Shirobako – 18


“What the hell is this crap?!?!?”

winter15-highwFlakes! I’m surrounded by flakes! For me, that means that it’s snowing here (come on, more snow!), but for Aoi, that means that some of her best laid plans are blowing up.

Send In The Ace

Shirobako-Take Off!

Aoi gets a big job

This time we got a glimpse into the start of voice recording for Third Aerial Girls, and it really seems like Watanabe is almost openly praising Aoi to others now, which could be considered fairly bold and a show of a lot of respect for the job she’s doing. This gets her a nickname from the sound producer Inanami, who now just calls her ‘Ace’ (after Watanabe referred to her as that, something I’m sure he never said about Honda), but I think it’s safe to say that Inanami is a fairly loose guy anyway, working in sandals and shorts. He’s also got a bit of a reputation as a rough guy to work for, but he’s trying to be the “nicest Sound Producer” this year. And he actually gets to show that off when he helps the show’s star, Kyouko, work through her jitters and trying to hard with her first (and only) role. Kyouko was obviously a little too forced throughout, and ended up having to stay pretty late so that they could work out how to get her to calm down. But Inanami comes up with a way to get her to show herself what they want, which is a much better way to learn than just having people tell you, especially directions like ‘be more natural’.

Shirobako-Inanami works it out

Inanami comes up with a solution

And I liked that Aoi wasn’t the one to solve the problem here, which is something I think is worth pointing out: there have been many times in this show where Aoi isn’t the one who solves the issue. There have been quite a few where she has, or at least has gotten the ball rolling, but the show hasn’t always been the “Miyamori Saves The Day” show. We have had Ogasawara help Iguchi, we’ve had Iguchi help out Ema, we’ve had Sugie help out the whole studio, and while we get a lot of Aoi fixing problems, spreading it around helps to keep it from feeling like everyone’s just waiting for her to fix things. Of course, there are some things that she just needs to fix, like the shamozzle at the end of the episode where Studio Taitanic is failing, Ookura is missing, and tons of other things are going off the rails, but even then, we get the return of a Very Special Character who will presumably help out.

Things Are Going Great… Until They’re Not

Shirobako-Convincing Ookura

First he says he’ll do it

Shirobako-painted in a corner

And then he can’t get out of it

Aoi’s having some other great successes, like getting the famed, and temperamental, Ookura to agree to do the background for the ruins that was talked about last time. But she wasn’t quite expecting that kind of guy, the kind of guy who is lamenting his current prospects in what he feels is a world that’s passed him by. In another of the “CG vs Drawings” conflicts, Ookura is a casualty, or at least thinks he is, and would rather be mad about it than do something. He’s the president of his company, but never goes in, and has quite the free spirit, drinking or not. But when he pulls the “I said I’d do it, but I’m not going to do it” he thinks he’s won, until Musani President Murakawa’s secret plan, so secret that he didn’t even tell Aoi it was a plan, goes into effect. I think it also helped that they had no problems with his paper and ink condition, and to leave his background unmolested (hear that George Lucas?). I did like how Aoi didn’t take his ‘no’ for an answer, and kept pressing on as if he was going to be taking it. That’s how you bulldoze people, with a smile.


Aoi just doesn’t let up

Speaking of bulldozing people, Aoi’s excellent at it with Kinoshita, who she needs to review the Episode 5 cuts as soon as possible, after Studio Taitanic finally released them. But the quick review shows a big problem: they’re crap. As in total crap. Yamada even says they didn’t do the most minimum amount of work to check them. Characters in the wrong outfits, poses changing between frames when they’re not supposed to, and even the wrong character in the scene. It seems that they follow Hiraoka’s credo of “What does it matter if it’s right in the end?” But that only holds up if it’s right at the end. And doing it wrong all the way through leaves a lot of work for the people responsible for cleaning up the mess. On top of that, the worthless episode director that Taitanic brought on to do it bails after getting mildly reamed out by Kinoshita, and even talking back to the director. Is Kinoshita being too ambitious? Some amount of ambitious is good, and you wouldn’t think that experienced folks like Nabe-P, Yamada, Madoka, and the rest of the staff at Musani would be so on board with Kinoshita if they thought he was being unreasonable with the production’s goals. It’s pretty obvious by the episode director’s answers that he didn’t look at them, and is using Kinoshita’s politeness and past against him to cover for the episode director’s inattentive, or even negligent, work. Maybe the best thing that could have happened in the long run is for a guy like that to up and quit. But it does put Aoi in a bind as she needs to find someone else to do it.

