Shirobako

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Harkov's avatar
Apr 19, 2015

There are many ideas the average viewer thinks about when they are asked what makes an anime work for them. Is it the driving narrative that help to construct the pieces of the story? Is it the lovable cast of characters that help drive the story to its own path? Is it the breathless, but invigorating and vibrant animation that help to bring it to life? Is it the overall palatable visual design that help to give the show its identity? Is it the mesmerizing voice acting and sound direction that help to make it memorable?

But what if it's a little more personal than that, taking in account with the people who help make it and how the overall production goes? With so little information, it's hard to know what exactly goes on behind the scenes. Shirobako helps to alleviate this problem by providing the audience with a personal tale that focuses on the industry and the people behind it.

Shirobako follows the story of five girls and the struggles they experience following their dream in the anime industry. Their dream stems from their own little experiences of managing an animation club in high school, their hopes and aspirations held up high in regards to their future of wanting to work in the anime industry, not knowing the hardships and struggles that they will face in the near future. Although each have their own set of motivations and paths they set on, the show mostly focuses on Aoi, an amateur production assistant working at Musashino Animation and her experiences working in the industry she sought after.

Through her we see the basic setup to Shirobako, in that it's an anime about making anime with all the nooks and crannies that come along with it. From the writing processes, to general animating, to sound production, to editing, and so forth. It shows what goes on in the production with in depth and precise detail, never trying to dumb down its explanations nor barraging the audience with information. Instead, it flows with the backdrop of the story and helps to build and give flavor to the world it's set in.

Along with its details on the industry itself, it also gives attention to the people who work to produce it. The cast is immensely large and it shows, as each staff member have their own unique personalities, role, motivations, and backstory that help tie the story together in its attempt to show off the inner workings of the industry. Granted, it does comes off as overwhelming, but each character never particularly feels wasteful or comes across as flat, as they each bring an intoxicating and down to earth atmosphere and overall entertaining dynamic with their interactions. The cast always aim to provide differing viewpoints and details of the anime industry that helps build upon the subject matter and themes that it lays its foundation on.

But there's also a more personal story to take away from Shirobako. It isn't just some animated documentary on the anime industry, but rather a compelling character drama that focuses on the hardships of adult life and the struggle of a career in the fine arts. Some characters struggle to make ends meet, some have their aspirations crushed, some never get the break they deserve, some get stuck in the frenetic and tiring productions and lose purpose, some have their own vision compromised, and some just give it all up. While it's not afraid to show the reality of the world, it still maintains a nice, lighthearted tone through its humor and exaggeration. This helps give the series a positive, optimistic and genuine feel to it as it never leaves a certain comfort zone of its subjects to make sure it doesn't get too dark. However, it still manages to give the viewer a general idea of the hectic work they deal with while also driving their own development. It's all there to reinforce the central themes of the series, and feels absolutely genuine and believable in its manner.

The animation, art, and sound in general are good, if not great. PA Works once again has the usual efficiency in producing stunning backgrounds, and aims to provide a realistic look to reinforce the backdrop of the show. Animation isn't particularly groundbreaking, but always feels consistent and fluid, never exceeding more than it wants to convey. The overall character design have a rather charming and vibrant feel to them, trying to balance out a memorable and colorful design while adhering to a realistic tone. Soundtrack is simple, catchy, and never feels out of place as it skillfully matches a certain tone it sets in. And finally, the outstanding VA cast comprised of newcomers and professionals help bring their performances to life with a believable and exhilarating spirit to the characters.

Shirobako feels like a love letter to the anime industry and it truly shines. From the bustling and frenetic take on what goes on production, the feelings and dreams of the people who work in it, and the love and care for such a niche industry despite the madness that comes with it. Thus, Shirobako's beauty resides in the nature of the industry, not only because of its heartfelt subject matter, but also because of how genuine and relatable it is.

9/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall
Porichan's avatar
Oct 20, 2014

Ever since I notice the series in my opinions it's really good, in fact it's like a whole new level of knowing how an animators job really is (in present time). I recommend people should watch this for themselves and would love to know what your opinions are. :)

7/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall
Wakasagihime's avatar
Apr 4, 2015

     This is my first review on this website, so take my words with that grain of salt in mind. I'm no true conoussier of anime, I'm not someone who tries to take it upon himself to watch all of the anime every season or indulge in older, more classic anime, nor do I intend to become one. I'm just a guy watching anime because some anime are really fun. There's some really silly things in anime like an excessive amount of cute girls, cliches, and money cashing, but there's always the bad AND good to everything. Shirobako was the goodest of this season in my sincere opinion. Also, this is a spoiler free review.

Mindset

    I highly reccomend you go into this anime with an open mind. It has a rather straight face with trying to keep things real, but has some absurd moments if you strictly follow that, so just take it as it comes and enjoy it.

Story

     Mindblowing is not what I'd call the story of this anime, but rather the execution of it. The premise and is cliche and the ending is predictable at first sight. I was bored within the first episode, but something stuck out to me from my usual dropping attitude and I was soon watching the second episode. It only ramped up from there and eventually begins to fly by the end of the first cour. I was completely hooked by about episode four. It's surprising, I have no idea how I would categorize this anime as it's comedic value is limited in scope and the plot isn't what you'd pick it up for, but exposition regarding the anime industry is somehow fun to watch. I'm quite poor at putting my emotions to words, but I can't describe this anime as anything but entertaining.

