©︎ Sumito Oowara, Shogakukan / Eizouken Committee

24th Animation Division Grand Prize

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

Animated TV series

YUASA Masaaki[Japan]

Outline

First-year ASAKUSA Midori has entered Shibahama High School, a lakeside, labyrinthine school built on an artificial island. A fervent fan of animation, ASAKUSA is ever filling her sketchbook with potential premises, with a desire to make one someday but without enough confidence to go for it. When ASAKUSA invites her enterprising friend KANAMORI Sayaka to the school animation club, they meet MIZUSAKI Tsubame, a charismatic amateur model with dreams of becoming an animator. The three obtain permission to start a film club Eizouken and create their “ultimate world.” Their respective skills spur production: ASAKUSA designs the set and backdrops, MIZUSAKI draws powerful character motions, and taskmaster KANAMORI secures a budget and screening location. In a story that folds in actual processes of animation production, tech, and theory, the trio depict the accompanying trials and triumphs through the characters. Based on the manga by OOWARA Sumito and created by animators beloved by aficionados worldwide, the animation articulates the protagonists’ creativity by hand with panache, taking full advantage of the medium to convey its joys.

Reason

The disappointment of a rough sketch on the imageboard looking better than the actual animation often happens. Meticulous illustrations are beautiful, but how exhilarating it is to imagine freeing the pencil and paints to make the scene dance. This was unthinkable when commercial animation used cells, but digital animation has changed things, and here’s the proof. The visual of characters and art helps to blend fantasy and reality in the work; the audience is treated with the rare experience of empathizing with the characters becoming to share the images, through senses rather than a script. Week after week, our attachment to them grows. The predicament endemic to television series, of a single work being serialized, is here turned to an advantage. Contrary to the threat implied in the title, the series is wonderfully in love with animation itself. (SATO Tatsuo)