Shirobako – 21


Hooray! It’s Shirobako!

winter15-highwThe limited number of episodes left for Shirobako is something that I just don’t want to think about very much. I’m just gonna shut my ears and close my eyes and be in total denial about how many there are.

Getting Back on Track

Shirobako-Smiling Yano

Iketani learns you don’t cross this smile

The return of Erika has definitely paid dividends, as she’s kept Iketani on the job “with a smile”, and gotten him ahead on episode 11. It seems like Iketani is a kindred spirit to Kinoshita, although we never saw Kinoshita try to come up with such creative (and ultimately futile) ways to skive off. But the real lesson is never try to cross Erika Yano. Too bad they can’t get her to put the pressure on Kinoshita as the storyboards for episode 13 have to be done, and as usual they’re pretty behind. But apart from a constant pressure like that, there aren’t any current crises that need to be managed, the way they had in the previous few episodes.

Shirobako-Talking with Isokawa

Once again, Aoi can learn a lot from others in the field

Satou has definitely learned how to deal with Tarou, tho, and it’s funny (as usual) seeing her rebuff his attempts at ‘helping’ or even at getting in the way. Satou’s really a fun character in this second half of the show, seeing someone who hasn’t ever had that love for anime, perhaps the only person in the entire show who is like that, but wants to work hard because that’s what’s expected and what gets the job done. But someone who has a different start in anime was Hiraoka, who we saw having trouble with both Midori a couple episodes ago and with Madoka last week. We get a little more into Hiraoka’s background as we meet someone from another animation company doing episode 10 of Third Aerial Girls, Hisamitsu Isokawa from A.C. Tsuchinoko. But he lets everyone in to the knowledge that he went to school not only with Hiraoka but also Erika, in between trying to poach every single MusAni employee he can (so that they can work for him for free).

Blaming The Creators

Shirobako-Hiraoka angry

Hiraoka blows up

Aoi’s later conversation with Isokawa sheds more light onto the crappy attitude that Hiraoka has, that he was the most serious and diligent guy at their technical school, but it seems that he hasn’t made the transition to the way things go in actual production very well. After Aoi gets complaints from Segawa about the quality of Hiraoka’s work and providers (him not delivering cuts on time is directly his fault), Aoi takes him in for a discussion about it, asking him to, actually, just do his job as it’s described. His retort that “if you try to do this job properly, you won’t last” seems like as much self-justification for doing a crappy job as it is an actual response to how the job gets done. He seems to feel like the blame always comes to Production, even though it’s the creators that end up taking too much time. It was really great that Aoi stayed completely calm in her meeting with Hiraoka, even as he blew up at her, not even getting flustered or upset even when he said that the only reason she’s the Production Desk is because there wasn’t anyone else to do it. While that might be true from one perspective, it’s also not true in that there are plenty of other people they could have looked for to do it (they did just lose Ochiai to Canaan for that same reason). Nabe-P knew what he was doing when he made Aoi the Desk, and I think that his thoughts in that direction have been justified.

Shirobako-Segawa again

“I think he’s worse than Tarou… but don’t give me Tarou!”

But Isokawa isn’t convinced that Hiraoka’s completely angry with the creators, because he’s still working in the business. Isokawa seems to be giving voice to almost all of Aoi’s feelings that we’ve seen her exhibit, with regards to both how you get into making anime and how you feel about the people making anime. Even with regards to making a schedule and keeping the quality high. I think this reinforcement to her, plus her discussion about Hiraoka with Erika, who thinks that if he gets fired from MusAni he’ll probably give up on anime production altogether, gets Aoi to try to reform Hiraoka a bit, running interference for him with Segawa and trying to help coordinate with Tarou.

Odds and Ends

Shirobako-Helping Misa out

Smile, you’re on Misa’s Coaster Camera

Something I should have done a long time ago with this show is add a section about this, because the show does so well with small vignettes about little bits of anime production and even just life that don’t really make it into the post otherwise. This time there were a couple. First up was Misa asking Shizuka and Ema to help her ‘research’ her scene with the baby boar flying with Aria. They all hung in there really well, and even more it shows that Misa’s really moving up that she was asked to do that part of the show. This is exactly what she has wanted to do, more so than making tires for cars or airplanes, she’s actually being a creator of anime now.


Look familiar?

Another nice side event was the scene of everyone watching the first episode airing of Third Aerial Girls. Blocked almost exactly the same as the scene in the first episode, it even has the same people talking about the same things, of course with some changes like Andou, Satou and Midori. But Shimoyanagi is still talking to Doumoto about places she used to work, Iguchi is still talking about bikes to Ogasawara, Madoka is still wondering about starting a hashtag, and Kinoshita is still nervous. And of course Murakawa is still making curry for everyone. It was definitely a nice callback even to the lead-in commercial of “A Certain Shrine’s Pumpkin” after “A Certain Temple’s Mummy”.

Shirobako-An uncomfortable place

‘Zuka keeps a low profile

The last little scene was also fairly important, but I’m not sure what direction it’s pushing in, yet. Somehow Nabe-P ends up drinking with Inami and Takekura from The Born studio, and mentions that their Desk is doing a really good job, and that she failed her interview with The Born. How he remembers that, and how Takekura remembers her after that is almost completely beyond me (although it was less than 2 years ago), but it makes for a fun scene when she’s called to the bar to talk to them (which seems like Nabe-P showing her off). But the more important thing is that when Aoi goes to mention that Shizuka, serving them, is a seiyuu, Shizuka stops her. Is that giving up? Is it just not wanting to make that kind of impression? The same in worked really well for Midori, but that was mostly on her previous work. Perhaps Shizuka isn’t looking for that kind of imposition.


