Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 7-8


How to get your groove back

Shirobako takes a step back in these latest two episodes to talk about our individual motivations. While it doesn't quite avoid all the usual pitfalls most 22-minute episodes of anime fall into when they tackle complicated and deep topics like this, it gave us a few good interwoven examples to draw on. At the same time, Shirobako never ceases to be educational. Maybe it's the cat therapy.

Episodes seven and eight of Shirobako actually forms a cute little story arc about Ema. The key animator at Musashi Animation, for the first time, takes on drawing life-like cats in a late-night moe-like anime. It's an artistic challenge because Ema has never done something like this before, and it is unusual for TV animators to come across something like this. The time constraint and difficulty of the subject put Ema in a slump. 

What she drew no longer is how she feels

The introverted animator might not realize just how close she is to the way out of her slump, and more importantly, struggles to get some help from her seniors. In episode 7, the combined pressure and setbacks Ema faced unsettled her enough that she got angry and took her frustration out in the only way she could. Thankfully her fellow coworkers took care of that, as Sugie and Iguchi both gave her the timely advice she needs. It's probably even more interesting to see how Aoi and Segawa approach Ema's problem, both as people who want to support Ema emotionally and someone who may be understanding what's happening to Ema but can only do so little to help.

Yep, they know it

Shirobako also doesn't stop being tongue-in-cheek. The various jokes on the director aside, we learn that one of the production assistant is leaving the company, probably half-willing, to help at a bigger studio on a more prestigious job. It might be because, as other characters speculated, that he wants to move up in the ranks of producers, but with every step up there's more trouble, challenges and difficult situations to resolve. That nicely slots in with setting Aoi to close out on the 1-cour anime they're working on, which should set the stage for more drama down the road.

Proverbs, Chapter Iguchi, verse 3

More Iguchiisms

To that degree, the so-called secrets Iguchi showed Ema are also humorously meta and charming on its own. The two animators took time to take a walk, as Iguchi explained what she did to get speed and improve her drawings--by copying how others did it. And maybe that is okay to start. Perhaps more helpful is the stray cat the two finds in the park near the office, in which Ema and Iguchi took hold to study. Expert tips also includes the way to draw them walking tip-toed, or that when you want to get out of the slump by taking a walk, go somewhere far enough away from where you normally work. It's hard to image how the actual animators of Shirobako actually took to this task.

The other half of Shirobako nicely overlaps with this whole self-searching, introspective re-evaluation stuff when Aoi's sister from the country shows up unannounced. The "writer" out of the five, Imai, is on hand to take care of the visitor, in which the two discussed how back in the days they were all part of the anime club. This added source of stress, funnily enough, balances out Aoi's smooth-sailing couple days at work. Nothing ever goes right for the young production assistant in this show. It all weaves together, of course, but it's nice to see the different ways people of different walk are joint at the hip by their dreams.


[Watch Shirobako on Crunchyroll]

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Jeff Chuang
Jeff ChuangAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Yet to be the oldest kid on the block, this East Coast implant writes cryptic things about JP folklore, the industry or dirty moe. Attend cons and lives the "I can buy Aniplex releases" life. ... more + disclosures



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