Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

Genre(s): School, Comedy, Seinen

Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (Mild language)

Platforms: Crunchyroll, HBO Max

Episodes: 12

TheAwersome Rating: 9.0 / 10 (Beautiful art about beautiful art)

Premise: Always having her nose in a sketchbook, Asakusa draws detailed landscapes and backgrounds of both the world around her and the one within her boundless imagination. She is only brought back to reality by her best friend Sayaka Kanamori. The pair are stark opposites, with Asakusa’s childlike wonder contrasted by Kanamori’s calculated approach to life. After a chance encounter where the two “save” the young model Tsubame Misuzaki from her overprotective bodyguard, a connection instantly sparks between Asakusa and Misuzaki, as both share an intense passion for art and animation. While Asakusa is interested in backgrounds and settings, Misuzaki loves drawing the human form. Sensing a money-making opportunity, Kanamori suggests that they start an animation club, beginning the trio’s journey of producing animation that will awe the world.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: If you have ever taken an interest in art or animation past “I’ll watch animated things sometimes” then you will love this piece. Eizouken is a beautiful, creative love letter to animation and the entire process behind it, with fantastic characters as our guides. This show acts not only as an educational bit on “here’s the general process of making an anime/animation” but captivatingly portrays the excitement and enthusiasm of the creative process and experience. From developing fantastical worlds/societies/technologies to the obsessing over the movement of getting out of a chair, Eizouken lets you feel that same passion. We also see the absolute need for, and struggles of, trying to manage and direct such passionate creatives.

TLDR: A funny, passionate, beautiful love letter to animation.

The name “Eizouken” means “Film Club,” which is what the girls end up naming their animation club, as the “anime club” already existed.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about this piece is the unconventional character design. Rather than the typical “cutesy anime high school girl” design (which I have nothing against mind you) we get a more down to earth or realistic look from our main characters. They certainly do NOT fit the mold, and that is definitely intentional to set apart this whole show as “not just another anime.”  Even the fact that they don’t name themselves the anime club is a nod toward that.

Something I feel this show nails perfectly is the “show, don’t tell” storytelling method. A “tell” storytelling method to prove that Misuzaki is excited about starting animation work would be her saying “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to start this!” While there’s nothing particularly wrong about this, as it is something that people do and would say, it’s less interesting for the viewer. The “show” route instead, had her meet up with the other girls in one of their family laundromats because her school uniform got muddied up in the rain. While her uniform’s getting washed, they go upstairs and in talking about animation come up with the plan to make something. Time goes by and Misuzaki leaves saying “I’ll see you guys tomorrow!” and the last frame of the scene is on her outfit still in the laundry machine. The viewer then gets to piece together just how excited Misuzaki is. THAT’S the “show, don’t tell” in action. And I’d expect nothing less from the director and animator, Masaaki Yuasa. While not prolific, his works always stand out, such as Lu Over the Wall, The Night is Short, Walk On Girl, and Devilman Crybaby.

On the subject this show standing out, here’s its insanely catchy OP that got memed to smithereens back in the beginning of 2020.

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