I discovered this show at a convention, showing on the cctv anime "channels" the con was running, so you could watch all kinds of anime in your own hotel room. I think it was around 2 am too. I was immediately hooked, and was happily surprised the director was Akitaroh Daichi, who became my favorite anime director not too long after. I eventually got my own copy and had Daichi sign a Kuromi poster when he was a guest in 2005.
This is a one shot OAV that runs about 50 minutes, so about 2 episodes worth. You'd think you couldn't complete a story in that time, but Daichi's genius pacing and creativity pulls it off amazingly. This is a trait of all of his anime he has worked on. His timing and pacing, quick cutting of frenetic jokes really get me rolling.
Oguro Mikiko, nicknamed "Kuromi" is the main character, a new employee to an animation studio eager to make anime, inspired by watching series on tv. She's thrown into a chaotic situation when the director of the series she will work on falls ill (due to job stress supposedly), leaving her to be Production desk manager and get an episode done on time to air. And the fun begins.
There are several characters, those who work in the studio, and while they have limited screen time, we learn about each's personality quirks and such. Such as the lady who wants to talk about her home life, or the chubby guy with low self esteem. This is good for Kuromi who eventually picks up on their quirks and use them to get the work done.
The animation style is the classic late 90's early 2000's as seen in Kodomo no Omocha, though with a little more fluidity and depth as seen in many OAVs.
The music is a simple jazzy kind dance tune that plays repetitvely but totally works with the crazy actions of the animation.
I'd like to think that this is NOT how it is to work in an animation studio but you never know. I wonder what it's like to be in an animation studio with Daichi-san: fun, silly, stressful..!
In the end, despite it being short I give high marks for Kuromi-san and her gang.