「独自世界の対立!」 (Dokuji Sekai no Tairitsu!)
“Against Our Independent World!”
The heat is on for the Eizouken in Episode 10 as pressure from the Student Council has Kanamori unable to secure the income that would have come from distributing the club’s anime at Comiket. But as the three try to find inspiration for what the story for their newest short anime would be and hustle to try to get their work started, we learn more about the Student Council’s secretary Sakaki Sowande, and why she is more personally vested in making sure that Kanamori goes through the correct avenues to get her anime completed.
While the Eizouken’s side of the story continues their trek to find inspiration for their “Shibahama vs. UFO’s” short, one of the more interesting kernels left behind by this episode was giving us development from Sowande’s point-of-view. Initially, she had been predominantly adversarial to the Eizouken to test if Kanamori had really been responsible for the funding she received before, during, and after the release of the club’s first two anime projects. But in Episode 10, it’s easier to see that much of her push to challenge Kanamori had been from the perspective of someone who sees potential in the Eizouken’s capabilities and admires their gumption enough to continue to challenge them and see if they can prove her and the system wrong.
Whereas Kanamori knows exactly which hoops and ladders to cross to understand the reality of successful entrepreneurship, Sowande has valuable experience of the bureaucracy that comes from being entrenched in the teachers’ personal interests in preserving the status quo. In this sense, it makes sense that, while she enjoys playing a game of mental ping-pong to test if Kanamori can find a way around the school’s high standards, much of it is done so that she would be able to see the method behind their madness. It helps that she’s the only one with enough presence or influence to pose a greater threat than any of her teachers or superiors, giving her the luxury of challenging Kanamori’s funding habits while dunking on her president.
After spotting the Eizouken on their sound hunt, it helps to reinforce Sowande’s initial suspicion that their ideological differences are fundamental to what makes the rebellious nature of their anime appealing. Sowande’s understanding of the School as a system within itself gives her insight on how they would try to interfere with the Eizouken’s vision. But ever since they unveiled their first anime to get their club recognized by the Student Council, Sowande started to see that they were more interested in going against the grain than other clubs that could barely defend their existence. From there, she’d give Kanamori the same hints that made sure that the Eizouken looked like they were playing ball with the Student Council while they found new resources like Doumeki’s sound database. Because of their dynamic, Sowande’s method of making sure the Eizouken keeps the school’s stubborn attitude regarding the club’s existence in mind is to warn Kanamori that they have ways of making sure they kowtow to whatever the school asks of them. But seeing how the club operates was useful in confirming Sowande’s belief that they are in their own world, and the rules that ordinarily keep other clubs in line have are often thrown out the window for how the Eizouken operates.
Aside from this, it was fun to see how playful the animation was in this episode. With the Eizouken’s interview with the teachers, the framing of the students, council, and teachers had visual flourishes to signify the ideological differences between Kanamori and the rest of the people in the room. The sound hunt was also impressive with how much of a flow the movement had as the girls rode on their bikes and while Doumeki was sifting through the sounds needed to get the bell sounds she needs. You also have some fun references sprinkled in like having Kanamori do the Kaneda bike slide from Akira or giving Asakusa a beard & apron to resemble Miyazaki Hayao while she figures out how to animate the UFO invasion sequence.
Speaking of Asakusa, I had an inkling that there would be more pushback from her end to give herself time while she settles on what the UFOs should be like. With the distractions and procrastination that interfere with her creative process, it makes her a larger target for Kanamori to vent on for not taking her responsibilities as seriously as the rest of the girls. There is a heavyweight on Asakusa’s shoulders to be able to come up with the scenario and she made decent headway with the sound hunt, but it’ll be interesting to see if she’s going to step up to the plate or put her foot down on having 100% of the responsibility to come up with the story for their latest short anime.