Shirobako – 22


Don’t ask what they were talking about…

winter15-highwProgress, Progress, Progress, and then someone’s gotta screw it all up.

Moving Right Along

Shirobako-Vote of Confidence

Iguchi’s vote of confidence

Production is moving at a good clip, and they’re delivering episode 5 two weeks before air date! I would imagine that’s a really good lead time, especially since they were held up for that month with the character designs. That means they have made up quite a bit of that, although I’d imagine that there’s a bit of backloading on the show, given that the last episode is so important, and at 450 cuts, very involved.

Shirobako-Sugie compliment

Sugie gives Ema more good advice

But that 450 cuts is a lot, especially when they ask Iguchi, to be the Animation Supervisor for the final episode, in addition to the general animation supervisor. This gives her a chance to pull Ema in as an assistant to do the cuts that Iguchi and Ogasawara can’t get to. I really liked Iguchi’s enthusiasm in asking Ema to do it, it really gives something between a ‘Third Musketeer’ and a ‘prized student’ feel to the relationship that Ema has with Iguchi and Ogasawara. But Ema’s just not that confident, and we’ve seen that before, especially with her troubles with the cat and her key frames during Exodus. It takes a lot of convincing, with the final touch from Sugie, who once again gives her that push in the back to answer when asked, rather than waiting until you think you’re ready (when the opportunity might not come). I also liked how much Iguchi talked up Ema’s work, saying she’s really improved in the year since Exodus.

Up or Down?

Shirobako-Doumoto and Shinkawa

Enjoying the lull before the rush

The show had an interesting back and forth, interspersing scenes of Shinkawa (Color coordinator) and Doumoto (In-between check) talking about how things are going at Musani with Tarou and Hiraoka talking about their futures. For the people working in the middle of the chain like Shinkawa and Doumoto, they have a never-ending parade of work thrust upon them. I can imagine that it’s really hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel when work comes in the inbox as fast as you can put it in the outbox, and at the same time you have the folks in production trying to slide their rush job ahead of other stuff. They make a good point that there’s probably not enough coordination between Production Assistants, and a little bit too much “my episode is the IMPORTANT episode”. On top of that, their little dinner at the Oden cart might be the last time they have any opportunity to get together until the end of Third Aerial Girls.

Shirobako-Cuddle Buddies

Tarou makes his move…

But meanwhile, Tarou and Hiraoka aren’t talking about things as ordinary as work. They’re talking big dreams, goals, and future plans. They’re shooting for the moon, although Tarou’s goal is completely out of his reach, and Hiraoka’s almost completely given up on his. We learn that, as I thought, Hiraoka had his earnestness beaten out of him at what he knows was a crappy place to work. “Get it done, doesn’t matter how, if someone else holds it up it’s your fault, keep taking the blame”. I really get the feeling that Hiraoka realizes how different Musani is, but still has a hard time breaking out of his unhappiness. It sounds kinda wrong, but I think that Tarou might be the best thing that could happen to Hiraoka, that kind of unbreakable spirit, even coming from a total idiot. But as I have said before, even Tarou gets things done. He’s the butt of jokes at Musani, but anywhere else and he’d be better than most. That’s a good place to work, where the worst person is still actually competent.

Odds and Ends – More one-shots


Aoi convinces Segawa

I always like the scenes with Segawa, because I think they bring a character that’s relate-able but has that different perspective as an ‘outsider’. I liked the interplay this time between a frustrated enough to refuse Segawa and a desperate to prove herself Aoi. Aoi promises that she will take responsibility for the production going smoothly, with checks in place to make sure that Hiraoka’s slacking doesn’t affect Segawa’s work, and better vetting of key animators. Segawa has filled a very nice role as a more senior artist, especially for Aoi. A lot of the time, you need that voice from the ‘other side’, a role Segawa fills here, someone with unimpeachable credibility who can explain something that you don’t get from your own side. Filling Aoi in on what it means to the animators, especially the animation supervisors, to have their name on the show. It’s a much more direct connection, because people will look at the images and say “This animation was good / bad, that comes down to the supervisor whose name is on it.”



We had another bout of Key Animation vs 3D this time, but it was much more in the spirit of collaboration, and proves another point that was implied, but not really gone into in the Exodus kerfluffle about 3DCG. Misa needs help working on the scene with the baby boar, and this is almost a perfect example of cross-discipline cooperation. Ema, who has been encouraged by Sugie before to not hold back on teaching others, because it helps you understand your own work better, shows her that the principles of Key Animation can be applied to the 3D sequence to give it a better feel. Of course, Kunogi also gets something out of this, eavesdropping on Ema’s course on style. She gets more than she bargained for, too, getting upset at Misa being close with Ema. I wonder if there’s a bit of a crush going on there.

