Shirobako

What a great job making games or anime or movies is… I think a lot of us would agree if our hobby became our profession. And five friends, girls from the school animation club are on the same page with us. Anime isn’t just a hobby for them – they’re ready to dedicate their lives to it. Here starts Shirobako – one of the best shows in years.

There are tons of anime about school clubs but it’s basically impossible to remember a series about people who make anime. Can you remember one on the spot? Me neither. Moreover, it’s not just amateur anime making – it is about a studio, with all of the problems you may face during the creation of something big.

The main character, Aoi, is a beginner manager who is worried that her position in the studio is absolutely insignificant. She can’t draw like her friend Ema, she can’t twist a plot like their kohai Imai, voice acting is not for her as well, opposite to Sizuka, who dreams about becoming a seiyu. The last member of their former club, Misa, is a 3D animator, also not the last person in the modern anime production pipeline. At the same time, Aoi is either on the phone or like a delivery boy runs with new keyframes from a freelance animator to the studio. In addition, she has to be a pain in the butt and reminds the Creators about deadlines. And THIS they call a job? To make things worse, Musasino Animation, the studio Aoi works for, released its last show so many years ago that even the Japanese elders scarcely can remember what it was about. Not mentioning the director, whose latest anime “Jingle Heavens” was so awful that it’s better to avoid mentioning this name. Oh, and don’t say a single word about recap episodes to him!

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But then we see that the director is totally obsessed with his series (trying to slack sometimes, though). And that the president of the company not only makes great meals but participated in creation of that anime from the childhood, which opening you still want to croon unconsciously. And the most rewarding moment is when you’re watching the episode that, finally, has been aired; looking at the characters, how they’re moving, talking, living on the screen. Yes, you still remember those nights without sleep because of these very characters but at such moments you realize that all the difficulties are nothing if you really like anime.

Don’t worry, there are 24 episodes, so we have a chance to familiarize ourselves with feelings and thoughts of every of Aoi’s friend. Because everyone has hard moments in his/her life, despite how good you at drawing or how cute you are.

PA Works has proved again that this is a top-notch studio. They have mixed everything we love about Japanese animation. This show has nice characters (a lot of them – don’t forget that we’re talking about the whole studio!), humor; it’s drawn beautifully; and after all, while watching Shirobako you constantly have a feeling that you’re peeping at how very talented people are creating something new. Also the series contains a bunch of references to real anime and real people in the industry, for example, guess who is this nice guy Aoi comes to trying to find an animator for one of the episodes?

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The last but not least – Shirobako’s special episodes. These are first episodes from those anime MusAni made and they are amazing!

To sum up  – this is an anime about anime, without high school students but with humor and great characters. If you’ve missed it – I highly recommend to try it out.

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