Miyamori’s journey is only just beginning.

Beyond Expectations:

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?


  1. To me personally, it wasnt the lack of “groundedness” that took me out of shirobako (i thought the show was decent but could have been so much better); it’s the fact that it makes points about the anime industry and the process that goes into making anime that ultimately feel hollow n purposeless to me (at least in my opinion). A story like this should not only explore how the anime industry works but say something in regards to it. Sure you can make the assertion that the show is not meant to be a commentary but it doesnt necessarily have to be. Give me fully fleshed out characters that make an impact on the viewer; how does the status of the industry affect these characters mentally, how does life and what they do affect the way their view their quality of life or the quality of life of others. My big issue with the series is it’s characters and how they interact with the narrative framework which is anime production. There are no layers to the established framework and the way the characters are presented to the viewers. There is no real drama (good drama) which is a missed opportunity, Im not talking about that forced anime drama; im referring more to tension and emotional resonance that is built organically from characters striving to do what they love in an industry that may not provide them the best options. The commentary should have been on the characters if the narrative wasnt going to voice it’s opinions on the industry. In the end, i felt like shirobako was just another one of those anime’s using meta-story telling mechanics to sell it’s product (and most anime that do that use it’s meta in very shallow ways. Sure it’s meta and that’s nice, but you have to go further than that. actually use the meta to make a statement and change things up rather than relying on it as a crutch), it was a slice of life with the anime industry as a back drop; while it was nice to learn about the anime industry through it, i could have just looked that stuff up; the show didnt add anything much or really do anything with the premise. It was an ok watch but the potential that it could have tapped into but ultimately squandered left me a lil vexed.

    1. Oh come on did you even watch the show ?

      did you not feel sad when Zuka drowns her sorrow in alcohol ?

      did Ema’s struggle to find her own style did not pull your heart string ?

      have you ever meet a Hiraoka and feel homicidal around him and then realize that Hiraoka is just someone that had enough with the BS industry and now instead of feeling homicidal you just pity him ?

      heck the final episode even have miyamori giving a speech about why making anime is worthwhile

      Shirobako made a lot of statement about the industry as whole, it even criticizes japanese work ethics in one of its best episode about classic anime

      the production might not be great, especially in the final episode where the art just feels wonky at times, but this is one of the best anime in the last few years, and I can only thanks Tsutomu Mizushima for it

      second season please

    2. Sorry, but are we even watching the same show? Shirobako is covering almost everything that you were hoping for.

      If I could take a guess, you were turned off by the direction which Shirobako took. It’s not a fully realistic portrayal of an anime studio, it’s a very idealized image, although also made with a significant basis from reality.

      While there are things which could be explored further (especially things such as industry situation and “anime industry may not be the best option”), they are more suited to be put much further in the timeline(if we could get the continuation of it). However, I think they still need to keep the optimism of the series, since at heart it’s not a series which would not and should not try to insert some kind of argumentative idea or an overly thought provoking question. It’s a show about people doing things which they love and struggling on it. And it’s neither a wrong nor bad direction.

      It’s like telling Kozue Amano to make ARIA to be more about the societal purpose of Undine and the philosophy of the man made AQUA. It’s simply not the (main) point of the show.

      P.S As for me, it’s on the top (or top 3 at least) of my list for “The best shows which RC didn’t cover”, which is a shame :p

    3. Although I understand your points, I guess you’re disappointed because you have a different opinion on Shirobako’s view on the current trend of anime industry. You dislike the current trend and you want Shirobako to say something about it? I hate to say this, but your want is egoistic. You probably want Shirobako to voice your opinions, maybe along the line that an increasing number of anime do not fully developed their characters, low pay for animators, etc. Well, most of these issues were actually portrayed in Shirobako, but once again i assume there are still some issues that weren’t portrayed or you disagree with Shirobako’s view on it. There is only one thing i can say. the Shirobako’s director and majority of people’s views on the current state of anime industry is different from your views or I should say preferences.

  2. Shirobako. What can I say, it’s easily my favorite anime of the past two seasons and is also in my top 15-20 anime of all time.

    Being a being big PA Works fan, I’m glad they rebounded their failure after Glasslip and creating a series that I liked after Uchoten Kazoku (I didn’t really like Nagi no Asu Kara much). In fact, if it wasn’t my bias for True Tears it’s probably my favourite show from the studio.

