Shirobako – 09

Shirobako-Not the kind of help you need

Aoi’s trying to get more help

spring14-highwSometimes people with dreams get them derailed… or run over by a tire.



Shirobako-Cars cars and cars

Sharing stories about working on cars

I had thought that Misa (more commonly known as Mii-chan in the show) had been working for an animation studio doing CG work. Well, it’s kinda been animation, and it’s been with a studio, but it turns out that the work she’s been doing is modeling car parts, specifically wheels and tires. Now I like racing games, and when they’re nice and realistic, they’re generally more fun. So I can’t really complain about the work they’re doing. And the company, Super Media Creations, apparently has a really good reputation in the field… of automobile modeling. Enough to keep them working on cars for the next 3 years given their current contracts. The company president is understandably proud of this, because it means he can keep his company going, and pay everyone, and more work is good.

Shirobako-Helpful advice

Talking to the company president can be helpful

Unfortunately, that’s not gonna leave any space for doing something more interesting. And while it’s not as soul-killing as Kaori-nee-chan’s work at the credit union in the country, it’s still sucking the life out of Misa’s hopes. Is she gaining experience? Yes. She’s even getting accolades from her superiors, who recognize that her workflow has improved, her quality has improved, and she’s doing well. But for Misa, that’s not what she wants to do. And when you do have a dream of doing something specific, getting pigeonholed into something else is probably not going to satisfy you. Putting “your soul into every single tire and screw” is going to leave very little for what you wanted to put it into. But I have to give the SMC president a lot of credit here. He asks what Misa would like to do, and instead of blindly trying to convince her that she should just accept the steady job, just accept having work, he encourages her to sit down and try to come up with a way to do what she wants to do. Just like we’ve seen good mentorship in the MusAni group, this is more good mentorship.

Shirobako-Watching it fly away

Will they have to wave goodbye to that dream?


Shirobako-Shizuka gets into it

A little too energetic

Shizuka finally gets a little work, getting to be an extra in a long running sports show Ace of Tennis. Oh wait, wrong mashup, it’s Prince of Baseball. She’s just a background extra, tho, and her attempt to put a little more feeling in it gets her noticed, and maybe not in a good way, and wearing her shoes in the wrong room doesn’t really make a great impression either. But sometimes standing out, even the wrong way, can be a stepping stone to other things. Maybe because she didn’t blend in, she’ll get remembered for next time. And they’re working on getting new work for Musashino Animation, for after Exodus!, and trying to leverage having Director Kinoshita in-house to convince the creator of The Third Aerial Girls Squad (Strike Witches?) to let them make it. And while his reputation for PuruTen is still haunting him, Kinoshita is definitely getting credit for Exodus!, although it’ll probably take quite a while to make PuruTen be an anomaly, rather than his latest effort. It’s also really the first time we get to see the higher ups at MusAni in action, Kazushiro, the second in charge, and Watanabe, the line producer.

Shirobako-Trying to get more work

Trying to pick up more work

Speaking of Director Kinoshita, he’s still struggling with the storyboards for the last episode, and it’s just not getting there. But what’s the source of his hangup with it? It turns out that he’s just not feeling the scenario that they’ve plotted out for the ending. He’s been trying to keep within it, but it’s just not working, and part of the reason is that there’s no plausible way out for Tracy. Really, if they drive off an aircraft carrier, how are they going to survive? So he wants to change it, and since he’s not really getting anywhere, Honda doesn’t really argue too much about changing it.

Shirobako-Kinoshita gets into it.

Kinoshita is getting into it

But it turns out that taking a fresh look at what’s happening at the end of the series is what Kinoshita needed to do. In talking with Maitake, the scenario writer, Kinoshita’s muse hits him and he comes up with a whole new scenario that sounds exciting and more true to his vision. Sure it kinda gets crazy with a cowboy and 100 horses, but at least Maitake reins him in a little on the ‘sprouting wings and sonic engines’ part. And Aoi, having dropped in to bring them tea hears the whole thing. While it’s inspiring, it doesn’t take long for her amazement to wear off and realize that she’s gotta get 100 horses animated…


Can I say “another good episode” in the conclusion every week? Well, I could, but I probably shouldn’t. This had another expansion of the theme of Dreams, and this time it’s Mii-chan who’s starting to fight for hers. Although I liked the touch they threw in where she gets a little lost admiring the wheels of the Prius in the parking lot. That was a really authentic touch, because even if you’re working on something you didn’t think you’d be working on, it does start to interest you. Like me, for example, I notice riprap on the side of the road. If you asked me what riprap was the day before I started working, I wouldn’t have had any idea. But now seeing it is something that interests me, because it’s something I deal with frequently.


