Keeping it going, we’re ten episodes in and the series is still going strong!
And man, it really does feel like a lot has happened in these ten episodes.
We’re All Moving Forward
This episode was undoubtedly a slower episode, but somehow, almost paradoxically, captured a sense of progress–of moving forward–very well.
Really, there were only two major plot focuses of this episode: Aoi’s work, and Misa’s decision to quit her job. It was a very work-centric episode from a plot standpoint, wherein not much really happened to move the plot forward, but a LOT happened to move each character’s individual lives forward.
By this, I mean that, although the plot of the episode followed Aoi’s perspective, we got to see a lot of different characters work towards what they wanted, as if Shirobako is reminding the audience that these characters are people with their own lives too.
We got to see the old animation squad meet up and give advice to each other, which was a nice scene in and of itself–but what really added weight to such a meeting, was that we got to see what exactly each person has been working towards.
This episode was all about the dreams we had, and the progress we make in pursuing them. From listing out the work yet to be done of the anime Exodus, to small little reminders of the work in most characters’ lives, this episode showed that progress in real life, as hard as it may be, happens.
Misa quits her job to pursue her passion of CGI animation for the sake of a story. Kinoshita finally finishes a script that he’s been struggling with for the past three episodes, and Honda quits his job to pursue his own passion of running a bakery. These are tough times–but somehow, it doesn’t feel discouraging at all. On the other hand, it’s rather…inspiring, how these normal people can pull through.Work is hard. That’s a fact. But seeing some real progress, after some very real problems, with very real characters…
It’s rather cathartic, in a sense. And also works well with providing development for my favorite character…
Aoi’s…Kind of a Great Protagonist
If you’ve been keeping up with my episodic reactions, you’ll know that I’ve been near-obsessed with Aoi’s uncontested, indisputable, undeniable cuteness. A working woman who loves donuts, gets strict when she needs to, and has the right balance of sass and friendliness. Not to mention, a short haired, simple, appealing design that just…works. I can’t help it!
But beyond all this, I think episode 10 really cemented my opinion that Aoi may end up being the best part of the series so far.
The past few episodes have provided strong support for the theme of following your dreams, and working hard to do so.
Misa quits her job because of this mentality, and Honda does the same thing, quitting to pursue baking! It’s mentioned very quickly, and not explored too much…but nonetheless, the event appeals to this common theme, of pursuing your passion, and beyond that, dealing with the potential real life consequences of doing so.
Aoi as a character appears to be the only one without a defining schitck. Misa’s a CGI person, Shizuka is an aspiring voice actress, and Ema draws animations, but Aoi just doesn’t seem to have such concrete goals, and she knows this.
Her struggle so far–one emphasized this entire episode, is that she’s working hard, but doesn’t know at all what she might like to do in the future. Presented as a contrast to Honda and Misa, who quit their jobs to pursue their dreams, all Aoi has is a vague desire to work with anime, and a position that lets her do so.
It’s not much to go on.
This vagueness allows watchers to find Aoi relatable, in her inability to create concrete goals for her future. It targets a specific demographic–and beyond that, I’d argue that so far, Aoi’s plights represent problems that any and all humans have confronted at some point.
She’s asking hard questions, but she’s still moving forward, and even as the production schedule for Exodus moves forward, she’s trying her best, despite being, in one sense, lost. This feeling came across in a very tangible way this episode: and I just can’t help thinking that Aoi is going to end up being something great by the end of the series.
As clear as her development is, what is not clear quite yet is how she will get there.
By the end of the series, I expect that she will be a much stronger individual than she is currently. A woman who knows what she wants, knows herself much better, and has established the stepping stones to her future. However, what remains a mystery, and at this point, the primary draw of Shirobako to me, is the journey that Aoi and co. will take, to get to this point.
After all, the growth is in the journey, not the destination, right? Let’s see what the next episodes have to offer us!
Well, I think I’ve set up a pretty good schedule for the next few weeks, in regards to these reactional pieces. From Monday-Friday, I’ll be posting three Shirobako reactionary pieces, one on Monday, one on Wednesday, one on Friday.
There’ll be other things during the week–small reviews, smaller reactions, countdowns and such. But for now, this’ll be the plan! Hope you guys can enjoy a retrospective look at Shirobako with me–I’m hoping it’ll be a fun journey! :)