Science SARU and Masaaki Yuasa's latest joint, Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!, which we'll be calling Eizouken for short, has been a huge highlight of the Winter 2020 anime season because of its unique style, memorable characters, and theme of reveling in the craft of animation. One thing in particular that stood out to us was Eizouken's use of what we're calling “imagination scenes” which run wild with the thoughts Asakusa and company put together on the fly and are drawn in a distinctive storyboard/genga-like, sketchy style. Today we're exploring five of our favorite imagination scenes, loosely ranked by their impact and enjoyment. We're also mostly excluding the scenes which were explicitly related to their actual projects since those are more storyboards than strictly imagination scenes. In any case, let's go!
5. Bathhouse Shenanigans - Episode 7
Starting off our list is episode seven's bathhouse imagination scene which takes place when Asakusa, Kanamori, and Tsubame finally visit the bathhouse above their laundromat hangout for a soak after getting drenched in a storm. The main imagination scene is Asakusa exploring a giant onsen world using a special paddleboat that can traverse different levels using special water elevators that culminates in a waterslide! This scene is kind of random and short but it makes up for it with a great sense of playfulness and perfectly segues in and out of the girls’ conversation. While not strictly related, we also love the lead into imagination with Asakusa and Tsubame's lighting beam and energy barrier gag they did beforehand while splashing each other.
4. Space Station Eizouken - Episode 3
While working on repairing the rundown Eizouken club building, Asakusa's imagination runs wild again, transforming it into a space station and quickly filling this new universe with cool tech tools, special coating that allows for electrical exchange without wires, zero-G ramen, and more. What makes this sequence so memorable is how well it cuts in and out of reality and just how silly things get with the bathroom/air tank emergency, Kanamori coming to the rescue and breaking through the wall after she struggles for a while to try and squeeze out the window and the reveal of Asakusa and Tsubame sliding down the pole, making Kanamori's effort ultimately wasted. While perhaps overshadowed a bit by that episode's later storyboard scenes of the machete girl, “Space Station Eizouken” is simply too hilarious and fun not to include here!
3. The Greatest Windmill! - Episode 2
In the second episode, the Eizouken girls find the previous anime club's equipment, old animation papers, and cels in a storage building while they are searching for a proper lightbox desk. They also discover some unfinished animations of the mysterious windmill attached to the building that they decide to finish which leads us into an energetic imagination scene of the trio riding a hovercraft across their city, demolishing a building that was blocking the wind, and filling the area around with water to create a lake full of giant fish that the trio then goes sailing on to reveal “the greatest windmill!”! We love this scene for how it connects the real world with imagination as well as the past anime club with Eizouken, and how the scene flows so quickly and naturally despite being so fanciful.
2. Clockwork Sound Exchange - Episode 10
Our pick from episode 10 is towards the end of Eizouken's development of their promotional project "Shibahama UFO Wars!" that they're creating for their town and ComeT-A convention and our exception for an imagination scene that's connected to their actual project simply because of how cool it is! Going location and sound scouting outside of their city across the water, the Eizouken crew find themselves at an abandoned shopping complex with a large clocktower which segues into the world of imagination with the characters transformed into thieves after the clocktower treasure that is protected by Asakusa as a very Akira Kurosawa-esque samurai guard in a grassy field. This later morphs the clocktower into a special underwater chime used for communication between the water civilization and the surface that has a really cool visualization of the sound waveforms all around connecting the whole scene and concept together.
1. The Greatest World! - Episode 1
As first episodes often bear the brunt of the load in getting viewers interested, having a solid hook into what makes your series special is really important and Eizouken did this masterfully with their first imagination scene built from Asakusa and Tsubame's past drawings where they and Kanamori collaboratively create a fantastic dragonfly-like flying machine and make a daring escape from some bad guys to finally reveal a sparkling “greatest world” symbolizing their idealized animation creations being realized.
This scene really sets the stage for the entire anime and is equal parts heartwarming, exciting, and awe-inspiring and is made all the better in retrospect when it's called back to in the final episode's own impressive mashup of their previous imagination scenes and completed animations. Basically, we love it for its creativity, Ghibli-like sensibilities, and the way it captures the spirit of Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! as a whole.
There's much more that can be said about Eizouken's imagination scenes, and the anime as a whole, but we believe these scenes in particular to be a huge part of the series' lasting appeal that will stick with anime watchers for years to come. We hope enjoyed these scenes too! Let us know what your highlights for the series were, or anything else you'd like to say, in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey's for more of all things anime! Until next time, stay easy breezy out there. See ya~