Humanity between the lines: Tsubame in Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

“I realised something working on it. That to me, life is about working on stuff like this. And there’s nothing I can do about that, now.”

Tsubame on falling in love with animation in Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

I was still at school when I realised what I wanted to do with my life, that I wanted to make websites. I was never worried about it, I never questioned it, it was just what I was going to do. Like Tsubame drawing on her tablet deep into the night, I’d find myself writing code at every opportunity, my dark room lit by the computer’s screen, totally immersed. This played out again and again. Sometimes without even realising it, you’re doing it because you love it, because there’s a deep part of yourself being nourished, like a sun that’s always shining, it becomes something that you don’t want to let go.

I often ask myself, was I born to do this? Was Tsubame born to be an animator? What would I have done 200 years ago? I don’t believe in fate or destiny, yet we fit into niches that never used to exist. Life is mysterious like that.

Tsubame asks her parents how they felt about her animation.

Tsubame asks her parents, “What did you think of my animation?” You often read people saying, “Art for arts sake” but I think that’s misleading. Creation is a form of expression, an expression that’s crying out to be acknowledged. Something can be so abstract, yet so personal, like Tsubame lovingly animating the movement behind the way her Granny threw the dregs of her tea away, it’s such an innocuous thing, yet intensely personal, and after everything, to simply hear someone say, “that was good,” can be so gratifying, as if validating your very existence. Scary too, of course, because you’re painting so much of yourself into it, but that’s the risk you take. It’s the humanity between the lines that connects us.

I write this at a turning point in my life, as I question the road behind me and the mystery that lays ahead. Tsubame’s sense of purpose is something that will dim over time. Nothing lasts forever. But even still, I remember feeling like that, and as I search for the next spark to light the way ahead, this little show has kept me warm at the roadside.

4 comments

  1. I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but I’m definitely enjoying this anime.

    I hope you are doing during this global upheaval. I’m in the Seattle area and life is definitely not normal.

    1. I’m okay. Last week was a really stressful one, as at the same time as being indefinitely locked down at home, my long time mentor at work left his job after more than 10 years of working together. I’m feeling a bit calmer now, but there’s still a sense of being lost at sea. The world is just upside-down right now, isn’t it? Anime is an island of calm, at least.

  2. I love this kind of approach for a review ’cause… SAME HERE! Seeing this girls with their candid small hopes of future (after school), reminds me mines, a long long long time ago. It’s a great way to show (to non anime fans) why we like so much this, and why we still care about it. We have seen that magic.

    1. Thank you for commenting jakkanman!

      Great to see that you liked the review! I really tried to make this one more introspective.

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