242nd G-View: SHIROBAKO

Anime about making is nothing new but the fact they exist is much appreciated. The ones I have seen are short though, such as Animation Runner Kuromi. This is the first lengthy one I have seen covering this subject. Is it any good? Let us find out as we take a look at SHIROBAKO.

Shirobako Cover

Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life

Themes: Animation Industry, Coming of Age (Kinda)

Number of episodes: 24 + 2 Specials

G-Rating: 9/10

Plot Summary: A “shirobako” refers to the white box into which a finalized tape of a film is put, full of the effort of everyone who worked on it. Five girls have their eyes set on getting in a white box as they try to find success in the anime industry through writing, production, and voice acting.

Donuts, go nuts

I was excited for Shirobako. Besides it promoting a female group as the main protagonists (though they kinda are despite Oi being the clear cut main character). I did not expect the show to go as deep as it did but it is two cour so I should not have been surprised. Shirobako is best described as a believable, dramatized in-depth look at the world of animation, basically an anime about making anime that includes events that are realistic and events that are obviously dramatized to spice things up in a good way. It is also cool that some of the characters, studios and shows referenced are based on actual people in the industry. So it is not just an anime about cute girls making anime though they are part of it.

The Musani staff

The show can be split in two kinds of stories. The first one is an in-depth look at how the animation industry works. The show goes in great detail on how much time and effort is dedicated to make one anime alone at a time. I can only imagine how much harder it is working on two shows at the same time. Subjects covered include seiyuu casting meetings, storyboards, event planning, evaluations, racing, the 2D vs CG debate, pros and cons of classic and modern animations and much more. Very few stones are left unturned. In fact so much information is given that at times it was hard to keep up with it all.

  The mascots

Luckily these two mascots who both serve as Oi’s consciences, with the polar bear being her superego and the goth chibi her id, and guides for the audience that simplify what is happening when they are around.

Donut Gang

The second part is the character driven one. If the anime only focused on the animation part it would have been decent. However, it also goes over as many employees of the Musashino (Musani) Animation company and its affiliates as it can, some getting more development than others. So it is another anime with a large cast and it works here because the show makes clear who needs development and how much. The characters who do not need much development do not get it.

Now on to the character development. The characters range from pre/post college graduates to senior employees meaning it has a lot of ground to cover. For some reason this show hit me on a personal level and I could easily relate with our five leads and even some of the employees. See I too (during the time of this writing) have been through college and had a taste of a working environment. I know what it is like working with groups of people in both the young adult and middle aged demographics. During college periods and in workplaces there WILL be times one has to work together with people they do not get along with and the hardships of keeping up with teammates doing one’s best not to fall behind. One character in particular was negatively changed because of this. I appreciated how they captured that part of the work environment without exaggerating (more on the exaggeration later). Something else that felt close to home was one of the leading ladies’ arcs.

Shizuka's audition

This girl her, Shizuka. Her arc showed audiences both how difficult it is to get a job as a seiyuu and how difficult it can be for a college graduate to get a job…period. It all depends on what the the student studied for and how many openings there are. Unless the person has connections or is naturally gifted…yeaaah. Good luck.

Other brief character arcs to mention are one that involves using one’s talents to their advantage and also one that focuses on discovering, acknowledging and improving these talents. In a bizarre way this show game me an insight into adulthood while still being able to maintain my youthfulness and be proud of it.

As for my fav characters:

Aoi and Ema swimsuit

Swimsuit episode not included.

Fav ladies of the Donut Gang are team captain Aoi, Oi to her friends, and Ema-chan. Besides her love for donuts Oi’s appeal comes from her leadership skills, her simple “What do I want to do in the future?” character arc and her being one of the blessed few anime characters with the gift of “1000 facial expressions”.

Second fav DG member is Ema. Shy girl with potential who needs encouragement and believing in herself to go forward. Cliche to some but people would not believe how many humans exist in this world with low self-esteem. Oh and she also has an iconic 48 second scene.

Goth-loli-sama

Fav side characters are Goth-Loli-Sama (goth girls rule) and a certain sidekick of Ema’s.

