Shirobako – 20

Shirobako-a room fitting her pay

This certainly is in line with Ema’s animator pay

winter15-highwSo many things in this episode of Shirobako to talk about, and so little space to explore them. So I’m gonna pick a couple, and if I can get to the others (if they continue next week or after), then we’ll go for them later.

Why Did You Get Into Anime?


A meeting where people are happy for once

A discussion about the end of the Third Aerial Girls anime leads to everyone exploring why they make anime, and that becomes a theme throughout the episode. Everyone’s got such different answers about how they got into anime, and some are inspired, like Midori’s “Everyone needs a story”, which she immediately walks back with ‘some people like my parents don’t need a story’, but then goes ahead with how SHE needs a story, and wants to see them, and wants to create them. Others are more ordinary, like Yamada’s doing it to make something to validate his existence, or Madoka’s doing it because he wants to do something next. There’s Erika, who gets a chance to stick the knife into both Iketani and Kinoshita for their work avoidance, and there’s Andou who just loves anime altogether. And then there are the people who are just doing it because that’s what they ended up doing, like Nabe-P, Satou, and, yes, Aoi.

Shirobako-Discussing their work

Talking about different philosophies

But all of this is getting back to why Aria in Third Aerial Girls is going to get back to flying, and they have to come up with the reason. And the one they get is that she wants to support the rest of the girls who have their own hopes and dreams and goals for flying. They finally give us some of those reasons, and as Cathy is falling out of the sky she’s explaining it to Aria, who finally understands that what she wants to do is support people. After seeing Shirobako hint and hint and wheedle and poke Aoi about what her role is and what she’s good at, they finally had to just come out and say it. “AOI, YOU CAN SUPPORT PEOPLE.” I really think it’s kind of funny that they just resorted to that. Let’s see if she finally gets the message.

Shirobako-Will Aoi finally get it

Next time they’re going to get out the big hammer, Aoi. You better figure it out this time, Aria.

Office Toxicity

Shirobako-misogynist jerk

This guy is a complete jerk

There are office shenanigans, there are office fools, and then there are toxic co-workers (or cow-orkers if you’d rather). It’s been building since the start of the second half of the series, but with the shows coming down to crunch time, the crap is hitting the fan. And all of that crap is coming from the direction of Hiraoka. We’ve seen him half-assing his job so far in many ways, while uttering the shibboleth “If it’s fine at the end what does it matter how it gets there?” But now we’re finding out why it matters how you get there. First he ‘tch’s at Midori for actually making a professional relationship with Maitake, and then reads her the misogyny riot act, that she only gots where she is because she makes googly eyes at Maitake (or maybe Murakawa and Watanabe?), and doesn’t appreciate the position that she’s in and the opportunity she’s been given. I wonder if he knows how she came to the attention of Kinoshita and Maitake in the first place, as a faceless, sexless, person providing quality research on first diesel trains and second aircraft. If there’s anyone you can say got their foot in the door with being a cute girl NOT having any bearing on it, it’s Midori.


It takes a lot to push Madoka too far

But things really blow up when Hiraoka starts pestering Madoka about finishing up his key frame checks. This is Madoka, who we haven’t seen with anything less than a smile on his face the entire time, the guy who tries to cheer up Kinoshita, the guy who plays the friendly smiling guy counterbalancing the frequently scowling Yamada. But when Hiraoka shows up, Madoka is harried, frustrated, and in no mood to deal with a condescending jerk like Hiraoka. I think he finally lets out all the things everyone’s been thinking about Hiraoka: The animators (and studios) he’s brought on board are crap, his attitude is crap, he always looks smug and bored, he doesn’t work hard, and ultimately, he’s worthless. My personal opinion is that someone like him is worse than worthless, because people like that actively destroy morale, productivity, and value.

