Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 13


Third Aerial Girls Strike

With the new year break behind us, it's time to hit the ground running at Musani. With Honda's departure and the new anime project for Third Aerial Girls Squad secured, Aoi gets thrown right in the fire as the lead production desk. How will team Musani sprint to the finish line, one which is a year away?

When Shirobako started 3 months ago, the audience gets a taste of the frantic sprint that happens when every episode has a weekly timer attached to it. As schedules scrunch up the end of the broadcast, things become a race against the clock. This time, the audience gets to see from the starting point.

Being a manga adaptation versus an original work, the challenges and methods are also different, especially in the planning stages. Fans who are familiar with manga adaptations and their discussions probably can deeply sympathize the chat between the series writer and the director as they review some fighter jets at the various local museums. Does it end with a "things keeps going on" ending? Does it end with an anime original? Should things be timed to coincide with the serialization of the manga? These are critical decisions that deeply impact the nature of a manga adaptation.

Midori Diesel

Aoi takes on her new role step by step, although the aspiring writer, Midori, is plenty free to help out with researching the setting and writing up reports to share with the other key staff at Musani. It's a little tricky in how Shirobako is trying to explain to us the nature of Third Aerial Girls Squad without actually showing us what it is, save for a few excerpted pages and images, perhaps counting on the collective otaku familiarity on popular genre concepts. It's hardcore third-generation fighter jets (think Ace Combat, for the most part), and pretty girls as fighter pilots. Come to think of it, the new opening animation even features our intrepid five-girls team in fighter jets, as a nod to the fiction within fiction. As an aside, there's also a new ending with the second cour, too.


Perhaps all the more moving, then, is seeing how the Shirobako characters react to Third Aerial Girls Squad. In a way, as someone who writes about anime, I guess I'm more self-conscious on how we can describe a particular anime from the meta; in this case, giving the viewers how the characters reacted to Third Aerial Girls seems rather parallel to anyone who would hit up blogs and review sites on people's reaction on the latest crop of seasonal anime on TV. Are we moved by the individual characters? Were there any awesome scenes? Are the girls cute? Is there excessive fanservice? How deep and thick is the hype, and are there substances to back it up? Between Tarou and Aoi, plus the more insider/expert takes from NabeP and the director, I was impressed on how Shirobako managed to do all this relatively naturally.

After all, they're working in an office

And perhaps that's the thing. Before anime is created, someone has to come up with an idea on how it looks like as the eventual creation. It's a vague thing to do in a sense, but it must be even more vague when you try to depict it in an anime. Even with manga in hand, there is still a large expanse that the animation team has to cover. With the publisher and mangaka playing it suspiciously, I suppose we can expect some high drama from Shirobako from that source.

[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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