Shirobako-Meeting the same end as the ship

Uh oh, they’re going down like their namesake


As usual, a great show to watch. The things that go wrong you know are things that they’ll get past, whether Aoi fixes them or someone else does. Personally, I’m kind of hoping for the return of Segawa as the episode director for episode 5, although it’s a little different for her from being an animation supervisor. But a return we’re going to see is Erika coming back from her hiatus with her dad. I wonder how she’ll slot in since they might have all the episodes split up already. Or maybe she was scheduled for one, and the others have been covering it for now. Either way, the more important thing for Aoi is having that wall to bounce ideas off of and even lean against when the going gets rough. And a final note, the second ED song, Platinum Jet, has really grown on me, and I finally realize what genre of music I think it is: Disco. I love when anime use disco songs, or even as character songs, although my favorite isn’t Platinum Disco like I guess most people would think. The most disco OP I think I’ve heard is Sphere’s Now Loading… Sky! From Asobi ni Iku yo and is a ton of fun.


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 – 18”

  1. skylion says:

    Is Ookura tsundere, or just drunk and gruff?

    • Highway says:

      I think it’s just general attention-seeking. He seems to be a guy who feels like the world he was in has passed him by, and is trying to hold on to any attention he gets. So he plays a little hard to get, and eventually just turns down offers out of maybe a feeling of self-loathing (“Why would you want an old washed-up guy like me to do that?”) and a general “I don’t wanna!” attitude.

    • Bobob101 says:

      I think it is fun to compare Ookura to Sugie. Both are old timers feeling left behind by the industry, both are getting a new chance thanks to Aoi. But Sugie is also being looked at like a mentor for the next generation, while Ookura works alone at his craft. It’s like comparing Hideaki Anno to Mamoro Oshi

      • Highway says:

        I think it’s important to remember that Sugie was on a path to oblivion, because unlike Ookura, noone at MusAni realized what his talents were. You would have thought that Ogasawara at least would have realized it, but the fact was that noone thought of him (they only thought that ‘he doesn’t do moe’). It took ‘Kanno’ to point out who it was. He’d even done Aoi’s favorite anime, and she didn’t know it.

  2. bobob101 says:

    My favorite scene was actually right towards the end when all the other assistants where coming to Aoi with their own issues. What did Aoi do? She gave them instructions on how to fix all the little issues before she started worrying about the big stuff. Like…. A…. Boss

    • Highway says:

      That’s because Roro gives good advice. Never mind that all the advice Roro has comes from inside Aoi herself. 🙂

  3. HannoX says:

    While Ookura seems to have gone missing I suspect that’s just his way of working. That final shot of him looking at the scenery and getting ready to draw may be his getting the background against which he’ll set the ruins. I don’t recall anything said about the ruins having to be of a cityscape, so they could be of a town in a rural setting. That could make for a dramatic setting, the peaceful nature background contrasting with the ruins of a town destroyed by violence.

    Erika’s return came at such a key moment when Aoi’s desperately looking for a new director for Episode Five that I think either she’ll get the job or she’ll take someone else’s job so that person can direct Five. Either one will require quite a bit of juggling work assignments around, but that’s what you sometimes have to do when things get tight and you need to do whatever you have to in order to avoid a disaster.

    • skylion says:

      OMG he was either drawing the school from the soon to be probably dilapidated Non Non Biyori, or the now haunted Higurashi!

    • Highway says:

      I dunno, that’s a huge leap. Neither Aoi nor Erika would be considered in line to be an episode director as a career path coming from a Production Assistant, that’s why Aoi was so shocked at Mimura’s suggestion that he could do it for Taitanic. What I think Erika brings for Aoi is, as I said, that wall for her to count on: Solid, reflective, someone to lean on. And perhaps she brings some more names for possible Episode Director.

      Yeah, Ookura’s just doing his job his way. It may not be the way anyone wants him to do it, but I’m sure that what he’ll come back with is excellent, and exactly what they’re looking for.

      • HannoX says:

        I did say Erika might get a job that frees someone else up to be episode director. Or as you suggest she might have names for a possible director. The fact that she walked in just as Aoi was about to have a screaming panic attack (some exaggeration there) shouts that one way or another she’s going to be key to getting a new director, whoever it is.

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