Animation

    The animation is very fitting, so fit that it fits in my bum. A poor metaphor, but the point is that the animation is typical P.A. Works fare and is breath taking as always in quality. You might notice the occasional strange looking face frame, but the characters look good for what's expected and the 3D is never out of place. Some people may not enjoy the animation style, but to say the animation is good would likely be an understatement.


Sound

     The sound effects and music placement aren't the best, but it's quite near to being perfect. At the very least, it never detracted but always added to the entertainment. It is notable than some BGM was recycled from Girls und Panzer since the director's the same guy, but it's not out of place regardless.

     The voice actors or seiyuu were interestingly mostly nobodies for the main characters. Not only did I not realize that until I was almost done watching and looking some things up out of interest, but the whole time I never thought of the possibility of the seiyuu being greenhorns in the field. They played their roles convincingly and Shizuka especially had me squirming in my seat in certain scenes from her performance. I was really moved in a certain way that's not so easy to quantify as being sad or happy at an emotional state throughout the anime by the work of these seiyuu.

Characters

The character list is extensive and even for a 2 cour anime, the "main" set of characters aren't the most fleshed out you'll encounter, but for such a large cast any character that's interacted with beyond being in the background have a tendency to become quite memorable. It's a charm that has to do with how the character's face, attire, and their own way of carrying themselves brings them across the screen to the real world. They feel like individuals rather than extras and often stand out almost as much as the main characters, while a majority of the main characters tend to get put to the side here. In spite of some low screen time for some of the main characters, it doesn't get in the way of enjoying a truly entertaining anime.

Overall

A slow episode one that quickly ramps and grabs your attention for seemingly no reason. The silliness of certain parts is sold well and the solid sound and animation keep you focused on the characters and their dilemmas of the anime industry (or general work force I've even heard). It's an odd one that is strangely extremely likeable. I reccommend the three episode rule if proceeding and with an open mind when viewing.

9/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
10/10 overall
Somnium's avatar
Dec 24, 2015

There are many moments when watching anime that you are curious to learn what "goes beyond those pixels"."Shirobako" is an anime that can clarify a lot of things for you about that subject.


Story


The story goes around the life of the main protagonist "Aoi Miyamori" and get some glimpses now and then of her high-school students who are also chasing their dream of making anime from different positions (voice actress,key animator,production assistation,3d maker,writer).I find the plot really weak by dividing into 2 parts between the 12 first episodes and the rest.I believe it lacked potentional conflict while at the same time being too generic with a result being too limited to the protagonist.Well,while it delivers somehow the difficulties that appear in making anime it doesn't suck the viewer like a black hole.

Animation

Please mind that this is an anime of 2014/15.The animation was really neat and sometimes you could really admire the scenery but some character designs of the 5 friends were really dull and alike.In other words it was not bad but at the same time it wasn't excellent,at some moments you really liked the graphics and at the other you could just say "it's okay for a 2014/15 anime".


Sound


The sound of this series was also okayish.The main point was that it didn't have any ost that would stuck in your memory with a result for you eventually to search it.The plus were the outros were really nice while the openings were comci-comca.The voice acting was good from most sides but nothing AGAIN extraordinary.


Characters


The characters of the show were A LOT, at the first episodes I was REALLY confused who did what even though there were regular tags beneath them.I find the character development also lacking except for the banal message "keep chasing your dreams" that is kinda cliche for my tastes.Well it delivers the difficulties that you can meet in the industry but nothing that could hook you up.BUT the biggest plus for me of the whole series was the developement of "Shizuka Sakaki" with the slap of realism how difficult it can be for someone to keep up with what wants to chase on the horizon while trying to maintain themselves.I really wished they could have given her more screen time.


Overall


Overall,this isn't a bad anime but it's not also a good one.I find it mediocre and using it's benefits in the wrong way.I believe if it could use all those positives things in the right way it could shine!

6/10 story
8/10 animation
6/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall
AngelBeatsYui's avatar
Apr 13, 2015

So this is my review for the winter 2015 anime Shirobako, it is a slice of life anime around a group of people in an animation company. It is a very light-hearted anime and is great for a marathon. It follows the story of 5 girls who want to make an anime together like they did when they were in school but it wasn’t as simple as they thought, it gives us a view on what the anime industry is really like and I enjoyed that (which is why I gave it such a high grade overall).

STORY

It is a sweet story and overall very well laid b out, I found myself enjoying it more than I expected. As I said it is a very basic idea for an anime but it works out so well. I enjoyed how we got to see what really happens in an industry like this, it is probably one of the best slice of life anime I have seen in a long time.

ANIMATION

The animation is close to perfection, each character has a unique design and the colouring used is so vibrant, the other thing is I loved the detail in the eyes. However nothing is perfect and there were a few minor flaws around certain areas.

SOUND

The music is what it is meant to be for an anime such as this, light and fluffy, in a way. The voice acting was well done as well, most of the characters fitted their voices. (The design and voice all linked up perfectly.) That is all I can really say about this area.

CHARACTERS

So this anime portrays characters people can relate to perfectly, each with their own strengths and weaknesses anyone could relate to. Plus the characters are amusing to watch, which in the end brings the whole series together. I think at I could personally relate to Ema but that is just me.

So overall I would say that this is one of my new favourite slice of life programs. If you are interested a light series, this is perfect for you.   So that is it for now, bye bye

-AngelBeatsYui-

8/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall