Anipike's immortal mascot, hitchhiking her way to the Turnpike. Where did she come from? Why is she here? What is the meaning of life? Read on!
Q&A with Hans Raillard
Backstage: First, tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do, and how did you end up designing trixies for Anipike?
Hans: I'm a computer guru helping individuals and small-to-medium sized businesses solve their computer problems. Art and animation are hobbies of mine.
Ten years ago I made a small Anime style art gallery to showcase my anime drawings, and I drew a small GIF of a hitchhiking girl to link to the Anime Web Turnpike. Jei Fubler Harvey noticed her and asked if he could use her as an official mascot, which was fine with me.
When I created her, she had no name, and she was not yet animated. The name Trixie was suggested to Jei by another person, and a simple cut-rotate-paste animated GIF was created by Tim Neams, which inspired me to make an official two-drawing animated GIF. Until then I had not realized how cute a two-frame animation could be!
Backstage: When did trixie first appear on Anipike?
Hans: I don't have an exact date anymore, but I can narrow it down to a window of time... Between November 1996 and February 1997 Trixie switched from being a nameless, static girl for my website only, to being an animated girl named Trixie Turnpike, decorating the Anipike and other people's websites as the official link girl to the Anipike.
Backstage: How did you come up with the trixie design? Why is she always smiling? And why is her hair pink!?
Hans: Cuteness, pink hair, and a sailor fuku school uniform all fit together in my imagination as belonging to a girl who would be into Anime. She's smiling partly because she's a happy-go-lucky person like me, partly because in her world it's still safe to hitchhike, and, in fact, she's not always smiling: When she was cosplaying as R. Trixie Wayneright, she tries hard to keep a straight face -- to look like an android girl -- but she can't help smile for a moment, once in a while, because she's just too happy!
Backstage: Was there any other designs for the trixie when you first created her? Mind sharing with us some other early design ideas?
Hans: She looks almost exactly the same as I first drew her. I did draw her on paper first, and made some minor adjustments to the final tiny 75x100 pixel GIF. These adjustments were necessary, because the GIF was so small. She actually looks cuter in the final version than the original, so I'd rather not show the original drawing.
Backstage: Is there a background story for the trixie? On Anipike it says she's hitchhiking her way to the Turnpike.
Hans: That is her story in a nutshell. I imagine her hitchhiking to different Anime conventions, always taking the Anime Web Turnpike to get there.
Backstage: On the trixie page, all the trixie filenames are odd numbered (i.e. trixie13.gif, trixie9.gif), what happened to the even numbered ones?
Hans: If you look closely you'll see that each row has its partner image with the even numbers on the right. Because the GIF is so small, it needs some gray anti-aliasing pixels around the edges to smooth the outlines. I created her for my own light-colored website (and Jei's Anipike had her on a light blue background), which means these anti-aliasing pixels needed to be light gray. Unfortunately, these would stand out as ugly light dots around her if she is placed on a dark background, so to accommodate people who wanted to use the GIFs on their darker websites, I always make a second copy of the GIFs with darker anti-aliasing pixels, which made the edges look smoother on dark backgrounds.
Backstage: Which trixie are you most proud of and why?
Hans: My favorite is Mononoke Trixie, because she was cosplaying as Mononoke Hime before Disney/Miramax released the film in the US theaters. That proved that she's a real Otaku-ette, who loves Miyazaki films even before they were mainstream over here.
Backstage: Anipike has been inviting other artists to design new trixies, are there any "Guest Trixies" that you are particularly fond of? (My favorite one is this!)
Hans: That is a cute one! My favorite guest Trixie is Naska Chijoue's Hentai Trixie. The image has a delightful tease factor, but thanks to some carefully placed puffs of steam it remains perfectly acceptable for a family friendly website.
Backstage: Tell us a bit about the history of the trixie, has there been any major incidents since her creation till now? Any interesting stories or inside tibits that no one knows about?
Hans: When Trixie dressed up as Goku for Dragonball Trixie, the patch on the front of her outfit had the initials "AWT" for Anime Web Turnpike. Because the GIF is so small you can barely see it, but I've included an image that shows it close-up.
