OP: 「Easy Breezy」 by Chelmico
「最強の世界!」 (Saikyou no Sekai!)
“The Greatest World”
Yuasa Masaaki has always been a fascinating director not for the quality of his creative endeavors, but the content of them. Regardless of whether his anime is revered positively for one reason or another, the one constant variable with his material is that each project is approached entirely different material that requires an entirely different approach. Whether it be macabre horror story about demons, a sports series about the baggage each player brings with them to a competition, a narrative about finding the right approach to beginning a relationship in college, or a meditative tale on the precious nature of memories, each one is given the right art style and tone to think of them less as they must fit within a specific genre and more as smaller fragments of a collective image.
As a whole, the first episode Eizouken ni wa Te o Dasu na! plays on the idea of anime in itself being a shared collective experience that has stimulated the imaginations of many aspiring creative types. The idea of wanting to visualize the fantastical images and scenes that have been bottled up within an artist’s spirit is very much in line with Yuasa’s oeuvre, making it the perfect source material to complement both the fluid artwork of his productions and the story’s overall message on anime as an avenue to create expressive and outlandish worlds that could only be unearthed by the collaborative efforts of people who were also inspired by the imagery and dreamlike fantasies painted by the anime they grew up with.
The first few chapters of the manga were great to read, but what makes anime the ideal medium to tell the story of Eizouken ni wa Te o Dasu na! is how it merges the semiotics of the real world with the imaginations of our main trio. Asakusa Midori (Ito Sairi) is our main vessel into the anime’s unique art-style shifts as her fantasies of the vast anime-inspired worlds she draws start to open up within the anime itself. The two most impressive scenes of the anime are the moments we get a glimpse of the worlds she’s drawn as an aspiring background designer. Her sketch of the new town she’s moved to as a child comes to life when she starts fantasizing about navigating the simple yet expressive world she’s created, shifting the art-style into a black-and-white pencil sketch of her exploring the basic city she drew in her book. Similarly, her first efforts with her two friends cause them to enter the drawings Midori created as they enter her blueprint of a dragonfly aircraft to fly around an ethereal world stitched together by colored pencils and paper.
It helps that the main artwork of Eizouken ni wa Te o Dasu na! is presented as a fun, wavy, rebellious, and stylish, allowing for more fluidity as the characters interact with their surroundings and gain inspiration from the anime they consume and the city that surrounds them. This similar ideology melds itself within it’s three main characters too as each aims to reinvent their reality by painting tapestries of their collective experiences with anime, albeit in a way that can compensate for their inexperience and reckless youthful spirits.
Midori might have a powerful imagination but has an Achilles heel of being unable to illustrate people and not having the faith in herself to take the first step in getting other people interested in the worlds she wants to create through anime. Where she is in love with the work that she makes, but can’t comprehend regular people enough to capture what would make a character human.
Similarly, Mizusaki Tsubame (Matsuoka Misato) is a talented character designer who is fascinated by the experiences created by anime but is stifled by her inexperience with the world outside of what her wealthy parents would allow for her as a model being groomed to be a famous actress. Her fascination with rebelling against the fate designated by her rich parents drives her passion to draw and bring her characters to life, but the misunderstanding of her surroundings and those who dwell in them also acts as a force that drives a wedge in her personal development. It’s easy to see that she loves people and the different emotions they exhibit, but she lacks the street smarts to understand things such as people living in alleyways or someone trying to keep her indebted to them. But through their collaborative efforts, they are able to strike a balance by combining Tsubami’s expressive, detailed character designs and with lush, vibrant surroundings Midori came up with to produce some wild, fun ideas for the future.
Kanamori Sayaka (Tamura Mutsumi) is the only friend in the group that’s currently having issues finding her footing in the series. She’s presented as an idea person who helps encourage the two to start collaborating and potentially make an anime. But she’s held back by her own personal ulterior motives in making money and extorting money from her friends. With how Midori and Tsubame are immediately shown as aspiring visionaries, Sayaka is the one character that lacks the imagination to come up with anything beyond her next get-rich-quick scheme. But there’s definitely time to give her more to work with and help her shed the skin of looking like dead weight in comparison to the other two girls.
Above all else, the first episode of Eizouken ni wa Te o Dasu na! is an inventive and artistic take on using anime as an outlet for expression. It’ll be exciting to see which direction the show goes as the three girls become more engrossed in their overall goal of making their own anime.
ED: 「名前のない青」 (Namae no Nai Ao) by Kamisama, Boku wa Kizuite Shimatta