Among the novelties of this month signed Star Comics we find a manga with a rather captivating title: we are obviously talking about Keep your hands off Eizouken!, from Sumito Owara, the first volume of which was released in all Italian comics, bookstores and online stores starting from 22 September. This is the first major work for the young mangaka, published in Japan starting from 2016 and which, thanks to the success of the years immediately following, was elected winner of the award. Comic Bros (2017), she was then nominated for the Taisho Awards in 2018 and included, in the same year, in the ranking “Kono manga ga sugoi!”. The manga in question was then adapted into an anime television series, broadcast in early 2020 in Japan and on the streaming platform. Crunchyroll (here you find our review) subtitled in Italian. This gave the same Owara the possibility of making his debut as an animator, as it was he who took care of the closing theme.
It is a seinen within which adventure and comedy blend perfectly, giving life to a funny and original story, a little different from what we are used to reading in the usual manga. In a certain sense we could speak of a “story within a story”, because the whole plot revolves around the creation of an anime and the realization of its montage. The shy one Midori Asakusa and the model and influencer Tsubame Mizusakiin fact, they love to draw and both dream of becoming animators. Natural talent and good will, however, are not always sufficient by themselves to reach a goal, for this reason the two young women will not be able to give up the help of their high school partner. Sayaka Kanamori, obsessed by the desire to do business and the thirst for earnings, who with her objective and targeted advice will be able to guide them in the organizational aspects of their business. The three girls, combining their talents and strengths, will thus create a student club with a name Eizouken (hence the title of the work, which is literally translated with the expression “Don’t touch the video lab!”) whose main project is the creation of an anime, which must however be approved in advance by the student council in order to obtain adequate funding. Will our darlings succeed in their intent?
- Original title: Eizouken niwa te o dasuna!
- English title: Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
- Japanese release: 2016
- Italian release: September 22, 2021
- Number of volumes: 1 (in progress)
- Publishing house: Star Comics
- Type: comedy, adventure
- Drawings: Sumito Owara
- History: Sumito Owara
- Format: 14.5 x 21, b / w, paperback with dust jacket
- Number of pages: 160
We reviewed Keep your hands off Eizouken! through press volume provided to us by Star Comics.
An adventure that is tinged with pink
The one contained in is an all-female adventure Keep your hands off Eizouken!: from the very first pages of the volume now examined, the author presents the three main protagonists, simple and lively girls, each quite distinct from the other in terms of character and personality. Starting from Midori Asakusa, we can see how shy a girl is, not at all fond of crowded spaces, sometimes insecure, but also full of enthusiasm, creativity and imagination, all qualities that make her drawings real works of art rich in details, to the point of making her seem often fanatical and out of control. To bring her back with her feet on the ground, but still providing her with the necessary support that a friend must be able to give, is the classmate Sayaka Kanamori, probably the tallest girl in all of Shibahama high school, she loves strawberry milk and has a strong and decisive character, so much so that she is cynical and ruthless when it comes to investments and earnings. Here comes the third member of the group, the beautiful Tsubame Mizusaki, determined and ambitious, who despite being a model and infleuncer already of some fame, she aims to become an animator, inspired by the career of her parents, both actors.
Analyzing the characters in general it can be said that the focus is almost entirely on the three protagonists, their character conformation and their adventures and exploits, thus leaving a completely marginal space for the other characters, which therefore take on a secondary role. Just think, for example, of the professor who becomes the supervisor of the study group set up by the three friends: despite the important position that the man should hold, we meet him yes and no a couple of times in total. In addition, even the other characters present in the story (parents, passers-by in the street, other students and professors) intervene just the necessary, in order to contextualize the events from a space-time perspective. However, the depiction of a multicultural reality within the school environment remains noteworthy, which can be easily seen by observing, in some episodes, the students enrolled in the Shibahama high school, all portrayed with different physiognomic features and different skin color. These elements directly reflect the personal experience of the same author, who, precisely at the time of elementary school, attended a similar school context, which certainly influenced him.
The “definitive world”
As for the story itself, it appears engaging right from the start, above all thanks to the pressing pace with which the various events, which take place one after the other, are exposed and connected to each other. The real strength of this manga, in any case, lies in my opinion in the setting. Apparently it may seem banal and already seen and revised, given that in any case it starts from a city background and from some scenes that take place in a school, but in reality it is not so. In fact, it is enough to leaf through the pages to quickly come across the “definitive world” conceived by Asakusa, an imaginary place that blends vegetation, fauna and modern architecture into one, within which we find ingenious inventions that literally come to life, such as for example a multipurpose flying pod in the shape of a dragonfly, a bizarre helix skirt, or a useful self-defense tank, to name a few. In short, considerable space is left for landscapes and tools born from the imagination and creativity of the protagonists and the result is a completely evocative and fascinating environment, full of very specific details, which amalgamates and alternates with more realistic scenes. and daily, often leaving the reader speechless.
Midori, Sayaka and Tsubame are 3 completely different high school students: Midori is a reckless tomboy who dreams of imaginary worlds and notes them with meticulous drawings; Tsubame is a high-ranking model with a passion for animation; Sayaka is a disturbing, cynical and venal friend of Midori who sees a fortuitous business opportunity in the fortuitous meeting with Tsubame. Challenging everyone and everything, the unlikely trio will give life to Eizouken, a student club with the secret objective of realizing – between majestic and improbable daydreams and crafty subterfuges – an anime …
Buy Keep your hands off Eizouken! following this link at the special price of € 6.17 (instead of € 6.50). Release scheduled for 22 September 2020. Support Akiba Gamers by purchasing on Amazon through this box!
Simple, but effective
Moving on to the technical aspect, we can say that the tables are made using rather simple drawings as far as the characters are concerned, but more detailed in reference to the backgrounds; rounded lines are joined with slightly more angular strokes, managing to create very pleasant, funny and in some cases even fascinating shapes. The colors, present only in the first four pages, are soft, in shades of green and blue. The dialogues are curated in such a way as to arouse the reader’s laughter, who constantly comes across witty exchanges and funny gags, where irony becomes the key word.
Even before reading the plot or venturing into reading, the public will be easily attracted to the aesthetic aspect of this manga. Keep your hands off Eizouken! in fact, it has a glossy dust jacket in bright shades, with the protagonists of the story in plain sight, depicted across the board, which intrigue with their smiles. Leafing through the pages of the book then becomes automatic, given its compact size, which makes it almost pocket-sized. Furthermore, a particular aspect that makes the work even more interesting is the presence inside some appendices containing the preparatory sketches and projects of Asakusa’s inventions, very explanatory thanks to the wealth of information about their structural and functional characteristics.
A manga that will explode the creativity in each of us
Keep your hands off Eizouken! from the first volume it seems to promise well: a truly compelling story, full of twists, where imagination and dynamism are never lacking, with characters who take the reader by the hand making him literally fly with the imagination. A new and original manga ready to amaze, which seems to have all the credentials to excite even more those who already love the world of Japanese animation, with a hidden incitement to believe in their dreams, always! Recommended for those looking for an extravagant and fresh manga, but also for those who, despite the difficulties, always believe in their dreams and fight with all their strength to make them come true.
A compelling story to be discovered