This Week in Anime
Why We Can't Keep Our Hands Off Eizouken

by Michelle Liu & Steve Jones,

Three passionate high school kids set out to make their anime dreams a reality. Model-turned-animator Tsubame loves to animate the fluidity of motion, Midori's imagination is always moving a mile a minute, and Kanamori loves nothing more than running a finely tuned business. Together, do they have what it takes to navigate the school club system and create something they're proud of?

You can read our Daily Streaming reviews of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! here!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.

@Lossthief @Liuwdere @A_Tasty_Sub @vestenet


Micchy
Steve, in the last few years, Science SARU has been something of a Cinderella story in the industry. Headed by the beloved but historically niche Masaaki Yuasa, the studio's been churning out feature films left and right while staying committed to a reasonably humane work environment, proving that it is possible to be successful without sacrificing an artistic vision. But most importantly, they've shown that it's possible to make good anime with drawing skills like mine.
Steve
No joke, even tiny Asakusa's crappy scribbles are 10x better than any of my art. But thankfully I don't need a single artistic bone in my body to be able to appreciate how frickin' good Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is!
It's definitely the best show this season at capturing the experience of being a tiny gremlin dweeb, for sure!
It's for sure the premiere Micchy Simulator 2K20

It's not my fault that tall friends make such effective human shields!
It's an evolutionary advantage if anything! And roasting aside, there are plenty of "anime about anime" that have been made and will likely continue to be made, but there's definitely something special about Eizouken, and I think a big part of that is how lovable and, dare I say, animated its main characters are.
Yuasa and co. are certainly animators' animators, which makes them a particularly good fit for a project in which half the cast is made up of hyperactive, flailing weirdos. Well, mostly Asakusa.
Very mostly Asakusa.

Oh yeah, this material is about as perfect a fit for Yuasa and Science SARU as you could get. Which is why it's doubly hilarious that the entire reason Yuasa heard about Eizouken in the first place is someone @'d him on Twitter about why he should turn it into an anime. Sometimes the internet can be good.
Big if true? I'm not convinced the internet is ever good.
Kanamori is indeed big, yes.

Micchy POV shot added for emphasis here.
OKAY that's the last one I promise.
Tho the fact that we can communicate through Eizouken screencaps says a lot to how much personality it radiates in every frame. One of my favorite aspects of the show, in fact, is that the girls in the club are as far from stock anime girls as you can get. They're ugly, awkward, and weird in a way that you usually only see with male characters.
Ironically, by letting them be so cartoonish, they become that much more authentic. It's fantastic.

This is a story told by people who remember and understand what being a dumbass teenager is like.
Granted, most teenagers probably aren't making animated films (or laundering money) in their free time, but the important thing is that these girls have the spirit and freedom to pursue their artistic dreams now before the responsibilities of adulthood hit them. So of course, in the meantime, they're gonna draw giant robots. With chainsaws!
I think that's another interesting line that Eizouken treads very carefully, both capturing the magic and wonder of animation (by indulging in the girls' imaginations and aspirations) and communicating the harsh reality of draining workloads and low wages.
Their de facto producer Kanamoney Kanamori is a bit of a stick-in-the-mud stickler about their schedule, but she's also the only reason any work gets done. Asakusa and Mizusaki can let their imaginations run free only to a point; Kanamori's here to harness their energy into something productive.

It'd be easy to paint the producer as a killjoy, but Eizouken recognizes the role is a necessary one if they're to get anything done at all.
Making anime is a dream for both Asakusa and Mizusaki, but Eizouken (quite correctly imo) also recognizes that it would be unethical to portray it purely as a "dream job." Reality, at some point, is always going to factor in. And that's why Kanamori is such an amazing and fascinating character. She's an avatar of project management as a force of ultimate good by focusing on in-the-moment practicality. The fact that Eizouken is wholly sympathetic to her frequently thankless job is just outstanding.

Granted, in my "real life," I can count the number of actually good project managers I've encountered on one hand, so I can't say that reputation is entirely undeserved. Good ones like Kanamori must be treasured.
She certainly knows how to make the best of a bad situation!

tfw your director probably got a concussion BUT you can go viral on tiktok and make some cash off of it.
The only reason she gets harsh with the other two is because she wants to see the project done. There's a mountain of difference between a flawed but finished product and a perfect but imaginary one, and the big difference is that the former is the only kind that exists.

