Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! – 06 – No Groaning, Moaning, or Excuses

The Eizoken has 96 days to produce a 15-20 minute anime about a robot fighting a crabtle, and its members must contend with a nearly infinitely more complex production. More action scenes, more sound effects, more backgrounds, more of everything they already did with Machete Girl, only they’ll also need more classically epic music and voice actors for dialogue.

Kanamori Sayaka, the ever-steady executive producer, keeps the ship on course in these early stages, knowing when to crack the whip and when to show kindness and generosity…or at least that last bit would have been the case if she’d actually treated the artists to ramen. That said, never carrying more than 1,000 yen at all times is an elegant, effective means of budgeting!

She can forsee that this production could easily drain their finances, and the student council is keeping a watchful eye, so Sayaka decides to play ball, acting both as council enforcer and interested party with the delinquent Sound Club.

She gives its only member Doumeki an offer she can’t refuse, offering protection in exchange for access to her ridiculously vast collection of sounds, plus her own expertise as audio advisor. Doumeki is also compelled to sell much of the collection for club funds, and Sayaka and the Eizouken will get a cut of that.

Sayaka can’t do it all, however. She can only create a stable enough environment in which Midori and Tsubame can work. But there’s more work than the two of them will ever be able to complete in time, so they need to delegate some of the work to a willing art club (who like the robot club were impressed by Machete Girl).

In their first meeting with the art club, Midori constantly needs help from both Sayaka and one of the club’s members to get out what she’s trying to say. She’s simply not good at telling people what to do, but if she doesn’t, there’s no giant robot anime.

While recharging her depleted brain with some late afternoon sketching, Midori falls down a well of self-doubt, worried there’s no way she can make a robot anime that will satisfy everyone. Sayaka delivers the tough love speech she Midori in her moment of vulnerability. It’s not about satisfying everyone, but making a final product on time that she can be satisfied with and proud of.

As evidenced from their reaction to Machete Girl, Midori and Tsubame are their own most exacting critics, so it sounds counterproductive to tell her to trust in her own sensibilities. But Midori is eventually able to reconcile some of the inconsistencies (or as Tsubame calls them, “crimes” committed in order to field a giant robot anime), and regains her motivation.

Hands Off the Eizouken! has beautiful, terrifically imaginative art and a wonderfully novel way of visualizing its artists’ creations, but besides all that one shouldn’t overlook its devotion to what makes a good anime: characters you care about overcoming obstacles internal and external to achieve something great.

Bakuman 2 – 10

As Mashiro, Takagi and Miyoshi balance studying for college entrance exams with coming up with ideas for their next work. Mashiro wants to do a cautious one-shot first to test the waters, and he wants to maintain the harsh/serious tone of previous works, but Miura clashes with him on both counts, wanting a gag manga manuscript for serialization. Ashirogi goes over his head and submits a work in the monthly amateur contest. Hattori helps mediate the warring sides until they reach a mutually acceptable deal.

After spending so much time with Shady Detective TRAP, we had almost forgotten that it wasn’t the end-all, be-all work that would make or break Mashiro’s dreams. When things don’t work out, as they didn’t with TRAP, you move one. You have to…so they do. But things don’t start out smoothly, as Mashiro feels deep in his gut that Miura is just…wrong. So wrong. The thing is, artists need to trust and listen to their editors, or else they can’t work together.

A compromise is found after leaping over his head: whereby Ashirogi Muto can’t win the monthly contest, but they’ll be able to compete. Even if it does well, they’ll have to wait for the next serialization meeting for a final decision from Jack, so they have to give the gag manga – Hitman 10 – their all. From the little that we saw it looks like it has a nice contrast going between a harsh, gritty style and a story loaded with gags, owing to the scenario’s farfetchedness. At this point though, we have no idea what their next serialized piece will be. TRAP’s demise taught us nothing is ever certain in this business.

Rating: 3.5

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