It is easy to forget that the anime industry is comprised of a huge amount of people working around the clock to bring us the shows we enjoy. Big name directors and voice actors/actresses make us lose sight of the people behind the scenes that put their all into a production of art (or porn… hentai has “hard” workers too). These people might not have the most glamorous jobs, and very few get the recognition they probably deserve. However there is an anime that addresses this issue…
SHIROBAKO is an anime about anime creation. Though most of the antics in the show might just be for fun, a good bit of the day-to-day life it portrays feels like an actual studio. Deadlines, crew stress, and voice acting sessions are all displayed in a way that feels like a high pressure slice of life show. In many ways you feel the strain yourself as you hope to see the studio you’ve been following succeed in creating the anime they envision. In the end it’s a fun and rewarding experience with a ton of character development. The only reason this isn’t a “Watch Together” anime is that a small level of anime knowledge is recommended to watch this show.
The story follows a group of friends in a high school anime club. After creating their own anime the five girls graduate, but keep in touch. Each girl seeks to enter the anime industry, but for different careers. The show mostly follows Aoi Miyamori, who finds herself working as a production assistant at Musashino Animation. Her job duties basically make her the gofer of the studio, and this puts a lot of the scheduling responsibilities in her hands. Through determination and doughnut consumption she is able to solve disputes between her coworkers and help the show reach it’s audience.
SOME SPOILERS! The other girls from her class all find their way into Musashino Animation as well, though some much slower than others. Ema Yasuhara is an animator at the studio with Aoi from the beginning. she learns how to both ply her trade and overcome anxiety throughout the show. Midori Imai is a college student who wants to be a writer and finds work as a researcher for the studio. Misa Toudou is a CG artist who is stuck animating car tires, but dreams of doing CG for anime. Finally Shizuka Sakaki is a novice voice actress who’s pretty unsuccessful, but never loses sight of being in anime. Shizuka has one of the most moving scenes I’ve seen in anime, but you have to watch to the end to see it.
I have to admit it took me a couple episodes to warm up to this show. After all who wants to watch a show about making a show? The more I got to know the characters, their ideas about anime, and their love for their craft the more I became a fan of this show. It was also pretty educational when it came to industry terminology, and the way different companies have to interact. For example the second season has the crew working on a manga adaptation anime, so they have to keep in contact with the mangaka’s publisher. If you’ve ever been curious about the anime industry, or if you’re simply looking for a good two core show to watch you can’t go wrong with SHIROBAKO.
Did this anime sound interesting to you? If it did there is a link below to where you can find it, and if not I have other BrOtaku recommended anime you can check out. Leave a comment here or on social media if you enjoyed SHIROBAKO as much as I did. Unfortunately the series is not yet available for purchase on DVD/Blu-Ray, but Sentai Filmworks has picked up the license for it. If you do decide to watch this you got 24 episodes of crazy comedy and drama ahead of you. Until you return from your anime binge watching…
Arigatō my fellow BrOtaku!