I didn’t imagine Shirobako to get this angsty but I’m a little glad they did… and we finally find out the anime industry isn’t sunshine, rainbows and cherry-blossom petals. The series shifts back to specifically focus on Miyamori’s own work and her interactions with her co-workers.
Miyamori’s sister is visiting, a co-worker is transferring to another company and our key animator Ema is working like she’s never worked before.
In contrast to Miyamori who is usually running around helping coordinate the anime from one step to another as a production assistant, Ema’s nature of work puts her spot-on with the criticism of her superiors and other artists. To the timid and diligent Ema, this is A LOT of pressure and though we often think once we have an ‘in’ on the industry, we’re pretty much set, we forget how difficult it is to actually survive in the entertainment industry and be of use. You either quit when you’re young or pursue a career in something much more stable or work at it until you get better and better. It doesn’t help newbie animators that the industry is so competitive and you’re only as valuable as your technique and speed, two traits that take much time and experience to develop. This is an industry that definitely takes A LOT of adapting to get accustomed to. The anime makes a point to note that Ema usually bikes home for lunch but I’m sure pretty soon her work ethic or current insecurities are going to take over her life… in which case it will be intervention time But I’m sure that’ll come later. Though you might not be partaking in the job world yet, you can still find yourself sympathizing with Ema, her desire to improve, work up in her dream industry, but her frustrations at her inability to be better…
I really think Miyamori has the organized efficiency of an actual producer… that or she’s definitely getting MVP – Most valued Production Assistant of the year because not only do her interpersonal skills make her an easygoing person to interact with, she’s also very on top of her work. The only problem is, she’s so busy with work that she doesn’t think much past the next series checkpoint or production meeting. It seems like this concept of “end goal” is something Miyamori’s going to have to confront regarding her career… well, when she’s not speeding to Segawa-san’s house or rushing around the office to her checkpoints.
I’m surprised that Shirobako is being given twenty-four episode but I suppose the setting does have quite a bit of potential in that there A LOT of scenarios that the anime company can get into during the production process. The double-season-long number of episodes also gives us plenty of time to be patient with revealing the characters and other aspects of the industry as well. While the characters’ distress in the story do give me anxiety, a little conflict is good in a slice of life anime, especially when pacing is usually so patient.
At this point, Ema has two choices – accept her current lot as an animator and conceded to improving gradually, or freak out, panic and run herself dry at trying to be perfect. Well, we’ll find out next week.
What are you pondering today?