Miyamori’s journey is only just beginning.
SHIROBAKO was not an anime that sparked much fan interest prior to its debut, in fact, you could say that it was the definition of ‘moderate expectations’. I knew that I was only going to check out the first episode just for the sake of it, not knowing what I was really getting into. But after that first episode, I was pleasantly surprised and even wrote up a post for it. Now, If I could go back in time and change one thing, it would be to have picked it for weekly coverage there and then.
Simply put, I loved SHIROBAKO. For most of its first cour and almost its entire second cour it gave me the most enjoyable episode of the week. Every thursday (unless it was delayed, probably because of Tarou…) I would get back from my own workplace and throw myself into another – one that was fun, dramatic, hilarious, and never failed to put a smile on my face. I never could have predicted that I would enjoy this series as much as I did, but I’m glad it came as a surprise. Most anibloggers I know felt much the same, and every week felt like we were celebrating everything that SHIROBAKO was offering us. I couldn’t have asked for anything more (apart from more episodes, of course). And the cherry on the top is that in Japan it’s a commercial success – topping the charts and showing no signs of fading anytime soon. I just wish they fixed their stock issues so that more fans could show their support for the series.
Informative & Fantastical:
I think it’s important to state that SHIROBAKO is not a documentary, and it never intended to be one. I’ve seen complaints about how questionable the realism of the series is, and all I can say to that is… did you notice that there are two talking dolls that hang over Miyamori’s shoulder and give a running commentary on everything that’s happening? There are doses of fantasy mixed with reality here, and if you can accept that, then I can’t see how this is something worth complaining about. We got a god damn police chase in the last episode, after all! I think those moments of absurdity went hand-in-hand with the tone that had already been maintained for most of the series. SHIROBAKO knew what type of series it was, and it really does feel like the staff behind it had a blast.
I’d recommend this to any anime fan. We get wonderful insight into the behind-the-scenes of anime, crafted by people who know the ins-and-outs of the industry, and understand the production process better than you or me or most anime fans would care to admit. I’d also tell creators of any medium to check this out – whether it be animation (like I studied), art, music, writing – because SHIROBAKO understands what it means to be an artist. We see so many characters work hard on their goals and dreams, and seeing them fulfil them was an inspiration. Honestly, I can’t think of many people that shouldn’t watch SHIROBAKO. It’s a series that knows exactly what it’s doing, and every week it delivered an episode that was both self-contained in whatever production-related drama was happening, as well as tying together meaningful story arcs. If you ask me, it’s a perfect balance of being informative and being fun.
Working With Friends:
In the beginning I pegged the characters as the weakest aspect of of the series, mainly because the excessive name-tags in the first episode didn’t exactly inspire much interest. I thought: ‘Oh, what does it matter… I’m never gonna remember any of these characters or their names…’ and how wrong I was. Those characters felt like real people, even if we didn’t explore all of their backstories or spend as much time on them as some might like. But for a workplace environment it felt very fitting to have those characters pop up every now and then, showing what their job is and what inspires them to do what they do. It worked nicely with the weekly themes that were brought up, and there was a wide selection of characters that it never felt repetitive.
Outside of Musani, the five main girls were a pleasant surprise. Seeing Diesel-san and Ema part of the team in their respective fields was a pleasure to watch. Misa and the CGI team was a little less interesting, but that might just be because I hate doing 3D animation. Shizuka’s journey was probably the hardest, yet most rewarding to watch. Whilst the other girls managed to accomplish their goals, Shizuka had a terrible time getting into the seiyuu industry, and I think everyone watching felt for her. Suffering knock-back after knock-back isn’t fun, and I was beginning to think it would never amount to a reward, but it did! When she finally landed her destined imouto role (I never thought I would be so happy to say that) I felt like I’d accomplished something along with her. Shizuka had the most difficult trials to face, for sure, but it made all the more enjoyable to watch. And then there’s Miyamori – a character that didn’t leave much of an impression on me in the beginning, but grew into a fantastic main character. Her indecisiveness surrounding her career probably connects with many watching, and at times I wondered where she was going with it, since it seems to me she is destined to become a director one day. That’s what I would love to see her do, and I absolutely believe she could. She’s proven herself many times, so seeing her realise her ambitions would be ideal.
Hopes for the Future:
I’m completely satisfied with what we got here. I would easily slot SHIROBAKO into my top 10 anime of all time – I loved it that much. I only have affection for this series, for all its characters, and it’s many real life anime references. I just hope we get a second season announced at some point, because there is still so much more to be told. I’m not ready to say goodbye to these characters, especially Miyamori. Her journey has only just begun, she has so much still to do, and it would be unfair to see it end here. Also, it would be a treat to see Shibutsu Konkou: The Seven Lucky Battle Gods get its own TV anime. Who knows, maybe next time?