    Samu sums up nicely why I adore this series. The tone is perfect as it’s not too serious nor too comedic. It was consistent in quality week to week, with some clear highlights like the mecha episode, Hieaki Anno episode, the production committee episode, the old Musashino Animation studio episode and the penultimate episode.

    And the bonus is that it’s selling very well. This with the upcoming Charlotte (which is a near guarantee hit and it will almost guarantee beat even Shirobako sales) will give PA Works the much needed sales since their last commercial big hit was Tari Tari back in 2012. Not only that 2015 will most likely be their most successful commercial year in their history. Though I’m not really excited for Charlotte, lets hope the funds they receive (however much it may be) will let them and the production staff create better series in the future.

  3. All I can say is, PA Work does not disappoint! Still, it’s really a shame that this is 2-cour anime instead of a 4-cour like it was intended (from what I heard). The girls’ dream are only at the beginning and it would be nice to see the moment they finally achieve their dream.

  4. Agreed to your statement. I wish randomc picked this series for weekly coverage. Nevertheless i’m glad you’ve done a post-series review. I’d only wished this series was made to 48 or 52-cour or a possible 2nd season. But I’m satisfied by the information and relevance (working also at an animation studio – western animation) While watching Shirobako. I will really miss this show on a weekly basis just like how I missed Barakamon.

  5. damn man that was damn good ride. i would really miss shirobako on thursday night. also i think some kind of spin-off about okitsu-san would be interesting ever since i watched that police chase scene

  6. Sorry for asking weird question, but I wondered whether to watch Shirobako. Won’t it spoil my fun of watching anime? I mean, sometimes it’s bad to know too much. I’m afraid that after watching Shirobako, I will stop enjoy anime, but focus on how it have been done. Is it focused on production ( animation etc. ) or rather economic/business stuff?

    1. Put it this way: are movies or tv shows spoiled when you watch behind-the-scenes videos or interviews with the cast and crew? I don’t think SHIROBAKO will take the fun out of watching anime – SHIROBAKO itself is pure fun, even with all the drama. And yes, it focuses mainly on the production, whilst also integrating scenes from the anime that they make as well. I’d highly recommend it!

    2. with Shirobako you understand a little behind the scene of Animes, that there are Peoples that love to bring their Anime to us. And everyone of Production team are Car Driver pro’s 🙂

    3. I think it will help you appreciate how much work is put in by the different people to get an anime to your TV screen. For example, the different ppl working on character design vs character animation.

  7. For those that find the car racing scenes weird there are very clear hints within the show itself that all that is within the heads of the characters. In the very first episode when Miyamori is racing and drifting around the town there is a glance at the car’s speedo, which is clearly fixed at 50 km/hr which is the legal speed limit 🙂

    The thing that I found the most enjoyable about the show is the depiction of office politics. Sure perhaps things did get resolved a little easy but it is not often that conflict in the workplace is depicted AT ALL in anime

    1. can someone explain me the Scene with the Train in the Car chase? Was that an Insider of one Role of her past? i mean the Seiyu. I would suspect Rail Wars. But there is no such kind of Female

  8. It really is a crime that well planned series like Shirobako don’t get the continuity they deserve, while aberrations like KanColle can continue (I don’t know why because it’s selling way less than Kadokawa thought)
    Tsutomu Mizushima is turning into the prized director of this new generation as he found gold not one, but twice with seeminly low-profile stories that at first sight were just niches (here and with GuP)
    BTW, depending on how the Third Aerial Girls Squad OVA is animated, it could be the last chance that we could have a real Ace Combat-esque series.

    1. Someone(Samu, I think) mentioned that the original plan was intended to have Miyamori rise up the rank one step at a time until she reaches the director. With good BD sales, maybe there’s a chance for PA Works to finish this up in second season. One can only hope though because I had hoped for a second season of Hanasaku Iroha and they released Home Sweet Home instead…

  9. With the EP 24 Title “The Delivery That Was Too Far Off”/ that was a reference to the great WWII movie ( A Bridge Too far ) I knew it was going to be fun!

