I want to give you guys a bit of a head’s up here–I was fairly busy this weekend so I wasn’t able to do as many First Impressions as I would have liked.  Thus, my last three first impressions will probably be somewhat delayed.

An anime… about making an anime.

Summary:

This series follows the life of a young woman named Aoi, who works as a production assistant in an animation studio.  In high school, Aoi and four other girls were all in an animation club, and they made a promise to work in animation together as adults.  Two and a half years later, Aoi realizes her dreams… sorta.  While she still has the passion for creating anime, Aoi finds that life working in an animation studio is full of deadlines and stress.

The team.

This is the most generic anime I have ever seen… though thankfully this anime is not about THAT anime.

Aoi’s first work with the studio finally airs; an anime called “Exodus.”  While the general audience seems to have welcomed it, the team already hits some snags in production.  One of the key animators failed to finish the production of frames for episode three, and so Aoi (and some others) have to ask an animator named Segawa for a rush order.  However, this ends up slowing down the production for episode four and so on; and Aoi learns the hard way that that’s just how things work in an animation studio.

I think this dude is the… head production manager? Anyway he seems like a pretty cool dude.

While production on episode three is able to resume with Segawa’s help, Aoi is now busy trying to get the production for episode four done.  When Aoi stops by to visit Segawa to ask about her progress on episode four, she unexpectedly finds Segawa passed out in her house—possibly from overwork.

My Opinion:

Well this was certainly an interesting series.  I was half expecting it to just be “moeblob” shenanigans like what Mangirl! ended up being.  But Shirobako (while still really “anime” in a way), at least manages to have a more serious and realistic take on what its like to work in an animation studio.

Positives about Shirobako so far: Aoi is a fairly interesting character, in that she’s still a passionate anime fan but is also an adult so she’s a lot more mature (in some ways).  I also like that this anime doesn’t sugar-coat just how stressful the industry is.  And it also features a hefty cast, because real animation studios are made up of a multitude of people.  Also featured in this episode is workplace drama and conflict between the different workers.  Although some of the more boring processes of animation may be glossed over due to time constraints, this seems like the closest we’ll get to a showcase of how an anime studio actually works.

Now, the negatives: I really did not like that we were just thrown into the cast of characters about five minutes in.  Since there’s a VERY large cast, we ended up just getting introduced to over a dozen characters in the span of about a minute, with title cards indicating who they are and what work they do.  I fully understand why this was done, because properly introducing these characters would take way too much time.  Unfortunately, there were so many characters and the title cards went by so fast that it’s more than a little difficult trying to get any names or positions.

Also, I realize that this anime will probably seem painfully boring to anyone not interested in how an anime industry works.  The episode already tried its best to make the story interesting by having a relatable youngish character, and some drama by way of plot.  But still, you can only make a somewhat realistic take on the anime industry so interesting without having to resort to, well; anime shenanigans.  (Though the weird car racing scene at the beginning did push that envelope already)

Overall, I personally quite enjoyed this series.  It’s obviously not a series for everyone, due to the subject matter.  But for anyone who wants to become an animator and thinks it’s a breeze in the park to make an anime; let me show you a thing.  Sadly, the pacing of this series is just a tad too slow to be reviewed on an episode-by-episode basis.  But if I have the time this is definitely a series I want to keep up with.

Out of five for this episode:

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I failed to catch her name but I’m really digging her design.

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