Shirobako – 23

Shirobako - Got it

Ride ’em Cowboy

winter15-highwSurprises galore in this episode of Shirobako.


Shirobako - Trying to convince

So let me get this out of the way first (as I usually do when I have to eat crow). Chazawa has been the roadblock all the time, and while Third Aerial Girls Nogame-sensei ends up being a bit gunshy about the anime production, he hasn’t been the one who has been recalcitrant in the relationship. I thought it was the other way around, and that turns out to have been wrong. But how we got there is a funny story…

I thought this episode did a really good job portraying, yes, another meeting. Not the one in the middle between Kinoshita and Nogame, but the one in the beginning with Nabe-P and Katsuragi arguing as forcefully as they dare about proceeding the way that they’ve been going with the scenario they have. What pulls them up short is the invocation of the “Voice of God” by Chazawa. While some commenters mentioned last week that there are studios that pretty much ignore the wishes of the creator (perhaps most of them), it’s obvious that MusAni is not going to do that, and I wonder if that’s another commentary by PA Works about how it should be in an ideal world of anime production.

Shirobako - The culprit is revealed

Someone becomes persona non-grata

And of course, at odds is the decision made by MusAni to have Aria fly in the finale, when she hasn’t gotten back in the cockpit in the original story. I think it’s easy to see where Kinoshita and the rest of the anime production team is coming from here, because having a supporting character die and the end of the series be “She’s dead and I can’t do anything about it” is really the suck. Complete downer ending, and while it would be ok if it was a midseries (13 of 25) or split-cour ending, at the end of a single cour, it’s basically going to kill any hope the anime series has of selling, or being popular enough to get that second series to continue it even if Nogame continues the series.

Once Bitten…

Shirobako - From apart

From apart…

Hiraoka actually gives a good reason why Nogame has been a bit problematic about this show. His previous series, Sailor Suits and F3s, was a terrible adaptation, where the production made wholesale changes to the story, characters, and outfits, and left everyone hating the series due to its unfaithful nature and shoddy quality. It was actually something worse than PuruTen, it seems, but leaves the impression that there’s a once bitten, twice shy attitude. But there’s a breakthrough when a visiting Honda points out Nogame’s email address, and Kinoshita contacts him directly (for the first time). That sets up the big action point of the episode: not the meeting between Kinoshita and Nogame, but Kinoshita getting to the meeting. Fighting through the editorial staff with help from his producers… and his belly, Kinoshita finally gets to meet with…

Shirobako - to together

To together

An entirely reasonable Nogame. Far from being the recalcitrant recluse that has been the roadblock to their production, Nogame is just someone whose story is intensely personal, and while Kinoshita has one vision of Third Aerial Girls meaning, to Nogame it is slightly different. But when Kinoshita is able to understand Nogame’s feelings about the story, the two are able to work out a hopeful ending, with Kinoshita leading Nogame to a story he’s comfortable with, much like Maitake did at the end of Exodus for Kinoshita. And through that work, Nogame becomes much more comfortable with Kinoshita personally, and even hopeful that someone understands his vision for the story. The person who isn’t understood, however, is Chazawa, who turns out to have been the one who was stopping communication, and not even asking Nogame to meet with MusAni. Was it because of Kinoshita’s PuruTen history? Or because he couldn’t be bothered? Either way, it looks to spell the end for Chazawa as Nogame’s editor (I also don’t really believe Chazawa’s boss that he didn’t know anything about the rope-a-dope that Chazawa was running, and was just saving face to his own boss).

Shirobako - Aoi's still shocked


And the final piece of our big story comes together as they need a new character for Aria’s discovery of her reason to fly. Personally, I find the reason they came up with a bit derpy, but Nogame and Kinoshita like it. But Aria’s visit to Catherine’s home inspires her through Catherine’s younger sister, Lucy. And being Catherine’s younger sister, they need someone who is like Catherine, but younger, to voice Lucy. It makes it plausible to everyone who’s paid attention to the show, but it’s a surprise to Aoi, who wasn’t in any of the VA meetings or auditions, when Shizuka gets a call, and comes to the recording. Aoi’s reaction moves from stunned to sobbing as Shizuka not only reads the key emotional scene in the show, but also finally gets her chance.

