Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! Episode 1 Director Discusses Making of the Episode
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Gigazine published an interview with Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! episode 1 storyboard artist and director Mari Motohashi on December 28, which discusses the making of the episode. Motohashi discusses her background in storyboarding and the approach the staff took to animating the anime's first episode.
The episode was Motohashi's first time drawing storyboards for a 30-minute anime. Her previous storyboarding credits were on a short animation series titled Super Shiro. Motohashi said that storyboarding Eizouken was a learning experience and an opportunity to absorb knowledge from the veteran Masaaki Yuasa. Yuasa offered critical feedback on the way she depicted the dialogue and action scenes, and helped improve those scenes for the better. The action scenes in particular convey a lot of things that Yuasa wanted to depict.
One of the key points to animating the first episode was to ensure that the characters' movements were "gender neutral." When asked what she thought of Sumito Ōwara's original manga when she first read it, Motohashi said that it didn't feel like it needed to be a story about high school girls in particular, and that it could easily have had male lead characters. However, she liked the "gender neutral" feel of it. She described Asakusa as like an elementary schooler, Mizusaki as having some girlish aspects still left in her, and Kanamori as like an intellectual yakuza. She said that Kanamori's pragmatism was refreshing, and felt true to life regarding how the anime industry works, which may be why creative people tend to enjoy the manga.
In addition, she mentions that the staff were told not to make the character animations, poses, and expressions "girlish." This was something that Motohashi tried to convey from the storyboarding stage. Series director Masaaki Yuasa would supervise the drawings along with the episode directors in order to ensure that the character animation would fit the overall vision.
Motohashi mentions that in general, the first episode utilizes more drawings than a typical anime in order to establish the characters. Even mundane scenes like Asakusa eating mochi, or spinning on an office chair, or even the movements of her legs would get two to four times more drawings than a typical anime would get. Motohashi believes that this level of detail is necessary to make the anime feel more "believable."
On Twitter, Ōwara strongly praised the storyboards of the anime's first episode, saying: "Just from looking at the storyboards of episode 1, I can tell that it won't hold back and will be full of detail. Amazing. I can't believe such an incredible anime is going to be on TV. I can only react like a regular anime otaku." Motohashi said this tweet was her first time hearing about what Ōwara thought of her storyboards, and she was incredibly flattered.
The series premiered on NHK General on Monday. Masaaki Yuasa (DEVILMAN crybaby, The Tatami Galaxy, Night is Short, Walk On Girl) is directing the anime at his Science SARU studio. The manga follows Midori, Tsubame, and Sayaka, an energetic trio of first-year high school girls who come together in the Eizouken (Video Research Club) to turn their anime dreams into a reality.