Asakusa Midori wants to create an anime, but she's too disheartened to make that first step by herself. By pure chance, she meets Mizusaki Tsubame, an up-and-coming socialite secretly dreaming of becoming an animator. Together with Midori's money-loving best friend Kanamori Sayaka, the energetic trio slowly work towards making their "ultimate world" a reality! (Source: MU, edited)
Being an anime fan, the question of how animation is made is probably one I’m sure most people have asked themselves before. Before Eizouken debuted on TV, we have to remember that creating anime isn’t an easy task. It takes an immense level of commitment, passion, and expertise to make what we see on the screen. It’s not a program that follows a specific code as every anime is different, in shape, in form, and in seeking its ways to entertain the audience..
Masaaki Yuasa is no stranger when it comes animating and storyboarding in his past projects. With decades of experience, he’s been progressively adapting and evolving his techniques in the field of animation. From unique sports show Ping Pong: The Animation to the wildly space odyssey of Space Dandy, he’s here to show the world once again that animation has an unlimited realm of imagination. Starting off, we meet Midori Asakusa, a girl who is fascinated by how animation is made. It doesn’t take long for her to form a trio with Sayaka Kanamori and Tsubame Mizusaki, two high school students with similar interests. As a club together, they are united under the passion of making anime, a dream they hope to share with others.
Despite the realistic idea of making anime, this show follows more of an artistic adventures together as the Eizouken Club. But know this, we are also introduced about the fundamentals of the anime industry. It’s something similar compared to P.A. Works’ Shirobako. However, Eizouken has enough confidence to be its own show. With our trio of and the right hands, they embark this journey to not just make anime but also learn about what it really takes to be an animator. It’s like following a boyhood dream together and see how far their journey takes them. Interestingly, the show’s setting offers a technological advanced setting, one that is believable but also not too farfetched to be unrealistic. What this means is the series can open many opportunities for the trio to experiment with whatever ideas they come up with. But for starters, we have to understand what making anime is not easy. It is a tedious job that takes expertise in the field, dedicated minds to create something unique, and knowing when mistakes are made. They’re humans after all and learning from mistakes is important so they can rise above them. The group makes mistakes early by setting expectations far beyond their standards. This creates tension in the club to the point where one of its members feels they may not be good enough. Plus, let’s not forget that making animation demands meeting timely deadlines so there’s no doubt the club runs into crunch time issues. Luckily, the club has support between themselves and this is thanks to Kanamori’s ability to compromise and create an environment where they can express ideas freely. And that’s the beauty of this show. It chooses to be free by using ideas of various genres and expressing them. Then, these ideas are created to become an anime project to showcase the world to see.
But like most animation projects, the group faces challenges that they must overcome together. These include budget funding and securing the resources they need to make their dreams come true. And sometimes, the trio realizes their club needs more help than they realize. For instance, making an animated work isn’t enough if they can’t promote themselves. Marketing is a new field that the group wasn’t equipped to handle given their lack of experience. Luckily, they receive help from the school’s secretary. Later in the show, Eiozuken is also joined by Parker Doumeki, a girl interested in their audio files but takes a role to help their sound department. Together, this club grows more and more as we witness their transformation from a dream to a reality.
Another important part of what makes this show special also refined to the close relationship between our three main leads. They start off as friends but by the end of this show, the trio looks more like a family. At the same time, each individual member has their own skills that are imperative for the club to succeed. This includes Kanamori’s business knowledge and negotiating, Asakusa’s talent for drawing, and Mizusaki’s skill of planning and observing. When you put these skills together, there’s immense potential to succeed with the right hands and tools. However, it’s also not to say to say that the trio does want to get some fame and fortune. A running gag in the show involves Kanamori’s love for money and hopes to make maximum profit. Other running gags in the show deals with how the trio runs into trouble with the law. If we talk about realism, this show sometimes negates that element as the problems the club runs into could’ve easily resulted in its destruction. But let’s get too far ahead of ourselves. This anime is designed to showcase the love of a club to fulfill their dreams rather than just showing the consequences of the anime industry. I’m sure the more fans watch this show, the more they’ll come to that realization.
Like some of Yuasa’s other works, he likes to experiment and adapt this free style of animation. In this particular anime, we get simple character designs and animation that can be deceptively complex. This is easily told through the storytelling and brainstormed ideas from our main leads. In some segments, the animation tosses common logic out the window and transcends into daydreams. The audience will notice this by the stylish art shifts and occasional picture frames that seems out of reality. It’s one of the positive perks about this show as it allows art to be experimented beyond its usual structure. So bravo once again to Yuasa for gracing us with his brilliant designs. Speaking of designs, the main character cast are distinctive such as Midori’s short height, Mizusaki’s fiery hair, or Kanamori’s buck teeth. It’s also noticeable the producers gave each of them the school type look to show that they are in a stage of growing up. Being at school means to learn and together as a club, Eizouken is eager to show their potential. Finally, I really want to give props to the unique animation of the OP song. It’s something you don’t see often inspired by pop culture but translated into anime medium.
I’m going to miss the weekends. I really am knowing that this show is over after gracing us with its fabulousness. When watching anime, you don’t often think too much about how it came together but every episode in this show convinced me a different story. And with 12 episodes, this is a type of anime that is inspirational as I’m sure there’s a little bit of Midori Asakusa inside all of us.