Shirobako – 16

Shirobako-cosplay time

This week on Rozen Maiden 2015…

winter15-highwIt’s my favorite show to write about! I always like writing about PA Works shows, but this one has just been a wonderful show as far as being right there in front of you. Sometimes the depth and layers are great, like in Glasslip, and sometimes it’s nice to have a show just tell you a plain story without emanations and penumbras.

Retake, Retake, Retake

Shirobako-the bad news

Time for another uncomfortable meeting

I liked that they didn’t give us a cold open rehash of the very end of last episode. To me that shows that the show understands everyone’s remembering it, and also they don’t need to waste a minute with already drawn stuff. It’s funny how watching this show makes me think about how everything in anime has a cost, either in straight dollars or, more frequently, in time that they just don’t have. And the time that MusAni doesn’t have now is time to redo the character designs. But they have to because the author has finally gotten over all his problems and written a three-line letter about how he doesn’t like the character designs. Not that it’s very helpful: “They’re kinda not cute like my designs.” “They’re kinda missing something.” “I kinda can’t approve them”. I thought the disagreement between Nabe-P and Kinoshita was an interesting insight, where Kinoshita liked Iguchi’s designs and wanted to use them, and Nabe-P said that because the mangaka didn’t like them, they couldn’t not fix them to his satisfaction. Well, unstated was that they could just go ahead, but that would be very bad for the reputation of their studio (I’ve mentioned Rail Wars before, but it had an issue where the studio decided they didn’t care what the LN author thought about the direction of the show, and it caused a big blowup, which is what could happen here if MusAni ignores the mangaka).

Shirobako-not enough solitude

Iguchi tries to get some solitude, but it doesn’t help

But it’s not that easy to fix them, especially when they’re getting such poor direction and input from the artist. And the things that Kinoshita suggests just end up making it worse, with the side effect that Iguchi starts to lose her way. She’s already spent so much time looking at these characters, and she’s come up with what she thinks is the way that they should be drawn, so of course it’s hard for her to look at it fresh. Combine that with increasingly antagonistic yet unhelpful messages from the author, and it’s not surprising that things are going badly for Iguchi in her first job as character designer. It gets to the point where Ogasawara finally grabs the production team and reads them the riot act, that they’re not doing what they need to do as the production team to get Iguchi the direction that she needs. But what she also needs is a little space, and the “girl’s day out” sequence gets us that, with Ogasawara showing her skills at the batting center. It’s funny that Ogasawara told Iguchi about the park before, but didn’t tell her about her other place for centering. Was it too embarrassing for her? Or is this the advanced relaxation technique?

Shirobako-ready for action

Time to whack some balls


The Submariner

Shirobako-Maybe not the right outfit for that leg kick

That might be the wrong outfit for that leg kick, Ema

Back on Track

Shirobako-not doing their job

Getting help for Iguchi

But what helps Iguchi even more than bats and balls is to hear that the unflappable Goth-loli-sama (and yes, she knows people call her that), has also had her own troubles and tribulations. Her first attempts at character design didn’t go well either, with the reason being that she was too accepting of other people’s criticisms. Therefore, she wears the goth clothes as a type of armor, insulating her from the hurtfulness of the criticisms of her work. And while this isn’t the strategy that I think everyone should adopt, it’s certainly a way to fixate on what is important. If changing your clothing style helps you, then it helps. It won’t be a magic bullet. Nothing is. But doing what it takes to get over those troubles is important. And with that kind of advice, and a little bit of help interpreting the author’s emails, Iguchi is back on track and making progress, finally getting them approved by the author after a little investigative work on the whereabouts of the slacker editor (変な話。。。」).

Shirobako-hen na hanashi

Hen na hanashi….

And while things have been stopped, Aoi has figured out a bit of how to keep things moving while the character design gets fixed up. But she doesn’t want to take Hiraoka’s shortcut advice to just go ahead with the old character designs and have the animation supervisors fix them. She rightly points out that that’s a poor workflow shortcut and that it will result in bad habits for the new PAs, as well as overloading the supervisors later. But that doesn’t mean everything needs to stop, especially the work on the backgrounds and the CG of the airplanes. And this is the time for the Director to be giving pep talks. I do think it’s cute how the director, who is so fragile about his own work and reputation (like Rii-chan giving him a hard time about PuruTen), is able to buck up the rest of the staff when they know things aren’t going well.

Shirobako-Diesel-san pokes

Poke… pokepokepoke


A nice exploration of creative block again, in a way that was different from Ema’s and Kinoshita’s. And I think we see why Hiraoka has been with 4 companies in 5 years, or is it 5 companies in 4 years? Thankfully, Aoi stood her ground both as a mentor and as the Production Desk in making sure that things are done the right way. Erika would be proud. Also, at least this time Nabe-P’s Volvo 200-series would be able to drift, since it’s rear wheel drive, although noone would actually do that (and maybe it couldn’t even break those rear wheels loose with its maybe 200 horsepower.


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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20 Responses to “Shirobako – 16”

  1. skylion says:

    Aoi picked up some shrewd skills. Investing time for later on, knowing that the supervisors work with too many unforseen circumstances as it is, was the best call to make.

    Now, we need that GOTh LOLi BALl TEAm….

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      Suigintou x Shinku

    • Highway says:

      There’s a case to be made for making sure everyone feels the pain, rather than concentrating the pain a few people. Plus, the Animation Supervisors aren’t the people you want to have to fix all the drawings. Can they? Sure. But that’s not a good use of their time and effort to fix every key frame.

