Finding the Greatest World
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Comedy, Adventure, School, Seinen
- Airing Date : January 2020 - March 2020
- Producers : Science SARU
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!) Introduction and Story
Midori Asakusa has been obsessively drawing setting concept art ever since realizing as a child that someone actually made the anime she watched and yearns to create her own “greatest world” through animation. But she hasn't actually started a proper project because she believes she can't do it alone and is hampered by her social awkwardness. Looking for comrades, she drags along her best friend, the lanky and enterprising Sayaka Kanamori, to her school's anime club for a classic screening. While there, the duo end up “rescuing” their classmate Tsubame Mizusaki, who is a famous model, from her bodyguard and discover that she secretly wants to be a character animator in spite of her parents’ wishes for her to be an actress. Sensing a potentially lucrative opportunity, Kanamori suggests they start an anime production club at their school under the guise of a film production club. Thus begins Eizouken Club's adventures in creating anime of their own!
1. Imaginative Worlds
In their search for “the greatest world”, Asakusa and company frequently dip into a sketchy world of shared imagination which, in our minds at least, is what makes Eizouken stand out the most as an anime. Almost every episode has an instance of this ranging from the characters exploring ideas for their real-world animation projects to more playful and random journeys into fantasy like their clubhouse becoming a space station, a giant onsen world traversed by paddleboat, piloting a Ghibli-esque mechanical dragonfly, etc. Many of these scenes masterfully dip in and out of reality to great effect plus the overall setting of Shibahama itself is fascinating with its unusual architecture and subtlety sci-fi alternate reality.
2. Fun Characters
Bringing these worlds to life is Eizouken's cast which, although almost exclusively focused on just the main three characters, is quite strong and fairly well developed, largely thanks to the diverse and exaggerated character design and great vocal performances from the seiyuu, several of which, surprisingly, are newcomers like Itou Sairi (Asakusa) and Matsuoka Misato (Mizusaki). The core dynamic of Asakusa's overexcited childlike whimsy, Mizusaki's passionate determination, and Kanamori's pragmatic “entrepreneurial spirit” makes character interactions very enjoyable, even if they aren't super deep.
3. Awesome Animation & References
As an anime about making anime, Eizouken uses its loose art style and frequent dips into genga-esque sketch worlds to help facilitate some lovingly crafted animation full of little details, like Kanamori using her glasses to put her hair up and the precise way Mizusaki's grandma swirls and throws away old tea, that might inspire to rewind periodically to re-watch. Eizouken is also very much a love letter to film and anime and is packed with references and inspirations from Kurosawa samurai flicks to Akira that add further to its charm.
1. Plot & Pacing Problems
We think is likely the biggest make-or-break aspect of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, the actual plot can be a bit meandering and repetitive. The anime basically has 3 “arcs” that parallel the 3 main animation projects they tackle: the Machete-Wielding Schoolgirl Fighting a Tank animation that they present to the student council to request a budget, the Crab Mecha Battle commissioned by the robot club, and Shibahama UFO Wars that they make for the Comet A convention and to promote their local town.
While the projects themselves are all unique and interesting, a lot of the minutiae in the background causes some episodes to feel longer than they should and the show's overall playful vibe doesn't always work well to give each episode a strong sense of escalation and conclusion, leaving some endings feeling abrupt.
2. Soundtrack Lacks Diversity
In a similar way, Eizouken suffers from not having enough music to properly distinguish each episode's high points which is honestly a huge shame because this issue is not because the individual tracks aren't good enough, in fact it's quite the opposite, but because these great tracks get overused to the point where they lose a lot of their impact, similarly to some of the Made in Abyss soundtrack from a few years back. That being said, what is there is quite good, including the OP and ED.
3. Somewhat Underutilized Setting
While we will continue to praise how cool Shibahama and the girls' imaginary worlds are overall, we also feel like certain aspects of the setting arguably leave a little bit too much unsaid. For example, what happened to the original anime production club that Eizouken infiltrates? Why is their town so unusually laid out? Why are the student council and other clubs approaching Kill la Kill levels of over-the-top exaggeration?
A lot of little details like the devices they speak their lunch orders into hint at some cool, alternate reality sci-fi aspects of the world that aren't really that explored. There's something to be said for leaving some things unexplained to add to the mystery but we would have liked to get just a bit more from Eizouken.
Altogether, we'd say Eizouken is a fantastic anime with a lot of style and appeal, albeit not without some minor flaws that might hold it back for some. Especially for sakuga fans and others interested in what goes into making animation, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken is another strong and unique anime from director Masaaki Yuasa, bursting with creativity and charm that made it one of our favorites of the season.
Let us know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey's for more of all things awesome, anime and otherwise! Until next time, keep it easy breezy~