Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! – Mid Season Anime Review
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)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is such a unique show. The aesthetics are the most obviously attention grabbing aspect of the series as the characters and locations have such an unusual look and vibe. None of it looks like what most of us would picture if someone asked us to picture an anime about a high school anime club. But it’s not just that, Eizouken radiates novelty in every avenue of its animation. One of the less obvious but equally impactful ways it does that is through its sound design. The episodes feature some really unusual music and sound effects and makes even the most mundane and random scenes, such as walking to another club room, come alive with a zany, one of a kind energy.
Tom: Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is, largely, a slice of life/club anime built around the idea of providing a deeper understanding of the animation process to fans of the medium. But unlike, say, Shirobako, which took a direct approach, or a typical club anime that overloads us with cute girls doing cute things, Eizouken! instead comes off as wholly experimental in its approach. While the narrative is simple: Three girls band together to make an anime production club and struggle to survive as the school questions its value, it is instead the way events are presented that elevates Eizouken! into something unique. Whenever the girls discuss animation technique their imagination comes alive visually, crafting these surreal sequences that make the information being imparted memorable and offers a unique atmosphere that feels otherworldly and wholly different from other, informative, type anime.
Linny: Eizouken! holds charm even beyond its more artistic and grandiose segments. Even the scenes where the girls go about the more tedious aspects of establishing a club and making an animated video are full of energy and personality thanks to the voice acting and writing. A large part of the charm of the scenes and interactions come from the girls’ personalities themselves. Asakusa steals the spotlight with her one of a kind voice and chaotic, excitable energy. Kanamori also shines thanks to her cold hearted, practical and clever scheming methods. They also have some of the most attention grabbing expressions and reactions throughout the series. On the other hand, Tsubame, the teen model with a passion for anime, comes off a bit bland when put next to the other girls thanks to her more ‘traditionally pretty’ looks. While she does do great encouraging and joining in Asakusa’s outlandish creative and hyper freak outs, it’s hard to pinpoint anything that makes her feel particularly unique besides her action packed intro. She’s never quite a fun to follow and observe as Asakusa and Kanamori, who both leave such an engaging and amusing impression thanks to all their antics and interactions with other minor characters.
Tom: Half the fun does indeed rest with how lively and lovable our lead cast are. Coupling that with the show’s whimsical, surreal depiction of their imaginations in full makes the series a real joy to watch. As we enter the second half of Eizouken!’s run we’ve begun to move away from focusing purely on animation to dabble in other efforts needed to bring anime to life, like collaboration or sound effects. The show maintains its talent for quirky characters and surreal visualizations, meaning as the story shifts and evolves everything to love is still there.
Linny: Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is such an extraordinary mix; one that mingles fantasy like visualizations of animation and imagination with quirky takes on school and club life. The show manages to showcase not just its main cast but also supporting side characters who often come off just as quirky as the leads, making for an all round highly amusing story. Keep your Hands Off Eizouken feels like a good fit for anyone looking to experience something that stands out in more ways than one. It’s also, as Tom has pointed out, remarkably educational about various aspects of animation without making it feel like a lecture. The lead characters, voice acting and execution really elevate this show and make it a must try of the Winter season.
Tom: While we’ve heaped on loads of praise, Eizouken! isn’t without its flaws. As Linny mentioned Tsubame feels like the weakest character and I believe that’s due to how aspects to her introduction have been left untouched. Since episode 1 her family’s disgust for her passions, and her origins as a teen model, have been left to rot. All that’s left is her drive to animate with extraordinary detail, and that leaves her much thinner than our other two leads. That said, it’s a more minor quibble. As we enter the second half the show has found a new goal for our girls that keeps the show from becoming aimless, one of my greater fears. If you’re looking for a series that feels unique, hardly cookie-cutter, with loads of personality and wild visuals, you can’t go wrong with Eizouken! It sits as the anti-thesis to the trend towards moe that some older fans have despised for over two decades now. And honestly? We need more shows like this.
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.