The last-minute discovery that the soundtrack for their film is not what they anticipated throws the Eizouken girls for a loop. Asakusa proposes a drastic rewrite to salvage the project, and the team pulls a desperate all-nighter before the Comet-A convention. Are Asakusa’s energetic direction, Mizusaki’s loving animation, and Kanamori’s ruthless management enough to complete one more short?
I see this finale as a reward not just for us as the audience, but for the characters we’ve been following these past 11 episodes. The setup is much like the last two times the team pulled together to show off their work; unexpected complications, a mad dash to the finish, and a deep well-deserved breath when everything is done.
We pick up exactly where episode 11 left off. When the club finds out that the final soundtrack is completely different from the demo they received earlier, Mizusaki is understandably furious. However, Asakusa is able to re-contextualize their finished work to match the melancholy feel of the music. It still requires a nightmarish push to finish the DVDs in time for Comet-A, but with everyone busting their behinds, they manage to wrap things up and make a good showing at the convention.
I’ve been on projects where massive changes came through very late in the game, and it can be a huge blow to your confidence. In those circumstances, the dedication and creative thinking of the team is more important than ever. Whereas the previous arcs saw the girls clash over direction, workflows and time constraints, this one is about how they recognize a way through the crisis and use their experience to forge that path. It highlights the difference between an ambitious group of amateurs and a more experienced team that understands their own capabilities and limitations.
Once the convention is over, the exhausted trio finally has a chance to see their film all the way through. Knowing how radically different the story began and the twists it took to get to its final state makes seeing the whole thing deeply satisfying. Seeing Asakusa cocooned in her home with her best friends, sharing well-earned pizza and snacks, takes me back to my school and college days with friends. It captures the exhaustion of a successful project as beautifully as it does other aspects of the creative process. I really couldn’t have asked for more.
This was a fitting end to this season of Eizouken. The last-minute rush of the project and the relaxed tone as the girls finally get to see the fruits of their labor are satisfying, if less climactic than their earlier showings for the student council or the cultural festival.
With the manga still ongoing as of early 2020, it’s possible that we’ll see more Eizouken in the future, and I’d be glad to see more of the gang and their work. That said, I wouldn’t be disappointed if things wrapped up here. The show was made with incredible love and passion for animation, and the creators brought that energy through at every turn. My greatest hope for the show is that it teaches casual and long-time animation fans alike more about the craft, and moves them to bring that same joyful energy to their own creative work (tempered by some harsh but caring discipline from Kanamori, of course).
That about wraps things up for now. We all hope you enjoyed following along with Eizouken as much as we did. If such things are your jam, there’s also a live-action movie based on the same characters scheduled for May of this year. My limited experience with these kinds of adaptations makes me a little skeptical, but we’ll see how it all turns out. Join us soon for our podcast summarizing our viewing experience!