Of course this means there may be some characters some viewers may not like. It is par with the course…except one character who is a douche on purpose…funny story indeed.

sonic-engine-wing-horses

Now I mentioned dramatized in my description of SHIROBAKO. These exaggerations are meant to both intensify the seriousness of certain situations and add the aforementioned spice to the show. The above image is not a great example but there are definitely some wacky and epic moments. One that comes to mind involves a certain built up mangaka. I will leave it at that. The zaniness was most appreciated. Goth-loli-sama for Pete’s sake. However, in a way she is not an entirely dramatized character.

The animation quality…I have been reviewing anime for over 6 years and to this day the animation quality portion of my reviews are usually the weakest. By now I made it clear that if the animation is satisfactory I will take it. SHIROBAKO’s is satisfactory. The girls are cute and sexy, there guys are cool and the show is pretty to look at even though a lot of it takes place in an office building in the middle of suburbia. Viewers who dislike the quality, nothing I can do about it. While the both the first and second set of OP/ED songs and the soundtrack are all good there is only one song worthy of being this anime theme.

As for yuri…I must applaud P.A. Works for accomplishing what I thought had become a lost art for them…making an anime without a shoved in romantic subplot. Yes there are ships (especially yuri ships. Oh yes there are yuri ships) but as far as romance goes…WHO THE HELL WOULD HAVE THE TIME TO WORRY ABOUT THAT STUFF IN THIS KIND OF ENVIRONMENT!? BONUS POINTS FOR THAT!

Overall SHIROBAKO surpassed my expectations. I got an anime about making anime and so much more. Having said that I have no idea who to recommend this show to. It is one of those shows that either clicks with the viewer or it does not.

PS: The below link leads to a special editorial that would have made a great Part 2 for this review, written by King Kai. Check it out.

https://deluscar.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/shirobako-a-realistic-anime-about-anime/

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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28 Responses to 242nd G-View: SHIROBAKO

  1. cirno9fan says:

    I guess I’ll get around to it during the lull between seasons.

    Like

  2. Anon says:

    I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Shirobako. It doesn’t look like much at first glance, but the subject matter was interesting (obviously) and the characters were likeable. Or at least the ones who were supposed to be likeable, were. The dramatized parts work surprisingly well. The delivery scene in the last episode is a great example (…seriously, a car chase!)
    I’m grateful for the lack of a romantic subplot, too. The show focused on friendships and work relationships instead, which were a lot more interesting than a workplace romance would have been. Plus, there’s nothing keeping us from using our yuri goggles, with so many pairings to choose from. Do you have any favorites?

    Apparently it was initially supposed to have 50 or so episodes… I wouldn’t be opposed to a second season, but I also wouldn’t mind if things stopped here; we’ve seen enough of the main girls’ path to know that they’ll be all right.

    Your review reminded me that I should rewatch Animation Runner Kuromi for a more old-school take on the subject.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Ah yes but we should not have been surprised considering who was the driver. That is one badass supervisor type person.
      EXACTLY! Romance subplot would have been a drag.

      Ema X Ai obviously.

      Unless one of the anime chosen were to be about the 7 gods then yes this was a good conclusion.

      Shouldn’t take long. It’s only 2 episodes.

      Like

      • yurimylove says:

        yeah that reminded me of a fun comment someone posted at the CR forum, “To be a General Manager, you must be calm, organised, able to throw sharp objects accurately to diffuse a heated argument between colleagues, and drive fast enough to earn a nickname from the police. Easy.”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. automaticimperfection says:

    :v It sounds pretty good!!! I will make sure to watch soon!! I guess I’d like it

    Like

  4. Fipse says:

    AoixErika OTP!

    But really, i am just amazed as you are that we did not get a generic romantic subplot. It would have been so easy pushing one of the guys onto Aoi but nope, it is character driven without romance. I must applaud the studio for this decision.

    Like

  5. Dimdom says:

    I enjoyed Shirobako.

    The show not get a generic romantic and told how the process of making anime plus in Shirobako, they were making anime with subtext vibes (Exodus & 3rd Aerial Girls Squad).

