Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 9-10


The crossroads of life edition

Our "imprisoned" director finds his creative spark, while Misa finds courage to get out of a prison of a different kind. A week later Aoi might be the key to help these the two to freedom, if she can overcome the most difficult task of them all. Shirobako, finally, gears up to the final episode...of Exodus.

Shirobako continues to be the one story this season that echoes really close to home for many young professionals. It paints both a romantic and realistic picture of pursuing creative careers where the goal is to do something fulfilling rather than something more conventionally stable or lucrative. We see earlier that one of the production desk producers left the company to curry favor with a major studio and people with connection with the higher ups in the industry. These following episodes show us how people can leave the company for a variety of other reasons.

And it's not just how Honda is planning to quit to work as a baker, or how Misa is quitting because she doesn't want to spend all her time doing the same grunt work she has already mastered. It is striking in the way these two chose their ways in a daydream sequence that Aoi has: choosing between a moe girl versus choosing a cake at the crossroad of life. Aoi's version of Misa's dilemma where she chooses between a car (looks like a Prius) versus the CG movie that inspired her in the first place, is extra telling, as the CG cars she worked on symbolizes the other finer things in life.

Run, Misa!

The story about the director tasked ultimately with the responsibility of finishing the storyboards is probably amusing if Shirobako isn't stacked with these affecting personal struggles. Still, that one personal struggle--a key creative mind against his mental block, with all the pressure in the world (as adults know it)--is something that took teamwork to resolve. The series writer draws the images of the epic conclusion from the mind of the director, but it was Honda the lead production desk that asked for help. At any rate, episode 10 is mostly setup compared to the harder-hitting episodes coming before, spending a good chunk of the show showing us the sound recording aspect of making animation.

I thought it is a little ironic that when Misa decided to quit her job, it felt like a smart move given her go-getter attitude, and being young and single means she has the flexibility to shift gear and take on different paths easily. Shirobako offers the usual uncertainties in Misa's way, but having a truckload of perspective surrounding everyone makes Misa's choice a lot less irrational than it would have seemed otherwise.

Someone's glad to even get a job

In light of the serious stuff, though, the comedy in the form of a senseless yet sort-of awesome ending to the Exodus production might just be what we can look forward to, besides Miyamori's set of reaction faces in her fight against the challenging logistics ahead. Making funny faces at the problems of anime production is a bit how Shirobako is really all about, on some level.

Lastly, Shirobako has run into some copyright issues with episode six, resulting in the various simulcast sites pulling the episode for a while. The newly non-infringing version is now back on Crunchyroll. The revised version has one change in the BGM and a few lines re-dubbed to not directly crib Waiting for Godot. These changes are nothing to really write home about, but that's some more irony brought to you by the the director whose Girls und Panzer had to suffer a similar international copyright snag, denying oversea viewers the Russian folk song. It's as good as any time to revisit Shirobako on Crunchyroll.

I appreciate it brah

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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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