As the team works on the latest animation, the Student Council and teachers crack down further, prohibiting the club from making money from their work. Kanamori starts to worry that the story doesn’t have a lot of cohesiveness, and Asakusa doesn’t do a lot to dispel this worry. When Doumeki proposes going on a short trip to acquire local sounds, the whole group accompanies her, and there Asakusa finds inspiration in the local scenery to help tie the plot together.
This episode had two major parts, and each deserves a look. The first was the confrontation between the school administration and the Eizouken.
This was quite the argument: the school’s point boils down to “students shouldn’t be making money, there’s plenty of time to do that when you’re adults”, while the Eizouken’s (read: Kanamori’s) point is “making money quantifies the value of our work and is a valuable life lesson”. Kanamori almost lazily pokes hole after hole in their argument (why do students get to make money at the culture festival, why isn’t making money educational, finding out how to make money prepares us to be better adults, and more), but eventually the Student Council translates the administration’s real message:
The school doesn’t want the risk of any bad image or publicity that comes from students running a business with the school’s name attached. Unable to convince Kanamori, they simply fall back on their authority to prohibit any profit.
It’s an interesting look at how another country handles students making money, at a time when here in America there is a big movement by student athletes to receive payment for their work, and in which many of the same arguments (love of the game, for example) are made by the schools against their budding entrepreneurs.
The other half of the episode is devoted to concerns about the final product’s cohesiveness, and the club’s trip to gather sounds and explore further into the local area in an attempt to find that cohesiveness. This was a fun sequence with some really cool ideas from Asakusa and sound engineering by Doumeki.
Rather than focus on that, though, I want to talk about Kanamori’s concerns with how the anime’s plot is coming along, because it really struck a nerve with me as an experienced anime viewer. Asakusa and to a limited extent Misusaki have been coming up with a lot of neat ideas for scenes in their movie.
All of her ideas are fun and would look great, but Kanamori, ever the practical one, starts pushing Asakusa on how they all fit together.
The basic answer is: they don’t. Not yet anyway.
For anyone that’s seen enough anime (and really, entertainment media in general), the problems that Kanamori is highlighting will feel all too familiar. Sure, that dance scene or mech fight or alien attack was awesome to watch… but then you think about the plot of something as a whole and it starts to fall apart. Many shows struggle with an ending worthy of the rest of the show, as you get there and realize the whole story was sort of cobbled together without any idea how it all fits. Watching Asakusa and Misusaki happily adding new scenes and characters without any idea how they fit into even the basic premise of an alien attack on their city felt like something I’ve seen the final product of too many times. Thank goodness Kanamori is there to demand that things make sense; I wish every anime studio had a Kanamori.
Finally, two vitally important but otherwise unrelated points I want to make. One, Misusaki can look truly stunning when she’s in “actress mode”.
And two, the Student Council’s nickname for Kanamori might be the best thing this whole episode.
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