Spirited and Fun
It feels like there are many anime about anime fans and even characters who want to make anime and yet few really stick with me after they are done airing and far too many fall into the track of mistaking references as comedy (incidentally references can be funny but not if that’s all you’ve got going for you) or feel somewhat sardonic about the whole thing. Which made this first episode of Keep Your Hands of Eizouken! a somewhat refreshing surprise as this episode brims with passion for anime as a medium, feels like it intends to look seriously at the work that goes into it, and has set up a great group of characters to explore the world of anime with.
Midori is a curious and adventurous girl with a sketch book full of ideas and concepts and a burning desire to make an anime but no one to do it with (and she’s realistic enough to know she can’t go it alone). Tsubame’s parents don’t approve of her joining the anime club but she’s also got a sketchbook full of ideas and character designs and she’s just run across Midori at her school. Throw in Midori’s very practical minded friend Kanamori and we have a very fun trio thrown at us in this first episode and honestly it looks like it will be a lot of fun getting to know them as the story unfolds.
As for what that story will be I’m not really sure from this episode whether the focus is going to be on the girls making a club and getting up to antics where they occasionally get back to making an anime or whether this is going to be a serious look at them making anime. Given the detail they went into in describing an anime while watching at a school screening I kind of hope it is going to be the latter as cute girls in a school club isn’t exactly my favourite style of show and it seems like they could give us some interesting insights into anime if they continue with that kind of dialogue.
However, the cute characters and their interactions aren’t the only reason this first episode of Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! hit its mark. Visually this one is quite distinct and I loved how we transitioned between the very complex and detailed setting of the school and town and into the animated imaginings of the girls as they compared and combined their sketches. This one looks like it is going to be a visual feast as it continues and there’s certainly a fluidity to the animation here as well as a lot of attention to detail that is already a delight just in episode one.
It really does depend on the direction the story takes from here as to whether I’ll continue to be hooked on this anime but there’s very little to criticise from this first episode. Definitely one worth checking out if you are wondering what to try from the new season.
Follow along with all episode reviews of Keep Your Hands off Eizouken.
Images from: Keep Your Hands of Eizouken. Dir. Masaaki Yuasa. Science SARU. 2020.