Cartoon Network has had its fair share of amazing programming throughout the years, but one of the shows that stood out tremendously was Ed, Edd, N Eddy. Created by Danny Antonucci, Ed, Edd, N Eddy focuses on a trio of kids known as “the Eds”: there’s Ed, the brainless but lovable oaf in the group; Edd (or Double D), the smartest and most sensible of the three; and Eddy, the self-appointed leader who comes up with all sorts of crazy ideas. The show is about the Eds’ mini adventures in their cul-de-sac neighborhood, many of which involve them creating get-rich-quick schemes scamming the other kids into paying them quarters so they can buy jawbreakers, their favorite candy. It’s because of these scams and Eddy’s irritable personality that the Eds are ostracized by the other neighborhood kids.
Ed, Edd, N Eddy is not a show that takes itself seriously. The scams themselves are often tacky, and they usually put the Eds in hilarious predicaments as a result of their actions. For example, the Eds built their own version of Seaworld in the episode “Eds’ Sea Ranch”, but the shoddy gates collapsed and the entire cul-de-sac became flooded. They even made their own driving school in “Is There an Ed in the House”; the “cars” were just wagons that Ed would push, but it failed when he had to urgently take care of his sick sister. It should be noted that plenty of these scams ended in failure.
These situations were more comical thanks to the show’s unique animation style. Ed, Edd, N Eddy looks as if it were entirely hand-drawn, and that’s because of the moving squiggly lines around each of the characters. It gives off a feeling of constant motion, something that was prevalent in the black and white cartoons of the 1930’s. These cartoons were a big inspiration to Antonucci, and he borrowed the concept of the over-exaggeration in them to use his own show. There are countless instances where characters did things impossible in the real world (such as Ed carrying an entire tree), odd yet distinguishable features (like each of the characters having multi-colored tongues), and even an entire episode where the Eds break all the laws of physics and completely distort reality. The show feels so unrealistic, and it is done completely on purpose.
Ed, Edd, N Eddy lasted for a couple of years before finally ending with a TV movie in 2009. It marked the end of an era for Cartoon Network, and to this day remains one of the most distinguished shows ever to be released for the network. It certainly didn’t have the quality storytelling of Adventure Time and Steven Universe, but it was a show that purposefully kept going off the rails and made a spectacular landing every time. Not a single person ever thought another animated series would come close to emulating the same kind of energy as this show. They were wrong.
Earlier this year, Japanese anime studio Science Saru released a new series called Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!. It is a TV adaptation of the manga of the same name created by Sumito Ōwara, and it garnered its fair share of Eastern and Western fans during its run. This show is about a girl named Midori Asakusa, who aspires to create her own anime one day. She has a chance encounter with another girl named Tsubame Mizusaki, a rising actress and fellow student who secretly wants to become an animator as well. She teams up with Asakusa and her classmate Sayaka Kanamori, a girl who’s constantly fixated on making money, to create their own film club that doubles as their personal animation studio.
So Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is a show where three girls work together to get their fellow peers to invest in their time in hopes of creating a profit. Sound familiar? The similarities this anime has to Ed, Edd, N Eddy still run deeper than that, starting with the opening. Anime openings tend to be energetic and meaningful depending on what type of anime it is, but this opening is nothing but pure fun. This anime’s opening is full of psychedelic colors and patterns layered on top of one another, and it shows the girls dancing and vibing to the tune of Chelmico’s “Easy Breezy”. Ed, Edd, N Eddy’s opening was arguably the same in essence – it was nothing more than the boys being goofy. Both these shows’ openings gave viewers a taste of what kind of ride they would be going on.
That’s not all, though. Even the girls themselves have a nearly-identical dynamic as the Eds. They are not direct counterparts of the Eds for the most part, but they share plenty of resemblances. Asakusa considers herself the mastermind of the girls, and she’s the shortest like Eddy. She is constantly filled with ideas that keep overflowing out of her head, and she is spontaneous because of it. Mizusaki goes along with her and acts as her right hand girl, much like Ed is to Eddy, although she is nowhere near as dim-witted. Kanamori resembles Ed much more in terms of her physique, but she’s actually the smart one who is forced to keep the girls in check and gets easily annoyed by their antics; she’s the closest the anime has to Double D.
The show is self-aware in terms of its style too. Since this is a show about three girls making anime, there are several instances where they try to re-enact the scenes they want to create. Through Asakusa’s imagination, the trio plunge into a sketchbook-style universe and do the most unrealistic things. They could be launching a rocket into space, piloting a jetpack, fighting a gigantic crab, or plenty of other ridiculous things. It’s in this universe that their imagination comes to life, kind of similar to how in Ed, Edd, N Eddy their imagination literally came to life. The girls would get these ideas by adventuring out in their school and hometown, much like the Eds did in their cul-de-sac neighborhood.
Would you also believe that, just like the Eds, the girls are unpopular among their peers? The Student Council in Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! hates the girls for making their antics disrupt the order of things. This is evident during the club budget meeting they hosted, where the Student Council’s president airs her grievances about the mishandling of their studio. Kanamori is the one who counters back, using her ingenuity to blackmail those who get on her nerves. Eddy would respond similarly to the kids on the block. And where are the adults in all of this? They weren’t present at all in Ed, Edd, N Eddy, but they do appear in Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!. This is only on the rarest of occasions however, and they play an insignificant role too, so they may as well not be present.
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! shares too many uncanny resemblances to Ed, Edd, N Eddy to not point out their comparisons. Sumito Ōwara has not made any comment regarding the series’ inspiration, but it probably wouldn’t surprise anyone if he said Ed, Edd, N Eddy helped him create it. Both follow a trio of kids and their get-rich-quick schemes to achieve something they treasure. They’re also animated comedies that take advantage of the medium to be as unrealistic and silly as possible. Ōwara may have created his series as a sort of love letter to Ed, Edd, N Eddy, an indicator that he may have been a fan of the cartoon. That, or maybe it’s just sheer coincidence.
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is available to stream on Crunchyroll and HBO Max.
(Cover Photo: The Dot and Line & 4gamer)