Winter 2020 was an interesting season when it came to returning titles. However, there were a few new titles that stood out and will be lauded as some of 2020’s best—yes, we mean Eizouken ni Te wo Dasu na! (Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!). This love letter to animation follows three high school girls in their goal of starting an anime club and creating anime of their own and it comes with some similarities to 2015 slice of life title, Shirobako.
Shirobako follows Miyamori Aoi in her journey after high school, now working at the famous Musashino Animation studio. Aoi’s love for animation, like Asakusa, Kanamori, and Mizusaki of Eizouken, began at an earlier stage in her life and had even been incubated at her high school, where she and her friends had fond memories. These two titles are quite similar superficially; however, it is still interesting to look at each show in depth and see where they are similar and where they are different. What can be said is that if you like one, you should probably have a look at the other, but we’ll let you decide!
Shirobako and Eizouken: Similarities
Love Letters to Animation
Shirobako and Keep Your Hands off Eizouken are both anime that are centred on the creation of anime from the very beginning. These shows are stories that feature characters who would like to be or already are part of the anime industry. Shirobako and Eizouken hence feature interesting informative tidbits about anime’s creation and the process behind our favourite medium.
The protagonists of Shirobako and Eizouken (well, two of the three) are engrossed in the anime medium and have been since much earlier on in their lives. These characters also share an intense energy and enthusiasm for anime and the process behind it, dealing with their own problems and difficulties along the way. For Shirobako’s Aoi, things at Musashino Animation are pretty tough for interns like herself, while Asakusa, Kanamori, and Mizusaki have to tip-toe around becoming a real school club and have to start everything from the very beginning.
Shirobako and Eizouken: Differences
High School vs The Office
The most obvious difference between these two shows is the fact that Shirobako’s in the context of a fully-fledged animation studio, while Eizouken is a story set in high school, so the ways in which the two anime show appreciation for the art of animation is fundamentally different. Eizouken makes this wholly apparent in its visuals—we get to see the vivid imaginations of Asakusa and Mizusaki take form in various ways, which enables us to see animation styles and art that we otherwise would not be getting from a slice of life title of this nature. Eizouken has a playfulness to its execution that Shirobako does not. This dichotomy between the ash-coloured monotony of a professional environment (despite it being one where people create the thing we love the most) and the brash, brazen and enchanted approach of the teenage girls of Eizouken speaks to a more childish, a more explorative and perhaps even an even more self-aware love letter to the anime medium.
Eizouken and Shirobako are both great anime in their own right and people should definitely experience both at some point in their lives. It’s shows like these that remind us why we love anime so much, but they also remind us of the work and dedication that goes into creating our favourite shows and even our not-so-favourite shows. Whether you approach your love for anime with a gung-ho honesty that has never changed since childhood, or whether you’re more into celebrating the difficult process and the industry itself, a love for anime is a love for anime and Shirobako and Eizouken are this sentiment in anime form. If you have watched one but not the other, we recommend you correct that right away!