By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! or Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! is a series I overlooked when it first came out a little more than a year ago. I’m not a fan of the art style, and the name didn’t seem all that interesting when I did my usual scroll through MyAnimeList around the release time. I somewhat regret that now. As the saying goes, we can’t always judge things by their cover, right? Let’s discuss:
For those of you that haven’t seen it yet: Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is about three high school girls who come together and form a new anime club on their school campus. Rather than just watching anime like the school’s current anime club, their goal is to make it. Midori Asakusa, the leading lady of our three primary characters, and Tsubame Mizusaki are the team’s artists and animators. They have their respective strong suits, but their artistic styles and goals complement each other well. The last of the three is Sayaka Kanamori, who seems to take care of a lot of odd jobs for the two artists (like procuring paper and getting it prepped) while also acting as the team’s administrator and producer (defending their work, promoting it, getting funding, etc.). It was released in the Winter 2020 season and has a total of twelve episodes so far.
To avoid giving too much away, I’ll just talk about the first four episodes. (Spoilers ahead!)
A lot stood out to me from watching the first few episodes. The first thing to stand out was the characters. Asakusa’s nervousness and Kanamori’s bluntness, for example, were a definite highlight; and the growing friendship between those two and Mizusaki helped situate the anime as a comedy for me because their dynamic friendship was so much funnier than any jokes or dialogue in the episodes. For example, this scene from Episode 2 (a gif, so no sound):
This scene made the show a must-finish for me because I saw a lot of my high-school self and closest friends (who are still in my life today) in the three of them. To be more specific, I see the way Mizuka and Asakusa interact as very much the way Casea (@coffeewithkrow) and I started getting along after meeting in high school with our mutual friend(s) kind of watching from the side-line in exasperation or resignation at our hype.
It’s moments like these that make the series feel more like a slice-of-life than an adventure story, even though it is more often tagged the latter.
Another positive for me was the comfortable usage of art and animation terms, as well as the references to older works like Future Boy Conan. It almost felt like an acknowledgment to creators working with this medium—like, ‘hey, we see how much work this takes and that it is a labor of love; thank you!”—while still maintaining accessibility for people that are new to this form of entertainment in a fun, comedic way. Like this line from Episode 4:
As a fan of the medium, I felt like there was a lot here to enjoy for people who watch a lot of anime and have tried to learn more about its creation in the same way that this series seemed to call out to the creators in this field that I mentioned above.
Some things took their liberties. For example, I’m not sure anyone who is brand new to animating on their own could finish the animation they made for their club’s presentation to gain funding (Episode 4) in such a short amount of time. I mean, in about 3 weeks, I think, they made a short, almost full-color animation that’s several minutes long to present to the student body and council for funding and defending their newly established club with, again, no known experience prior. However, these liberties and exaggerations add to the comedy in ways that make you feel like you really are watching three friends in high school. They tease each other, make jokes, hang out often, and have idiosyncrasies that make the characters feel very familiar, which I think is something everyone can enjoy.
The only notable negative thing I have to say when looking at the series is about the opening credits/title rather than the anime itself. I felt like the opening animation was almost seizure-inducing with the switching between rapid color changes and animation that quickly goes back and forth between too fast and too slow. Though the song was great! Additionally, the animation in the show itself is very clean (and enjoyable).
Overall, I’d give this series a 7/10.
It’s clearly made to be fun, and it is just that: fun. It’s a good watch for a late night, and nothing in it will make you over-think anything or bog you down too much with details and logistics.
You can watch the series on Crunchyroll for free or stream it via MyAnimeList (which is still the Crunchyroll version, minus the usual advertisements).