Eizouken: The Joy of Creation
Contains spoilers for Episode 1 of Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!
This is perhaps one of the best viewing experiences I’ve ever had in the first episode of an anime. The episode left me with a smile on my face the entire time because it hit me hard in the nostalgia spots.
Simply put, this episode is something that anybody that has been a creator for any length of time in any medium should watch. It perfectly encapsulates the process that happens when somebody begins creating for the first time. Normally I would try to keep my own experiences separated from writing articles, but as a creator, it’s something I can’t help but comment on personally. Everyone has their own stories on their creative journeys so I know most people won’t relate, but this is just to help illustrate how perfectly this anime captures the magic of building worlds with your own hands.
The beginning scene of the episode has one of the protagonists, Asakusa Midori, exploring the area around her apartment before shifting over to a scene of her mother going to pick up her father. The mother tells Asakusa to put on some anime and she does. She becomes transfixed by the wonderful animation and has a major revelation:
This sort of moment is always extremely powerful for anybody when they decide to start on a creative endeavor, young or old. It may not always occur in the same way as everybody for Asakusa, but that moment when you first start is often life-changing even if you don’t realize it.
I’ve personally been a creative writer for about twenty years now. I primarily dabble in fanfiction, but I’ve also created original works in the past. I can’t remember the exact moment I first started writing, but I can roughly recall the excitement. My first story was about a nine-year-old Pokémon trainer instead of a ten-year-old. I wrote fervently at any chance I could get and nothing would stop me. My mind wouldn’t stop racing with ideas and I just kept going deeper and deeper into the Kanto region, roughly following along with Ash’s adventures in the anime.
The next scene of the anime has Asakusa looking down at the recruitment for school clubs, simply watching and drawing what she sees. She’s too nervous to go down for herself, but she’s also just looking at the layout of the school.
Honestly, this is a hugely multilayered scene even if it might not seem like it on the surface.
Many creatives are introverts on the extreme end of the scale. This isn’t true for everybody, obviously, and it’s a stereotype. However, it does have some good grounding in reality. Many of us can have trouble communicating with people and we’re enthusiastic and passionate about our work and ideas. It can be extremely difficult to find somebody that understands, so we can have a hard time connecting with people.
It’s also very telling of how artists operate. This is jumping ahead a bit in the episode, but the next scene has Asakusa and her friend, Kanamori Sayaka, go into the anime club’s screening of the same movie Asakusa watched at the beginning of the episode. In her own words:
All art is created from real life and from the artist’s own experiences and/or studies. The above quote is honestly the simple yet infinitely complex secret of creating settings and characters that feel real yet completely distinct from reality. It’s a skill that takes years to start emerging. Once you get there, you never stop striving for it. You watch the world, study people, learn about other cultures, and many other things.
One of my personal projects at the time of this writing has me working on a culture that takes heavy influence from the native peoples of northern Japan, the Ainu. I’m studying the history and culture in order to take what exists and change it in a way that still makes it feel real. Just like Asakusa watches the people milling about below, so too creatives watch the world on micro and macro levels.
There are a few more aspects of this episode I want to touch on.
The first is the scene I was just talking about.
Asakusa drags Kanamori to go to a screening with the anime club. Kanamori asks what’s so great about all of this, and Asakusa just goes into a several-minutes long rant about the technical aspects. Below are just a few of her quotes.
As in the above scene, there are multiple layers of meaning, but the main one I want to focus on is just the surface level one.
The way she talks about all of this makes her passion plainly obvious, but it mostly shows her technical understanding. She shows a very clear knowledge of how animation works, why things are done the way they are, and why they’re important.
The hours that go into studying your medium of choice are endless. No matter how good you think you are, you’ll never stop learning. It will take you years to get the point of any sort of in-depth technical knowledge. Some things may come naturally while others may take formal studying.
I’ve been a mix of both. I wrote for a long time, just jotting down whatever story came to mind. I didn’t really understand much about character arcs, worldbuilding, or any of that. However, I started to understand worldbuilding first, though mostly as a way to move the plot along. The first fic I remember that with was one called Heavens Rayn. It took very, very loose inspiration from the basic concept of that live-action CD-i game, Zelda’s Adventure. I built backstory and world for the nation it took place in, mainly because the plot demanded it. But it’s where I got my start.
Character development was much more difficult for me. It wasn’t until I started RPing on Tumblr in like 2011/2012 that I truly did begin to understand the importance and nature of character development.
Both of these came naturally for me in time, but I have studied over the years to expand my knowledge of them.
The next thing I wanted to touch on was the show of synergy.
Another girl around Asakusa and Kanamori’s age enters the anime screening, and a crazy chase ensues. She shares Asakua’s passion for animation.
The next few scenes unfold in a spectacular way.
They discover that Asakusa and Mizusaki’s strengths help make up for the other’s flaws and they just start talking for hours.
This isn’t something that every creator experiences, but, sometimes, it is. Finding somebody you have perfect synergy with is one of the most joyful parts of creating when it happens.
I have an RP partner of close to a decade at this point and we just bounce ideas off of each other for hours on end. I am not exaggerating when I say we have literally spent seven consecutive hours on the phone, just bouncing ideas off of each other. It is just pure bliss to be able to talk to somebody that has ideas similar but different enough from yours that you can agree but also disagree. We don’t always agree on how things should play out, so we talk about it. From there, we get even more ideas and it just creates an amazing feedback loop that is frankly addicting.
This synergy scene honestly just begins to build. It starts out with them drawing on pieces of paper taped to a window—
—but ends up with them fully transported into an animation scene, exploring the world and flying the ship, trying to escape enemies—
—ultimately ending in a glimpse of the fully completed world.
It’s this entire scene that fully encapsulates and shows the allure of creation. It’s a truly amazing scene that I can’t describe in full; it has to be experienced.
This scene shows how two new friends go from simply drawing to being utterly lost in what they’re creating. They become a part of a small world that gradually expands until it feels fully realized. They get a glimpse of how things could be and they crave more of it.
Allowing yourself to just let everything go for a while is so addicting and one of the most amazing feelings in the world. Seeing what you built with your own hands come together is indescribable.
There is so much more I could say about this episode, but this is where I have to stop. If you’re a creative, then I suggest you check out at least the first episode if nothing else. It perfectly understands why creation is so magical and will bring a smile to the face of any creative, veteran and newbie alike.