“An Exodus Toward Tomorrow!”
It’s nice when you have moderate expectations for a series and it manages to catch you by surprise. SHIROBAKO was never a show I was actively looking forward to this season considering the sheer number of popular new anime and sequels. It kind of just got lost in the pile, but it really managed to catch me off guard.
I should start by saying that this anime won’t be for everyone. You could say that this first episode was pretty dry – which I wouldn’t really disagree with – but as a whole, if you are at all interested in how anime is made, then you will find some enjoyment in SHIROBAKO.
It starts with a red herring of sorts, setting up for what to seems to be a school series about five aspiring girls of the Animation Club. They’re working hard on their own original animation – Shinbatsu Konkou: The Seven Lucky Battle Gods. Their work pays off – as evident by the satisfied faces upon them seeing their work in motion. But then… high school is over! Flash forward two and half years and our main character, Miyamori Aoi (Kimura Juri), is working at Musashino Animation and it just so happens that the fall anime season is underway for them as well with their one-cour (thirteen episode) anime, Exodus, airing that night!
But before that, a road race. Yep. With none other than
And when I say all the characters, I mean it. We have:
Now, this is the part of the episode that doesn’t work as well as it could. Introducing 23 characters in the first episode simply isn’t going to work. We may remember one or two faces, but as of right now we have yet to dive into who these characters are besides their job title; though there does seem to be a few slackers and those with different creative approaches, so we’re bound to see the connections between these characters come together in future episodes. But even if this is by P.A. Works, I wouldn’t bet on there being a tremendous amount of character drama like you see in most of their anime. SHIROBAKO will be technical drama – things like focusing on deadlines, planning schedules, having Miyamori driving around like a madwoman, as well as facing the consequences of overworking. And that’s just in one episode!
In a single episode SHIROBAKO proves that making anime is not easy. Animation is hard, after all. As an animation student myself I know that, but being part of the industry with it’s ridiculous schedules and deadlines is something else entirely. Will that sort of drama work for the length of the series? I hope so. We have two-cours here after all so P.A. Works must be planning something. After Exodus are we going to see them working on more anime? Will there be successes and failures? Job troubles? A re-union of all five of the Animation Club so they can fulfil their dream of making an anime together? All I can say for now is that this premiere surprised me, intrigued me, and essentially promised me that I’m going to enjoy watching this every week to see where this goes!
OP: 「Colorful Box」by (Yoko Ishida)