Shirobako – 03

Shirobako-Work can make you feel like this

When you’ve pushed someone this far, it’s time to back off a little

spring14-highwThere’s a time for doing it all yourself, and a time for calling in some help.


Work Til You Drop

Shirobako-Showing the newbies

Ema is learning from her senpai as well

That’s what the theme of this episode seemed like it was going to be. With Episode 4’s delivery date approaching fast, and the required redo of the key animation, Aoi’s behind the clock. She may not have her name on the top of the episode as a production assistant, but she’s the one who’s the most familiar with it. Focusing in on Aoi’s episode 4, we see how the big push to get the redrawing done fits in with many other parts of the process. In fact, I thought that the episode gave a great feeling of how time just gets lost when you’re in this kind of push, with things like the Director catching a nap at the office when Madoka comes in and gives him a hard time about sleeping at the office.

Shirobako-You can all go home

The relief when it’s all done

But alongside all of the episode 4 stuff, Aoi is still in charge of episode 9. In fact, Episode 4 is pretty much out of her hands right now, with the redrawing and all just going along at whatever pace it will. The one that’s more work for her right now is episode 9, because she’s the one who has to get all of the cuts set and to their next stop. And while the “A” team is working on the Episode 4 stuff because it’s the big hurry, it’s the normal folks that are working on episode 9 that could be the problems. We met Segawa-san before, and she’s very reliable, but what about the other artists?

Being a Hero or Getting Help

Shirobako-Erika's on top of it

Erika’s got your back

It’s not an either/or equation. What this episode did very well was show how the expectations work, and how experience can tip the scales. Aoi’s new at the job, in what seems to be her first production, but thankfully Erika, sitting next to her, is an industry veteran. So when Aoi doesn’t really see a problem, Erika can use her knowledge to see the problems rolling down the hill, and know which ones are going to fall into the ditch, and which ones are going to make it all the way down and hit them if they’re not taken care of. She even knows that Yoshimoto is likely to email when he’s done, rather than needing a call. And there’s another thing that she’s got the advantage of when helping Aoi: distance. Having that distance where you’re not thinking about everything allows you to focus in on the things that are going to be problems. So Erika can be that extra perspective that Aoi can’t have when everything’s up in the air above her.

Shirobako-Okitsu on top of it

Look who’s calmly on the phone getting things done

Erika can also be the buffer that she needs with Honda, who sometimes loses sight of the idea that Aoi’s on her first production. But what she can’t help with is when Aoi doesn’t tell her what’s going on, and that’s what happens when Aoi’s brain finally fries when she hears the FTP server is down and they can’t get the coloring data for episode 4’s retakes. The rest know about it, but don’t realize what an issue it is until Miyamori’s fugue state gets to that part of the issue. But this is why you have so many people with so much experience working on things… like Okitsu, the General Manager who keeps her head, calls up the other studio, and works out how to get the data as soon as possible. Once again, having that space and perspective, along with that experience is what allows for a solution to be found. She even helps out Miyamori one more time, taking her place for the episode 9 cutting so that Miyamori can be the person who sees episode 4 all the way to the end. When Erika says that you don’t make anime by yourself, Okitsu, whose role in the show has been to tell people about things left in the refrigerator and not to leave the air conditioning on, exemplifies that, coming out of ‘semi-retirement’ to do whatever job is needed.

And the result of all this scrambling? A much better product. The director was even crying during the Arupin cut.

Shirobako-It was worth it



Even when you’re working hard, you can still not have the time or knowledge to get something done. That’s why you work as a team. Even if something is your responsibility, it’s not wrong to use the knowledge and experience of others to get you over a problem. That’s what learning is about, that’s what teamwork is about. You don’t want to do it all the time, but when it’s necessary, other people are generally happy to help (and if you do it all the time, that’s when they aren’t happy to help). PA Works gave us a great look here at someone overwhelmed just by their inexperience, and learning to catch up with the help of others. Aoi has the chance to learn from some very good people in Erika and Honda, even Okitsu, just like Ema gets a chance to learn from Ogasawara. That’s how you get better and more self-sufficient.


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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15 Responses to “Shirobako – 03”

  1. skylion says:

    There have been so few shows which totally immerse you in their atmosphere. Back and forth, this and that. This feels like an extra part of the DVD/BD behind the scenes given live and breathe.

    GJ PA!

    • skylion says:

      Oh and BTW, this is just something that was reported across the net:

      “The official website for P.A. Works’ Shirobako anime has revealed that two of the show’s Blu-ray Disc and DVD releases will include an OVA episode. The first OVA, titled ‘Exodus!’, will ship on February 25 with the third volume, and the second OVA will ship on June 24 with the seventh volume.”

      Oh, this is choice….

      • Highway says:

        It probably won’t be like Kujibiki Unbalance, a show within a show that got its own one cour show, but it’ll be fun to see an episode of Exodus I think.

  2. Di Gi Kazune says:

    This must be Studio Deen at work.

  3. HannoX says:

    I feel I should say something about this episode other than “another great episode about the making of anime and how if you run into trouble at work, ask your sempai for advice and/or help.” But that’s all I can think of. So is there going to be another big crisis for Ep.9? And if there is, has Aoi learned how to manage it better?

    • Highway says:

      I think the show’s got a lot of room for the future. I doubt there will be another huge crisis for Episode 9, but what the show has done is set up another whole road to go down with the other main characters that we haven’t really seen much of. Over the past two episodes, they’ve been working Ema in more, especially this last one in using her to reinforce the “inexperienced person learning from the veterans.” And eventually they’ll get Mi, Ri, and Shizuka in there more than just phone calls saying “We need to get together.”

      So I think there’s lots more plot to do since now Aoi is more in tune with what needs to go on.

      • HannoX says:

        Well, Ep.9 doesn’t need to have a major crisis with the deadline crunch approaching. That would be repeating the Ep.4 crisis. Just the normal problems with Aoi dealing with them now that she has more experience and can prioritize them.

        I’m also looking forward to seeing the other girls appear.

      • HannoX says:

        Spammy again.

  4. bobob101 says:

    Industry veteran who looks like a high schooler…

    I am really enjoying this show, and I love how believable the workplace drama is. I have no problem with the fact every female character is moe, but at the same time it feels a little off. It doesn’t take away from my enjoyment, but it does make it hard for me to immerse my self in the world.

    I heard that this might be a two cour show, has anyone else heard that?

    • Highway says:

      MAL is listing it as 24 episodes.

      To me, moe is really just a way of drawing that’s nice to look at. It doesn’t really connote anything more than that to me. Even a bunch of the male characters are what I’d call moe, like the director and Honda, maybe even Tarou.

      The workplace drama is believable for any office. Really, just about any office is the same, with people dealing with other people, dealing with crises, sometimes making it, sometimes not.

      • skylion says:

        Moe is meant to be a style that engages feelings of protection towards the character. It also carries with it alot of innocent affection and a fair amount of charm. This is why moeblob is a meaninlgess when used as a pejorative.

        • bobob101 says:

          I guess what I’m trying to say then is I don’t want to feel a need to protect these WORKING ADULTS

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