Whenever I drew Trixie in a new outfit, I would also make a pair of head-only GIFs that Jei would use to decorate most of the pages of the Anipike (other than the homepage). For the Hentai-links page, the head-only GIF would usually show Trixie blushing with a big sweat drop on the side of her head, and instead of seeing the top of her costume, we would see her bra straps. There were rumors floating around of an ecchi "dominatrixie" image, and that name was so cute that it inspired my somewhat fevered imagination. When Trixie dressed up as Mayuka for the Anipike's earlier birthday celebration, the Hentai links page version was a head-shot of "dominatrixie".
Backstage: When and how did you find about Anipike?
Hans: I believe I saw the link mentioned in Animerica magazine. It was too long ago for me to remember exactly. This was before Jei owned the Anipike.com domain name!
Backstage: Aside from designing the trixie, did you have any other responsibilities at the 'Pike?
Hans: Nope. And except for Birthday "Mayuka" Trixie, Jei never asked me to make the extra Trixies -- I just drew her for the fun of doing so, and then offered them to Jei to decorate the Anipike, and share with the public.
Backstage: What do you think of the current Anipike, do you still visit it frequently?
Hans: Not too much. I was never a big time visitor of websites. What appealed to me about the Anipike was that if a person, such as a visitor to my own webpage, wanted to browse for more anime related websites, it made a good starting point.
Backstage: Do you like how Anipike has grown over time?
Hans: I think the search feature was the most important addition. A link list without the ability to search the content became harder and harder to use as it grew. I think it's nice to have other community-type services available, such as the galleries and forums, but I don't use them personally, because my spare time is taken up with projects.
Backstage: When did you leave Anipike? Was there a specific reason?
Hans: I basically left when Jei sold the Anipike. My Trixie GIFs were no longer used to decorate the website, so I did not want to spend the time necessary to make fresh images.
Backstage: Where are you now and what are you working on?
Hans: I have let my small anime-style art gallery go without an update for several years, but I am working on some interesting projects in my spare time. Unfortunately, it's my habit not to go into details about the projects that I'm working on until they are ready for sharing.
Backstage: Do you think it's better for a site have a mascot or not? How does a mascot affect a website's image and its audience?
Hans: If a mascot shows up naturally, like Trixie did, I think there is a certain rightness about her presence as "spokesperson" for the site. Trixie was drawn from the heart, as a labor of love, and I think people can sense that.
Backstage: If there was one thing you're most proud of that involves Anipike (non-trixie related), what is it?
Hans: The Anipike has a link to Anna Exter's translation of Hayao Miyazaki's small book "Shuna's Journey", which I color coded to match the text in the original book, and which I host in my webspace. I had plans to make a scanlation of the book, but Anna asked me to drop those plans out of respect for Miyazaki's original book, which is available for purchase in the USA, or can be easily ordered. She did not want a free translated version to cut into those sales, and I respect that wish.
Backstage: Any other inside stories or fun tibits that no one knows about you would like to share?
Hans: There was once a popularity contest in VIZ's Animerica magazine, where people could vote for their favorite anime characters in different categories. I was pleased to see Trixie Turnpike getting an honorable mention, even though she is not an official anime character from Japan.
Backstage: Will you still be designing more trixies in the future?
Hans: I don't think so. I was inspired to make the many versions I did because Jei featured her so prominently on the website.
Backstage: If you could describe Anipike in a sentence or two, how would you describe it?
Hans: The Anipike has grown to feel like an online anime community space, and if you don't mind the advertisements it looks like a fun place to hang out to share one's interest in Anime.
Trixie by Hans
[ Defualt Trixie ] [ Winter Trixie ] [ Summer Trixie ] [ Sailor Moon Trixie ] [ Princes Mononoke Trixie ] [ DBZ Trixie ] [ Birthday Trixie ] [ Vampire Princess Miyu Trixie ] [ Otaku No Video Trixie ] [ Lina Inverse Trixie ] [ Ryo-ohki Trixie ] [ Big O Trixie ]
2003 May Guest Trixie by Emi-chan - [ Interview ]
2003 June Guest Trixie by Pamela Ramali - [ Interview ]
2003 July Guest Trixie by Naska Chijoue - [ Interview ]
August Guest Trixie
September Guest Trixie by Catarina
2004 October Guest Trixie by DDRNinja - [ Interview ]
November Guest Trixie
There were more Guest Trixies, but most of them were lost during the crashes.