Alright, I’m actually here this week and I’ve caught up on Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! I kind of knew I would which is why I didn’t mind letting one episode slip. Plus, watching episodes 6 and 7 back to back was really fun. As much as the girls in the show seem to be getting a little frustrated with the reality of taking on a bigger project, watching them remains a pure joy. However, Irina did the heavy lifting last week so let’s see what she thought of the episode.
The one reproach I had last week (and I believe Scott shared my opinion) was that Tsubame wasn’t present enough but I had hope that it was just because they were saving her for her own episode. Oh boy did episode 7 not disappoint. Not only did we get a Tsubame centric episode right away but it was more lovingly crafted and detailed than I could ever have hoped for!
I absolutely loved the opening of this episode before the song. Watching Tsubame with her grandmother and seeing her fascination with movement was fantastic. I loved seeing that light in her eyes as she watched the tea flying through the air and her disappointment when she couldn’t replicate the motion. I think it is just great how this anime manages to celebrate the passion these girls have and how they have developed it over time. While there isn’t a huge amount going on in these scenes, they never feel like they are missing anything.
Coming to animation through a fascination of kinestheology was perfect. I mean it’s both logical and I’m sure it happens a lot but at the same time it’s a down to earth little story we never see. Weaving through it Tsubame’s relationship with her grandmother, which seems wonderful by the way, gave it just enough emotional impact to make it significant. It was just a simply sequence with almost no dialogue but it was extremely well written in my opinion. This is how I like my drama.
There were also some fantastic moments this week with Asakusa and Kanamori. I particularly liked early in the episode when Kanamori was clearly trying to work and Asakusa was pestering her. There was no dialogue exchanged and this was just one more scene in a near montage effort showing us all the different jobs happening as they worked on their latest project, but it was a nice relationship moment for the two. However, what was even better was the scene toward the end of the episode where Asakusa makes a suggestion to Kanamori, who knocks it back, and Asakusa gives her a reason to agree and she does. Asakusa’s reaction after ‘winning’ the argument was pure gold.
Kanamori and Asakusa are clearly very good friends. It’s not like we don’t see friendship stories all the time in anime so I can’t quite tell why I’m enjoying theirs particularly. Maybe it’s because there’s no fanservice and the attention is entirely on how well they understand each other. Maybe it’s just that I relate to the characters. Like I said, I’m not quite sure how to define it but it’s one of my favourite friendships in anime.
Another thing I really enjoyed was seeing the girls trying to interact with the other students they’ve roped into assisting in the project. This time they are including sound and voice acting as well as having others work on some of the art (sensible as a three man team can’t do it all) but all that extra help comes with extra stress as they need to manage and work with these people and adjust timelines and so on. While this anime is on the one hand celebrating creation it still isn’t shying away from some of the difficulties that are going to be encountered by a new creator.
Anime is a huge collaborative project and just coordinating many people towards a common goal is an art onto itself. And a generally very difficult thing to achieve. It’s funny that Asukasa is the one tasked with accomplishing this. She’s very shy and very creative and doesn’t seem to be a natural fit for that role. Kanimori is more adept at handling people. However, Midori’s passion for the art itself is what is going to move people and everyone knows it. Kanimori is still there to support her and organize things behind the scenes. There are so many aspects we rarely see and putting it in this amateur context allows us to really get to the core of each.
However it isn’t all just grinding project work and animation chatter this week (not that I would actually have all that much of a problem with it if it was because they do a great job with that). Mid-episode we get a rain break, quite literally, and the girls end up at the bathhouse. Here we again see their various focuses come into play as Tsubame is locked onto the movement of water and during a meal Asakusa goes off into a fantasy about a slipper boat. It’s a nice diversion from the time crunch they are under elsewhere in the episode and just a bit of relaxing fun.
There is so much rain in this anime. Has anyone noticed? Every other episode there’s a rainstorm that is an integral part of the week’s story line. Even in the first episode, it’s a rainstorm that pushes young Midori to discover anime while trying to drown out the storm. I’m not sure if there’s any symbolism there. The anime itself is so warm and optimistic so I don’t think it’s meant to be gloomy but it’s interesting.
At this stage it is pretty clear Eizouken isn’t going to implode. This one has just been a great bit of fun and the consistency of the quality in both visuals and characterisation is definitely worth celebrating.
Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi
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Images from: Keep Your Hands of Eizouken. Dir. Masaaki Yuasa. Science SARU. 2020.