「そのマチェットを強く握れ!」 (Sono Machete o Tsuyoku Nigire!)
“Hold That Machete Tight!”
With Student Council Committee reviews getting closer and closer, the girls of Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! are starting to feel the burn that comes from the development cycle of their first anime. Along the way we get a fascinating glimpse into how anime directly affects audiences, the rigorous process it takes to make all of it come together, and the in-fighting that can happen when the dilemma arises on what cuts and sacrifices need to be made to meet a hard deadline.
This episode’s greatest strength for the first half is showing us the extent of how strenuous it can be to try to animate a single scene depending on what approach you are trying to go for. Much of Kanamori’s struggles have been to try to get her friends to work smarter, not harder. As such, she’s able to grasp methods where the girls could and should be able to cut corners such as capturing movement in a single frame like your typical Shougeki no Souma episode or limiting exactly how much of the animation is in color or hand-drawn.
This becomes a larger issue for Mizusaki, whose inner artiste won’t allow her to work with digital animation in spite of the crunch she faces for wanting to hand draw every frame in such little time. While it shows us the uphill battle the girls face in needing to cut so many of their ideas and world-building in order to get their project out in time, especially with Mizusaki’s deep passion for the traditional way of painstakingly animating each frame as a labor of love, it also shows us how much of an asset Kanamori is in leading their project management side and working out the logistics in what they need to do and when they need to finish it by.
Personally, my favorite moment of the episode is when they have to face the Thunderdome that is the Student Council Committee reviews. It was hilarious to see them being reviled enough to need the Security Club to keep the student body away from them as they shoot down one faulty club idea after another. Additionally, it gives us more of Kanamori’s shrewd negotiation skills as she gleefully holds the clubroom’s terrible shape over the teachers’ heads as they defend themselves from the Student Council’s rigid interview.
The highlight from this scene, however, is the debut of the Eizouken’s “Machete Girl” anime that was forced to become a short-form anime a la Gainax’s Daicon III & IV shorts. The end result is a striking moment where everyone in the room is as swept up in the diegesis of the anime as Asakusa is when she imagines her anime coming to life. The audience is warped into the world of the cheap yet stylish world painted by the Eizouken as gusts of wind, tank shells, and laser blasts fly past the screen. Asakusa’s imagination might capture what it’s like to be a creative spirit aspiring to paint a visual of how awesome your ideas look in your mind, but this scene helps show us the magic of what it’s like to be the spectator of truly inspiring, imaginative art that sparks a visceral, life-affirming reaction.
The kind of sensation brought out from Asakusa’s personal experience of what it was like watching anime for the first time. Ultimately, it calls attention to how awe-inspiring it can be to see a different, extraordinary world come to life through visual mediums like film and anime. It makes it all the more exhilarating when the one Student Council girl who aims to logically justify each club’s existence finds herself even more curious about how impressive the Eizouken’s anime would be with a budget if the Eizouken managed to pull off “Machete Girl” with nothing but excruciatingly hard work and a dream.