She can see the forest while Asakusa and Mizusaki get tunnel-visioned drawing trees, and every project needs at least one person like that.
Not that the artists among them are particularly happy about it.
And Eizouken, as the work of many artists, is plenty sympathetic to their plights and eccentricities as well. In an admirably self-deprecating fashion, of course.
Asakusa and Mizusaki are brilliant in their respective ways, but they also struggle at parts of their 'jobs' that lie outside their specific passions. For Asakusa, being a director entails delegating responsibilities and communicating with other artists, both tasks she very much Does Not Like.
Oh I can super relate to the way she alternates between being very loud and passionate among her friends and awkwardly mumbling instructions when it comes to being a leader.
She likes having control of a project but doesn't want the responsibility of actually running it, big mood
Mizusaki, meanwhile, is the young idyllic animator who eventually (and sooner is much better than later) has to realize that she has physical and mental limits, and taking care of oneself is paramount to producing anything worthwhile.
Girl's well on her way to burnout, not to mention putting herself at risk for contracting extremely contagious diseases!
By the way, I don't know if this is in the source manga or not, but regardless, I like that Science SARU used Mizusaki's arc to throw in some Flash propaganda. They've been very transparent about the way Flash has let their relatively young studio produce so much work already. Every tool in an animator's box is indispensable!
If that's what it takes to save animators' fingers and keep 'em sane, then yeah, go ahead and cut corners where you can. It's not shameful to rely on tech for stuff that doesn't benefit too much from manual input anyway.
It's important to set time and energy aside for fun too.
At least until the boss lady gets back.
Hey Kanamori knows how to party!
While sticking the tab on somebody else, of course.
She paid for everyone's lunch. Once. I think.
As an 'investment.'
Look, she has a perfectly tragic backstory, okay?

So tragic.
I will say it was very upsetting to find out Kanamori grew up a South Park.
She got some valuable life lessons out of her stint as a gremlin at least!

Truly, Kanamori is the wisest of us all.
Yep! Despite how frequently manipulative and evil modern advertising practices are, marketing is still a necessity at the end of the day. The Eizouken might live in a topsy turvy canal city, but they need money to survive, and you can't make money if nobody else knows who you are. In other words, the real villain, as always, is capitalism.
That's what YOU think. I for one have a very viable plan for the future.
Look, there's only one thing Asakusa is going to be when she grows up, and that's the mythical Next Miyazaki every non-anime-poisoned film critic keeps talking about.
She'll have to steal that title from Miyazaki himself, who - between his several 'retirements' - is already the Next Miyazaki and the Next Next Miyazaki and possibly the Next Next Next Miyazaki.
It's Miyazakis all the way down. For me, my own viable social distancing plan for the near future pretty much boils down to this.

Thank you for the wisdom, chill club advisor guy.
Who is that guy anyway? And while I'm questioning the workings of the school, why does it have a Deutche Neue Harte club?
I have questions about a lot of clubs at this school.

Oh, and before I forget, major props to the localization team for going above and beyond both translating and typesetting the frequently ungodly amounts of onscreen text. That's dedication.
Making sense of Asakusa's crappy handwriting, no less! It's not the worst penmanship I've seen, but reading all that is already a pain in the butt. There's a lot of love in this production all the way around, and it really comes through.
Eizouken feels fundamentally passionate about anime in the way I feel passionate about anime. It's thoughtful and educational about the nitty gritty processes behind the scenes that add up to what we get to see and hear as an audience. It's about the love of anime, and about anime as an expression of love.
It's a wonderful little show to have in these decidedly crappy times, a reminder that even if we're stuck inside with nothing to do but Netflix and quarantine our imaginations can do so much more. And it does all this without ever losing sight of the fact that artists are human beings with human limits.
Amen! Nerd solidarity all the way.
Just don't be these two dorks checking in on their sick, probably-contagious friend.
What part of "Keep Your Hands OFF" didn't they understand??

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