Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! Episode 4 Review

Karandi usually starts off our Eizouken reviews but I had a bit of time after finishing up my Pet review so figured I would jump in and get a few thoughts down on virtual paper before video games push them all out of my brain. Well that was quite the opening sentence. Let’s try that again, I really love Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken, how about you, Karandi?

I really love Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken. I put off watching the episode for a couple of days because I have been run literally off my feet at work this week and my very tired brain wasn’t up to watching. I’m actually really sad that I did that because honestly this episode was amazing and probably would have been the pick-me-up I needed a few days ago.

This week, we got confirmation of the what the show’s title is alluding to. Not that we hadn’t figured it out yet but basically, the girls have to convince the school (and student council) that their club is worth preserving and even, funding! In this episode we got to see a lot of what animators and studios have to do as compromises to get a project done on time and on budget. I was frustrated along with the girls that had to sacrifice their vision for practicality but also I was excited by the available solutions.

It was a rather direct commentary on the anime industry that gives us a lot of food for thought. What did you think?

Once again I feel this anime is just oozing with passion for anime and the anime industry. It most definitely is shining a light on unrealistic deadlines leading to short cuts as well as less than desirable working conditions, and yet ultimately the tone around the creative process is one of optimism. These girls can overcome the very real limitations of time, currently no budget, and very few hands and they can create something fairly incredible given the circumstances. It’s kind of hard to feel anything but blown away by their efforts.

There was something both hilarious and really sad about the girls deciding to “drop the story”. Mostly because I have a feeling that it’s a conversation that’s been had in numerous studio staff rooms and would explain a lot of shows….

Yeah… As someone who watches anime, or literally any show or movie for the story and finds the other elements simply enhance the narrative or not, there was something incredibly depressing about that conversation. It was barely a beat in amongst the rest of the episode and yet it kind of stuck with me.

I was struck by how different that characters look in this show. There are a lot of variations in character design and that’s pretty awesome. I hope the meta address that in a future episode.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the designs. They work and like you I love the distinction between characters and their designs, and yet I wouldn’t pick these characters to buy merchandise for. They absolutely fit within this anime but not my favourite style of character.

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You know, I was almost as excited as the girls were about seeing the finished anime and I wasn’t let down. It was really great seeing both all the techniques and all the compromises they had to make, up on the screen. And as much as the “no story” element left me dubious, it actually really worked. I don’t know what this says about me but Machete Girl reminded me of some of my favourite animes…

The finished product was hands down amazing. There’s no room for complaint as we’ve been with these girls as they conceived the idea and then put in the time and effort to bring it to life. Having an insight into the discussions and compromises made to finish it made watching the final animation brilliant. I also loved that while everyone else was in shock by what they made, the girls were sitting their quietly having a critique session. It was an amazing end to what was already a fantastic episode.

All and all, Eizouken remains absolutely delightful and every episode reminds me that anime is awesome and I love it!

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

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.

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