The current anime season is winding down, and it’s time to finish up the various anime series we’ve been watching. While this has been a difficult time for us all, being told that to “stay home and watch more anime” in order to save the world does have a certain appeal to it. One show that really impressed me this season Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken, a love-letter to the old days when anime was focused on fanciful, organic mecha instead of isekai worlds and idols.
As I wrote in my first write-up on the show, Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu Na! is a lovely and wonky anime about three girls who decide to create an anime together, following their adventures as they work to achieve their dream. The series is filled with shout-outs to the classic days of anime and is based on the three founders of Studio Ghibli. Let’s see what we can learn about anime and life from Eizouken!
The main character is Asakusa, who as a young girl watched Future Boy Conan and was drawn into the show’s universe, desiring to design the kinds of mecha and flying ships she saw there. She possesses an amazing imagination and is able to create beautiful mecha and bizarre worlds for them to inhabit at a moment’s notice. As the mecha designer of the trio, she most represents Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky).
A rich and free-spirited girl, Mizusaski is under pressure to enter the entertainment world by her famous actor parents, but she has other plans: to become a world-class animator. When she’s banned from joining the school’s anime club, she decides to create a “visual arts research club” (eizouken) with the other girls to get around her parents’ rule. Since Tsubame is a popular girl in school, Kanamori is quick to use her as the kanban musume (literally “sign girl”) who will serve as the face of the group. As the team’s passionate animator, she fulfills the role of Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies), who passed away in 2018.
One gem from the current anime season has been Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken, about three girls who want to make anime. The star of the show has been Kanamori, the business-obsessed member of the trio, who can teach us about the importance of social media in reaching customers. pic.twitter.com/B9wYGFWXMz
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) March 27, 2020
The third girl is Kanamori, who is so focused on getting money for the team’s projects that she picks up the nickname “Kanamoney.” She’s clearly meant to represent Toshio Suzuki, the money-minded business manager at Studio Ghibli.
Kanamori is serious about promoting the group’s works through social media because she knows that “no one will come to a store nobody knows about.” When she was a girl, she helped out at a local liquor shop, only to watch helplessly as the store went bankrupt because the owners refused to be innovative about their business. A lot of career-minded people obsess over Alec Baldwin’s famous “always be closing” speech, but I believe the scene in which Kanamori details the sad death of the rural liquor store (which is in episode 9) has the potential to provide an equally enlightening lesson for anyone with an entrepreneurial bent.
The scene certainly resounded with me because I run a business that’s dependent on reaching many followers through Twitter and Facebook, and also because my house is literally a rural liquor store run by my wife’s elderly parents.
One anime I’m enjoying this season is Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, a show about three girls who want to become animators. It’s a really fresh concept. I especially love the fantasy worlds the characters create.
(Video is from episode 3, so mild spoilers.) pic.twitter.com/7Jr0L8pfWm
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) January 22, 2020
The Fantasy Element of Eizouken is the Best
One of the joys of the show is when the three girls enter one of Asakusa’s meticulously-crafted worlds, which are somehow animated as if Miyazaki had manually painted the scene with watercolor paints, and yet the motion flows with unbelievable smoothness, as you can see in the video clip above. This obviously needs to be done with the magic of CGI, something I complain about in some settings. But after the fantastic visuals in Eizouken (as well as last year’s BEASTARS!), I clearly need to re-think some of my own biases.
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