      It was great that Aoi stood up to Hiraoka, even if it earned her a “Desk-sama” as a minor rebuke. But he’ll eventually learn you don’t mess with Idepon Miyamori!

  2. bobob101 says:

    Can the next PA works show be an all goth loli baseball show? I think that just might be the best show idea every.

    Aoi is definitely starting to look like an impressive production desker (deskee?) and I look forward to seeing her grow. She is the only girl without a dream job, so she will get more chances to try new things.

    • Highway says:

      The way Aoi deals with people, it’s not surprising that she has never really had a dream or a calling. She’s very good at talking to people of all stations, above and below her, and very good at getting what she needs from them. I’d say that being on the Production Desk is a great job for her, but the worry would be that that position is self-limiting. Even if she did a great job there, is there a position to move up to? They mentioned that there were two production tracks, and we have kind of seen where they both go, I think. One is into Line Production, the spot Nabe-P has, where you are dealing with the higher ups in the production business, getting work for the company, being a liaison. I think the other is into more company management like Okitsu, who is the general manager of the company. To be honest, Aoi would be good in either position, just because she does what needs to be done. But I wonder if she’d run into trouble as Line Production in the industry being a woman (although she’s the kind of woman that would be able to break through barriers like that, I think).

      It’s kind of funny that Ochiai jumped ship from MusAni to take a production desk job at Canaan (which I still think is representing KyoAni), and Aoi ended up as the Production Desk at MusAni. If Ochiai hadn’t left, would he have gotten that job? Or would Honda have not had the impetus to make the jump without seeing Ochiai do it? And I still wonder what Erika was planning, she seemed to hint at something when Honda announced his career switch.

    • HannoX says:

      Yes, we need a goth-loli baseball show. We also need Third Aerial Girls Squad.

  3. HannoX says:

    It does seem that Aoi has found her niche, one she is very good at. Regardless of which production track she takes the experience she’s gaining along with her own talents would suit her for someday becoming president of a studio, although she might come up against a glass ceiling that would preclude that.

  4. HannoX says:

    Spammy again, and it was a fairly short post.

  5. Foshizzel says:

    GoticLOLita basball? FK YA MAKE THAT AN ANIME <3

    • skylion says:

      Should it be actual LOLis, or just the Lolita Fashion. Or a mix? Can we get Yuuki Kaji to play the coach….or is that just too Ru-Kyo-Bu?

      • HannoX says:

        It should be a mix. Some of the girls would be actual lolis while with others it’d just be fashion. Got to have something for the fans who prefer girls with boobs, although there’s no need for more than one very busty girl.

  6. El Goopo says:

    So basically everyone in Shirobako is incompetent or worse except the incredible Gothloli, who seems to be the only person with a brain. So long, suspension of disbelief, we hardly knew ye.

    • Highway says:

      I think that’s not really supported by the show. I don’t know that it’s anyone’s particular ‘competence’ to divine authorial intent from cryptic statements. Personally, I’ve worked with plenty of people whose philosophy seems to be “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t like when I see it.” I think Ogasawara’s input was helpful, but it’s not like she came up with the change for Iguchi. Kinoshita is the one who suggested the direction to go in.

      Perhaps the only thing I’d indict them on is that they didn’t ask Ogasawara sooner about her opinion on the situation. But I think that comes down to Japanese mindset again: it takes a lot to meddle in someone else’s affairs, and it is almost equally hard to ask for someone else’s help with your own failure. And it would also be very hard on Iguchi if they ran to Ogasawara immediately to get it fixed.

      • El Goopo says:

        All I mean is that her insights were basically the first thing that they should have thought of, based on their character’s portrayals as being pretty thoughtful about their workers’ mental states, especially the ones who are the MVPs at the time (Japanese or not).

        It felt to me like the story just wanted her to save the day and look cool, but didn’t know how to have her earn that. So they made everyone else dumber than usual, the author deliberately vague and his editor a dip, and so on. It didn’t feel as convincing as I’m used to from Shirobako.

        Yes, people like that exist, but there’s no need to be overly cartoonish to get that point across. The last ep’s overbearing “meeting” was enough. What’s next, investors will come up twirling their mustaches and cackling maniacally?

  7. Overcooled says:

    I loved Goth loli-sama’s story about how she started donning lolita clothes as armour. Iguchi adopting it for fun (I hope it doesn’t become a serious thing because as you said, that shouldn’t be a magic bullet that works for everyone) was cute too. Just shows how much she looks up to her senpai! =w=

    Seconding everyone’s comments about how a loli baseball anime would be PRETTY NEAT.

    • skylion says:

      Well, GothLOLi Baseball is right behind the actual Flight Girls anime and Exodus. P.A. should have a full plate for some time….

      • HannoX says:

        I’d put them in the order of Flight Girls, Goth-Loli Baseball and Exodus.

  8. dorry says:

    Could I ask for a link about the Rails Wars production disagreement? My Google-fu is weak.
    Referring to: “I’ve mentioned Rail Wars before, but it had an issue where the studio decided they didn’t care what the LN author thought about the direction of the show, and it caused a big blowup,…”

  9. Namaewoinai says:

    and rightfully so…that char-designer Gothic had a very good habit of playing baseball (of softball)…HMPH…some day she may face this guy!

    Now the real question is this…does anyone knows who he is?

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