Shirobako-Kunogi trying

Kinda awkward…

Kunogi also spreads her own wings, finally coming to the cutting meeting solo, without Ema as her interpreter. But others aren’t doing so well, as Shizuka is starting to get a little bit disillusioned with having no success, and especially at seeing other young seiyuu with their bland answers to questions on TV and vapid complaints about being so busy. But that doesn’t even compare to the hell that is now visited on Musani, as Katsuragi (that guy has the worst job) finally hears from Chazawa and it’s not good: The mangaka has rejected all of the storyboards from the final episode… which they just recorded the voices for.

Shirobako-Worst job

This guy can’t catch a break


What a dick. I can understand that the mangaka has his own vision for what’s going on with his characters and his story. But you lose sympathy for him when you see how little input he’s given, how he doesn’t work at all with Musani, and now just rejects the last episode out of hand. You wonder if he even bothered to look at the script / scenario that they sent, or if Chazawa said just go ahead with it. Anyway, with the schedule so compressed already, I’m sure they’ll be scrambling again to get that last episode finished. And who knows what it will do to Kinoshita to have the storyboards he was so proud of finishing, and finishing quickly, completely rejected. This might be a little bit too much drama for the show, but we’ll see how they pull it off.


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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19 Responses to “Shirobako – 22”

  1. Cytrus says:

    We have little reason to believe the original artist has a better working relationship with Chazawa than Musani does, so he might well be yet another victim here. It’s just we’ve yet to hear his part of the story.

    • Highway says:

      He could. I’ll admit my personal outlook is not particularly forgiving to prima donna artists, and that’s the impressions that I think we’ve been given of sensei here. His vague complaints about the character design, his lack of responsiveness, his late issues with things that could have been decided a while back. Perhaps it’s giving Chazawa too much credit, but I don’t think he’s *that* feckless that he is just sitting on things and not even sending them along to sensei, or at least doing so for no reason. I can see a scenario where Chazawa isn’t sending things along immediately because he knows his working relationship with sensei, and perhaps there are reasons to not bother him. But I would imagine that there has been quite a lot more contact than we’ve seen. And I certainly don’t think that it’s likely that sensei has been trying to be involved and been stonewalled by Chazawa.

      tl;dr – I will concede the possibility that the real problem is Chazawa, but I doubt it’s the likely answer.

      • HannoX says:

        I have to agree that sensei is the major problem, but I think Chazawa has to bear some of the blame. He’s the contact guy with sensei so part of his job is to push sensei when he isn’t giving any feedback. If sensei blows up in his face, well, that’ part of the job, too. I think Chazawa has some Tarou and Hiraoka in him. He’s slacking off on his job and feels as long as it gets done in the end, what does it matter? He doesn’t seem to care at all for the problems this is causing MusAni.

        • Highway says:

          But is it his job? What exactly is Chazawa’s job? If he’s the editor for Third Aerial Girls for Yotaka Books, then his first responsibility is to Yotaka Books. If the anime fails, then while that’s a bit of pain for them, it’s not nearly the pain that having the mangaka of a popular series get burned out is.

          Could Chazawa do more? Probably. Is it in his or sensei’s best interest for him to push more? That’s a much less cut-and-dried answer, given that we don’t know much about sensei.

          • HannoX says:

            But if the mangaka and Yotaka Books get a reputation of being difficult or impossible to deal with, that could make it harder to get an anime deal later or they’ll have to settle for less favorable terms for the mangaka and Yotaka. It’s in everybody’s interest to cooperate. So yes, Chazawa’s first responsibility is to Yotaka but that means it’s also his job to make sure the mangaka doesn’t burn bridges to the other companies that Yotaka may have to work with in the future. “Oh, you don’t want to work with them! They let their mangakas make unreasonable demands at the last minute which means you’ll waste a lot of time and money on something that has to be junked.”

        • Joojoobees says:

          Regardless, I would just contact them and say, “Funny story, we already received your permission to go ahead via the attached email. We’ll be airing the episode as it was produced.”

          If the original artist isn’t being kept in the loop, this should be a wake up call to him.

          • Highway says:

            I think that in the actual world, this is probably exactly what happens, maybe not even with the attached email. Just “It’s cute you don’t like it. Maybe you’ll like it better when you watch it on TV.”