Shirobako-Okitsu is a badass

Okitsu is a total badass

And after Okitsu gets to be the office enforcer (man, I love Okitsu) because Tarou is too slow on the uptake, Murakawa gets to put the real stake through Hiraoka’s heart, pointing out that Hiraoka knows Madoka is right, because if he was completely off-base, it wouldn’t bother him nearly as much. Certainly not enough to get into a shouting and furniture throwing altercation. Can Hiraoka change his mindset? It’s hard to tell if he’s going to be able to, because he’s still trying to justify to himself that the half-assed chicken scratches that his animators are putting together are good enough, and the animation director can just fix what needs to be fixed (a workflow that Aoi specifically rejected in teaching Andou and Satou). It does lead to a nice scene between Ema and Kunogi, discussing that viewers would definitely be able tell if it’s half-assed. Personally, I think that’s probably half true, and half stroking the egos of the viewers. I mean, we can see when things are lame, but I’d bet there are ways to save time and effort that we really don’t see as lay people.

Shirobako-Murakawa with the final blow

Murakawa puts the final stake in


So the plane part of the OP fascinates me. I had that little quiz about what the different planes were a few weeks ago. This time I was looking at the cockpit art on each of the girl’s planes. I’ve figured out that, in order, Misa’s is the penguin from her old boss’s first anime that inspired her to get into CG, Aoi’s is Roro and Mimuji, Shizuka’s is Pickled Plum Piggy, and Midori’s is Fyodor Dostoevsky (really). But I can’t figure out what the girl on the side of Ema’s cockpit is. I don’t think they’ve done any ‘origin’ type stories on Ema, just her struggles in breaking through the wall. Perhaps we’ll get to that in the next four episodes, but until then, I wonder what the character is. Also worth a quick note was the great pun contest that Midori and Maitake had when he was ‘turning her down’ about becoming his student. I don’t know if I could work airplane names into puns like that, but “Sukhoi, Sukhoi!” was just absolutely brilliant. Maybe we’ll get a chance to talk more about that Master / Apprentice relationship (something I think everyone is glad to see happen) another time.


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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9 Responses to “Shirobako – 20”

  1. skylion says:

    I love the overall theme of the episode. They illustrate, to a small degree, the idea that “everyone is a temp in Hell”, until they decide which pitchfork they want. Then they lovingly subvert the “heck” out of that idea.

    So, Folks, Highway and I had a discussion behind the scenes about Ema’s cockpit art. I fell that it is basically a Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service expy. Yeah, I know the art looks different from the official character, but that is what an expy is….

  2. Jamibu says:

    Hope you don’t mind if I join in the discussion. I’ve been reading the Shirobako reviews here for a while and this is my first time to post a response.

    Actually, Ema’s cockpit art was one of the characters from the anime project they did in High School.

    • Highway says:

      Glad to have you posting! I certainly don’t mind, and am glad to hear that you’ve been reading my posts. 🙂

      Ahh, that makes sense in the same relevance as the other images. I didn’t think to go back and look at that.

  3. Bobob101 says:

    I’d much rather work with Tarou then Hirokawa. At least I can hit Tarou.

    • Highway says:

      Tarou you can also laugh at. Hiraoka you really can’t, because he just makes everyone’s life suck.

  4. Kou says:

    “And then there are the people who are just doing it because that’s what they ended up doing, like Nabe-P, Satou, and, yes, Aoi.” I was fairly certain she didn’t just “end up” there. She clearly wanted to work with anime and loves anime. That’s very different than just ending up there by chance. She just didn’t know what specific thing she wanted to do. She only knew it had to involve anime.

    • Highway says:

      You’re right with that, but I think it’s perhaps a little less focused than that. She ended up working in anime because that’s the interest she had, so that’s where she looked for a job. I’d imaging the same thing with Nabe-P. It would be very rare for someone to try for a job just because it was closer to their work like Satou, to the point that she’s more of an outlier than anyone else.

  5. Envyus says:

    Ema pointed out to Kunogi that the average viewer probably would not notice it from what I remember.

    • Highway says:

      Ema is pretty adamant that “there’s no way they wouldn’t notice the difference” (with a double negative) and that she truly feels that the hard work and passion come through on the screen. So Ema is completely agreeing with Kunogi and disagreeing with Hiraoka.

      I looked back through the last few episodes, and while I thought I remembered something earlier where Ema was talking to Kunogi about something similar, I couldn’t find it.

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