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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14 Responses to “Shirobako – 09”

  1. skylion says:

    I love how this show dovetailed one bit or creative angst to the next.

    But, really, I want Scenario Writer’s keyboard and monitor rig. WTH was that?

    • HannoX says:

      I’ve seen tablets that can plug into a keyboard like that.

    • Highway says:

      I am sure you would be disappointed with it. A keyboard with no feel and cramped layout, perhaps even a monochrome LCD screen. There are multiple reasons that the concept of netbooks died, but the fact is that they are inferior in almost every way to the options we have now.

      • skylion says:

        Well, I want the portability. But you are right that it looks way underspec…or sumpin…

        But I did love my netbook in it’s time. I came here from my netbook, running Ubuntu no less. I mean, I had to wait for someone to make fansub avi’s to watch any anime back in 2011, but it was still a treat.

  2. HannoX says:

    The whole episode was good, but the part I liked best was with Misa. Yes, she’s getting experience at CD modeling, but it’s looking like wheels and tires is all she’s going to be doing for the foreseeable future. And that is understandably depressing. It’s not what she wants to do and doing essentially the same thing over and over isn’t going to stimulate her artistic soul.

    Then the company president appears and puts their work in perspective. Their work is providing good paying jobs for a number of people and he has a responsibility to his employees to keep getting them work and this is the work they get since they have a good reputation for their car modeling.

    A very good balance here between the two perspectives. The work they’re doing isn’t stimulating after a while, yet it’s providing a good living for a number of people and their families.

    Once again Shirobako does a good job of showing what the animation industry entails. People in it may often feel they’re stuck in an artistic dead end like Misa feels she’s trapped in, but there are also times when the muse strikes and your creative juices start flowing as happens with Kinoshita when he reimagines the ending for Exodus.

    • Highway says:

      Something I might touch on in the future if the show presents the opportunity again is the idea that maybe you should not try to have the things you love as the work you do. I know there’s a romantic idea of “Do what you love”, but there are so many obstacles and pitfalls that it’s not always good advice.

      I enjoy my work, but only for the minimum time I have to do it. I work to allow me to do other things, even ‘other things’ is sitting and talking with skylion and you guys.

      To return that to your comment, I don’t think we should minimize the satisfaction that the other people at SMC might be getting from their work. They learn new things: new software, new work processes, maybe even an appreciation for how cars (which are almost miracles of modern design and technology) are put together and operate. We even see Misa with that perspective. People find ways to motivate themselves, to derive satisfaction. Most people are fairly happy with their jobs, even if there are things they’d like to change.

      • HannoX says:

        I would think the solution to Misa’s “problem” would be to keep her job, but in her free time talk with the other girls about their anime and start working on it. Sure, it’d take years to get it done that way, but all of them need more experience in their fields. They’re years away from anyone trusting them with helming an entire anime anyway. I don’t know how it works in the anime industry, but they could put together a brief anime to pitch their show and as proof they could handle doing a series.

    • skylion says:

      My daily bread is earned on a split. I am a waiter, and a freelance writer. I really enjoy doing both. I’m a natural introvert, and the waitering kind lets me get out of that shell and deal with folk in real time.

      But my passion is writing. If I don’t write something, anything, on a given day, I feel lost…

  3. belatkuro says:

    I’ve always wanted to know how they record those background voices in any anime. Now I want to see how they record those minor characters like Student A, Announcer B and Grandma C that get just one line an episode.

    And with that ending, I’m sure anyone would ask for a second season. I know I would.

  4. Bobob101 says:

    My guess based on the shows pacing is that when Exodus ends, they will finish introducing everyone. That is what really interests me, because I don’t see the show going into as much detail with the supporting cast as the main five girls. But whatever they do do, I want to see it.

    • skylion says:

      I would love to see them do something with Exodus..and OVA, a show within a show….give us the product, it would round the story out…

  5. Namaewoinai says:

    Sure being a Director is really a mind numbing work! thankfully he listen to their crew opinion to do a slightly easy one!

    and did they mention about…Horses?!

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