Shirobako – 02

Shirobako-Arupin is here

A special appearance by Tracy

spring14-highwLast week we got our introduction to the crew at Musashino Animation. And we found out that Tarou is a jackass. So how did it go this week?


Tarou is Still a Jackass

Shirobako-Smack him again

Erika can smack Tarou all she wants

In fact, he might be more of a jackass. He’s not sorry or apologetic at all, it’s actually like he doesn’t even realize that it’s his screwup that have harmed everyone. He’s all happy to take credit for things he didn’t do, and throw anyone else under the bus for things he screws up. He’s so much like people everyone has worked with that he just focuses all your hate by merely being in the scene. Thankfully, the entire rest of the crew (except for maybe the studio chief) realizes that he’s the way he is. Hopefully he’ll get his comeuppance sometime.

Shirobako-Miyamori's standing up for herself

Aoi’s not backing down anymore

But enough about Tarou. Miyamori’s the main character here, and she certainly seems to have learned her lesson from last time about putting your own projects on hold. Thankfully Segawa only has an anime-standard work-induced fever. You know, I’ve never gotten a fever from working hard for two days. I can’t even imagine how weak one would have to be to be to get actually sick from working harder than usual for a couple days. But anyway, Miyamori is going to get episode 4 taken care of, and she has a new hope for completing it in Endou, found as usual on the stairs smoking. This is pretty much the revenge of episode 3, when Segawa was able to finish the key animation, but he agrees to do it. I do like Miyamori’s bringing up that both of them said the same thing: “I don’t think [the other person] likes the way I do things.” That might be true, but the amount of respect that each has for the other, even if they don’t agree, seems pretty high.

Shirobako-Ema waves to Aoi

Ema’s not much help to Aoi right now

The Pressure Mounts

Shirobako-Kinoshita's 'vision'

It sounds better in his head

I hope it’s not the best part of the show, since there’s still a lot left, but we had a really good finish up for this show. After first getting a look into the recording of dialogue (with Ai Kayano, Shizuka Itou, and Mai Nakahara basically playing themselves, in addition to the other characters they play in the show), we get to the meat of the issue, which is that the Director has an image of Arupin in his head that isn’t matching what’s coming out in the show. The problem is that 1) it’s really late in the process to be changing things, and 2) even if they could, Kinoshita isn’t particularly good at describing what she should be like. And on top of that, we finally learn what the worry is over Kinoshita’s past anime: he kept wanting to change things and ended up making it all delayed, causing a complete wreck in episode nine of Purun Purun Tengoku which was apparently all creepy backgrounds and jiggly boobs. And now he’s in danger of doing the same thing to Exodus.

Shirobako-Yamada watching the show go down the tubes

Yamada’s watching his episode go down the tubes

And then we get to the most awesome part of this episode. After the gripping argument between Director Kinoshita and and Director of Episode 4, Yamada, Miyamori (after having to deflect Watanabe’s question about what to do, that’s just a leeeeeetle bit – as in a lot – over her pay grade) suggests having a meeting that night to further determine what to do with the characters. And then follows 8 minutes of brilliance: a meeting. And no, I’m not being facetious. I said in the FI that I thought PA Works was putting their heart into this one, and showing the passion of their work, and that’s what this was: the passion of the people in the meeting working to bring a character to life, working out differences, inspiring each other, and getting on the same page. And yes, this is the start of a lot of hard work to try to drag the show back on schedule, but it’s the kind of thing that will define a show: If they make it, and make the character be that much more true to herself, the audience will respond. And if they don’t, and the show ends up a mess, it will likely break them.

Shirobako-Meeting time

A tense meeting


We’ve all seen those shows that have been killed by not meeting the deadline (hello Wizard Barristers!). And one of my favorite shows, Girls und Panzer, didn’t meet its schedule, and had to make the choice to delay the last two episodes by months until they could find another time to schedule their airing. But that was definitely the right choice, because those last two episodes were tremendous, cementing the show’s place as an all-time great. But seeing this kind of insight into the decisions that are made and how they happen was really interesting, and PA Works presentation here was, in a word, riveting. Meetings are usually boring, but this was terrific. They brought out the passion and inspiration that inspires and draws people to such artistic pursuits and brought the viewers into their world.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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10 Responses to “Shirobako – 02”

  1. HannoX says:

    Funny you should mention GuP, Highway. Last week I finished watching it for the third time. And I agree with you about the last two episodes–two of the greatest action/sports episodes in anime history.

