Having received their latest project from the eccentric Robot Club, the girls of the Motion Picture Research Club set off in this week’s Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! episode 6 to rev up production on their latest project. To that end, as well as to avoid repeating their past mistakes, some changes will be needed – including a new club member. Midori, too, gets a chance to shine and show off her unique creativity.
In terms of adaptation, this episode is perhaps the most interesting since the very first. While it ends up covering the events of chapters 11 through 12 of the original manga by Sumito Oowara in a basic sense, it makes so many changes, reorders and additions that calling it an adaptation would be a stretch. Furthermore, it makes the bold decision to bring forward the introduction of a new character from the next arc over, which makes the series’s future prospects that much more exciting.
The kind of source material deviation that so sets Eizouken episode 6 from the rest is apparent from the very beginning. Beginning with the general premise for chapter 11, it greatly extends the conversation between the three girls as to how they are going to tackle their next production. It is also during this conversation that Kanamori makes two important points: one, the fact that the Robot Club have requested that they make an OP sequence for their short film. This is hilarious in its otaku idiosyncrasies but is more important in the fact that such a request was never detailed in the original manga, which makes this particular element to the production drama anime-original.
Further, Kanamori also reveals that the Art Club have asked to help with the club’s short film this time around, after being so blown away by the last one that they decided to renege on their initial refusal. This leads to an interesting scene with Midori that we’ll cover later on.
While all of this is simply interesting to note from an adaptational point of view, these diversions from the source material do seem to serve a very important function: extending and enlarging the content of the original manga. As to why Science SARU have chosen to do this is unknown – perhaps the story as it existed in chapters 11 and 12 simply didn’t seem like enough for one episode – but I’m willing to bet that the massive success of the series has put them on watch for a possible season two. Why use up all of the content now when the team can take their time and leave some stuff for later? It’s not a bad strategy, and considering that all of the deviations don’t have much of an effect on the overall quality of the episode, it’s clearly paying off.
In fact, as usual, it’s only immediately obvious to viewers that have read the original manga (AKA me) that something is afoot. But such viewers as myself were surely put on edge when, suddenly, Eizouken episode 6 introduced a character that wasn’t supposed to be introduced until the next arc: Doumeki.
It is while gathering the necessary materials for their upcoming production that the Motion Picture Club, presently composed of Midori, Kanamori and Tsubame, come into contact with the Audio Club and its sole member, Doumeki. The scenario that follows in Eizouken episode 6, including the humorous scene surrounding the use of foley and sound effects, is taken wholesale from chapter 17 of the original manga and the series’ next narrative arc.
From this, it’s not hard to imagine why I was surprised to see such a character introduced at this moment in time. In addition, it’s not hard to see why Masaaki Yuasa and Science SARU have chosen to do this. If many of the deviations in Eizouken episode 6 were already about expanding the source material while also dialing back the pacing to save material for a possible season two, then introducing Doumeki a little earlier on makes perfect sense. It provides the opportunity for anime-original scenes centered around her sound-based sensibilities, inserts a new element into the production drama (sound and sound effects), as well as introduces us to who will essentially become the fourth member of the club much later on. So while her introduction may have been surprising, it wasn’t entirely without reason or purpose.
The early introduction of Doumeki, in turn, isn’t the only reordering of events that this episode makes. In fact, the whole beginning of the episode has been rearranged around the question of how Kanamori gets her hands on the Motion Picture Research Club’s first PC. In the manga, we follow her as she tracks one down for cheap, but in the anime, we stick with Tsubame and Midori as they head home in the evening with no sign from Kanamori. It is only during the moment where they eat ramen together that we learn that Kanamori has gotten her hands on a PC at all, and even then, many of the details are left unexplained.
But once Doumeki has been inserted into the fold, Eizouken episode 6 shifts away from a more transformational adaptation approach and back towards a more direct one as it delivers a short but sweet narrative featuring Midori from chapter 12 of the original manga.
During my reviews so far, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I like Midori very much. And even though the internet as a whole seems smitten with Kanamori, I remain loyal to the little gremlin.
Seeing the episode shift focus to Midori in its latter half, then, was a fine prospect; more of my favorite character, more chances for her to shine. But the narrative involving Midori in the latter half of Eizouken episode 6 serves a much greater purpose than simple fanservice. Rather, it is by placing Midori’s personality under a microscope through the production drama that we begin to get a better feel for her as a character. Here, the aforementioned anime-original scene with the Art Club comes into play. Despite having all of the ideas fully formed in her head, she struggles to communicate them and answer the questions of a particularly inquisitive student. This shows that while she may be a creative genius, she’s hardly a social butterfly, and revealing a character’s flaws is often just as effective as showing off their strengths in terms of endearing the audience to them. In this sense, the latter half of Eizouken episode 6 is a great success.
Nevertheless, I can’t help but also see in Midori’s narrative in this episode an important throughline to some later drama that will end up forming the climax of the Robot Club arc. Fear of spoilers prevent me from saying specifics, but let’s just say that the household drama of a certain character won’t go down too well when it is invited into the school itself as part of the Culture Festival. Showing that Midori has her own drama and struggles is an important stepping-stone for this, and seems to suggest a grander purpose than simply figuring out what Midori’s “switch” may or may not be.
Eizouken Episode 6: Good Vibrations
While I ended up talking this week mainly about Science SARU’s interesting adaptational choices, that does not by no means imply that the only interesting thing about Eizouken episode 6 was its relationship to the original manga. Rather, as I’ve said multiple times, these changes are only obvious to someone familiar with the source material and probably don’t even register on the radar of the anime-only viewer. And why should they? The show stands up on its own merits, particularly during its animation sequences, with the main one this week being particularly eye-catching in its character acting and mecha action.
Yet, it is always interesting to view an adaptation in parallel with its source material, and I hope that I have showcased this week how changes and diversions from it can affect the overall story. Doumeki’s introduction, in particular, has me very curious as to where the series is going from here on out. Could we be seeing a lot more anime-original content going forward? Who knows. With season two looking more and more viable, only good vibrations are being felt over here.
You can watch Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! episode 6 via Crunchyroll.