Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! – Anime Preview
Synopsis: First year high schooler Midori Asakusa loves anime so much, she insists that “concept is everything” in animation. Though she draws a variety of ideas in her sketchbook, she hasn’t taken the first step to creating anime, insisting that she can’t do it alone. The producer-type Sayaka Kanamori is the first to notice Asakusa’s genius. Then, when it becomes clear that their classmate, charismatic fashion model Tsubame Mizusaki, really wants to be an animator, they create an animation club to realize the “ultimate world” that exists in their minds. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! makes you do a double take thanks to its unique visuals and its very unusual lead trio. Not only do two of the three girls look like anything but standard high school anime girls, but our main lead Midori is even given a very uncommon voice. Sairi Ito’s (known more for her Live Action work than voice roles) atypical voice work, makes her stand out all the more and gives Midori a voice that oozes with personality. The closest we have to standard anime girl is Tsubame, the ‘pretty’ one of the group, and even then she is given enough warmth and relatable personality to avoid feeling bland or generic. While Midori and Tsubame are both clearly very passionate about their shared love, anime/animation; they don’t come off as the common ‘so bubbly so cute’ stereotype. They feel individualistic and unconventional, giving the show even more of an attention grabbing vibe and energetic life.
Tom: Eizouken’s vibrant, unique, even rough visual representation screams with personality that only drives home Midori, Sayaka and Tsubame as the stars. Eizouken exudes with personality throughout every inch of the production; visuals, voice acting, and writing, highlighting the girl’s wonderfully unique and full personalities at every turn, making you feel, even just by Episode 1’s end, that you already know each so well. Midori is the excitable, shy, starry-eyed member of the group, always stuck in her head with her imagination running wild. Sayaka is the scheming, money hungry, reluctant alley and the force that pushes Midori to meet Tsubame. And Tusbame herself is the eager, lively and honest young teenage model who desires to buck acceptability and enter an industry her parents don’t approve of. The show spends so much time on character work that it’s a little lacking on plot, or perhaps it’d be more fair to say that the course of the show is under-defined. Yes, these three girls are about to team up and work towards making their own anime, but the narrative remains wide open as to exactly what actions they’ll be taking to achieve their goals. Seeing as the show is billed as a Slice of Life Comedy I don’t expect deep drama, or progression towards said goals. Episode 1 even spends a bit of time defining aspects of animation, making me wonder if it’s a bit of an informative anime on the side. But without a doubt the true focus is on the characters. The thrust of whimsy in the animation, and the push for characterization over narrative drives Eizouken, making it clear this is a character piece above anything else.
Linny: Eizouken! does a beautiful job of breathing character and personality even into its method of storytelling. It uses really unique animation and visuals to depict the girls getting carried away in their discussions as they try to come up with an interesting concept for a flying machine. It doesn’t just show them sitting around and talking excitedly but actually getting into the machine they built in their imagination and getting up to silly adventures in it. Animation changes at the drop of a hat, moving from the series’ more typical style to something rougher, like outlines or half-finished cell work, making it feel like the three have dived right into the world of making anime itself. This is by no means your run of the mill cute girls after school club anime or pursuit of a common dream. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! sparkles thanks to just how innovative and uncommon every aspect of its story and premise is and for those who wants to try something very different this season, this is a guaranteed show to try out.
Tom: Normally I find straight Slice of Life too dull, plodding and lacking in drama. Even Comedic Slice of Life can sometimes be so dry with their goofs that the whole thing is just far too low-key and uneventful for my tastes. I prefer when Slice of Life mix it up, and here Eizouken! chooses to do so by putting its characters front and center. They’re lively, quirky, and full of personality in everything they do. They’re not cute because they feel like cookie-cutter archetypal cut outs made to appeal to the average Slice of Life viewer, but because the way they’ve been written, animated, and their voice acting allows them to feel much more vibrant and lively than even other, similar leads. As long as these characters remain just as well written as they were in this season premiere, I’m eager to see where their adventures lead, even if it isn’t very far, because these three make the journey interesting, no matter the end point.
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.