Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!
The must-watch anime of the season by almost everyone’s account. It’s rare that an anime comes along with the full package: concept, visuals and execution. We’re lucky if we get a handful a year, but so far Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! is zooming along with flying colours.
Eizouken tells the story of three school girls founding an anime-creation club. Capitalising on the popular anime trend of showing the creative processes of the anime and gaming industries. However, unlike its more realistic counterparts Eizouken focuses squarely on the imagination and passion that drives its girls to create. How they create is less important than why.
It also has a strong, highly stylised visual aesthetic. Allowing the world to crumble and rise alongside the girls’ inspiration. It’s telling that all three anime I’ve responded to this season focus on making their visuals charming and memorable, rather than just shiny. Ultimately the show is just so darn sincere. Any creative, of any stripe or type, will likely see a bit of themselves in Eizouken.
Dorohedoro is really weird. A gritty, grimy, and often frankly disgusting series tracking the adventures of an amnesiac reptile-headed hunter and his gyouza-shop owning partner. If the world of Eizouken is inviting the world of Dorohedoro is repelling. Cyberpunk horror; everything has an organic, meaty pulse, with a layer of grime smeared over it. Weird half-formed monsters and human body-horror. The kind of nightmare fuel which brings to mind the ’90s Japanese underground.
So naturally the tone of the series is a jolt of action slap-stick, with our main duo being totally loveable. Bumbling do-gooders in a world of ultraviolence. The show’s animation uses a kind of uncanny valley CGI for a lot of the action scenes, but in these murky surroundings it almost works. If you’re looking for an edgy seinen kick this season Dorohedoro is definitely going someplace strange.
Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun
I’m a sucker for high school comedies. When done right they’ve produced some of my favourite anime ever. And Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun has proven itself to be a fizzy treat. I was always going to check out this anime due to how solid the manga is. Weaving the story of a mysterious ghost haunting the lady’s toilets, and the lonely girl who befriends him. The anime smooths out some of the manga’s jagged visual edges, while leaving the bejewelled, colourful palette. Lush backgrounds take full advantage of the Japanese-Gothic vibe of the series.
And it’s funny! And the characters are likeable! With strong designs and a nice blend of dumb anime jokes mixed with subtle personality. The series also draws on Japan’s extensive supernatural folklore for some interesting cultural elements. I’m pretty chuffed that the series is being as well received as it is, but that’s the power of a great anime adaption: building up something classic while giving it a fresh lick of paint. New fans, old fans, we’re all Hanako-kun fans.