    As for Shirobako #2, it was another good episode giving the viewers an idea of what goes into the making of an anime and the passion that drives the people in that industry. I find it a little hard to believe, though, that director Kinoshita has difficulty explaining just what his vision for Arupin is. After all, having a vision for a show and its characters and getting it across is a director’s job. I suppose charitably we can assume he’s just gotten the feeling her character isn’t quite right and he hasn’t had time to work out what she should be and thus the meeting to hash it all out.

    Despite his trouble getting his idea for Arupin across and the mess he made of a previous anime he must have at one time directed a great anime or you’d think no one in the industry would let him direct an entire anime again. Unless they were really desperate and since this is the first time Musashino Animation has taken the lead on an anime in years you get the feeling they must be one of the smaller studios in the industry, one that has mostly gotten work farmed out from bigger studios. And thus their drive to get Exodus right so they can get the lead role on more anime.

    • Highway says:

      There are some directors who get chances even if they messed stuff up. We don’t know how much of the previous failure was put on Kinoshita, and there are some directors who are just terrible anyway (Michael Bay) but keep getting more work.

      It may be the director’s job to communicate his vision, but that doesn’t mean that he’s good at it. He may have thought it was clear, and Yamada may have thought it was clear, and they just weren’t on the same page. That happens all the time. And I get the feeling that Kinoshita is kind of like Tarou, in that he is willing to let things get out of hand rather than admit to something that would rock the boat.

    • Highway says:

      And I could talk all day about how great Girls und Panzer is. 🙂 And not just the last two episodes.

  2. bobob101 says:

    I’m so glad that Shirobako takes place in the “real” world as opposed to a club room. Are these events dramatized? OF COURSE! But the show is still fairly insightful, and as a fan of the behind the scenes stuff, I am really enjoying this show. Plus, PA works is a studio that can keep quality animation going through the whole show, and this doesn’t seem like a script that can really shit the bed (Glasslip).

    • Highway says:

      Hey, them’s fighting words. Glasslip was terrific.

      I am glad that the setting here is an actual production studio, rather than a high school club as well. Interestingly, it allows for more room for failure, because with a high school club show, you know they’re going to succeed (usually). But here, it’s entirely possible that there is a total bust in the show, and they have to scramble and not make it, especially with episode 4 needing all new key frames.

      • bobob101 says:

        Production wise, Glasslip was PA works bringing their A game the whole way through. But the story for me felt like one writer was trying to shake things up, while another said “We need to have these clear pairings, and we cannot deviate.” It was Sachi in the end that made me finally stop enjoying the show. When she confessed to Hiro and Touka I just lost my faith.

  3. skylion says:

    skylion directs:

    Ok, I know where we went wrong! All the character’s should have been LOLis from the start! We need KuguRie in her pronto…get Kana Asumi in as well. Make it happen!

    I wonder if I have a future in the director’s chair? Well, it’s hard enough for me to sort out and lead the voices in my own head when writing fiction. I don’t think I could be that guy.

    • Foshizzel says:

      You would totally do that wouldn’t you? LOL

      If I had to choose five for my dream team of actors would probably be…

      1 Rina Satou
      2 Kanae Itou
      3 Hisako Kanemoto
      4 Kana Asumi
      5 Rie Kugimiya

      Funny how all of them are in GF Beta lolol

  4. Foshizzel says:

    It is certainly amazing to see how a slight change in a facial expression leads into a total redesign of the character well an attempt at a redesign! I think a few series in the past suffered from that as well I just can’t remember! It certainly shows how much pull the director actually has I mean he is one of more important people working on the project.

    Was it a bit over the top? Yeah a bit and it was funny how that director had issues explaining his ideas to the rest of the team, but I suppose that was the excuse to get Aoi Miyamori more involved which is fine by me! I can see where things are going for that character by seeing first hand how much work it takes to make an anime series she will pull from these experiences and apply them to her studio.

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