Title: Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! / Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
Length: ? x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Comedy, adventure
Year of release: 2020
This probably gives away my age, but here goes: when I was growing up, I watched Rugrats. In the show, the kids would go on crazy adventures and dream up weird antics based on their limited understanding of how the world works – when they went to space, they were really just gawking at the weird sounds the washing machine made, or when they went to the sandbox they were really going on deep archaeological adventures! I was very fond of Rugrats, but more interestingly, my parent’s particularly liked the show’s wide-eyed view of the world. When they told me this, I felt almost sad, realising that they’d lost that glee to look at the world and still have ideas to bestow to it! Enter Eizouken, a show a bit like Rugrats but scaled up for teenagers – and the adults that yearn for that picturesque beauty of meeting somebody who can share your enthusiasm for thinking outside of the box.
Midori Asakusa is a camouflage-hat touting tomboy that enrolled at a school built atop a river because of the ridiculous architecture (a bi-product of the continual overdevelopment, so it turns out). This enticed her wild imagination, filling her with all sorts of important tidbits of designing fictional worlds – this is no coincidence, then, that she dreams of becoming an animator, or at least, a concept designer. She nags her money-obsessed bestie, Kanamori, down to the anime club’s movie night, and giddily reels off all the impressive, wondrous technical details that anime requires. But it’s a monologue with so much love and passion, not dreary fact-checking, that both Kanamori and myself found ourselves a little woo’d and impressed by the feats of 2d animators.
But it’s in the second half of the episode that I think Eizouken went a bit above-and-beyond, and I began to fall in love thanks to that dedication. Midori winds up in a hilarious, whimsical comical routine that lands her spending time with Mizusaki, a model who yearns to be an animator against her parent’s wishes. The two instantly form a connection as they share their art, and their imaginations begin to run wild as Midori puts their pieces together. In a flash, the pair are running off into a dream of their machinery, piloting this dragonfly like machine through the skies and out into an open evening air to gaze lovingly at a new world.
There’s something so intimate about this scene. It’s not romantic, but the connection that formed is one of the most powerful sparks you can see – sharing a vision. I was so moved by their beautiful optimism, and the way absolutely stunning, form-free animation (a staple of Masaaki Yuasa’s anime) and daring character designs describes a world with endless possibilities. Eizouken is a show that opens eyes, turns heads, and still has something impressive to say with a this charming outlook on life.