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12 days of anime #8 – Office Time the Anime [Shirobako]

18.12.2014

(…still need to catch up with its latest episodes…)

Shirobako is about a bunch of people who make anime, and they work in an office. I enjoy watching anime, and I work in an office, too. Therefore, I love Shirobako.

See, this is how watching too much anime can ruin your logical thinking.

But I digress, indeed, this post is about how relatable the series is. Every episode of Shirobako has been solid thus far, and with this rate, it can even earn a spot in my new top favourite list.

Shirobako 04 - audition
This series, Shirobako, came out of nowhere. Oh, right, it came from PA Works, a rising star that aims to rule the slice of life genre. Even so, I don’t think the premise did the series enough justice. The slice of life aspect makes it unpredictable, because even though having a soft spot for the genre, I must say that anime of this genre can be boring as hell. In the preview, Shirobako very well defined itself as a story of office workers and an opportunity to look into the anime industry, though I couldn’t help but doubting the end result.

  • Anime making: I thought that PA Works must have desperately wanted to repeat the success of Bakuman by replacing manga with the anime medium, which is why the whole anime thing sounds like a mere hook rather than a guarantee of quality. I doubt it.
  • Office work: we could see a lot of lovely, young, slim ladies in contrast with gentlemen of a wider range of appearances, from handsome to ugly, young to old, skinny to fat. They really have some messed up sense of realism right there. The female cast are so cute you don’t know if they’re suited for having any job yet. I doubt it.

Nevertheless, from what I’ve seen of the actual product, you can rest assured that this series is a gem.

Shirobako 02 - cut

  1. Anime making

I appreciate anime more after watching this series, which speaks volume about its passion and educational effect. Throughout the series, Shirobako boldy and continuously introduces a myriad of new faces that you’ll soon lose count of, proving how much of a teamwork this anime thing is. As we follow Miyamori Aoi, we can see all the challenges every team has to face in order to create a consistent series. Every episode manages to present at least one facet of their struggles, from having the whole staff to agree on an anime character’s personality to the debate surrounding CG and hand drawn animation.

The first two episodes were curious enough to draw me in, but it is in episode 3 that the anime-making mission literally gave me chills. I saw what they did to Arupin. We know Shirobako is not only determined; it is incredibly confident in its production value. The whole episode forced Miyamori to run around freaking out, while slowly built up to the ending where the true work of animation can be honoured.

They didn’t even let Miyamori and her friend comment on the cut. They just showed it at the end of the episode, believing that their real-life viewers can see how much of an influence great animation can have on anime. They’re that confident. And it works.

Shirobako 6 - office

  1. Office work

The series hits all the right notes. My office life is certainly more leisured, but I feel for these people’s hectic schedule and their interaction. Shirobako delivers the fear, worry, admiration, hope and even agony that one has when settling in a position. This is a very welcoming sign as anime nowadays are flooded with school life while Shirobako can offer a refreshing context.

3 episodes in, this series has already convinced me that it can really make the best of the premises. If I have to pick one moment, it must in episode 3 again: Miyamori has done all the right moves and the task is about to end when all of a sudden, there is something wrong with the internet server that threatens to waste all her efforts. Miyamori felt numb. She quietly left the desk and went to wash some glasses, her face being emotionless. Just like other scenes involving stress at workplace, the series really knows how to handle its cast’s reaction and feelings.

Shirobako is a nice surprise. I enjoy watching anime and I work in an office, too. Therefore, I love it.

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