To sum up Shirobako, in a nutshell. This Anime is about the growing pains of creating an Anime that everyone will like. It’s about all the time, effort and sleepless nights everyone at an anime studio puts int to make an Anime adaptation, or original fun and entertaining to its viewers; all while trying to please the stakeholders of the Anime, in most cases, the original creators of the Anime itself. It doesn’t glorify or portray animators as hyper-talented geniuses, and many of the characters in the show admit they do not even understand why they’re working in the industry. But there’s something that keeps them passionate about what they do, even if it may not be the most respected form of media out there.
Shirobako provides a very informative and interesting look at what the process of creating anime is all about, but it is more than that, too. This Anime turned a process that is very stressful and time-consuming and made it into an Anime, something that everyone can watch and truly understand the “Behind the scenes” of an Anime.
Most people who watch the show are going to have their attention on its portrayal of the anime industry and the animator’s lifestyle, which are shown with extensive detail in each and every episode. Even if you have no knowledge of how the anime industry works, by the time you finish Shirobako, you’ll have a pretty OK idea of how it does. It does not just focus on the animators alone, but also the lower roles, all the way up to management who decide the voice actors and how the anime should end. It does lend to a deeper appreciation for anime as a whole, as you’ll realize that even the complete stinkers may have sucked because of a minor managerial mistake rather than incompetence.
Shirobako can be a bit misleading, though. The first episode creates the impression that the entire story is going to be about the five high school friends working together in the anime industry, but that isn’t really how things pan out. It is a story about the events of Musashino Animation. Only two of the five girls work there as regular employees for the majority of the series. Some people may find this a bit disappointing, but I thought it was the proper route for the story.
Adult life rarely ever works out exactly as planned, and Shirobako is very much an anime about adult life. It would be pretty ironic if an anime about animation had poor animation, so it’s fortunate that Shirobako looks and sounds as nice as it does. There are none of the usual ‘same face’ phenomena that plagues most anime, and the backgrounds are often filled with detail which makes having a wandering eye recommended. It’s a bright and visually pleasant show, while the music, even if it’s not particularly notable, creates an appropriate atmosphere.
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