「大芝浜祭!」 (Ooshibahama Matsuri!)
“The Grand Shibahama Festival!”
This week’s episode of Eizouken helps to cap off the emotional family drama that Mizusaki faces as she aims to validate her dreams to her parents now that they’ll be able to make it to the festival to see her mecha short. And while the fun, anarchic spirit of the show shines through the Robotics Club and the Eizouken’s efforts to promote their anime, it was Mizusaki’s grand gesture to her parents that made the biggest impact as a touching reconciliation with her mother and father.
The beginning of the Grand Shibahama Festival was visually exciting because of how much of its rebellious, free-spirited personality came out. What first drew me in about the show’s aesthetic is how it resembled Jet Set Radio in its style, music, and attitude. Its love for animation is heartfelt and resonates well through the show’s content, but the fun of Eizouken comes through in moments such as the sequence where the clubs are promoting their main attractions at the festival.
When the Eizouken and Robotics Clubs break the rules with their grand promotion of the mecha short, we get an electrifying chase sequence where the Security Club has their hands full tracking down Mizusaki when everyone is dressed in the same cardboard robot outfit that she is hiding in. Meanwhile, we get another humorous blackmail scene where Kanamori shook down the Air Conditioning Club to lower the A/C in their auditorium, lest they have leaked photos of them tampering with the A/C for personal interests disseminated throughout the school. The most chaotic member of the Robotics Club helped bring it all home when his victory sprint towards the auditorium involved switching into a cardboard robot created to help him zipline across campus.
The most visually enticing scene of the episode was easily when Mizusaki gave the grand debut for the mecha short since their anime had sound and visual cues that coincided with what was happening during the viewing. I couldn’t help but be taken aback when the short began with a flurry of smoke timed to Mizusaki’s announcement and when the anime ended with static caused by a chain reaction within the final explosion.
The fun energetic atmosphere of Eizouken is hard to deny, but this episode had heart to it as it was the first time we were given a better glimpse of who Mizusaki’s parents really are. Because we only received small tidbits on who they were based on their repression of Mizusaki’s anime obsession in favor of getting her involved with acting and Mizusaki’s closer affinity for her grandmother. But with this episode, we see them in a different light as they come to terms with both their neglect of Mizusaki and how her experiences with wanting to capture motion lent itself to her personal love for animation. It does seem to stem majorly with her father wanting Mizusaki to follow her mother’s footsteps, but her mother has been relatively ambivalent about whether she’s interested in anime or not. In fact, her mom is the first one to be immediately awestruck with how many of the motions she took from her childhood were integrated into the mecha short.
It does provide meaningful time for the two to reflect on how far Mizusaki has come with her own personal interests and how she took her fascination with motion to apply them towards animation rather than dance. Their realization about their daughter’s gift for capturing movements through animation allowed for a very touching moment where they were openly proud of the work that their daughter put into her anime and approved of the direction she’s taking with her interests. It’s such an important message for people to see, especially young creators that feel like they want to gain the respect and support of family that might otherwise second-guess whether you should take interest in more creative endeavors or not. Hopefully, I’ll be able to have that same level of impact by showing my friends and family what I could bring to the world creatively as Mizusaki did in this episode. It gives me a sense of inspiration to have that as the ideal outcome of finally having the ability and resources to show the world just what you can bring to the table.