of slick, polished animation that always looked a couple of levels above the artwork that appeared in the episodes themselves.

Kids with long enough attention spans to read the on-screen credits may have noticed that some of those memorable opening animations were produced by anime companies, who brought an immense amount of passion and panache to the minute-or-so-long projects. Maybe that’s why Toy Story producers Pixar have turned to Japan’s Trigger, the studio behind Kill la Kill and Ninja Slayer From Animation, to create an opening sequence for the fictitious Battlesaurs TV series.

For those not up on their Disney/Pixar lore, the Battlesaurs made their debut in 2014’s Toy Story That Time Forgot, a 2014 TV special that saw Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the Toy Story crew encounter a line of sentient humanoid dinosaur action figures. Since the Battlesaurs are supposed to have their own in-universe TV series, Pixar wanted to include an opening for it on the upcoming Toy Story That Time Forgot Blu-ray.

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But therein lies a problem. Within the Toy Story world, CG represents what’s supposed to be “real,” so using the same computer-animated models as in Toy Story That Time Forgot wasn’t an option. So instead the decision was made to go with something that looks hand-drawn, and the task was entrusted to Trigger.

Trigger is an apt choice. Not only is the studio known for its high-quality artwork and action choreography, it’s also shown a willingness to work outside of anime norms in terms of design and aesthetics. For instance, the artwork of Little Witch Academia, one of Trigger’s biggest hits, stretches and squashes in a way that’s evocative of Western animation.

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But long-time Japanese animation fans will still be able to spot some telltale sings of the Battlesaurs opening’s country of origin. After all, Western cartoons don’t do poses…

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…lens flares…

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…or pyrotechnics like this.

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Sadly, the Battlesaurs opening doesn’t have any actual episodes to go with it, as it’s just an extra being included for the November 3 home video release of Toy Story That Time Forgot. But who knows, maybe if enough people buy the Blu-ray, Pixar will greenlight an actual Trigger-animated Battlesaurs TV series.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Images: YouTube/Walt. Disney