Shirobako - can't hide her tears

Aoi tries to hide her crying face, but is caught by Shizuka


Aoi’s reaction scene was terrific from her stunned open-mouthed stare when she first heard Shizuka to her slight nod in response to Shizuka’s silent acknowledgement of her, and you could really feel the surprise, relief, and happiness from her even as she’s trying to cry silently behind her production book. It feels like everyone’s all done with Third Aerial Girls, but as Andou and Satou both point out to Kinoshita, it’s nowhere near over. But the main goal of the series has now been met: Everyone from the anime club has now worked together on a major anime (especially with Midori getting one of her lines in the show). Will they ever get the chance to do their own show? You’d have to say probably not, but at this moment, that’s not what’s on their minds.


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 – 23”

  1. skylion says:

    Wasn’t it just so apropos for Zuka to do her VA over the unfinished animatic…All of her potential filled that rough movement, giving it a life it didn’t have by itself…

    “I wanna be a cowboy….”

  2. Joojoobees says:

    I think they could get together and do a show. They already have good coverage of key roles. They love what they do, and there have been historical examples of anime production companies coming together when key personnel met at a former employer’s and they decided to break out and do the show they always wanted to create.

    This has been a great show from the start, so I was happy they worked Shizuoka’s role in so well.

    • skylion says:

      I kinda wanna play the worn down Highway is a Heartless Monster Card on this. But he’s right. It would be a rare bird to fly to have them all match up their time with the needs of the industry.

    • Highway says:

      Them getting together to do a show would be a tough ask, I think. Basically, Aoi would need about 20 years to have enough pull to be the producer, Midori would need 5-10 years to be in a position to do the script, and by that time Ema would possibly be an episode director or something, but not likely a series director (I just don’t see her going that route). But the problem is that as the others get closer to having that kind of pull, Shizuka likely gets past her prime and wouldn’t be able to wrangle a starring role. Now it’s possible that she could, but not very likely.

      So the whole thing is ‘possible’ but not anytime soon, and that hurts the possibility of the whole thing.

      • HannoX says:

        I have to agree that the girls helming their own production with Zuka voicing the main character would be 10-20 years down the road, maybe more. But in the meantime two or more of them, heck maybe even all five now and then, could work on the same project. And Zuka may not be past her prime to voice the main character in 20 years. They did say she sounded too young for one of the main 5 girls in Third Arial Girls so a more mature voice may be just what she needs. And the series doesn’t have to be set in high school. It could have a university setting or a work setting just like Shirobako has.

        • Highway says:

          Given that all of them have gotten that ‘in’ at places affiliated with or at MusAni itself, it’s likely that they would all work together more. The series certainly seemed to like Midori, even though some of what they gave her was low value work to keep her productive. If they have you doing something that ‘usually isn’t done anymore’, that means they’re making some work for you. But of more value to Midori is her connection to Maitake, which seems like it could be the kind of thing that would bear a lot of fruit going forward. And if the company that Misa works for does a good job, MusAni will go back to them for more work.

  3. belatkuro says:

    And that’s how Zuka gets a role for the show. They were building it all up that all of them would get to work on 3rd Aerial Girls but I feel like it was a tad too late. Even more that it was a very minor role in the show, albeit a major presence plot-wise for Aria. We could have had Zuka voice in another show first and then she gets picked to voice here instead of seeing her drink cheap beer last episode and complaining about that newbie seiyuu.

    Funny Story Editor probably has something against PuruTen since he keeps mentioning it when talking to Kinoshita. Either way, good riddance for him now that the secret is out. They should have complained already to the top bosses before when the character designs were rejected. They could have saved a lot of time in the production.

    • Highway says:

      The top bosses were there trying to prevent Kinoshita from seeing Nogame. I think the blond guy was the chief of Yotaka Books. I think they were supporting Chazawa who they thought was supporting Nogame (and he was, in a misguided way). I agree that Kinoshita’s history with PuruTen was not helping him with Chazawa, but you’d think that you get this far along that the guy would give you some credibility.

      I agree that the plot twist to get Zuka in the production felt a bit tacked on. But I don’t know if the minor part is that big of a problem. The main ding against Zuka in the original debate was that she was uncredited, and they didn’t know if she could handle it. Now she’s gotten a credited speaking part, and it’s an important scene. It’s definitely something to be proud of. Like you say, tho, it would have been a little better if she’d gotten some other bit part so she wasn’t scraping the bottom of the barrel, and *then* brought in for this one.

  4. HannoX says:

    I rarely correctly predict where a show will go, so please forgive me for tooting my own horn a bit here. I was right when I said that the rewrite for the last episode of Third Arial Girls would introduce a new character voiced by Zuka. And I was sort of right that the new character would setup a second season. In this case the setup is that Aria has found her reason to keep flying and so there can be a second season if 3AG is popular enough, and it probably would be.

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