This turned into a long post, but so much happens in these episodes that it’s tough to fit it all in. I’m still trying not to think about how few there are left, so let’s just continue blissfully to next week! Everything’s going well with Third Aerial Girls, and the first episode aired and seemed to be well-received, so we’ll see how it holds up, or if they come up with some crisis for the last few episodes. It also doesn’t seem like we’ll get to see Shizuka triumph, but maybe she’ll have a chance in these last few shows.


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 – 21”

  1. skylion says:

    I honestly think that Shizuka doesn’t want to impose, and wants to make it “on her own” without exploiting connections. If that is the case, it’s silly. Make connections, exploit them. It doesn’t mean your a bad player. Heck, connections want to be exploited. “Hey we found a good VA working as a waitress at an Izakaya of all places”.

    I wonder if Nabe-P is feeling himself something of a real life shogi master, moving his pawn to a higher position, putting a competitor in check.

    • Highway says:

      Well, there may be a cultural issue there as well about not making it the ‘right’ way. I know that it should be up to the people involved, but it may look bad for her overall in the industry, just like it would look bad for the studio if the auditions were found to be an ‘inside job’ as we saw a few episodes ago. But maybe it was a little bit of putting herself out there, especially for Nabe-P, since she obviously indicated her connection to Aoi, but then demurred on further notice. She could have suppressed addressing Aoi as ‘Oi-chan’ if she didn’t want to be noticed at all.

      I’m not quite sure what Nabe-P is thinking, and it seems like he wasn’t either, with both drinking with the guys from The Born and inviting Aoi along. I’m sure that inviting Aoi after the fact is showing off, and once again puts the lie to Hiraoka’s charge that she only got the Desk because there wasn’t any other choice. Now, I’m sure that if Honda hadn’t quit, Aoi wouldn’t have been the Desk for Third Aerial Girls, but it was coming sometime.

  2. bobob101 says:

    I would definitely say Shirobako is my favorite show airing this season, followed by Tokyo Ghoul. That’s why Thursday is my favorite day of the week.

    Highway, do you plan to right about the special, which is an episode taking place in the Exodus world? I personally ended up thinking the show was better as a joke than a thing to watch, kinda like that Unbalance anime that came from Genshiken.

    • Highway says:

      I watched that first episode of Exodus! yesterday, and found that I liked it as a show a lot more than I liked it as a show within a show. Meaning the reality of the show was better than the idea that it was a show that MusAni was making. I found that I liked the setup of a 2nd fiddle idol group that ends up as pawns in someone else’s game for their enjoyment. I would still prefer a Third Aerial Girls anime, but would certainly watch an Exodus! anime.

  3. Hanno X says:

    I’m not surprised that Hiraoka is someone who had an idealistic view of the anime industry only to be embittered by the reality. People are often embittered when their dreams are shattered by life. Perhaps he’s a warning to otaku watching the show not to idealize the industry and think it’d be a great place to work. It can be, being part of creating something is a wonderful feeling when it turns out well, but it’s still a job with a daily grind and the potential for others to cause problems for you. But that’s still no excuse for his attitude and sloppy work. He’s acting just like the industry people who left him disillusioned.

    The fact that he’s a cat lover is a plus in his favor.

    • Highway says:

      It may be what he pins the blame on, but the problem is all Hiraoka. I actually got more of the impression that it wasn’t really “the reality” of making anime that had gotten to him, it was actually the responsibility, in that he continually fails to realize that the job he took includes, in part, being the person whose head is exposed when things go badly. His complaint that Production gets all the blame seems to indicate that he feels the creators can take all the time they want, blow up the schedules, and then wave ‘quality!’ around like it’s a get out of jail free card. What that indicates to me is that he got overly bent out of shape the first time something went wrong, and adjusted way too far the wrong way, learning the awful habits that we see he has now. You mention that it’s a job where others could cause problems for you, but I think that production is actually a job where it is *expected* that you deal with problems. It is the thing and the whole of the thing. Basically, managing the people and the process is the job, and if you don’t realize or learn that, you will have a mismatch that ends up making you unhappy.

      And it’s a cautionary example to the main characters in the show, who we have also seen struggle with the same ‘quality vs schedule’ dilemma. We’ve seen Ema dip her toe into that toxic pool, get called out by Segawa, and then pull back to a point where her work is satisfactory. We’ve seen Aoi presented with that same thing in teaching Andou and Satou the process, and a little bit with her own work on Exodus. And now we see when you go too far the ‘wrong’ way, with how Hiraoka is going.

      • HannoX says:

        He may have gone into the industry knowing it was the job of the production desk to fix the problems. Then found out just how many problems there could be and how the desk always got the blame and not the talent. And on top of that be told, “We need the talent, but you can always be replaced.”

        That would embitter a lot of people, including someone who thought he knew what he was getting into only to find out just how harsh the reality could be. However, that’s still no excuse for his attitude and what he’s doing. By lining up half-assed talent he’s causing problems for Aoi, probably the same kind of problems that broke his spirit.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    @Highway: Anime news: Nagi no Asukara/A Lull in the Sea Gets English Dub

    • Highway says:

      That might be of interest to fosh, but, sorry, for me it’s not really something I am interested in. I never watch or like dubs.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Hmm… strange. I mentioned that since I know you were the one who blogged that series.

        • Highway says:

          That’s what I figured, but I thought it was pretty well known that I don’t ever watch dubs. Like I said, fosh does, and we have some other readers who will be interested, too.

          But that promo… ugh. Just that amount of dub is way too much.

          • BlackBriar says:

            If it was known then I’m one of the few who didn’t know you didn’t like dubs.

            Though a dub coming out now is quicker than I thought. Nagi no Asukara was a Fall 2013 anime.

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