    Everybody worked hard and got along ! Very nice look at the animation / timing / oh heck it was great

    The delivery segment was just so good. Everybody was OK except Seiichi/ Aoi / and Yuka with police chase. BTW the Sign on the gas station “Exodous” ( the anime hit of Musashino ) Then Yuks knew the main officer from 8 years ago! Por Aoi almost didnt make it but she did!And her two buudies asked what to do now how important was that!Oh she was given the honor at the banquet!

    Another reference since Shizuka just need a break and was just a natural and Working on The Prince of Baseball.

    And how critical was the visit to the farm to see cows to do that retake scene with Luci!

    I would like to see the girls do their reboot of Seven Lucky Battle Gods / ferference to Seven Deadly Sins just a thought!

    I am in conplete agreement with you as the top anime. I had a 6 way tie going on my favorites list but being strong all along and the closing episodes just nailed it !

    I would put this in My Top 10 list because it not only a great look at the anime procees but was fun too!

    Every anime fan should watch this!Just like you said,

    1. Seven Lucky Battle Gods… if they trow it out today, someone or the most will compare it with Sengoku Basara or Akatsuki no Yona (a bit). Or even perhaps this Anime with these Female Lancer Guardian (name forgotten) protecting the Princess

  10. SHIROBAKO the anime we need, not the anime we deserve.

    I think what makes this series so good is that it succeeded to keep a charming and interesting feel out of the work life of a extremely busy workplace. The fact that it handled soooo many characters with such graceful ease its a feast of itself.

    Don’t get me wrong, this series is on my top 10 too, easy. I loved every episode. Loved every girl. it’s biggest attribute was that no matter what, it brings a smile to your face.

  11. Disappointed at RandomC for not blogging this. But hey, nobody really can see the real gems in any season until it’s over. Better luck next time.

    And this series is now among my favs, that I will rewatch again and again, just to fill the gap that is now in me after it ended.

  12. …. it may have hit all the by-the-numbers stuff that all slice-of-life anime hit, but man…. I think ANYONE who values intense worth ethic, or is an avid anime/animation fan, should be watching Shirobako. It’s been my total favorite of the past 2 seasons. The last episodes especially hit a core within me. This is truly a great show, and I hope they continue with with another season!

  13. Definitely one of the best and probably one of the most underrated anime of the last couple seasons compared to some others.

    I’ve seen people say that the original idea was that Shirobako was supposed to be a 4-cour series (so 2 seasons of 24 episodes or so) with Miyamori moving up the Production ladder with each cour.

  14. Of all shows which I was disappointed that no-one from Random Curiosity picked up to blog, this one tops the list. It has loveable and quirky characters, the writing is witty and hilarious, and the part when Miyamori breaks into tears after witnessing Shizuka finally land a voice-acting role must have resonated with everyone who had followed Shizuka’s struggles the entire series.

    I was thrown off by the fast pacing initially, which I thought was P.A.Works stuffing up another series (lets face it, the pacing of Glasslip and Tari Tari left much to be desired). However, I was surprised when it started working in its favour. Bits of hilarious (is that panties!?!) thrown in between more serious parts ensured that the show remained light-hearted and fun.

    Watching each of the five girls growing up is one of the best bits about the series. Already mentioned Shizuka’s troubles. Ema was another character that I loved; especially seeing her transform from someone unsure of herself, to being able to take the onechan role to Ai, and even volunteering to help with the part where Shizuka did the voicing for.

    I was a bit worried in the second half when they introduced even more character, but Ai, Tsubaki, and Satou definitely added some additional quirkiness. Still not that fond of Hiraoka, but at least you can understand where he is coming from with his past experiences.

    If Shirobako is one of the few series which the AnimeNewsNetwork reviewers compliment, you know they have done something right 🙂

  15. My most pleasant surprise since Shingeki no Bahamut. One of the best animes of this season for me, if not THE best. Equal and possibly surpassed only by Parasyte and Death Parade.

    People with dreams, watch Shirobako. It will light the fire of hope and passion in your soul.

    Hell, everyone, watch this. You will not be disappointed.

  16. Shiro Bako was definitely the anime I enjoyed the most in the Fall Winter season. It didn’t have the flashiness of A/Z or FSN : UBW but by no means did it lag behind in terms of my desire to see the next episode. I can see how some people may have been turned off by the at times “technobable” portions of the show but I thought that this was by far the best “Anime about making Anime” that I’ve ever seen. They nicely balanced off the process, with reality of varying cultures and personalities in an office, with a touch of romanticism and tempered it all with entertainment value.

