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Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!

Score: 8.18/10

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!

Eng Title : Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

Alt Title : Hands off the Motion Pictures Club!

JP Title : 映像研には手を出すな!

Year : 2020

Genre : Adventure, Comedy, School, Seinen

Season : Winter 2020

Status : Complete

Rating : PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

Episodes : 12/12

Duration : 24 min.

Studios : Science SARU

Synopsis

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.

I love anime, you love anime, we all love anime. Eizouken: Hands off the Motion Pictures Club is about people who love anime. They love it so much. They spend the entire show making anime, talking about anime, and thinking about anime. The intricacies of storyboarding, animation, sound design, voice acting, and management are illustrated in detail. I learned a great deal about anime production by watching this. Eizouken wanted to capture the magic of creativity and the amazing minds of artists, and maybe it did for a few moments. The rest is an unfulfilled promise that left me feeling robbed. Initially, it introduces three likable comrades who are passionate about anime; Midori and Mizusaki are the two artists, and Kanamori, their business-focused manager. They have good chemistry with each other; The space-cadet artist, a teenage star and now an animator, and the strict—but kindhearted—money-hungry manager who can whip them into shape. Each of them has a distinctive character design which reflects their personality, with expressive voice acting, and an endless supply of funny faces. Throughout the series, the club struggles to earn enough funds to buy equipment and maintain their clubhouse. To alleviate this problem, they endeavor to make the best anime they can to prove they’re worth a bigger budget. The end goal is to make more anime, better anime, and prove to everyone they are worth watching. It would seem we have come full circle. Eventually, this became the rhythm of the show; The three friends worry about some drama that always appears as quickly as it disappears, their obstacles are resolved much easier than showing builds them up to seem. First, they need to make a club, then find an advisor, then find a budget, it’s the same formula every few episodes and it’s never exciting. The bigger conflicts culminate in a complete animated short made by the team, drawn with the best art in the series. There’s never really an arc for the club, the quality of their work gets noticeably better, but their popularity is always reliant on Mizusaki’s fame as a model. The pacing plateaued after the third episode. It was no longer the adventurous and awe-inspiring anime I fell in love with. As the episodes passed by, I realized I was just watching it to see the awesome opening, Easy Breezy. After getting spammed with memes of the opening, it lost it’s magic too. I realized everyone was talking about the opening and no one was talking about the show. Over time Eizouken transitioned into a boring tutorial on how to make a good anime, without being a model example itself. There was great background music, about three outstanding songs. But they were repeated ad nauseam every episode, promptly losing their magic. About a third of this anime takes place in the artistic imagination of each character, the other half is spent in the real world discussing the club’s project and maintaining their budget. The imagination sequences are drawn amateurishly with every sound effect voiced by the characters, it’s so charming. The charm starts to wear off when the third fantasy in an episode begins and you have to witness the plain white background with chicken scratch art. There’s also the prevalent question of how the three club comrades are dreaming the same dream simultaneously. It’s intruiging how Yuasa plays with diegesis here: Which is the perceivable visuals/audio by the characters or what is only perceivable to the audience (such as non-diegetic background music). When Mizusaki or Midori present their drawings to Kanamori, it’s clear they’re all imagining what’s being depicted in the storyboard, so the jump cut to hand-drawn art makes sense. These sequences are awesome, it truly feels like they’re three friends adventuring into the most creative corners of their minds. This is an amazing use of diegesis to develop the cast while thrilling the audience without needing to bend their suspension of disbelief. During the first few episodes, these sequences are used often to great effect. Unfortunately, Yuasa seems to forget the rules of diegesis and he makes many of the fantasy sequences a confusing blend of diegetic and nondiegetic elements with no basis in reality. For example, Midori often gets lost in thought while walking down the streets with her friends, imagining the world is an exciting anime. We’ve all done it before as kids, it’s pointless to the show but entertaining nonetheless. She’ll visualize street lamps as rockets or picture a giant monster looming in the horizon, then suddenly her friends are part of it. It’s not clear whether it’s all in her head or if she is talking about it so that they dream with her. These scenes lost my attention. There is just no substance to them. It’s a shame they wasted so many great components, Eizouken had the workings of a masterpiece. The real-world setting has a great aesthetic. Everything about the architecture is confusing but strangely beautiful. Buildings are a jumble of concrete in different shapes on a hill to make all of them visible. Rivers are all over the lowest level, inspiring Midori to dream of traveling the city on a boat. Every frame is colored with a washed-out palette, making every frame relaxing. If only this beautiful world was populated with something, anything. Mystery, lore, anything worth exploring for. As far as we see, there’s nothing cool about it other than how it looks. There were minor references to capitalism, socialism, and environmental degradation, but they were surface level, never explored in depth. I appreciated the references to Hayao Miyazaki, in that respect, I would call it a love letter, even though it adds nothing to the show's actual quality. In the end, Eizouken’s emotional finale rung hollow, leaving the story incomplete. It’s likely this will receive a sequel, and if it does I’ll be back with hopes it will utilize it’s characters and setting far more. If you love anime you should watch Eizouken. That’s not to say you will love Eizouken, but it is an essential watch for anime fans interested in the production of the medium we love. It drew me in with its child-like happiness of aspiring to achieve your dreams, capitalizing on my nostalgia, then it let my fondest memories fade away as it lost track of what made it special. Alright, that’s enough disappointment. I have said my piece. Now, Masaki Yuasa fans, I accept my fate. No, I will not resist. Take me to the guillotine.

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