Anime Limited's Cloud Matsuri Online Convention
Crunchyroll Presents: Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! Panel

by Andrew Osmond,

Science Saru CEO Euyoung Choi joined character designer Naoyuki Asano and opening sequence animator Abel Gongora for Crunchyroll's Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! panel, Science Saru's massively acclaimed show about three girls striving to make their own anime.

“It lets us remember the joy of making animation,” Choi said. The staff, however, had some unique hurdles to bring the meta-anime series to life.

Gongora pointed out that Eizouken! involved strange conundrums for the animators working on it. Eizouken is a show where a rough layout might go up on screen just as it was, to show the audience how the magic is made. It wasn't always clear how “finished” a picture in the series needed to be.

Despite animating on the show, Gongora didn't fully understand the story, as he couldn't read the Japanese-language manga. For that reason, he didn't know why the girl characters were regularly entering fantastical realms (which are actually depictions of their manically fertile imaginations). When he finally saw the first episode, he understood what was going on, “really late!”

Gongora was the creator of the show's much memed and parodied title sequence, “Easy Breezy.” The animator recalled how he especially pushed the colors. However, Gongora claimed he was completely surprised by the fan reaction to the sequence. Asano also praised it: “It introduces you to the colorful, bright, cheerful nature of the anime, and to the movement of the characters, which is fun as well.”

Asano loved the original Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! manga by Sumito Ōwara. “It was written by someone who really loves animation.” The designer praised the manga drawings' balance of realism and character deformity. For the anime, Asano tried to distinguish the characters slightly more. “Asakusa is more rounded, Kanamori is a longer, taller figure, and I tried to make Mizusaki a bit sharper. It's important that the viewers can immediately tell who's who.”

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! begins with a scene showing Asakusa falling in love with an anime. Asano said that of his anime influences, he was especially struck by the music video Extra, directed by Koji Morimoto. Crucially, Asano saw it in a pre-YouTube age, so he couldn't go back and rewatch it. “But it somehow stayed with me and I still remember it now.”

Asano said he was also encouraged to go into anime by seeing a documentary on the making of Princess Mononoke. “It just seemed really interesting what the animators were doing, and that's what made me interested in being an animator myself.”

Choi mentioned Asano while talking about her hopes for Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!. “We can show people how we make animation, and maybe influence many people out there.”

On the other hand, Asano himself confessed that the Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! character he most identifies with is not an animator, but the ruthelessly pragmatic producer Kanamori. “I've been animating for nearly twenty years,” Asano said. “When you've been animating that long, you kind of lose that passion that Asakusa and Mizusaki both have… You think more about the money and the business.”

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