    At times I still found myself zoning out when they did some of the technobable but overall I though that they managed to find a nice sweet spot where they didn’t overdo it but still managed to portray a relatively realistic picture of things.

    This series also reaffirmed my belief in PA Works especially after that dissaster known as Glasslip.

  17. Considering how awful “Glasslip” was, PA did a great job coming back with “Shirobako.” Easily one of the best anime airing in the past two seasons.

    The pacing reminded me a lot of Aaron Sorkin’s “Sportsnight,” which was one of his first series, and I think his best. (West Wing was a little too preachy for me.)

    I hope they can do another 2-cour run with this property sometime, but they left it in a good place where they can leave it as it is, too.

    1. Seriously! Episode 23 was the highest point of the series for me. I didn’t even know how much I cared for Zuka until that final scene. Zuka said, “I got a step closer to my dreams” and then WHAM–punched in the gut with feels. Then when they cut to Miyamori crying, BU-BAM! One, two knockout.

  18. Perhaps when Glasslip was airing, PA Works was secretly working on Shirobako, meaning Glasslip was merely a sacrificial decoy. Nice one PA Works, fooling us with Glasslip, then hitting back with this.

  19. “Now, If I could go back in time and change one thing, it would be to have picked it for weekly covered there and then.”

    Not alone in that sentiment. Surprised at how relatively little coverage it got web-wide.

  20. The last 2 episodes were really awesome for me for the following reasons:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  21. I think instead of realistic, the word to describe Shirobako is relate-able. With such a big cast there will be at least 1 thing that someone who is working will find familiar in the series. In my case, it’s the situation that Misa faced when working on 3D tires. She’s great at it but she just can’t see herself doing the same thing in the future and not growing. Like her, I quit my job recently and going to try a different challenge.

    Similarly, anyone who has done some form of project management that has deadlines and delivery dates will empathize with Aoi and all the stress she has to work with.

    Is it in my Top 10? Probably yes after a rewatch. Shirobako is the type of show that has high re-watch value. I think I missed most of the references in the show. Which leads me to believe that this show would not have been as big a hit, say 10 years ago, when there weren’t many ppl discussing anime on-line. This is a show that is better appreciated if you also visit the forums discussing it.

    As for the Seven Lucky Gods, there is already an anime called Happy Seven.

  22. The only show I feel anticipation to watch every week. Really missed it during the New Years break. 24 episodes of fun. You know you wouldn’t want to work with some of them, but boy are they fun to watch.

    It really provides insight on what goes on in making an anime. The fact that Aoi and her friends provide different aspects of that is a great treat. Especially with the goal of creating an anime together. It really did well in providing a way of tying up all the different parts into the story.

    Funny story, I really liked the car races. It was so impossibly silly. A very exaggerated version of how Musani is doing planes in Third Aerial Girls. I’m sure they chose their cars wisely for those scenes.

    Somehow ended up recommending this show to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

  23. I’m really going to miss this show. In the end, everyone’s hard work payed off and that’s one of the many reasons why this show resonated with so many viewers. Most notably, it was great to see how Zuka finally landed a role after all the hardships, and I loved how happy her friends were for her.

    Also, the ending was great and a nice throwback to the very first episode with the donuts scene.

    Season 2 when?

  24. There isn’t much I can add to the post. I’m making my first steps in the creative field, so this show was like a much needed whack on the side of the head for me. It’s motivational, it makes you refocus on your goals, and it’s plain fun to watch. I want to find faults in it, and I genuinely can’t. I don’t know how to live on now that it’s over; the only possible way I see is to try and make my life just as interesting and rewarding as Aoi’s.

    I did wish RC would cover it, but I actually expected it to be done by Stilts, mostly because it just felt like his type of show.

  25. I totally agree with the OP Review, i LOVED this series, and always will. There is just about everything right about it. The art and animation is superb, the story and the settings and the characters everyone of them superb and well done, and it holds together and makes the story strong all the way thru. But…we need MORE. PA MUST continue or pass the content on It is not possible to drop it now. A fantastic series.


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