            It might actually be interesting if MusAni ends up going that route, to show that sometimes you just don’t work things out with the creator. There’s not really enough time to show the fallout, tho. And that’s not the way they’ve been operating, so I doubt they’d do that now.

            To be honest, I’m not a big fan of this development anyway. It’s just messing with these guys to mess with them.

            • HannoX says:

              It is rather piling it on MusAni now, but I suppose there have been instances in the industry where someone with the power (whether an insanely possessive mangaka with veto power or one of the companies in the production committee) refused to sign off on the last episode as done by the anime company. But I’d rather it wasn’t going this way. Seems like an unnecessary bit of drama.

  2. bobob101 says:

    I really loved the male bonding of Tarou and Hiraoka. Honestly, those two should be best buds. They have the personalities of any great buddy cop duo.

    I really hope Shizuka can get out of her funk. I know there are only two episodes left, and she isn’t involved in the production of Aerial girls at all (obviously I’m aware she is the only girl not involved) but it would be a shame if she was the girl who gave up on her dream. Get this lady some doughnuts STAT!

    • Highway says:

      I agree that Tarou and Daisuke could end up being the kind of friends that are a lot closer than they act. And that a friend like Tarou is just what Daisuke needs in the business.

      One thing I’ve found interesting in the series is the amount of autonomy that there seems to be at each level. I think on balance it’s a good thing, but it feels a bit odd to my western sensibilities. Sometimes that gets into trouble, and that’s where one of Tarou’s biggest issues is, that he’s afraid to escalate a problem to the people who can help him. But as I’ve said before, if Tarou is the worst your company has, you should be glad.

      I don’t know what the show can do with Shizuka in the last two episodes. It almost feels like she might be the sacrificial main character at this point, especially with Ema turning that corner and deciding that she can ‘keep eating’ while being an animator. Of course, a big key to that is being more than just a Key Animator, which she’s taken the next step towards.

  3. belatkuro says:

    Being Zuka is suffering. That seiyuu on TV was the same one that was in episode 4 who auditioned with her. Now it just feels like she’ll be shoehorned in the production now that the last episode storyboards got rejected just when they finished recording it. There will probably need one more seiyuu for the last episode which she’ll be selected for. That just feels rushed for her.

    • HannoX says:

      I also have the feeling that Zuka will get a voice role due to the fact that the episode has to be redone. But that’s not really rushing her character arc. We’ve seen her go on auditions and get nothing or just one voice in a crowd scene and she got serious consideration for one of the main girls in Third Arial Girls. So her getting a role that will presumably be credited in the ED of an episode should be the next step for her.

      • Highway says:

        What role could they even bring in for her? I just don’t see ‘Zuka working with MusAni on this project. She had her chance, and what new character are they going to bring in in the last episode? If we’re looking for a happy ending for Shizuka, I think it’s much more likely she’ll pass an audition for a new show coming up.

        • HannoX says:

          Wasn’t the problem MusAni was having with the final episode that they didn’t know what the mangaka had planned next, so they had to come up with it on their own? If he intends to continue Third Arial Girls he might plan on introducing a new character in the chapter he’s working on now and wants her to appear in the last episode of the anime. Which would also act as a setup for another season.

          Not saying this is what’s going to happen, only that it could happen. But Zuka passing the audition for another show is more realistic then her working on 3AG this late.

    • HannoX says:


  4. skylion says:

    I do wonder if PA Works is trying to fix us with gentle “Take That” to the mangaka of the business. Most of their productions have been original works, and they might be saying why with this particular arc…

    • HannoX says:

      I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense. I imagine anyone that’s spent any time in animation has been frustrated by mangaka at least part of the time.

    • Cytrus says:

      A lot of the time, the production committee of an anime adaptation doesn’t give a shit about what the original author might think and only accept suggestions when they feel like it.

      Here we have a successful author and a studio which was probably close to croaking at one point, which might explain the power balance.

      • Highway says:

        Yes, the relationship was fairly clearly spelled out when MusAni was trying to be the studio to do Third Aerial Girls. And even though Exodus! was considered a success, MusAni just doesn’t have the pull to blow off the mangaka, especially because they probably need to keep as good a relationship with Yotaka Books as they can for the future.

        Plus there is something positive to be said from getting buy-in from all the stakeholders. If MusAni’s adaptation isn’t received well, it can hurt the brand. Part of the point of getting your manga adapted into an anime is to broaden its reach and increase it’s readership. If the anime is not good, or too divergent from the manga, then that will backfire and you can even turn off people who read the manga before.

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