    Like

  6. fantasygirlkanna says:

    Shirobako was great. I somehow miss it already 😛

    I enjoyed watching everyone be at their wits end and still end up accomplishing their objective. And like you, I had trouble keeping up with all the information given in the show too, even though Aoi’s consciences were there to guide the audience. But it was still good 🙂

    Shizuka Sakaki and Misa Toudou…I can somehow relate to them both. Especially to Misa, during the first few episodes when she did nothing but tires.

    Aoi’s badass driving was awesome, I missed it when they made her production desk from being an assistant. But they made up for it at the last episode via Yuka Okitsu. I wish they showed more of her. I like Ogasawara too, a gothic loli genius! 😀

    “WHO THE HELL WOULD HAVE THE TIME TO WORRY ABOUT THAT STUFF IN THIS KIND OF ENVIRONMENT!?” < lol at this XD But it’s true.

    And I ship Ema x Aoi! 😛 Though there’s Erika x Aoi that looks good too. Especially at the end of episode18 where Aoi’s all stressed out and out of ideas, Erika suddenly arrived to aid the damsel in distress. Giving her chocolate and a scented candle, as if she knew Aoi wasn’t doing well at that time and knew exactly what she needs (then again they could be just coincidence). But despite Erika being Aoi’s brief savior at the end of ep.18 and beginning of ep.19, I will still go for Ema x Aoi! 😛

    I really enjoyed this show, it simple and yet entertaining. I don’t mind another season if ever 🙂

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Misa’s story was an interesting one covering people who have well paying jobs but want to accomplish more in life.

      Goth lolis rule!

      Ema x Aoi eh? I can see why you’d pick that pairing.

      24 eps is fine but more would be welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Shirobako is a good anime to explain the blood and crying of Japanese anime makers.

    Like

  8. Hanneman says:

    This show is awesome! A really good approach on the anime making part, and made me think about all the anime i have watched, and how the production must’ve been.

    I personally ship Aoi x Erika and Ema x Kunogi. Seemed the most obvious ones, i guess i was wrong.

    Your review detailed everything i thought about this show. Great job!

    Like

  9. Oh man you got me hyped for this show. I gotta watch it eventually. Thanks for the awesome review.

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on haveyouexperiencedshitsurakuen and commented:

    This show looks excellent. I really can’t wait to watch it.

    Like

  11. Kai says:

    Best anime man, best anime.

    What I like best about this show is that it’s giving interesting information on the anime industry, but with a story and very interesting characters. By the end of the show, there definitely will be at least one or two characters in the show one could feel sympathetic with. Shirobako also blended in with just the right amount of wackiness (those Initial D scenes, and that Director’s cowboy scene) by not ruining the show’s realism, yet making it more fun in the process.

    “As for yuri…I must applaud P.A. Works for accomplishing what I thought had become a lost art for them…making an anime without a shoved in romantic subplot. Yes there are ships but as far as romance goes…WHO THE HELL WOULD HAVE THE TIME TO WORRY ABOUT THAT STUFF IN THIS KIND OF ENVIRONMENT!? BONUS POINTS FOR THAT!”

    Indeed, I’m actually surprised you didn’t post this in your other blog xD

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Great show it was.

      Exactly. The dramatized moments added some more to the fun factor of an already enjoyable show. Cowboy scene…best “heading to a meeting” scene ever!

      I did debate that. I initially planned to post this review on both sites because I want as many people as possible to watch this show so I posted it here since it’s the more popular site of the two. The other reason is that despite there not being any romantic subplots there are still noteworthy yuri ships like Ema X Ai (or Aoi), Aoi X Erika and Goth-Loli-Sama and the megane so it was good enough to get a spot under Grade 5 of the yuri anime list.
      Maybe I should add that fact to the review.

      Like

  12. Pingback: Shirobako: A (Realistic) Anime about Anime | deluscar

  13. yurimylove says:

    Excellent review! The donut gang are all lovable. My favorite side character, edging ahead of goth loli sama slightly, is Erika Yano. A cute girl who feeds candy to another cute girl — so easy to ship! XD

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Erika Yano’s the cool babe who has experienced so much of the animation industry that she’s aware of most, if not all the tricks of the trade. That explains why she’s usually in control.
      EriOi!

      Like

  14. Pingback: 298th G-View: New Game! | The Yuri Nation

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